Sunday, September 21, 2014

Local Elections: Ro Khanna

Disclaimer:  As a conservative, I have no one on the upcoming California ballot to vote for, thus, there is a neutrality of a sort when evaluating one candidate relative to another!  Nationally, the upcoming election is pitting the Republican establishment against the Obama Democrats, and the American conservatives are not on the ballot.  Since I am being inundated with fliers and my "no call list" phone number is constantly being bombarded with political calls, I have some motivation to comment.

Ro Khanna is running for the US House of Representatives seat representing Silicon Valley that is currently held by Mike Honda.  They are both leftists.  Ro Khanna is 38 years old compared to Mike Honda at 73, thus the difference between the two is 35.  But we must dig a little deeper and see if anything else catches our eye.

A fun tidbit is that Mike Honda is a Japanese American and Ro Khanna is Indian American.  Ro beat out another Indian American, Vanilla Singh, for the chance to run against Mike Honda.  Mike seems to be a permanent fixture of Bay Area politics with heavy ties into the unions.  Ro is positioning himself as a new energetic face of Leftist politics having been part of the campaigns of Obama and Gore.  A lot of Silicon Valley money has been tossed his way to make the campaign viable.

As a conservative, I am first interested in social issues.  Whether an economy is functional or dysfunctional is largely a function of the society at large and the people that are aggregated into companies and governments, thus, what happens in the bedroom affects everything.  Ro and Mike both disagree.  What stands out, however, is that Ro was a board member for a Planned Parenthood branch, which establishes Ro as a zealot in the social wars.  Ro also uses the more complete acronym, LGBTQ, which is more hip than LGBT.  I prefer the full acronym, LGBTQAI4P, which isn't yet on the radar, but should be soon.

Ro's main rhetorical emphasis is on manufacturing, for which he wrote a book, "Entrepreneurial Nation: Why Manufacturing is Still Key to America's Future".  It isn't fair for me to comment on this, since I haven't bought it and read it.  On the other hand, he is a Stanford Economics professor, so I expect a complete lack of understanding of everything economics related with the usual leftist formulas.  For example, on the social security demographic time bomb, his proposal is to increase taxes and invokes the famous "paying their fair share" rhetoric, as if it is fair for people to pay in orders of magnitude more than they will ever get out.  His solution to medicare is to "cut costs" and "hold health care providers and insurers accountable for reducing fraud and waste".  Clearly the kind of innovative solutions that a Stanford genius would come up with.

Getting to manufacturing, his beliefs seem to be that government is the key to innovation and that none of the major, successful economies have been laissez-faire, starting with the US.  According to those who read his book, the problem he identifies is China which needs to be confronted through the WTO.  As for militant unions, over regulation, runaway litigation costs, over taxation, glacially slow permitting, crony capitalism, pay to play, etc., etc., he is silent, except for some minor tweaks around the edges.  One thing I am familiar with that he mentions is 3-D printing, which is almost entirely a European industry with the US acting as a user for their machines and software.  The US isn't even in the running for this race.  The immigration platform emphasizes skilled workers, but ignores the current policy of open borders with unlimited welfare benefits to entice the world's indigent into becoming wards of the world's most expensive and inefficient social programs.

For education, he cites himself as being an example of the US public school education system.  His web site gives the usual mantra of "investments in education".  Of course the number one educational challenge is family dysfunction, and elsewhere in his web site he has established himself as militantly anti-family.  What happens in the bedroom affects whether or not the kid can learn the next day more than anything else.  The rest of the reform plan involves doing more or less the same as what the US has been doing for the last half century, but with more money thrown at the problems and a new permutation on the regulations and bureaucracy that suffocate.  And the unions?  America has the worst education in the developed world and Ro offers us nothing but more of the same.

The article on "Defending Equality" is entertaining.  It notes that Caucasians are much less likely to be stopped by law enforcement than minorities.  I will avoid the temptation to comment on Asian drivers.  Classical race baiter?  Check.

But then we have this: "Most recently, Muslim and Hindu Americans have been subjugated for their religious beliefs and practices. ..."  Note that Ro is a lawyer, so I expect that he knows the meaning of "subjugated".  I will highlight this rhetoric lumping together Muslims and Hindus as being jointly "subjugated" within the US as the only thing innovative in his campaign.  Excepting this, I would say that the sum of the differences between Ro Khanna and Mike Honda remains as, um, 35.

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