The Fallacy of Voting for the Lesser Evil

The quadrennial full-court press is underway by establishment Republicans and Democrats to run the recycled “A vote for a 3rd Party candidate is a vote for Obama/Romney” scam. Neither the logic nor the reasoning works. In fact, it’s un-American. It’s still voting for evil and it shows.

The concepts of the “lesser of two evils” principle or negative voting in elections are concepts both evil and un-American.  Not surprisingly, following such concepts have brought us to the situation we find the country in today. To continue further will, at best, postpone the inevitable and only create a larger “bouncing-of-the-rubble” effect. Plus, the two have more than a couple obvious and fatal flaws.

Firstly, is the incorrect assumption, by members of each major party, that any votes that may go to a 3rd Party candidate would otherwise only be “their” Republican/Democrat vote. There are as many Independents and left Liberals, who normally vote for the Democrat, that are fed up with Obama and this Democrat Party as there are conservatives and Independents who normally vote for Republicans and won’t vote for Romney and this Republican Party.  If those voters also like none of 3rd Party candidates, they may just stay home and become part of the 40+% of registered voters that don’t vote on election day.

Even with the charged atmosphere of this election, the likely turn-out will only be somewhere between 55-60% of registered voters.  Another 30% of the eligible population never even registers.  What does it say about the ‘major’ parties when neither one can attract any of those non-voters to both register and vote?  What does it say that they are also driving off those that will be voting for 3rd parties for the first time? Or, for the fifth time?

Second, and perhaps more important, voting is another example of free markets at work. The whole point for the individual in voting, if voting is to have any meaning at all for the individual, is to select the desired features and quality of a product (the Candidate) at the right price (their policies and positions on issues). However, in voting for political candidates one has to realize the choice involves an “advance auction sale of stolen goods.”  The thinking consumer (voter) likely desires or hopes the eventual auction contains fewer stolen goods.  To obtain that one has to vote for better candidates regardless of which party they arise from.  The were no political parties early-on in the Republic and most of the Founders despised the idea of parties for their corrupting influence on governance.  Gee, we can see that in spades, can’t we?

In the case of negative voting or the lesser evil principle, the concept is that the consumer (voter) never receives the product they desire or wanted to vote for but should “buy” one of the major brands anyway.  Or that, somehow, voting (buying) a product with a smaller market share creates a worse outcome for the market, as a whole, than voting (buying) one of the “major” brands of inferior quality and higher price.  Does any of that sound like the way people buy anything in a free market?  Of course not.

However, assuming for the moment that proponents of lesser evil voting are correct, let’s analyze that assumption on the potential outcome of either a Romney or Obama election.  Almost everyone agrees that the greatest factor in this election is the economy.  Let’s see if electing either may have a potentially measurable, distinctly different outcome that’s better with one over the other. First, it would seem appropriate to look over recent history of the past few decades.

Economic and political events we now have in front of us are part of a “supercycle” that no more than a handful (almost all them Austrian economists/analysts and political libertarians) anticipated over a decade ago. That predicted economic supercycle has yet to complete. It has been delayed by a series of increasingly bad behaviors, largely attributable to the majority of past voters, that has brought forth the ideological (notConstitutional) government we have being practiced by both Republicans and Democrats.

Decades of highly regrettable government policy from both major parties is in the process of extending the near-term economic disaster into an eventual long-term catastrophe. Add on top of that, the ongoing attempts (QE1, 2, 3, Bailouts, Stimulus, etc.) to “reduce” the disaster, will turn-out to make it even worse.  It may even turn-out to be catastrophic from actions put into play since 2000.

Spending a few years in large-scale, system engineering allows one to learn it is better to let a large-scale system, with a compromised and flawed design, to fail sooner rather than later.  It creates less long-term damage.  Allowed to fail sooner, it can be fixed or replaced, rather than patched-up and patched around, only to wait for a much larger catastrophic failure.

In this case the difference in outcomes is also between a disaster (Romney) and a catastrophe (Obama). Neither one will largely effect the eventual outcome. The belief that we can elect a political Messiah or Savior that will ‘fix’ everything is a companion fallacy of the Lesser Evil phenomena.

Each, in turn, will only make it relatively worse.  As a matter of economic physics it’s possible we are already past the point of no return in the supercycle. Plus, both candidates and their parties have their own brand of detrimental political/economic policies of a slightly different flavor to add to the larger problem. Neither will be able to stop the ultimate default.  Dr. Gary North’s latest analysis, of the federal fiscal and monetary economics is hard to find a flaw in.

