Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day In The U.S. Of A.

Once again, random political thoughts groping wildly for an editor. Buckle up and enjoy the ride. Keep your hands and feet inside the blog at all times.

Let's get this out of the way now: there will be no Sarah Palin Pictures in this post. Not even any Sara Palin Bikini Pictures, and certainly no Sara Paylen Nude Pics (as the search queries get tawdrier, the spelling gets sloppier).

The Electoral College, like most policies intended to right some inequality, actually makes matters worse (or at least absolutely no better), just in the opposite direction.

I get what the original idea was. Since the population if the United States is disproportionately concentrated in a few areas (New York, California, the gas station men's room closest to Clay Aiken's house), the fear was that national political candidates would only bother campaigning in those places. If you can get a majority of the nation's votes by visiting five states, why go anywhere else?

So, the Electoral College system said that each state would get so many votes. (Quick civics lesson: there are 538 people who actually get to vote on the Presidency. The rest of you Americans are kidding yourselves by casting a ballot.) Smaller, less densely populated states received more Electoral votes, proportionate to their population, than larger centres. This was to make sure that, for example, a North Dakotan's vote wasn't "worth less" than a Manhattanite's.

The problem is, there's no reason why the Manhattanite's vote should be worth any less, but it is under this system. To figure out what your vote is really worth, divide the number of electoral votes your state has by the number of eligible voters in that state. Then do the same for a bunch of other states. If those quotients don't come out exactly equal - and they won't - then the system is fundamentally unfair. All people are not equal under the law if my vote counts for one ten-thousandth of an electoral vote but yours only counts for one fifteen-thousandth.

The Electoral College has to go. It's just another case of institutionalized discrimination. People in Montana aren't worth less than people in Hollywood, but they aren't worth any more either. One voter, one vote, and the majority wins. If that means that Hillary won't visit Alaska in 2012, so be it. If Alaskans are that upset about it, they can always move to Chicago.

Some of Obama's unthinking support (which may be redundant) is really scary. Check out the lady in the video at this link, over on Cassy Fiano's site. Here's a transcript of what she said (with some editing to give her the benefit of the doubt on spelling): “I never thought this day would happen. . . . I won’t have to work on putting gas in my car. I won’t have to work at paying my mortgage. You know. If I help him (Obama), he’s gonna help me.”

WHAT. ON. EARTH. do these people think Obama is going to do?!? Do they think he has a magic Money Wand that means nobody will have to pay for anything ever again?

That video was one of the most frightening things I've seen this year. If I were American and inclined, even slightly, to vote for Obama, this lunacy would have driven the thought from my mind.

One of my many political pet peeves is this whole misbegotten notion that the President / Prime Minister / Grand Poobah is somehow personally responsible for the economy of their nation. They aren't. They are government representatives, and the government's involvement with the economy should extend no further than providing a framework and infrastructure. Beyond that, the government should stay out of the way and let the people take care of their own business, which is what the economy boils down to.

That said, "the market" is not entirely rational. People do indeed invest differently based on the political climate, because they (wisely) don't trust politicians to stay out of their pockets. I'm convinced of the theory that the American market is down largely because large-scale institutional investors (the backbone of the stock market) have already considered what Obama will try to do (although he shouldn't - see my last paragraph) to the American economy. He may introduce a high federal minimum wage; forbid secret ballot union votes, meaning corrupt thugs always get their way through intimidation; exorbitant new energy taxes; exorbitant payroll taxes to fund socialized health care; etc. Check out this page for a fantastic analysis.

I'm planning a trip to the States in the not-terribly-distant future. I'll want some U.S. currency for pocket money while I'm there. I'm trying to time when I should buy it to get the best exchange rate.

If Obama wins, I expect the U.S. dollar to jump in value in the immediate aftermath of the election. Foreign nations are far too optimistic about his performance prospects, and so the U.S. dollar will momentarily look great to most of the world. Momentarily. Once Obama gets in and starts nibbling at American productivity and efficiency like a termite in a log cabin, the greenback will suffer and be a bargain purchase. The only question is whether that process will begin even before my trip.

If McCain wins, the opposite will happen. Foreign markets will be too busy calling Americans stupid (in a variety of languages, most of which sound suspiciously like Ewok) to bid up the value of their dollar. It'll drop in the sort term. However, as the world realizes that McCain is neither Bush nor a communist, it'll rebound.

It's all in the timing. If McCain wins, I'll buy my U.S. cash this week. If not, I'll wait until the last day before I cross the border.

That's all for tonight. I've still got some more Sarah Palin bits to write up, but they'll work as well after the election as before. Maybe even better, depending how things go.

Enough rambling. Here's a picture of my son crowding my sister-in-law's dog.


Janis said...

I googled "Sara Paylen Nude Pics" just for the fun of it, and you're number one on the google list! Congratulations! Yes, I really do have better things to be doing, but am I doing them? Not so much. Thanks for making me laugh, Zirbert!

SuperPickle said...

Great comment about the men's room close to Clay's house. I like. The comment not Clay.