The best argument for supporting Democrat Rick Daugherty in the 15th District is that he’d vote for a Democratic Speaker of the House, and give Democrats a working majority in Congress. The next best argument for supporting him is that he’d be a vote against Republican proposals to end traditional Medicare.
These two reasons alone are good enough to support Daugherty over Charlie Dent, but beyond that it gets hard to find more reasons to support his candidacy.
Daugherty’s anti-choice on abortion, wobbly on free birth control, and opposes marriage equality.
And now we can add crank economic views to the list:
Daugherty said he believes the country’s ineffective trade policies are the root cause of most of its economic problems. In its founding, the United States imposed tariffs to encourage domestic manufacturing and that should again be the country’s priority, Daugherty said.
“I don’t believe stimulus spending, government spending or even tax cuts — none of those will work unless we stop unfair trade polices and bring jobs back overseas,” Daugherty said. “It actually undercuts everything.”
Daugherty said he sees ties between restoring domestic manufacturing jobs and the successful continuation of programs like Social Security and Medicare. Fewer workers mean fewer people paying into those programs, Daugherty said.
This is really nutty stuff. Daugherty seems to believe the Little Depression is the result of some kind of structural phenomenon, not the big demand-side shock we experienced in 2008-2009. It’s just not true. The biggest problem we face is that there’s not enough spending happening in the economy. This is definitely a problem that more fiscal and monetary stimulus can fix, and it is definitely not a problem that tariffs (tariffs!) can do anything about.
Tariffs are one of those economic policy ideas that liberal and conservative economists agree are terrible. They are essentially a tax on *some* imported goods, ultimately paid by low income consumers. It’s not crazy to want more domestic manufacturing, but the way to do it is through currency devaluation, not random tariffs on this or that industry. Currency devaluation makes all domestic manufactured goods and American labor more competitive abroad, not politically-favored manufacturers.
It’s really hard to tell if the tariffs idea is any less stupid than Charlie Dent’s claim that “tax reform” and open season for polluters are the ticket to reducing 8% unemployment in the short run. Dent doesn’t give us any specific tax expenditures he wants to cut, of course, but even if he did, the benefits of base-broadening, rate-lowering tax reform are seen long-term, not short-term. Dent doesn’t even understand how his own hand-waivy proposal is supposed to work.
Also, somebody should really tell Charlie Dent that employment in the mining and logging sector is booming. It’s not clear why he thinks environmental regulations are holding back growth, or why a Polluter Holiday would make anybody better off.
The correct explanation for the lagging economic growth continues to be that total spending is way below trend:
To close the unemployment gap, we need total spending to get back to the trend line. Neither candidate has proposed any policy that would address the drop in demand in any meaningful way, so nobody should expect either man’s proposals to do much of anything about 8% unemployment.
(Thanks: Lynn Olanoff)