Everyone would do themselves a better service to gain some familiarity with Austrian economists and economic theory.  Not only has that school of economics been a better predictor of outcomes for decades, it also does not raise the status of economists (or Presidents) to demigods or as economic directors.  In fact, typically, they just state both sides of the case and let logic and evidence decide. It doesn’t matter what you may or may not feel. It only matters what the evidence says.

Notice Mr. North’s highlights what Mr. Harvey, of Forbes, says about default:

We could choose to do so, just as a person trapped in a warehouse full of food could choose to starve, but we could never be forced to. This is not a theory or conjecture, it is cold, hard fact. The reason the US could never be forced to default is that every single bit of the debt is owed in the currency that we and only we can issue: dollars. Unlike Greece, we don’t have to try to earn foreign exchange via exports or beg for better terms. There is simply no level of debt we could not repay with a keystroke.

(emphasis added)

Mr. Harvey admits in one sentence why we’re toast.  He’s simply saying that a small committee of genius’ in a room won’t allow a hard (meaning “outright”) default but will soft default through inflation by creating more money from nothing to pay any debt.  The end result is the same: the destruction of the currency.  Behind that comes the destruction of the economy founded on that currency unit.

So, it really doesn’t matter whether Mr. North or Mr. Harvey is right. Pick one: The patient is either dead or terminal. The patient is cured but unfortunately he died.  The difference between them is that Mr Harvey lives on Fantasy Island and Mr. North on The Rock. In either case, we’re going to default on the currency and the debt created with it. The currency is done, so better get your duckies in a row for that event. The latest QE3 is simply the next symptom.  It should be called, as David Stockman, former Reagan Budget Director, calls it:  Quantitative Easing to Infinity (“To QEI and Beyond!”)!  Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke is caught playing the Ralph Kramden role:  “To the Moon, Alice!”

Next, no business formation that accrues long term liabilities does their accounting on the cash basis. They do it on the accrual basis. Almost everyone, that is, except the US government. On the cash basis we have $16+ Trillion in present liability. However, on an accrual basis the present value of the government’s obligation is $222 Trillion.  There being no chance of current annual revenue collections exceeding spending, instead of deficit, that means we’d also need (at a future GDP growth rate above 5% for decades, no less!) to have at least a net $130 trillion in the treasury right now to pay the future planned obligations! Since we don’t that means the game is already up and we’re insolvent.  The write-down of issued Treasuries to follow shortly.

So, for anyone that can do basic math, there should not be more than a shred of doubt, that the US currency and it debt bonds are done. None. They’re likely toast already. Romney won’t fix that. Ryan’s plan won’t fix that. Obama will only get us there a couple years sooner.  Congress certainly isn’t going to fix it (that’s a joke all its own– to even mention Congress at this point). Both Congressional majorities and nearly every state legislature remain in complete denial.

Only one candidate, Gary Johnson, has put a plan on the table to fix that. After him, Republican Ron Paul has come the closest, so far.  Of course, the media, their own Party and the Dems deny either of them ever existed.  They thought if they ignore Ron Paul and Gary Johnson the whole thing will either go away or somehow be easier than what we’re about to go through. Of course, they’re wrong.  The Naysayers, of course, say either Paul or Johnson’s plan are just not “politically feasible” and therefore, harumph…harumph, “not credible.”  That may be because they don’t understand the math and the necessity for doing the politically incorrect thing is well past.

Economics has its own inexorable progress that no amount of wishing or magic will fix. The free market always works, no matter how distorted or manipulated, and it seeks its proper level via necessity. Are the states going to start doing something to protect themselves or just go down the tubes with the Feds as the inextricably linked fiscal web unravels? Will our elected representatives and the People make the choice? Today or too late?

Every passing day one sees the next level of deterioration. Voting for Romney delays the catastrophe, a bit.  However, in the long run, it more likely makes it worse by stretching it out.  It does so in exactly the same way that all that Federal Reserve liquidity injections and government stimulus has delayed, since 2007, the final liquidation from decades of bad monetary and economic policies.  Without it, the liquidation and correction would have proceeded and been over a couple years ago.  Instead, we added enormously to the debt from that point.  So the supercycle will complete itself, regardless.

Obama voters believe completely in magic. In fact, they are mesmerized by it. Romney voters might not completely believe in magic but they do like illusion. The illusion is that Romney will only create a smaller disaster and perhaps not a future catastrophe like Obama.  History in 2030 or after may more likely record that ANY FURTHER delay in ending fiscal deficits, paying down the debt and liquidating accrued, booked and off-book losses in the economy makes the eventual political/economic catastrophe similar to a magnitude 7.0 earthquake rather than the current magnitude 5.0.

