Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Manchurian Candidate

Imagine that some hypothetical enemy state spent years preparing a "Manchurian Candidate" to destroy the U.S. economy once elected.  What policies might that leader pursue?


He might discourage private capital from entering the financial sector by instructing his Treasury Secretary to repeatedly promise a brilliant rescue plan, but never actually have one.  Private firms, spooked by the thought of what government might do, would shy away from transactions altogether. If the secretary were smooth and played rope-a-dope long enough, the whole financial sector would be gone before voters could demand action...

You'd need to initiate entitlement programs that are difficult to change or eliminate once enacted.  These programs should transfer assets away from productive areas of the economy as efficiently as possible. Ideally, the government will have no choice but to increase taxes sharply in the future to pay for new entitlements.

The "Candidate" should also tax businesses, especially profitable ones, with newer and higher taxes. Taxes on energy and added taxes for using or creating carbon in the environment would be easy to pass and popular for the right "Candidate."

A leader who pulled off all that might be able to finish off the country.

Fortunately for us, this is all hypothetical, and "very unlikely" to ever actually happen.  It would make a good movie, though.

9 comments:

James Wolfer March 10, 2009 at 5:12 PM  

Or that candidate would come in on a riding on the white horse of conservatism and promise to do all that conservatives believe in.

But then go from Afganistan (who facilitates an attack on us) to another country that has nothing to do with said attack.

Then, in his "war on terror" decide to start spying on his own citizens. And then someone in his administration, lets call him John Poo, would start working on legal memos that would authorize said president to sidestep the geneva convention, the congressional ban on torture, and amendments 1-8.

Then the same candidate would finish his presidency with our economy in the toilet (due to his massive deregulation) and us embroiled in two foreign wars.

After that candidate leaves office after 8 years of destruction, said candidate would have a small but prominent following, labelling themselves as "conservative" while really betraying the whole conservative agenda and crippling his party for decades.

Conservative Scalawag March 10, 2009 at 5:40 PM  

Is Obama the perfect Manchurian Candidate,doubt it. Is he way over his head,and out of his element,thus making him dangerous to this country. Heck yeah. His inability to lead,but deferring it to others,is going to get us into trouble.

Miss T.C. Shore March 10, 2009 at 6:03 PM  

RE: Wolfer: Still spewing tired Democratic talking points. While Bush made mistakes, he had relatively little to do with todays economy. The Democratic congress, ignoring the Mortgage meltdown (ignoring warnings from the administration as well as McCain) started the meltdown. It was further fueled by Wall Street's reaction to Obama's non-Stimulus package. Make no mistake. The current economic mess is (mostly) the fault of the Democratic party, and much of the recent downturn, of Obama, specifically.

James Wolfer March 10, 2009 at 6:29 PM  

I was just responding to the "manchurian candidate" aspect of your post. The John Poo part was referring to the John Yoo Memos, which the Republicans still can't counter.

Bush had a lot to do with the economy, actually. I wish McCain had won the primaries back in 2000, he would have been a much better president for the last eight years.

The Democratic Congress didn't come in until 2006. The crisis was building for a few years before hitting in 2007, due to deregulation that happened under the Republican congress during Clinton and Bush.

I don't want to lay all the blame on GWB. But you can't take it away either. And you can't lay it at Obama's feet either (yet). He's only been in office for a month and a half. Wall Street falling? Thats been happening since mid 2008. Wall Street is run by a bunch of suits doing projections on what THEY think the market is going to do. They were overly optimistic in '08 and now in '09 they are pessimistic. Has nothing to do with Obama. Yet. Just wait awhile. If it doesn't get better in a few months, then start laying the blame.

As for taxing businesses, these are the same businesses that when given tax breaks under Bush didn't pass it on or let it trickle down. They sent jobs overseas.

James Wolfer March 10, 2009 at 6:34 PM  

Plus if you want to look at the stock market, today was the biggest gains since November when BUSH WAS STILL IN OFFICE. Funny, biggest gains happen under Obama?

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123668017809981927.html?mod=article-outset-box

PS: I'm not a Democrat.

Chuck March 10, 2009 at 8:38 PM  

Does anybody remember that Obama was in the Senate? We keep hearing talk about how some of this was the fault of Congress (read a lot). Obama was part of this Congress. He is a big part of the problem.

James, stop with the stock market, it has tanked under Obama. But we can all assume this is Bush's fault too.

James Wolfer March 10, 2009 at 9:13 PM  

Chuck, it actually tanked under Bush. Yes, it KEPT going under Obama, but lets look at the numbers, shall we? May 19, 2008 (Bush) 13,028.16. Nov 20 2008 7552.29 (Bush). At Obama's LOWEST (March 6th) it was 6474.89. So yeah, the DOW lost around 1000 from Bush's. But Bush's lost $5475.87. So no Chuck, the market has not tanked under Obama. It has continued down the path of the market under Bush. And as of right now the DOW is at the highest since Bush's crash (almost 7000!)

My point is, stop saying it's Obama's fault. It's not. He's been in office not even 2 months yet. The DOW stockbrokers are paranoid that something else will happen like it did under Bush and are showing that fear with the DOW. But nothing has. And now its climbing again.

Z March 11, 2009 at 10:11 AM  

The man's way over his head and I think we all know it.
Even Dems Feingold and Bayh know this Omnibus is a bad bill...they know it better than some Dems who couldn't resist their pork, which disgusts me no end.

We can't keep throwing good money after bad and expect the market to like it. I'm hoping today's rises aren't an aberration.

Manchurian Candidate....scary.

Chuck March 13, 2009 at 1:31 PM  

I notice you gave the numbers for Nov 20th. What were they on Nov 4th? 9625. Obama had the worst post-election week ever for a President, the worst innauguration day ever for a President, and is on track to have the worst first year for a President in 90 years. I certainly think it is fair to say it KEPT going down under Obama and a Hell of a lot of people think they can't see the bottom yet.

From your date on May 19th the market lost 3400 points or approx 25%, from election day to your date of March 6th the market lost 3150 or a third. Let's see, 25% in 7 months or 33% in 4 months.

Bottom line, the experts don't think Obama has the answer.

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