Maybe nothing. Maybe it's the start of the long march to the bottom that we've been waiting for.
Unless they've got a very long-term perspective, dear readers should be out of U.S. stocks. Wait for them to get down to bargain levels before buying back in. What's the hurry?
We spent eight hours driving down from Burlington, Vt., back to Baltimore yesterday. It gave us plenty of time to listen to the radio and catch up on the news. We listened to CNN most of the time. Depressing.
For hours on end, the CNN team worried about the election results. There was almost endless discussion of the roles played by the outside organizations, big donors and campaign advertising.
Experts criticized the Republicans' strategy. And most were critical of the U.S. presidential election system. The Electoral College seems to give some voters -- those in swing states -- more importance than those in other states. And looking at a map of results by county, which turned into an obsession with the CNN crew, you will see that almost the entire nation is red... while the winner of the election is blue.
One Man, One Vote?Every expert, layman and kibitzer allowed to express an opinion had the same one: Something is wrong with the system. All seemed to think that every vote should have exactly the same weight as every other vote.
But how could this be? Inevitably, a close race will give greater importance to the few voters who are still on the fence... since they will determine the outcome.
"Everything happens at the margin," John Maynard Keynes once said. He was speaking of economics. But it is true in politics too.
Some people will definitely and always vote for the Democratic ticket. Others will vote Republican, come what may. The people who decide the outcome are somewhere in between... capable of being swayed one way or the other, depending on the candidates' charisma, policies or bribery.
Most commentators wanted to make the system simpler so that the winner would be chosen by majority of the popular vote.
But we wonder: Why should one person's vote count as much as another's? What is sacrosanct about the one man, one vote principle?
A Free Market for ElectionsYesterday, we explained why zombies shouldn't vote at all. People who get money from the government should abstain; they have a conflict of interest.
Naturally, the zombies vote for more of the blood of the living. And now that there are so many of them, it's impossible to stop them.
And what about people who haven't bothered to read the paper or inform themselves about the issues?
We admit: Such people are usually way ahead of the common, brainwashed voter. But for the sake of argument, shouldn't the informed voter's vote be worth more than the uninformed voter's vote?
People who don't pay taxes shouldn't be allowed to vote, either. Golf memberships, clubs, corporations -- almost all require that your dues be paid up before you have the right to vote.
Come to think of it, why doesn't the government operate on a "let them who pay the piper call the tune" basis?
Why don't the people who pay the costs of government get more say in how it is conducted? Why don't they get more votes than people who pay nothing?
You might get one vote for every $1,000 you pay in taxes, for example. If you pay nothing, you get no vote. If you pay $1 million, you get 1,000 votes. Wouldn't that be fairer?
Or how about this: Auction votes on the Internet! You just put out, say, 100 million votes. Make them available by national auction. And then voters get to decide for themselves how much they are worth, and how many they are willing to buy. You have an election every year, and give the proceeds to the government.
You could allow for a market in votes. Vote scalpers could buy votes in blocks early, and then sell them off to desperate voters on Election Day.
Yes, let's have an honest election, for a change!
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