Voting for Obama will likely drive the current shaking to a magnitude 8.0+. Voting for Romney sets the stage for a future magnitude 6.5-7.0 right behind the magnitude 5.0. There’s many possible variables but to those caught in the earthquake(s), in both cases they won’t really care, they’ll just want the shaking to stop. All they’ll observe after the first of the “big ones” is bouncing rubble.

The bottom line?  Neither major candidate is equipped to deal with what’s coming at us.  Obama obviously has no experience with and understands little if anything about most any kind of economic principle or finance, Keynesian or otherwise.  He’s just flying blind and emoting the Progressive policies in order to stay elected.  His life has been a series of subsidized personal projects having nothing to do with risk taking and economic development.  His policies will simply drive us off the fiscal and financial cliff faster.

On the other hand, Romney is a system finance guy, steeped in the corporate finance world of opportunism and looterism that exemplifies a financial and fiscal tax and budget system that is in its death throes right now.  He will appoint all the wrong system “experts,” that will continue to provide all the wrong kinds of advice as they have done since this whole debacle started.  His policy “prescriptions” will simply extend the fiasco we currently have and fix little, if anything.  Either Obama or Romney are not the President we need at this point.

I would submit that Gary Johnson is a much better candidate on all the critical elements that matter to help speed us through the big rapids ahead.  He has the business and free enterprise experience that he built without a family name or political sponsors.  He was a successful two term Republican Governor of New Mexico and knows how to work with a Democrat majority in the Capital dome.  He also knows how to veto bad bills.  He vetoed more bad bills than any modern Governor in the 20th century during his two terms.  He knows that the federal budget must be balanced before 2016 or we’re indeed toast.  He has said so and has said he will cut the federal budget to achieve it.  Add to that, he has a mountain climber and tri-athelete’s attitude and stamina.

formerly popular liberal writer for the Atlantic, Corey Friedersdorf, who voted for Obama in 2008, agrees.

Voting 3rd party is not more likely to immediately reduce the intensity the failing recovery today.  As was illuminated above, many facets are already baked-in-the-cake by decades of Republicrat control.  However, the real difference is in the length of time America is forced to live through an ongoing series of disasters and catastrophes. Voting 3rd Party today will set the stage for beginning ‘earthquake preparedness.’  Voting 3rd Party will send a signal to the major parties they’d better join in earthquake preparedness.

It also signals the need to learn how to earthquake harden the economy.  We must build a stronger Constitutional foundation that doesn’t shake apart as easy as the ideological perversion of governance the two major parties have built during the last century.

If there is no significant third party vote “the big one” will likely stretch this out for a generation instead of only the next decade. So, voting for a third party candidate is a vote to both speed up the arrival of the final quake, and attempt to reduce its intensity, rather than suffering both a magnitude 5.0 and a magnitude 7.0+ right behind it and causing a much longer recovery term.

At the same time, principles are (or should be) involved. The voters must be persuaded to stop voting for the lesser evil, or voting for evil at all.  Instead, they should rather vote for the only product they can buy in this, or any, election that represents the principles they want represented in the final outcome. That comes by producing more qualified 3rd Party candidates and voting for a 3rd party. Voting is a futures game. Voters have to start choosing the future with less long term pain and more long term gain.  Competition is better for every market, not having a false choice of two minor variants of the same Republicrat Party.

Lastly, the whole proposition of lesser evilnegative-voting is un-American.  It is completely antithetical to the free market system.  In no other endeavor would anyone select such terrible logic as a reason to do or not do something.

Do consumers buy any company’s product with the intent of putting another competitor out of business? No! They buy the product they prefer at the price they feel good about paying for it. Do sports fans start driving to another city to buy the tickets of another football team because their own hometown team supposedly (we hear) “can’t possibly win the Superbowl?”  No! They continue to support the hometown team they really like for as long as it takes for them to win the Superbowl.

In fact, do you know anyone that engages in “negative buying” of anything else? Of course, not!  It’s an idiotic concept with no validity in the marketplace. It would not only be considered pretty dumb, it would likely be classed as “un-American.” So why would anyone vote that way? Anyone should only vote for the principles, ideas and candidates that they think best represent them, not vote to try to stop another candidate from winning. That’s just dumb.  And it is the truly “wasted” vote.

If they actually did start voting on ideas and principles, we likely would not be in this mess at all because we might have a lot more competitive 3rd, 4th and 5th parties. Competition is what works in America. Voters should question how we ever wound up with the “Two Party Duopoly” to begin with. In reality, what we have is the RepubliCrat Party with a left and a right wing, so it looks more like an unnatural monopoly. And it doesn’t take a genius to know that’s bad from the get-go.

To start that real change process, vote 3rd party in 2012.  Save a country in the process!

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