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Tuesday, April 24, 2012 5:25 AM


Does it Matter if Obama Beats Romney? Does it Matter if Hollande Beats Sarkozy?


Does it really matter who wins the French presidential election between socialist François Hollande and incumbent president Nicolas Sarkozy?

What about the race in the US between President Obama and Mitt Romney? Let's discuss those questions one at at time.

Does it Matter if Hollande Beats Sarkozy?

In spite of alleged differences, both candidates are in support of Eurobonds, both candidates want immigration controls, both candidates want the ECB to be more proactive, both candidates want to protect French farms from import threats.

To varying degrees both candidates are against free trade. Most importantly, both candidates want Germany to take on more risk and pony up more money to "save" the euro.

Judging from their platforms, allegedly center-left by Hollande, and center-right by Sarkozy, there is little difference. So does it matter?

Actually it does. The risk the eurozone splinters to smithereens sooner rather than later is greater under Hollande than Sarkozy for two reasons.

  1. Hollande wants to rework the Merkozy treaty and doing so may collapse the treaty immediately
  2. Hollande will not have the same respect of the rest of Europe that Sarkozy had. Thus any new agreements needed to hold the eurozone together may become politically impossible, immediately

Since I believe a breakup of the eurozone would be a good thing, I hope Hollande wins even though that puts me in the seemingly preposterous position of rooting for a socialist.

Many will disagree with my supposition  "a breakup of the eurozone would be a good thing". However, it is going to happen regardless. No currency union in  history has ever survived in the absence of a political union, and it should now be clear that a political union is impossible.

Thus, the eurozone focus should not be on how to save the unsavable, but rather how to breakup the eurozone at the least cost. Delays are clearly costly as Greece proves. What was at one time a 40 billion Euro problem is now, after multiple haircuts, a 200 billion euro problem.

Spain and Portugal will prove to be the same, only bigger. Simply put, the sooner the eurozone break apart, the smaller the ultimate damage. Since Hollande provides a better opportunity for a faster breakup, he is the better candidate to support.

Does it Matter if Obama Beats Romney?

On the surface, and for similar reasons it will not matter whether Obama wins or Romney wins.

Discounting a supreme court decision, the US will be stuck with Obamacare on one hand or Romneycare on the other. If you think that matters, please tell me how.

Both Romney and Obama are warmongers, the only question is to the degree. When it comes to military spending and waging wars, Romeny is nutzoid-rightwing and Obama simply strongly-rightwing. Romney practically guarantees war with Iran but Obama makes the odds merely likely.

Trade policy is similar. Romney guarantees a trade war with China while trade wars are merely highly likely under Obama.

On the plus side (or minus side depending on your point of view) Obama will of  pander to the public unions but Romney won't, but will either candidate bring about much change in either direction?

I suggest not.

Will Romney or Obama deal with the budget deficit? Once again the answer is no. Romney might claim to, but details on his proposals are sorely lacking.

Moreover, once elected, Romney's primary goal will to be reelected. That means Romney will pander to the politics of graft and bailouts. His wishy-washy track record proves just that.

So does it matter?

On the surface it doesn't. Except for women's reproductive rights issues (and on that issue I side with Obama), Romney and Obama are nearly the same.

However,  if Romney is elected, four years from now the US may face the disastrous choice of Hillary Clinton vs. four more years of Romney. That thought alone should be enough to make any sensible US citizen throw up.

The beauty of an Obama second term win is Obama is guaranteed to be gone four years from now whereas the US could conceivably be stuck with Romney for eight more years.

Rand Paul 2016

Should Obama win, Republicans will have the chance to get their heads screwed on straight and nominate a candidate with broad appeal to the center as opposed to broad appeal to the far right.

Rand Paul 2016 has a nice ring to it (assuming he has the common sense to stay away from war-mongering and abortion like his father Ron Paul).

However, Rand Paul (or if you prefer, NJ governor Chris Christie)  will only be possible if Obama wins this election.

Thus, short of a miracle finish by Ron Paul,  the actual best hope for a sensible Republican candidate who appeals to the middle and the independents just might be four more years of Obama.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com
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