Better Than the Alternative

A few days ago, the President of the United States fired the Secretary of State via tweet. A cabinet secretary and 5th in line of presidential succession, had to be informed by one of his staffers that he was out of a job. That’s like breaking up with your girlfriend by text. Maturity. Leadership. Such wonderful qualities to admire in real time.

I have been a staunch critic of president fatty boomba-latty. No doubt there. I engage in personal insults, not because I think it is appropriate behavior for constructive debate, but because our president is only capable of debate via insult, just like a 10 year old boy on the playground. That’s our leader’s contribution to the nobility of political discussion. That’s the guy now corrupting the party of Lincoln, Reagan, Buckley and Will. I criticize because I am mature enough to admit mistakes. Our party made a whopper by nominating this joker. Yet to the notion that the country made a mistake in electing him over a very flawed person in Hillary, all I ever hear in response is, “It’s better than the alternative.” So let’s think about that morally equivocating opinion… is it really better?

Hillary may be corrupt, same as Trump, but no one would ever accuse her of being a misogynist or racist. “Grab em by the pussy”, “very fine people”. Check and check. As far as ‘character’ goes, short of being a criminal, is there anything worse?

I am told that we wanted a competent businessperson in the White House. I did too. Trump-led companies have filed for bankruptcy 4 times. (Not including steaks, airlines, and a fake college). He did so after financing casinos with tons of junk debt in 1991, 1992, 2004, 2009. How much of an idiot do you have to be to lose money on a casino? I mean the business model itself, is guaranteed to make money. Look when he got in trouble, after market downturns. So he brags on the upswing, and then has no ability to manage on a turn. The market is flying right now, Trump was dealt a winning hand. Did Obama do it? No. The business cycle did, and you can be damn sure it will turn down sometime soon, it always does.

Does it really make any difference right now who is leading this economy?

Well let’s see, when demand is high and business is booming, is that when you cut prices? Name one business with a 1:1 debt to revenue ratio, a negative 5% gross margin, and a sales curve up and to the right that intentionally lowers prices? Nope before you say it, Amazon doesn’t have insane debt and might not be tax-profitable but has positive free cash flow. Lowering their prices has a strategic growth component. Apple NEVER lowers prices. But we’ve got a tax cut! Woohoo! That’s sure to spur growth to an unheard of 4% when we are at a peak growth of 3% while still running a $1T annual deficit. Who’s left to ‘grow’ when we are already at full employment and cutting immigration? And if it takes years for growth to materialize, you really think the economy will stay at 4% when we are in the second longest growth cycle in US history?

Better than the alternative, because now Democrats are the party of fiscal restraint and Republicans are the party of debt and spending…on a cement wall and a parade. Um, what? How did that happen to my “conservative” Republican Party? Oh yeah, a New York Democrat conned us and thinks we should go to Mars.

No “easy” Obamacare repeal. But a healthcare strategy of “no one will be dying in the streets” yet he can shoot someone on 5th ave, isn’t that a self contradiction? No immigration deal. No foreign policy strategy or philosophy (but a big button). Undid net-neutrality.  (“The best people”…) Science leadership that doesn’t believe in science. Education secretary that doesn’t seem to know anything about educating. A drained swamp replaced by executives building fancier swamps on first class tickets, conference tables, quiet rooms and multi-millionaire spouses that insult their Instagram followers, because those are the little people.  Trade wars are good – NOTE: Every history & economics professor at Wharton should be ashamed, did they even teach Smoot-Hawley?

So if the theory is that Mr Orange Oompa-Loompa is better than the alternative, let’s look at the hypothetical results. Assume a 4 year mistake with either candidate. What is the consequence of the “alternatives?”

Hillary- 4 more years of partisan stagnation. We probably would have gotten foreign money repatriation done. But not much else economically. When the economy is going well, keep politicians out. Janet Yellen extended, that’s essentially the same as Jerome Powell. Merrick Garland is in, but please remember that Roberts wrote the Obamacare decision, and in the height of partisan angst 2014, the court was unanimous (aka 9:0) in its decisions on 66% of the 72 cases with only 10 finding along a 5:4 “party” split. Yes this was the highest mark ever but also remember that SCOTUS only adjudicates poorly written laws…right now Republicans hold both houses of Congress. Oh and Sandra Day O’Connor was appointed by Reagan…oops. Back to my point, with Hillary we keep the house and senate and probably win some more state houses in ’18. Likely take back the presidency in ’20 (Kasich!). Basically, nothing happens policy-wise, but Hillary is actually more hawkish on the Middle East, Russia, and North Korea than Trump. Even Lindsay Graham would agree.

Trump – the White House is a disaster. The number one quality of a leader is clarity of vision and communication. 4 communication directors in a year translating Doublespeak. Security clearances are a joke. Daily flip flops and self-promoting of his dementia as intentionally not specific because why indicate competence when you can claim victory for blind luck? Trump wants differences of opinion but anyone with a different opinion is publicly humiliated and their office maligned. Groupthink? That stuff works great. At the end of 2 years we will have a Democrat house and senate. At 4 years another $5T of debt, the US lost all political capital with our allies (God-forbid we need one of those silly international coalition things), every immigrant and minority community hates the GOP, yet we are loved by racists and neo-nationalists (and there was much rejoicing), Russian meddling in elections condoned by the president himself, while sanctioned by the Treasury (huh?), and a 100% chance that a Democrat is elected in 2020… and again in ’24.

Let’s imagine you were playing chess and you made a bad move, and you started losing. But you see that you can sacrifice your queen and check-mate your opponent for the win. Is the sacrifice of the queen for the sake of the win, better than the alternative of a loss? Look at 2018 and 2020 and tell me how “the alternative” is worse. Remember that every decision (and its subsequent justification) has a future consequence. You can sell your soul to the devil now and live like a king for a few years, but rest assured, part of that deal means going straight to hell. Your “alternative” should be regret, self-realization and a commitment to fix the problem.

About Josh Rutstein

I am an aspiring entrepreneur and hopeful political candidate. Father of 2 very special girls, husband to an amazing woman, and passionate American. I snowboard whenever possible and follow a 20x mentality for exercise. I also play golf and ultimate frisbee and am a die hard New England Patriots fan and season ticket holder. Everyday I wake up wanting to make this country a better place, someday I hope to actually succeed.
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1 Response to Better Than the Alternative

  1. Marc says:

    Well said. I refer to him as nothing more than a used car salesman. The scary thing is that people are buying what he is selling. He word means nothing to him and will never hold himself to it.

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