Friday, October 31, 2008

Predictions - Obama by 10 Million - Updated Hourly

What I am going to predict is that Obama will do better than the polls show. I predict he will win the popular vote by greater than 7% or about 53-46. A landslide would be if Obama won by 10 million popular votes. This would require a huge turnout. I predict that the polls are underestimating the enthusiasm of the Obama base and the effectiveness of the Obama campaign's ground game for the GOTV effort.
It is all turnout, turnout, turnout!!!!

I predict this for the following reasons:
1. Obama is a better candidate than both Kerry and Gore and they kept it close.

2. Obama has run a better campaign than the Kerry and Gore campaigns and Kerry and Gore kept it close.

3. McCain though a better candidate than Bush has run a worse campaign than Bush. McCain has not shown any discipline with respect to message. He has shown no elegance as a candidate. Worst of all, McCain has not run a campaign with enthusiasm for his own vision and ideas.

4. McCain has not generated enthusiasm amongst the great silent moderate majority.

5. Barack will win the following Bush states: North Carolina, Ohio, Colorado, Iowa, Virginia, New Mexico. That is 59 Electoral College votes. McCain can really only take Pennsylvania and I think he might take Pennsylvania because Pennsylvania does not have early voting. OK..the big one to look at I think is Georgia. If Obama wins Georgia, this cycle represents a total democrat landslide. A win in Georgia would mean that African-American turnout substantially changed the outcome of not just Georgia but the whole nation.

6. The African-American vote is going to be relatively huge!!!! In 2004, 15 million African Americans voted. Overall, the enthusiasm for Obama will inevitably increase turnout of African Americans to levels of 120% of the 2004 number for an increase of 3 million votes.

7. Overall voter turnout has been growing: 100 million in 2000, 122 million in 2004, and a projected 135 million in 2008. These extra voters are going to turn out for Obama at least 60-40 for an extra margin of victory of 5 million total popular votes.

8. Youth are traditionally the lowest turnout. This stat will change and break heavy for Obama.

9. The Obama campaign has pushed early voting far more than McCain. This just adds to the tactical advantage of Obama.

As this all begins to add up, could it be that Obama wins by 9-10 million votes with these margins leading to a landslide of the swing states as well.

Some election watch hints just to help your viewing pleasure:
1. If Indiana goes to Obama, we are seeing an example of a phenomena of political execution and the mobilization of an entirely new segment of the population that has changed the demographics of the electorate significantly.
2. Missouri: When I look at polls, I always just assume McCain will take Missouri. If Obama takes Missouri, this points to a toss-up landslide.
3. New Hampshire: This is McCain's favorite state. If Obama wins, I think this means there is no room left for republicans in the intellectual east.
4. Ohio: I mentioned above Ohio as a Obama state. Basically, if we don't have to wait all night for an answer to Ohio then Texas becomes the last republican machine in the country.
5. North Carolina: Bush won North Carolina by 12% in both 2004 and 2000. Obama may not win but if it is close that will be a sign of the power of his GOTV work and the African American vote especially via early voting. I think a good way to look at this is that the Obama campaign has tried to win this thing one vote at a time. If it goes well, this is a great testimony of the reality of grassroots democracy. I think this will restore American faith in the process. BUT the opposite is true if Obama loses. This is the worst case scenario and we all know what that means.
6. The Impossible: South Carolina (see video)

Overall, I understand how McCain is trying to sell the idea that Obama is measuring the drapes. The race feels like the wait and see is not who wins but by how much will Obama win by. If instead McCain wins...I will not even for a second try to explain such a culturally bizarre outcome.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Voter Registration Fraud and Voter Fraud

I just voted early and noticed one very conspicuous fact. No one asked me for my ID.

I am posting to ask if anyone understands how fraud is controlled.

When I voted today, there were no controls over whether I was an actual person or if I was who I said I was. Now, I admit I do not know how voting and voter registration is controlled, but this does not seem very controlled to me.

This lack of control if coupled with voter registration fraud it appears to me could easily lead to voter fraud. I am not speculating that this is actually happening BUT asking if anyone knows how fraud is controlled or not controlled as the case may be.

Could I not register as Joe Plumber and then vote as Joe Plumber. As far as I can tell, there was no control against such an occurrence.


P.S. I voted at the Registrar in Norwalk, California.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Comparing Reagan to Obama - Size of Lead

Reagan Wins Landslide Victory

This is a cool article in the following:
1. Reagans margin of victory was 9%. In American politics, 9% can be a landslide. Reagan did later beat Mondale by 18%. (see chart below) . Nixon won by 24% and LBJ by 23%
2. Carter got class. Carter is a great man even if he didn't understand economics. We have learned a lot in the last 28 years.

What have we learned: Class politics is bad economics. High wages helps demand. Support for business and corporate welfare creates jobs.
Update: Recent margins of victory:

Krugman on Seriousness and Strenuous Thought

Serious Times and Trivial Campaigning Don't Mix

This is similar to my post on strenuous thought. This is a vital point: If there is a silver lining to the current crisis, maybe it will provide a serious blow to American Anti-intellectualism.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Debt as a Percentage of GDP

Here is a fact. By the late 1940's the debt as a percentage of GDP was about 110%.

