Trump Should Leave Afghanistan 2/1/2019

Sometimes you have to make decisions based upon the context you experience. When 911 occurred, America went after the perpetrators. This made total sense. Once the mission was completed, and the short term objectives from 911 were obtained, we were over our skis.

Being a superpower means we can make mistakes, and these kinds of errors have been shown to occur as history repeats itself. When Alexander the Great crossed the Himalayas he was led by hubris into India were he met disease and defeat. When America entered Vietnam we were confronted with labyrinthian rainforests and endless trench warfare, preventing total victory. When America entered Afghanistan, while we had good intentions to find Osama Bin Laden, we went down the wrong stream again into the quagmire of guerilla warfare. 

Furthermore, what is the point of another military base? There isn’t any rationale for one. America’s military bases throughout Europe, the Middle-East, and Asia circumvent the tactical basis for an eventual permanent base in Afghanistan.

We will never win in Afghanistan for three reasons. Two are that the terrain and the nature of this fight prevent long term victory. How can you win a war with uncharted caves, precipitous mountains, and the constant threat of IEDs? You can’t. The enemy does not care, they will fight until there is nothing left to fight over. President Trump is right to try and end our presence in Syria and eventually, hopefully, Afghanistan. Our presence, after the short term mission is complete also sows the origins of hate for our country by imposing our western ideals upon a resistant culture. Nation building is too expensive and culturally nefarious.

America has the right to intervene anywhere in the world (and this includes Afghanistan) where our interests are directly threatened, but not stay forever. There must be a timeline. Trump should leave Afghanistan.

Maneesh Sharma MS MBA, Editor FindVoters, All rights reserved

Debt to GDP Ratio 7/17/2018

If you read the news headlines today, we are confounded by declarations that the USA is bounding towards a Detroit-style bankruptcy. Conservative leaders have long since predicted this conclusion when President Reagan style deficits became the fashion queue for supply side economics. The debt is routinely talked about during election cycles and then silenced until the next vote. In the 80’s we had the Cold War fueling our spending, now it is Trumponomics. 

An interesting calculus is the debt to GDP ratio. Gross Domestic Product is what the USA generates in output per year, and the debt is simply how much we owe. If you were to believe that our debt to GDP ratio is the worst it has ever been, you would be mistaken. Between 1945 and 1950 our ratio crossed one hundred percent, just as it is today in 2018. Bearing that in mind, it is possible that we could bring that ratio back down again and right our ship. Looking at the data, it is obvious that the post World War II world economy brought the USA out of a precarious debt to GDP ratio, powering the West into dominance for the remainder of the 20th Century. Furthermore, President Reagan’s ratio hovered between 40 to 60 percent of the GDP, which is low by modern standards. 

The Republican goal of reducing debt seems out of reach now with the current administration. However, if we clock in 4% economic growth, assuming a trade war is all talk and no action as our President likes to say, we can just maybe reduce the vector upon which our debt is heading. This is much easier said than done. States like Illinois introduce pension reform only to have it shot down by the liberal court system while Unions hold on to power in many blue states across America. Right or wrong, the forces that want the current level of debt or a higher unimaginable level of spending are gathering strength across the USA in the name of Keynesian tendencies, which is the idea that if the government spends more, the economy will rise. Clinton and Obama knew this, and were able to produce a great boom and modest rise respectively.

If the Republicans are serious about debt reduction, the ratio has to be bent downwards, and pursue the coaching of exactly what debt to GDP ratio means to the American public. If the Republicans do not pursue this agenda, they will lose the upper to hand to the Democrats in 2018 and 2020.


Maneesh Sharma MS MBA, Editor FindVoters, All rights reserved.

Why lower taxes matter? 9/24/2016

If you are paying attention to Fox News, MSNBC, or CNN  this election cycle is about Secretary Hillary Clinton's emails and real estate magnate Donald Trump's bombastic and sometimes offensive statements. This coverage is obfuscating the underlying debate on taxes, and more specifically—why lower taxes matter?

