May 13, 2005

Separating The GOP Men From The Boys

Two important issues related to the economic and fiscal well being of the country are coming through the political turnpike and they're both oing to be big. In this, they will stand beside Social Security and, if it ever does truly come around, tax reform. Tax reform increasingly seems like the preserve of economists and political anti-realists, so I'm saying right now that it will not be a very big issue this year. If it happens, it will be in time for tax season 2006.

The two new issues are CAFTA and base closings.

DR-CAFTA is an important free trade move for the neighbors to the south because it represents a chance for employment and economic growth in a region of small countries. Small countries disproportionately benefit from free trade because they are disproportionately screwed over by closed trade. Freer trade allows greater access to goods and services and raw materials that otherwise be unavailable or prohibitively expensive to small countries like Costa Rica.

The Pentagon has an aggressive base closing schedule only a decade and a half after East and West Germany were united. Good timing, boys. Naturally, the usual pork barrel and special interest garbage is coming up to defend jobs and funding and history at the expense of economic sense or a respect for taxpayer dollars. Apparently when you pay taxes "for goods and services you use" as the anti-libertarian tax defenses go, that includes subsidizing thousands of jobs in a pollution-heavy industry to create weapons that are wildly disproportionate to our need.

There will be a fair amount of politics here as short-sighted politicians through economic efficiency and budget-cutting out the window - in the process, they will trade away modernization, innovation and job growth in the future for the same ol' same ol' jobs of today. The lack of imagination and sense is only limiting this economy by valuing having A job over having a BETTER job.

Let's see just how committed Republicans stay to middle class economics and sensible free-market solutions in the face of blunt self-interest of various lobbies.

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