Potentially the most transforming president of the twenty-first century

It makes me actually angry that the media are such fools that for reasons that remain entirely invisible they are willing to lie, distort and deceive, not just to keep the worst president in more than a century in office, but also to keep someone who might well turn out to be the best president over the century to come out of office. On this matter, let me take you to an article in today Financial Review that outlines Mitt Romney’s concept of how to deal with foreign aid. Here are the direct quotes from a speech given yesterday about the program he has in mind:

Working with the private sector, the program will identify the barriers to investment and trade and entrepreneurialism in developing nations. In exchange for removing those barriers and opening their markets to US investment and trade, developing nations will receive US assistance packages focused on developing the institutions of liberty, the rule of law and property rights.

The aim of a much larger share of our aid must be the promotion of work and the fostering of free enterprise. Nothing we can do as a nation will change lives and nations more effectively and permanently than sharing the insight that lies at the foundation of America’s own economy – and that is that free people pursuing happiness in their own ways build a strong and prosperous nation.

What an extraordinary vision! A system of foreign aid that will work, that does not empower a bureaucracy but which makes private individuals pursuing their own interests the centrepiece of America’s assistance program. No doubt there are endless obstacles, but if implemented this would work and transform the remaining dead spots of the world’s economies even if this was taken up in only a minor way at first. Not everywhere is going to turn into Chile, Thailand or South Korea but this is the only way in which they could.

Mitt Romney has the potential to become the greatest president of the twenty-first century but first he has to be elected in November. How bizarre that it still remains a close run thing which can only be because of the impaired moral vision of so many of our graduates of higher education and the inanities they have passed on either in teaching others to despise the free market or in writing media stories filled with leftist stupidities and ignorance in which the underlying premise is that governments must protect the poor by preventing others from becoming rich.

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51 Responses to Potentially the most transforming president of the twenty-first century

  1. JohnA

    EF Schumacher would be pleased (not to mention PT Bauer!).

    It’s “Small is Beautiful” turned into a pithy political strategy, and writ large on the world stage.

    Go Mr Romney!

  2. papachango

    ..sigh… sounds great but it will just be shot down by the left and the NGO secotr as US colonial imperialism, or somesuch.

    They all know read aid means getting armies of UN consultants in on big retainers, expense accounts and shiny 4WDs to tell the little people what to do.

  3. WadeJ

    I agree Steve, if Romney wins, it will likely be with a House and a Senate majority. This would allow him to make truly transformational changes to the US government. But while his foreign aid plan seems like a great idea, the balance of his “policy” portfolio is either Bush II retread or a plan to massively benefit the wealthy at the cost of the middle class.

    Thank god for the uneducated/mis-educated populous.

  4. C.L.

    Karl Rove: make no mistake, Romney is in front. Video.

  5. Gab

    Good ideas re the foreign aid however I wonder if it will work given most of the world’s poor (I don’t mean poor as in they have TV’s, iPhones etc like the first world poor)are poor due to internal conflict/wars in the third world countries.

  6. Rabz

    …most of the world’s poor … are poor due to internal conflict/wars in the third world countries.

    Doesn’t most foreign aid just invariably end up lining the pockets of tinpot dicktaters such as that clown mugabe?

  7. Tom

    The NYT lets through the only Romney positive in the final paragraph of an almost totally negative Wednesday campaign wrap:

    Mary Aggers, 65, watched the biographical video before Mr. Romney’s campaign event in Bedford Heights, Ohio. “It shows an aspect of him that the press usually doesn’t bring out — they try to make him a stiff, wealthy, cardboard figure,” she said. “But I like him because he’s not a politician.”

    The anti-media karma bus is gathering speed.

  8. Mark

    Steve

    Much as I support the Republicans and Romney I don’t see any realistic chance at him winning the election. He should be a mile in front given Obama’s record and yet he is now about 5 or 6 points down and even worse in the swing states. I followed the 00/04/08 campaigns closely as well as this one. Romney was the wrong candidate for the GOP. I think the good candidates sat it out to wait for 2016. Plus Romney’s campaign has been pretty hopeless. Blaming the left wing media is no excuse: it is a given rule of the game over there (and here).

  9. Token

    Doesn’t most foreign aid just invariably end up lining the pockets of tinpot dicktaters such as that clown mugabe?

