Bush? Kerry? Fuggedaboutit.

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On
Wednesday, October 27th I debated one of my left-leaning
colleagues on the topic: "Which presidential candidate will
best promote the general welfare?" Actually, it was more like
a press conference. We each began with a ten-minute opening statement,
and then the moderator asked us several questions. The audience
of students, staff members and faculty peppered us with questions
for another 30 minutes.

The
following is based on most of my opening statement and responses
to several questions.

For
those of you who are rooting for a Bush defeat next Tuesday, history
is not on the president's side.

First,
every president who lost the popular vote has not been re-elected.
John Quincy Adams was not re-elected in 1828, Rutherford B. Hayes
did not run in 1880 and Benjamin Harrison was not re-elected in
1892.

Second,
every president who initiated an undeclared war since World War
II has not been re-elected. Truman did not seek reelection in 1952,
LBJ dropped out in 1968 and Bush I lost in 1992.

Third,
every president who has an approval rating less than 50% in June
before the election has not been re-elected. Bush's approval rating
in June 2004 was below 50%.

Fourth,
consumer confidence is lower now than it was in 1980 and 1992, when
both incumbents, Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush, lost their respective
races.

And
lastly, if the stock market declines between Labor Day and Election
Day, the incumbent loses. The market would have to rally a couple
of hundred points in the next few days just to get back to the nearly
10,400 level it stood around Labor Day.

If
history is a guide to the future, Bush is a goner. History, however,
is not a guarantor of the future.

During
the presidential primaries Howard Dean said he represents the Democratic
wing of the Democratic Party. I am here today to tell you that I
represent the Republican wing of the Republican Party: fiscal conservatism,
limited government and a noninterventionist foreign policy.

A
candidate for federal office falls into one of three categories.

He
can support the status quo – high federal spending, high taxes, extensive
regulations deficit spending, and war. Most Republicans and Democrats
fall into this category.

He
can support expanding the welfare-warfare state, more spending,
more taxes, more regulations, and more overseas intervention. Many
Republicans and Democrats also fall into this category.

And
the last type of candidate wants to reduce the welfare-warfare state.
Only a handful of courageous members of Congress embrace limited
government. When I was a candidate for the United States Senate
in 2000, I campaigned in the Republican primary calling for the
abolition of most federal cabinet departments, substantial deregulation
of the economy, massive tax cuts and a noninterventionist foreign
policy.

I
wasn't successful running against three better-funded career politicians.

Getting
back to Bush's reelection bid. The Detroit News in its October 24th
editorial, "For President: None of the Above", wrote:
"Four years ago, the choice was clear. We endorsed George W.
Bush based on his promises of fiscal conservatism, limited government
and prudence in foreign affairs". The Detroit News concluded,
"…we sadly acknowledge that the president has failed to deliver
on those promises".

Four
years ago I too enthusiastically supported George Bush because his
rhetoric indicated he was going to govern like a Robert Taft
Republican. We were wrong.

George
Bush has given us Ted Kennedy's education policy, Dick Gephardt's
trade policy, Hillary Clinton's healthcare policies, and LBJ's foreign
policy. In other words, he has governed more like a big government
Democrat than a fiscal conservative with a humble foreign policy.

George
Bush has surrounded himself with the most dangerous people in the
federal government, the neoconservatives, some of whom are former
leftists. They believe that the United States government should
spread "democracy" by force, if necessary. In short, they
want to create an American global empire – in direct opposition to
the Founding Father's vision for America.

Our
country's guiding principle was "Commercial relations with
all, entangling alliances with none". In fact, the founders
were opposed to a standing army because they saw standing armies
as a threat to freedom, liberty and prosperity. The incessant wars
in Europe destroyed life, liberty and property. The Founders created
a nation based on a simple principle – we the people are endowed by
our Creator with natural liberty. They saw liberty as a necessary
condition for peace and prosperity.

Unfortunately,
the Founders' vision has been hijacked by the ruling elite of both
political parties. They want to maintain the welfare-warfare state,
continue the redistribution of income, and fund a massive military-industrial
complex.

More
than three decades ago, after President Nixon imposed wage and price
controls and did not end the Vietnam War, I left the Republican
Party, because I realized there is only party in DC, the Washington
Party, composed of two rival gangs the Republicans and Democrats,
who use the federal government to reward their special interest
supporters. I rejoined the GOP in 1999 hoping to inject, especially
here in New Jersey, a limited government view of the world. Members
of the Republican Liberty Caucus urged me to make the case for liberty
in the Republican Party instead of the Libertarian Party.

I
was the Libertarian Party's 1997 gubernatorial candidate for governor
and was the first third-party candidate in state history to raise
enough funds to receive matching funds, thereby entitling me to
participate in three debates with then Governor Whitman and Democrat
candidate Jim McGreevey, the now disgraced governor who is resigning
on November 15th after admitting to an extramarital gay
affair.

In
a second Bush term the welfare-warfare state would not be reduced.
Therefore I cannot support a president who I thought would promote
the limited government agenda I have been supporting and defending
for more than three decades.

What
about John Kerry?

John
Kerry claims to have plans for healthcare, education, jobs, scientific
research, the environment, or just about every aspect of life in
America. He is, in short, a collectivist. And he wants to raise
taxes. He also does not understand that our rights are not "afforded"
by the federal government. Our rights come not from government but
our Creator. In addition, he voted to give President Bush the authority
to use force against Saddam Hussein. Therefore, his judgment is
suspect, given his willingness to defer to the president the ability
to wage war.

If
I were a member of the United States Senate I would never give any
president a blank check to use force overseas. Never, ever. The
Congress has the constitutional responsibility to declare war. Senator
Kerry's vote on this issue leads me to conclude he too would intervene
around the world if he were to become president.

However,
I would not put my head in the oven if John Kerry is elected president
on November 2nd. In fact, a Kerry presidency and a Republican
Congress would cause gridlock. Historically, gridlock dampens spending
increase (just look at the Clinton budgets with a Republican Congress)
and may just give us a foreign policy that would be more inline
with the founders' vision.

On
the other hand, when we had one-party rule in the 1960s, LBJ and
the Democrats gave us the Great Society and the Vietnam War. In
the 21st century, George W. Bush and the Republican Congress
have given us a quagmire in Iraq, $400 billion budget deficits,
accelerating spending, and the Patriot Act – polar opposites
of a limited government agenda.

On
September 11th we had the greatest national security
and military intelligence failure in human history despite the most
expensive and widespread military industrial complex. And this occurred
under George Bush's watch.

The
political elites have failed the American people. The federal government
has a $74 trillion unfunded liability because of Social Security,
Medicare and Medicaid. We need to restructure the federal government
and create an economic political environment based on the principle
of limited government, free enterprise and nonintervention overseas.

How
can we then promote the common good? If we adhere to a simple adage:
"Do unto others as you would have others do unto you".
And if the federal government kept its hands out of our wallets,
businesses, and all other private affairs, and minded it's own business
overseas and renounced its goal of a global empire, we will have
a more prosperous and peaceful America. Until our political culture
embraces these principles, it won't matter much who occupies the
White House.

October
29, 2004

Murray
Sabrin, Ph.D. [send him mail],
is professor of finance in the School of Administration of Business,
Ramapo College of New Jersey, where he is executive director of
the Center
for Business and Public Policy.

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