Here is the best graph I can find. It shows the debt from the '50s to present. The point is EXPECT HUGE DEFICITS TO BAIL US OUT OF THE PRESENT CRISIS. The debt could go to about 15+ trillion (GNP is around 12 trillion)

I think the question of sacrifice is a valid one. What is ahead of us is some heavy sacrifices including a season of HUGE deficits followed by an era of higher taxes.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Stimulus Package and The Need for Wealth Distribution

In my first post on the financial crisis, The Depression in the Financial Markets – The Solution is Wage Inflation via Tax Policy posted on September 16th, I suggested that the root cause of our financial woes is ultimately a lack of demand. At the root of this problem is wealth inequality.

The middle class squeeze leads to low consumer confidence. People begin to stop spending. For example, high gas prices pulled people's discretionary funds into fuel and retail sales of items like cars begins to slow. Such a trend begins to spiral into recession. The root cause is a lack of wages rising with prices of vital items. Low wages lead to lowered demand which leads to recession.

In the current crisis, this slowing demand is multiplied by a crisis in the financial markets. The financial crisis has many causes but one of them is that on the fringes people that are squeezed begin to default on their homes. In situations where financial institutions are highly leveraged the result is failed banks.

So what is needed of course is a bailout of the financial institutions by creating liquidity and the government acting as the guarantee of certain failing types of financial services. Basically, the government has to inject into the system more cash. This addresses the financial crisis but what about the recession. The recession is addressed by one fundamental type of action. The government must put money in the hands of consumers. This happens though tax cuts, a stimulus plan and general wealth distribution.

Yes, wealth distribution.
Why Wealth Distribution is Needed
Lets simplify the scenario to make the situation clear. Let's say that one person owns all the food and has all the cash. What will happen to his food selling business. The food will rot and the people will starve. The problem is people cannot buy the food. There is no demand. In this situation, in order to save the wealthy man's business, he has to give money to the consumer. In order to stop a recession and save capitalism requires wealth distribution when wealth inequalities are overly polarized.

Life is like a game of monopoly. If one person has all the money, the game is over. The game comes to a halt. In order to start the game again, you have to give some money to the losers. In times like these, we need demand side economics to drive demand and re-start the economy. Some politicians may call this socialism but in fact this is simply economics 101.


Monday, October 13, 2008

Uncommon Wisdom - The Need for a Life of Strenuous Thought

I often quote what I think is a quote from Charles Spurgeon in reference to George W. Bush. Spurgeon said, “It takes thirty years to prepare a sermon”. His point is that inspiration and insight into the mind of God and the scope of the themes of scripture takes a lifelong commitment to the study of scripture and its application in one’s personal life. Such a quest involves a life of strenuous contemplation of the ways of God. Such a life is a arduous seeking for wisdom.

The bible calls us to seek wisdom in our youth so that in the time of calamity she may be found. The fool, in their moment of need, will cry out for wisdom and she will not be found. Wisdom or skill in any area of life is not easy to come by but must be diligently sought over a lifetime.

In today’s world, this is even more true. We live in an ever increasingly complex world. In our modern way of life, if we are to contribute to society we must become a specialist and an expert. The wisdom of expertise only comes from a lifelong quest for knowledge in one’s chosen are of focus.

The founding fathers were stunning in their commitment to the study of governance. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were intellectuals in the extreme. Out of the strenuous work to understand the history of governance, they studied the history of the Classical period and were literate in the original languages of the Greco-roman world. John Quincy Adams was instructed to read Cicero in the original Latin by his father when he was a mere twelve year old boy. The seeking of knowledge and wisdom was considered a civic duty. The fact of the matter is that wisdom is not a commonly held commodity and common sense is no wisdom at all.

But in the 21st century, we have come to believe that if a person is “one of us” and is not an elite or overly educated person, then he or she is more likely to have the common sense needed to represent us and understand us. This principle flies in the face of the reality of the process of obtaining wisdom in any area of life. Would we want one of “us” common uneducated folk performing open heart surgery on our father or proposing a treatment for our wife’s breast cancer. Do we want the doctor who finished in the bottom quarter of his class? I contend that it is even more difficult to govern a nation.

Do you want a doctor to fix your car or a car mechanic to do your plumbing? Neither ought we to expect a business man to be an expert at governing.

If we have learned anything from the Bush years, it should be that we do not want a common mediocre student or intellect as President of the United States of America. The myth that the elite students of the world make poor leaders is simply nonsensical. Real problems, complex problems, require the best and the brightest that the nation can offer if we are to find the nuanced and balanced solution that can withstand the test of time. What we need are intellectuals and students of history to lead the institutions that effect us as a society, both church and government. What we need is a person who has struggled to understand and sought wisdom all his days. If we have learned anything from recent years, may this be the lesson we have learned.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Health Care - Krugman Article

This week is definitely going to be about mudslinging tactics (or is that strategy?) and health care policy. I admit Krugman of the NYT seems to just speak DNC talking points, but the guy is a pretty smart guy. Great article this morning.

Krugman on health care.