    Yes. As you know as projects have no real ROI the money gets squandered or stolen.

    Why do you think big government subsidy hogs like WadeJ loves the idea?

  10. Token

    Quinnipiac backs up Rove and calls bullsh*t on its own polls:

    Interviewed last month by conservative talk show host Hugh Hewitt, Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac polling operation was particularly squeamish about sampling under tough questioning from Hewitt about a poll which Quinnipiac had released showing Democrats with a 9 percentage point advantage in the state of Florida.

    In the conversation, Brown defended Quinnipiac’s sampling techniques but admitted that he did not believe that Democrats would outnumber Republicans to that degree in Florida come November. Pressed by Hewitt, the pollster said he believed that was a “probably unlikely” scenario. Instead, Brown kept saying that he thought his poll was an accurate snapshot of reality at the time.

    “What I believe is what we found,” he insisted while also touting his organization’s record of polls closer to actual elections.

  11. Rabz

    Tokes,

    There have been some analyses conducted on where decades of foreign (read Western) aid for africa has eventually ended up and the results were simply staggering.

    If I get a chance I’ll try to find some.

    Of course one the most infuriating examples of the perverse outcomes of massive western aid for third world hellholes would be ethiopia – massive famine 1983, a population of 38.5 million at the time.

    Its population now?

    Almost 85 million.

    Sorry Steve – don’t want to derail the thread. Mitten’s idea is sound.

  12. Token

    Rabz I know the research you are talking about. The info I saw noted a correllation betweent he size of the aid & poverty/corruption.

    Those countries that relied less upon aid and more on reform were either on the path or had completed the process of becoming developed (mostly east Asian and a few others like Chile).

  13. Token

    If registered Democrats are going to vote for their party and the registered Republicans are going to vote for the RNC, who is going to decide this election?

    Notice that in Florida, Romney’s winning independents, 49 percent to 46 percent; in Ohio, Romney is leading independents 47 percent to 46 percent (although that’s down from a 48–41 lead in late August) and in Pennsylvania . . . well, Quinnipiac didn’t provide the breakdown of independents in the Keystone State.

  14. Stan

    Romney is once again spot on. Institutions of liberty, rule of law and property rights are crucial, then you let private enterprise flower. More aid means more poverty and more corruption, and what nascent private enterprise exists gets crushed (ie, crowded out by the public sector). Why would you be a farmer in Ethiopia, if your grain harvest is annually rendered worthless by competing free handouts from the UN?

  15. Jannie

    Even IF Romney wins, there is a good chance he will turn out a Rino, maybe like Dave Cameron. Or just a big spending ‘conservative’ like Bush or Howard.

    Even IF he turns out to be a fiscal conservative, htf is he going undo the mess in four years with the waxing demographic tide of rent seekers, boondogglers and towelheads set to inundate him him with promises of eternal happiness for all and entitlements beyond dreams.

    I wish him well, hope he is the full quid, but he does not strike me as a man poised to change the course of history.

  16. brc

    There are no famines in countries with free elections and an independent media.

    It’s amazing that people are still arguing over this stuff, seeing how the answer has been around for the best part of 1000 years.

    The average ‘emotions not thoughts’ lefty will gladly read you a plithy quote like ‘give a man a fish, feed him for a day’ etc etc. But asked why, then, people need western aid (fish) would it not be better to get them to catch their own fish, you’ll get a completely different answer.

    Usually along the lines of ‘I just feel like it would make them sad and I like giving a poofteenth of my income and morally cleansing myself’

    There is no evidence that foreign aid helps those it is sent in aid of. There is much evidence that foreign aid has caused damage. Foreign aid should be stopped for a decade after winding it down over a three year period. If things are measurable worse after a decade, it could be restarted. If not, then it should be left behind in history like usury bans and export controls.

  17. Jannie

    85 million people in Ethiopia!!!! Billionaire Bob got a lot to answer for. The prick manipulated and scammed me for $20 in 1983, when I was young, poor and unforgivably stupid. Never again, thats for sure.

  18. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.

    Good transport and communications are also one of the key factors in economic development, along with liberty, law and property rights. But this too can be fostered via special deals for private enterprise.

