May 7, 2004

Kerry proves Friedman wrong, finds free lunch

John Kerry is the perfect candidate. Are you pro-life or pro-choice? Either way, John Kerry agrees with you. Do you support the Iraq war or oppose it? Kerry voted for it, but he's come to see the error of his ways. Why search for a leader who can make good decisions before the fact, when you could have one who is singularly adept at explaining, after the fact, why his decisions were wrong?

But that's not all. Kerry's website promises a wonderful plan for giving "America back its future and its ideals." One tenet of this, predictably, is the economy. Kerry proposes repealing Bush's tax breaks for the wealthy, even though the data point to the conclusion that, at the top marginal bracket, tax revenues exhibit Laffer curve behavior; increasing the top marginal tax rate will actually decrease revenue. The rest of his economic plan is, in a nutshell, to create 10 million new jobs. It is not clear where he found this number. The most important thing about 10 million is that it is a bigger number than 7 million, which is how many jobs Bush has decided he is going to create. Bush's response should be obvious; he needs to find a number bigger than 10 million, and decide to create that many jobs. This author suggests 14 million as satisfying this criterion.

Kerry is also going to improve education. Every presidential candidate has to promise to improve education. Kerry couldn't come up with anything new on education. This is somewhate of a liability; coming up with new ideas, particularly if you're running against an incumbent, is much safer, because by the time they fail you will already be in office. Therefore, Kerry used the Democratic standby: Whatever the problem, throw money at it. The New National Education Trust Fund has to work; it's expensive. The second part of his education-improvement plan is to make sure that "our schools focus on teaching high standards to all children." That is his educational plan, in its entirety. I am not making this up. I suppose his theory is: If you can't see 'em, you can't question 'em.

Kerry apparently read somewhere that if you're going to run for president you're supposed to have something called "foreign policy," but he never figured out quite what that was. So he put together a bunch of impressive-sounding words. He wants "a bold progressive internationalism that focuses not just on the immediate and imminent, but insidious dangers . . . " Glad to know that, Johnny. That really cleared things up. Then Kerry continues, criticizing Bush for doing "too little" rather than "too much in the War on Terror," but then condemns Bush's "doctrine of unilateral preemption." In Kerry's defense, though, the whole international diplomacy thing is pretty confusing. The U.N. shenanigans happened a while ago, and Kerry did not know he was going to be tested on it later. The other important part of Kerry's foreign policy is that Kerry has fought in a war. This is also the justification for handing out commercial pilot's licenses to people who accumulate enough frequent-flyer miles.

Given what a spectacular platform he has, it is quite unfortunate that Kerry does not know which states he is supposed to be visiting. He seems to be spending a lot of time in California and Louisiana, for example. California is rather an odd choice. True, it isn't entirely predictable; it usually goes Democratic, but it can go Republican if there's a national landslide. The problem is that California is useless. If Kerry is in danger of losing California, it won't be enough to save him, and if California is enough to save Kerry, he won't be in danger of losing it. Louisiana is also an odd choice, because it is a Republican stronghold, and Bush currently has a 20-point lead.

If I haven't yet convinced you to vote for Kerry, I have one last thing that may change your mind. In 'Nam, Kerry suffered war injuries for our country. Here is a description of one injury for which he received a purple heart, as told by Louis Letson, the doctor who treated Kerry, and reported by National Review: "Some of his crew confided that…Kerry had fired a mortar round at close range to some rocks on shore…I simply removed the piece of metal by lifting it out of the skin with forceps…The wound was covered with a band-aid."