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Mailbag: The Election Edition

Readers share their thoughts on the presidential election and what it would really take to boost the economy:

I think that many will be surprised at the election results this year. And as for the economy, I think we have more tough times ahead and getting the government involved may not be the best course of action, unless it is to encourage the banks to work with their customers to see what can be done to keep them in their homes. I believe that these business cycles will happen no matter what the government tries to do. All we can do is pray and vote.

The Austrian School of Economics' theory of the business cycle predicted America's current financial fiasco, and its proponents like Congressman Ron Paul not only recommended methods to avoid the disaster but have provided recommendations on how to get ourselves out of it. Unfortunately, neither of the leading presidential candidates (one of whom will be president-elect shortly after I send this message) seems to have ever heard of the Austrian School of Economics and probably wouldn't recognize that their own proposed "solutions" are merely warmed-over Keynesian or even Marxist/fascist ideas in some cases.

That said, I believe three things about the election: One, whoever wins will regret winning by this time next year. Two, nothing is going to fundamentally change for the better. Three, Americans are hosed (or should I say sheared?) regardless of the outcome. Also, government should leave IT alone. But I think government should leave everybody alone which would put all of those government busybodies out of work -- so that ain't gonna happen, is it?

You said: "Apparently, when you have a $10 trillion deficit and a collapsing economy, the answer is to increase spending and cut taxes. If I ran Redmond that way, it would be out of business; and if I ran my house that way, I'd be in a run-down apartment and my 1980 Porsche 928 would be repossessed."

I would like to point out that tax rates (I emphasize the word "rates"') are a lot like prices. When a business is not getting enough buyers for its products or services and its revenues are down, reducing the prices for those goods and services is often a good idea. It is often possible to get enough new buyers to bring overall revenues up. Government tax rates often behave in a similar fashion, which is why, for instance, capital gains tax rate reductions have usually resulted in increased revenues. I think you will also find that the last few times that income tax rates were reduced, revenue did not fall.

But it was Doug's ride of choice -- the aforementioned 1980 Porsche 928 -- that caught Bill's eye:

I always wanted a '80s 982 convertible but the family doubled from two to four in '83 and '84. I have a '96 SL320 now -- probably cheaper to maintain than the 928 but not the same.

Check in tomorrow for your thoughts on cloud computing. 'Til then, tell us what you think! Leave a comment below or send an e-mail to [email protected].

Posted by Doug Barney on November 05, 2008