    Re Gab’s point about local warfare – economic growth does a lot to stymie old-style internecine bickering as the warlord lot see that there is more to be gained getting their people into the middle classes (well, very debatable of course, but people attach to warlords and fight each other when there is not much else to do or to gain imho so it’s probably push-pull there too).

    Romney will have to sell his vision carefully, because it will doubtless be misinterpreted by the left media. Phrasing it in terms of assisted self-determination and as an ‘enabling’ economic ‘development’ might be better (given the zeitgeist) rather than stressing the ‘American’ ideological side of it – which, as papachango suggests, could be playing directly into the hands of the lefty spruikers of the ‘anti-colonialist’ media meme.

  19. hammygar

    Mitt Romney has the potential to become the greatest president of the twenty-first century

    Typo here – surely you mean the eighteenth century.

  20. I wouldn’t mind betting that there is already at least some international aid aimed at developing better legal and justice systems in developing nations. I think the need for it has been long identified.

  21. Hey, Steve Kates isn’t a Mormon by any chance? :)

  22. Will

    Even IF Romney wins, there is a good chance he will turn out a Rino, maybe like Dave Cameron. Or just a big spending ‘conservative’ like Bush or Howard.

    Howard presided over a decade of economic growth and left office (with a most gracious and humble concession speech) with zero effective federal government debt.

    Don’t forget he still had to govern, and retain office, and that involved paying off certain sections of society with bribes and baubles.

    The contrast with the current cretins is astounding.

  23. Will

    There is nothing wrong with being a “big spending conservative” provided you don’t do it on debt and you generate economic growth.

  24. wreckage

    Sure, but it tends to remain second-tier.

  25. wreckage

    Look, Howard was nowhere near perfect but he had a clue. Ask any small businessperson how things have gone since he was voted out.

  26. .

    There is nothing wrong with being a “big spending conservative” provided you don’t do it on debt and you generate economic growth.

    Yes, there is.

    You don’t generate growth. You handicap society’s ability to create growth and to ameliorate poverty.

  27. Jannie

    Sure Will, but the bribes and baubles are the problem, not the solution.

  28. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.

    Hey Stevie, time for another household tip from our shared wonderful world on the learning curve of the full time 1950′s TV ad and sit-com homefront.

    Umm – actually I’ve only got one tip left (I do seem to outsource so much), and as before, it it is a laundry hint about the removal of the bothersome lint that washing machines mysteriously make or that appears just out of nowhere. Once again, we are in Woolworths, where you can buy these special rollers to which you attach a drum of 65 peel-off sticky wrappers. So easy-peasy – peel, roll, peel, roll. You just run the sticky roller over anything animate that moves: Da Hairy Ape (not the skin), visiting kids, friends, relatives, and anything inanimate that is not wood, glass or plastic.

    I dance around the place, on a roll.

    So Stevie – how was your day? JC is always so concerned to know.

  29. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.

    ooops, not on Open Thread. Thought I was. Apols if derailing. Anyway, Stevie is on this one so all is not lost.

  30. Samuel J

    While Steve is right about Obama, the language of being most transforming and best in the 21st century was applied to Obama.

    As for his language on foreign aid, most is encouraging, except:

    In exchange for removing those barriers and opening their markets to US investment and trade, developing nations will receive US assistance packages focused on developing the institutions of liberty, the rule of law and property rights.

    this seems to be the usual US efforts at protecting its domestic market and IP rather than promoting free trade. The same tactics have been used by the US in negotiating so-called free trade agreements which usually end up with trade diversion costs exceeding trade creation costs. The US IP regime is ridiculous in the duration both copyright and patents provide and the way minuscule so-called ‘improvements’ encourage patent-trolls.

    The US economy has a number of strengths, its protection of private property rights (to a reasonable extent), free speech (in the Constitution), commitment to the rule of law (but too many laws), and an entrepreneurial spirit with a willingness to take risks.
    Against this, the US is highly protectionist (and traditionally mercantalist with a large and intrusive public sector. Once the robber baron of IP laws, it is now seeking to export the worst of its regime to the rest of the world.
    If Romney came out with a commitment to remove all trade barriers and subsidies to industries I would say he would be likely to be the most transforming president. But don’t hold your breath!

  31. Samuel J

    Another strength of the US is its flexible labour market. Although I hate the tipping system!

  32. Hugh

    Spot on brc (and others).

