Sep 09

Ugg joely

Americans can be forgiven for asking what exactly all their money, and the sacrifice of the troops, has bought us. Surveying anti-American sentiment throughout the region, even reflexive hawk Victor Davis Hanson asked, 10 days before the attacks, “Why, then, bother?”Unfortunately, that is not what either Obama or Romney is asking. Though they differ on specifics, both remain committed to the same failed policies. Both reserve the right to funnel hard-earned American tax dollars into foreign countries, and intervene militarily in pursuit of amorphous goals. The bipartisan foreign policy consensus exemplifies the definition of insanity: repeating mistakes over and over and expecting different results.

Voters concerned about perceptions of American weakness should consider the nature and extent of that weakness. Weakness, strictly defined, is a lack of physical power. That clearly does not describe the United States. We possess enormous physical power. Our moral authority should augment that power. Policymakers undermine both when they entangle our country in religious, ideological, and political controversies that have no clear connection to our vital interests.Americans have always had an appetite for a populist, non-politician who promises to cut through the mess in Washington and provide simple, commonsense solutions to the problems ailing the United States.

The peculiar American twist is that the populists tend to be billionaires. People think the very rich are immune to the usual pressures in government.  In some cases this turns out to be true (Mayor Michael Bloomberg is a good example).But, fundamentally, this is wishful thinking bordering on fantasy. The mess we’re in is not a product of a handful of idiotic politicians engaged in venal behavior. The problem is that Americans want low-taxes and lots of government services.If you look at the recent polls, most Americans think there should be no changes to Medicare and no broad increases in taxation. This is magical mathematics. There is no way to make the budget work without doing both of these things – or at least one of them.The reason people like Donald Trump have appeal is they seem to promise that through their superior business talent they will magically solve problems and save Americans from having to make hard choices. That’s a fantasy. It’s never going to happen.