Copyright 2011 by John T. Reed

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain often admonishes a questioner for not focusing on the right problem.

Lots of people fail to focus on the right problem. And who is the worst at that among Republican presidential contenders? Probably Herman Cain.

It’s pretty easy to name the main problems facing the U.S. government:

1. a skyrocketing debt-to-GDP ratio driven by out-of-control entitlement spending that will hit $15.194T ÷ $14.986T = 101% when the current debt ceiling is reached; the all-time recond debt-to-GDP ratio was 122% in 1946 after the Great Depression and World War II

2. U.S. GDP growth rate (1.3% 2nd quarter of 2011) that is about the same as population growth rate (1%). That means no economic progress.

3. Unemployment rate of 9.1%

4. Potemkin Village U.S. military where money going to retired pensions and retired and vet health care is robbing active-duty military of ammunition, weapons, weapons modernization, and troops

So what is Cain’s solution to all this?


And what is 9-9-9?

A proposed tax law change.

Tax law? What poll said that was the main concern among voters?


Just like there was no poll that said universal health care insurance was not America’s main concern when Obama made that the focus of his presidency.

So what are other candidates proposing? Rick Perry wants a flat tax. Mitt Romney wants to raise the tax rate on those making more than $200,000 a year. So does Obama. Michele Bachmann used to be a tax lawyer (for the IRS) and is bragging she is best to improve the tax code. Will any of this significantly correct the four problems listed above? Nope.

What is going on here?

I’ll tell you what’s going on. Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans want to talk about entitlements—Social Security, Medicare, ObamaCare, Medicaid, federal pensions, veterans benefits. Even Paul Ryan and Ron Paul refuse to discuss Social Security. The voters don’t want to hear it.

So each candidate is looking for a scapegoat or unpopular group to rail against to distract the voters from the real problems listed above. Who are the favorite scapegoats in 2011? The richest 1% of Americans, the IRS and the Internal Revenue Code, the Fed, foreign aid.

This is a bunch of bullshit.

And we can’t even get honest debate about the competing tax plans.

Inevitably, studies have been done of the effects of 9-9-9. Some of the studiers have an agenda and they spin the findings, but basically, each plan does have advantages and disadvantages like everything else. So how does Herman respond when 9-9-9’s disadvantages are pointed out?

Herman does not take criticism well. When errors are pointed out, his knee-jerk reaction is to bluster and bluff his way through it. In poker, bluffing is part of the game. In public policy, it is just another form of lying. In one instance, Herman Cain just dismissed the study in question as “WRONG!” When he said the study was wrong, he said it with enormous conviction and finality. He got that big laugh and cheer. So Herman wins the debate. But the study was not wrong. Herman was wrong. And Herman does not admit it when he’s wrong. He just doubles down on the forcefulness of his original statement as if he can intimidate the reporter or accuse out of existence.

He got a big laugh and a big cheer, but he was lying, bullshitting, and trying to bluff his way into the Oval Office.

Hey, it worked for Obama.

But don’t we learn anything?

Meanwhile, back in the real world, the world economy and the finances of the U.S. government are rapidly sinking into the abyss. Nowadays, it seems there are about a half-dozen doomsday headlines in each paper: riots in Europe; yet another national austerity program in Europe; yet another breakdown in European negotiations over huge bad, bank debts, yet another sovereign credit downgrade by Moody’s or S&P; yet another release of adverse U.S. economy statistics; and yet more evidence of U.S. entrepreneurs sitting on the sidelines rather than the normal rate of starting or expanding of businesses. The euro zone may fall apart destroying that currency. Japan can’t admit it has a bad debt problem and fix it. They are now in their third “Lost Decade.” China has too many bad loans to its local governments and government crony businesses and too many new buildings that no one wants to occupy. And the U.S. started its own Lost Decade in 2007 and there is no end in sight to U.S.economic stagnation and the federal government’s charge toward bankrutpcy

America and the developed world’s economic and fiscal houses are on fire, and the candidates for U.S. president only want to talk about whether their houses need new drapes.

This will not end well.

John T. Reed