1. The voucher plan. He will give schools 3 years to shape up then he will cut off federal funds and "give the money to parents." The logistics are unworkable, but never mind that. The education problem is lack of funding in the first place. The threat to withdraw already inadequate funding is supposed to make a difference. If your malnourished sharecropper or factory worker in Bangladesh is not meeting her quota you beat her and take away her food?
2. The economy. Like Reagan, he proposes to visit
a recession on us in the first two years. The idea will be to squeeze
out the fat and free up capital. The beneficiaries will be the haves,
who will then have improved spending power and will be able to buy up all
the liquidated assets of the businesses that went under. They will
buy boats and furs and real estate, creating jobs. The "fat" is the
spending power of the rest of us. It did not actually work under
Reagan. The pool of beneficiaries turned out to be too small, and
stagnation returned to haunt Bush Senior. I suspect when we finally
see the tax cut plan it will look like an inverted pyramid. We will
see somewhere between 70 and 90% of the benefit accrue to the over $100,000
group, with some enormous plums for the $1,000,000 plus folks. At
the bottom there will be $200 token benefits. For the unders there
will be nothing.
Reduced federal income and spending also puts more of a burden on states to fund the doing of what needs to be done. State taxes went up under Reagan to cover the local shortfalls that emerged when federal funds were withdrawn. Where state tax limitation movements were successful cuts in services led to decline in life style indices, viz. California's education system, formerly tops in the country, which has slipped below the median due to property tax limitation.
Reagan also ran up an enormous deficit, primarily on military stuff.
3. Which brings me to the crown jewel of stupidity - missile
defense. The fact that he will uncritically pursue this succubus
clinches my opinion of him. There are three ways to try to shoot
down these things.
-You can try to intercept them as they come in at us. This won't work. We can't catch relatively slow bullets. Why should we think we can stop these things, especially when they are accompanied by clouds of nuts and bolts to confuse the radar?
-You can catch them in space at their slowest point with orbiting laser things. Looks attractive, but assuming we can get our missile killers to work at all over distances of multi-thousands of miles you run into the numbers problem immediately. Maybe the killer satellite can shoot down one, two, three, etc. simultaneous launches. How about 20, 50? How about 6 with 120 duds? How many missile killers would we have to put up there? How long would they last? Can get very expensive very quickly.
You can shoot them on their way up. That means we would have to have land based facilities at forward locations, meaning we would have to accurately identify the opponent and induce cooperation with that opponent's neighbors.
The proposal in the Clinton years was ostensibly meant to deter such pipsqueaks as North Korea and Libya and Iraq, local troublemakers who could conceivably put together one or two ICBMs to lob at us in a moment of madness (which why would they bother when they could smuggle something in in a briefcase?). If there's any threat at all it is Russia with its several thousands of leaky, rusty missiles that might or might not work, with their 10 year old guidance systems, and a government of gangsters. And as that genuine threat dissolves over the years the future threat of a constantly improving China starts to become real.
Only the third option - close in ground stations to shoot them on their way up, will work. What convenient countries can contain Russia? Turkey, Iran, Canada, Sweden, Finland, Poland, Pakistan, China. Most of those are impossible. The possible ones will bring a predictably paranoid response. Can't be done. What about China? Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, India, Russia. Same caveats pertain.
I believe I've adequately disposed of missile defense, and I'm just a chump nobody. Will not happen. Extremely expensive waste of time. Money better spent on studying the movement of large objects in space - meteor defense, not missile defense.
The evident work habit of this guy is to go forward with his full initiative, then supposedly later he will take what he can get and say he tried. He places great store on doing what he says he's going to do. I sympathize. So do I. He gives no indication, however, of ever reevaluating his plans in light of new information, changing situations, the advance of his own maturing reflections. I suspect we will never hear this person say, "I'm sorry, I was wrong." A disturbingly rigid guy. May be a bumpy 4 years.