According to the Cato Institute Trump's tax plan is better than what exists today, with three basic categories: less than $75,000 is 12%, between $75,000 and $225,000 is 25%, and greater than $225,000 is 33%. Carried interest will be taxed as normal income, hitting hedge funds, and the 3.8% tax on investment for Obamacare will be repealed. Here we can see that Trump is clearly lowering taxes. 

Hillary's plan includes a surtax on individuals with greater than $5 million. On the surface this sounds right, and aligns itself with some US sentiment. According to Gallup, 34% believe that wealth is not distributed fairly, 50% believe their income tax number for this year is fair, but 57% also believe their rate is to high. Even if President Hillary Clinton failed to raise taxes and kept the current 7 tax brackets oppressing Americans today, the highest rate would round out to 40%, while keeping the most complicated tax code Americans have ever seen.

Why do lower taxes matter, is the question most Americans should ask themselves given their election choice. The break even point is the revenue point where a business makes profits after paying off costs. Lowering income taxes reduces the tax burden faced by families, allowing them to spend more money in the marketplace, thereby reducing the amount of time it takes for businesses to reach their break even point in any given month. Businesses can then use those increased revenues to pay rent, payroll, utilities and other costs more quickly. More spending also means businesses make higher overall profits, and possibly expand their workforce. 

Finally, lower taxes help offset increasing costs. In Chicago there is a proposal to raise water taxes, already after the largest property tax increase in a generation in 2016, costing the average Chicagoan an additional 13%, according to the Chicago Tribune. If 57% of Americans feel their taxes are too high, lowering them would help them reach their personal break even point quicker, leaving them more money to spend on extra items they have put off, like a new winter coat, a second pair of boots, getting on a plane to Florida versus driving their mini van to the same old camp ground, and eating at Panera bread instead of the dollar fast food menu. Americans spend more when they have more. 

Voters should ask themselves the fundamental question when they vote this fall, do I want more money in my pocket? Lowering taxes means lowering withholding, providing an immediate effect on your biweekly pay check. So if your costs are rising, why not take something back to help pay them in 2017? A skeptic would argue that yearly raises help with these costs, but with the average raise at 3% according to the Fiscal Times, it is not nearly enough.

Maneesh Sharma MS MBA, Editor FindVoters, All rights reserved.

Peter Principle and the GOP 10/2/2015

Up until today, we have been guided by the conventional notion that the GOP is being out-flanked by cantankerous and unaccomplished (politically) outsiders. We are being told that the bluster of the arch real estate mage Trump and the soft spoken pediatric superman Carson represent an existential threat to the chances of a GOP presidency.  Carly Fiorina, whose light has diminished slightly since her home run second debate performance is not far behind the two outside front runners.

Nothing could be further from the truth if you apply the Peter Principle to the current political race.   Under this notion, made famous by Laurence J Peter, competent business professionals will gradually be promoted until they eventually fail. We can see this in corporations around the world where conventional wisdom and promoting from within lead to catastrophic failures and a living within the bubble phenomenon (the jury is still out on VW’s computer scandal, but it will be interesting to see who and what knew about it and how long they were at VW). If we apply this notion, that sometimes promoting from within causes catastrophic failures, we do not have to look far to find conventional GOP failures; the standard bearers whose time had come  i.e. Bob Dole, John McCain, and Mitt Romney. The establishment is being threatened by so called outsiders, however the outsiders may be better equipped to change the political establishment, which has spent years becoming elected on failed promises to its base. Does anyone really believe an insider will create a wall or cut spending? These are the core ideas propelling the fifty percent spread by Trump and Carson.

To ask that the GOP presidential race be more civil is a fine request, but to summarily fall rank and file beneath the next Peter Principle GOP contender is a severe mistake. Marco Rubio and the outsiders look like they have a score to settle, as it looks like his time in the lime light is today. Let’s hold our judgement on what the GOP would have chosen circa 1994, 2008, and 2012 and focus on the now, 2016.

Maneesh Sharma MS MBA, Editor FindVoters, All rights reserved