    Hey, my take on that pithy lefty quote is:

    “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Get his government to abolish taxes and anti-market regulations crippling the fishing industry, and he and his colleagues will be exporting fish inside a month.”

  33. Cuckoo

    The Obama-Romney debate will certainly be interesting. I like to think that Obama will be handicapped because, unlike Romney, he will have to keep remembering which lies he’s using. Unless he’s operating on the Bill Clinton/George Costanza principle.

  34. murph

    I was in Ethiopia for two weeks in July last year. At the time the horn of Africa, which includes the eastern lowlands of Ethiopia, was experiencing famine and drought. The rest of Ethiopia was green with plenty of rainfall and good harvests; no sign of famine anywhere. This prompted me to question a guide at a museum in Addis as to why Ethiopians weren’t ensuring that their own people were fed. Without a hint of embarrassment he explained, “Why would we? Canada and America will bring food for them.”.

    I visited 15 countries in east Africa, along with Ethiopia, Uganda was the country with the most visible NGO and UN presence. These two countries also happened to be the places where we were asked for money in the most abrupt manner; the most memorable incident being a customer in a phone shop in Kampala declaring to the staff that “…that white-boy there will pay for my phone…”.

  35. blogstrop

    What if Steve Kates was a Mormon, SfB?
    You got a problem with that?

  36. What’s the probability that if a zombie ate Hammygar’s brain, he’d get a mouthful of sawdust?

    Go, Mitt.

  37. Ow, that didn’t come out right. The two sentences above MUST be regarded as COMPLETELY and ironically unconnected.

  38. Can sum that up in a few words. We will give them money if they do as they are told. History of this Egypt, Iraq and Afganistan in the 80s etc. How exactly is this conditional aid supposed to work in an election are the politicians supposed to go to voters and say we are going to do as the US tells us so we can get some money are they? Sure this will come off well. Also notice that they have to open their markets to the US not to the world. Thailand is an example of this actually with US investors recieving preferential treatment.

    The Australian approach is ok and our aid to Indonesia is quite successful in my view. Most Indonesians are not even aware of it (they would become very aware if we started to tell them what to do) and focuses on simple services like education and supplying thinks like water to areas that don’t have it. Governance is ok but only if it is basically requested and has support from all political parties like with some of our pacific neighbours.

  39. If China is true to it’s word about aid not being conditional then maybe they will be considered more highly than the US in the future.

  40. .

    The Australian approach is ok and our aid to Indonesia is quite successful in my view.

    It is a waste of money. We are subsidising them, the net outcome is they have a better equipped defence force.

    Rather than Australians looking down on them as a 2nd world backwater in need of educational and institutional development – they treat us as a colony, to be farmed of tax!

    Quite bizzare, really.

  41. Gab

    Indonesian Navy has about 200 vessels and 74,000 active personnel.

    Australian Navy has 54 vessels and 16,000 active personnel.

    But , yeah, lets continue to cut the defence budget and boost the foreign aid to Indonesia.

  42. Dot
    There are extremely good opportunities in Indonesia and being their friends might help Australian business to take advantage of this. If I had spare money right now this is the country I would invest in. But unlike the Romney approach you can’t force these things.

  43. Jarrah

    “Indonesian Navy has about 200 vessels and 74,000 active personnel.”

    Are you worried they’re going to invade?

  44. Gab
    So Indonesia’s expenditure is far less than ours then. They have 10 times the population but only about 4 times the numbers in the Navy. The 200 vessels I am guessing are not as good as ours.

  45. Gab

    The 200 vessels I am guessing are not as good as ours.

    lol, you must be joking.

  46. Gab

    We give them Around $1billion (2012-13) in aid for development, climate change scam, people-smuggling and counter terrorism. Indo GDP is 6.5%, Australia 3.7%. The way this government is ruining the country and throwing money around like they just won the lottery, I’m tipping we’ll be needing $ aid from Indo in a few years’ time.

  47. I wasn’t joking but just a quick google images seems I might be wrong. I wish we would just buy off the shelf also.

  48. Gab I never said I wanted to invest here lol. The only reason I have investments in Aus right now is because of tax and being able to borrow except for the taxi which I drive.

  49. Jarrah

    “I wish we would just buy off the shelf also.”

    Christ, yes. Instead we subsidise SA submarine-building jobs and join US boondoggles like the JSF.

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