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Memories of the 28th Century

Good Political Leaders

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There is a lot more ambition in politics than intelligence or good sense. This isnít just a modern problem, but the ancients were also afflicted by politicians with big egos and small brains. That combination tends to lead to people thinking that their preferences are actually best for everyone, without realizing that personal preferences are just that, personal and preferences. Just as different people prefer different foods so it is with politics. And Iím not referring to the great divide between democrats and monarchs, because we all know that monarchy is superior, unless there is an inferior monarch in power, and that is an easy situation to correct. I am referring to the policies that make real differences: taxes and spending.

We all know that it is impossible to make everyone happy with tax policy, but we should try to harm everyone no more than anyone else, and that means that taxation should be fair, even if everyone is not treated exactly the same, there should be no giveaways to oneís known supporters. There should be no giveaways to anyone, because thatís how governments lose money. Taxes are necessary, and our friends have to be taxed as much as our enemies. That is very important, because it creates the illusion that everyone is treated the same. Keeping that illusion in place is important, because when it disappears the government or even the whole country can disappear.

Perhaps I should have reread Discourses on the First Ten Books of Titus Livius by Nicolo Machiavelli to prepare for this, because Nicolo was interested in creating good government. He just wrote The Prince in the hope of landing a new job advising some prince or duke. Here in the U.S.A. there have been people who truly wanted good government, but I think that few such people still exist; most people are out for the best deal they can find. And many people aren't even good at making their preferences seem good for many people.

At this point we are going into the Trump administration, and Trump may be the stupidest person ever elected president; although there have been a few who were more corrupt. He may even be so stupid that the thinks that he will get away with robbing the country. But it might also be that he isn't stupid, just so ill-educated that he doesn't understand the U.S. government. Apparently, Trump thinks that the president rules by edict, and Congress and elections exist purely for show. Obama tried that, but the courts quickly pointed out how limited his office was.

We will have to wait and see how long it will take Trump to learn that he bought an office that can't much more than empty wastebaskets without the advice and consent of Congress or the Senate at least. How long will it take Trump to learn that he bought an office that is almost completely useless, and more importantly, how long will it take Putin to learn that he wasted his money?

For the answers to these and other questions we will have to wait. And the waiting may take more than a year, because of how legal actions take time to happen. But I think that Trump will have become bored without his office before the end of the term, and he will have discovered that he can't put the country into bankruptcy and skim off all of the cash when he recapitalizes. I wonder if that's what Putin wants him to do. If the U.S. government were under the same bankruptcy laws as individuals, then recapitalization would generate enormous fees. We will have to wait and see how he will pull money out of the government.

Comments

  1. Dreamwoven's Avatar
    This is interesting, PeterL.
  2. MANICHAEAN's Avatar
    Peter

    Interesting article by you as usual.

    A few observations / musings on my part.

    As I understand it, he can pretty much ride rough shod in foreign policy whatever the outcry. Those in future positions that disagree with him can be replaced by those in his own image.

    What will be interesting will be who he picks his first fight with; as he is so thin skinned and goes on the counter attack almost immediately when confronted. The car manufacturers will play to his ego, as there is much in there beneficial to them in the way of deregulation and possible sweetheart deals. No, I’m thinking of; China, Iran, North Korea and Middle East potentates. He can bully the Mexicans as they are useful scapegoats; like the Jews were for Hitler.

    He also shows more and more how adept he is at turning on a sixpence regards policy and playing catch me if you can with the press.

    Financially I cannot guess his plan, unless it is an indirect boost to his business, (family run) from being President.

    The Japanese and to a certain extent the Brits are cautious and playing the cards as they are dealt. The current EU leaders I think view him with horror, but then most of them might be out in the cold themselves soon.
  3. Danik 2016's Avatar
    The problem with on line forums is that we are all under the delusion that our posts are read only by other forum members.
  4. PeterL's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Danik 2016
    The problem with on line forums is that we are all under the delusion that our posts are read only by other forum members.
    Unfortunately, that is generally true. I post links on Facebook, but that doesn't drag in as many people as it used to.
  5. PeterL's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by MANICHAEAN
    Peter

    Interesting article by you as usual.

    A few observations / musings on my part.

    As I understand it, he can pretty much ride rough shod in foreign policy whatever the outcry. Those in future positions that disagree with him can be replaced by those in his own image.

    What will be interesting will be who he picks his first fight with; as he is so thin skinned and goes on the counter attack almost immediately when confronted. The car manufacturers will play to his ego, as there is much in there beneficial to them in the way of deregulation and possible sweetheart deals. No, Iím thinking of; China, Iran, North Korea and Middle East potentates. He can bully the Mexicans as they are useful scapegoats; like the Jews were for Hitler.
    I really do think that he will discover that he can't really do anything, but he can talk, and will annoy almost everyone.

    He also shows more and more how adept he is at turning on a sixpence regards policy and playing catch me if you can with the press.
    Yes, and that will let him spout off about anything.

    Financially I cannot guess his plan, unless it is an indirect boost to his business, (family run) from being President.
    The only rathional reason I can see for himhaving become pres is to puff up his own businesses, and they could use some puffing. I just hope he doesn't try the backruptcy route for the U.S.A. It worked for him, as an individual, bit it's completely different for countries.

    The Japanese and to a certain extent the Brits are cautious and playing the cards as they are dealt. The current EU leaders I think view him with horror, but then most of them might be out in the cold themselves soon.
    And the rest of us should also be cautious. Either that, or make me Emperor.
  6. Dreamwoven's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by PeterL
    Unfortunately, that is generally true. I post links on Facebook, but that doesn't drag in as many people as it used to.
    Well, I never joined Facebook
  7. Danik 2016's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by PeterL
    Unfortunately, that is generally true. I post links on Facebook, but that doesn't drag in as many people as it used to.
    I meant exactly the opposite. One has to be extremely cautious with what one posts as to identity or comments because one doesnīt know who is going to read the posts.
  8. PeterL's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Danik 2016
    I meant exactly the opposite. One has to be extremely cautious with what one posts as to identity or comments because one doesnīt know who is going to read the posts.
    I never was subject to that delusion. Some of my blog posts had hundeds of hits in the first twenty-four hours, and it was clear that many hits were not by forum members. I would rather have a wider audience, but the site one has a blog on is irrelevant to that. I have no fear regarding who might read a post, so it is not an issue to me.