Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I'm Split: Obama Version

So my brother Jon asked me who I was planning to vote for. After the last economics post you might think M/P but I'm not totally sold. It's killing me because I like 50% of Obama's and 50% of McCain's policies. I'll try to go into more detail here (remember I'm fiscally conservative and socially moderate):

  • his progressive taxation. Since working for Andre Agassi & his agent, Perry, {{the uber-rich top 1%}} and seeing their tax returns . . . They were investing and starting companies and creating jobs . . . of course. But Perry would sit there and tell me he had so much left over he really wouldn't mind paying more taxes. And it wouldn't lessen the amount of his starting more companies - he already had as many as he could handle. He convinced me.
  • Would increase US goodwill/image worldwide. Bush has kept us safe BUT just a little bit more respect and diplomacy can go a long way to getting the rest of the world to support you in the war on terror. I think if elected Obama would also tack to the right in foreign issues once he actually sat down every day to intelligence briefings and realized what Bush has really been dealing with for 8 years.
  • Would go a long way to healing a lot of racial problems in our country. Not that that is a sole reason to vote for any one person. But a really huge side benefit. The opposite is true if he loses -- racial relations will get worse because people will blame his loss on racism -- if he loses it won't be racism . . . it will be his policies.
  • I generally am for free markets, but you let it go unregulated and you get Enron. (not that Democrats have been any good at preventing our current problems--four years ago: 'These two entities -- Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- are not facing any kind of financial crisis,'' said Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts, the ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee). And Enron was uber-rich stealing from regular folk.
  • UPDATE I thought of one more thing to add: The Death/Estate Tax. Basically when someone dies the government exempts the first $3 million of their estate and then taxes the rest @ 50% (it can transfer to a spouse tax free but not kids). And anything beyond that if they want to not have it taxed they can give it to charities. Republicans want to do away with this tax. I say keep it. If we do away with it I think it would create "ruling classes" and kind of an aristocracy (the parents earned the $ and the kids, grandkids, etc. never had to, etc. yet still reap outrageous benefits.) I'm ok with them raising the exemption limit to $10 mil even. But keep the tax -- PLEASE!!! I think leaving a family with $3-10 mil isn't something I'm going to become too concerned about.
  • Education. He really seems to just think Education will be fixed by paying teachers more and pouring more money into it. I just have a bad feeling about the teacher's unions and they are his BFFs. I also get sick of teachers complaining about their pay . . . "we get paid the same as day care workers", etc. Those teachers aren't taking into account their fringe benefits (which usually cost the employer around $1000 per month just for insurance or their PERS retirement plans. Who wouldn't want an unending pension that almost equals your highest salary while you were teaching??? (rules differ from state on the PERS programs, but believe me At the Agassi Charter School I processed a LOT of payments to the PERS program for teachers. It's a HUGE fringe benefit that the majority of Americans live without. Oh and what about the fact they get summers off? And shorter workdays? These teachers are complaining to a majority of Americans who put 50-60+ hours of work in 52 weeks a year. I don wanna hear it. The problem with our education system is not that we don't pay teachers enough, it's that parents have quit teaching their children and taking responsibility to be involved every step of the way in education. The attitude of the parents has poisoned the students' attitude. You can lead a horse to water but you can't make em drink (as I learned by having a foster daughter that was smart enough to pull off As & Bs but ended up with a .5 GPA because it "wasn't cool" to get good grades. Her hispanic friends would make fun of her.
  • Health Care. I really really think something needs to be done to stop private insurance companies from controlling our health care system. If done right and without huge administrative overhead and bloated huge bureaucratic systems, I would probably favor govt provided health care. As it is the gov't already provides health care for 25 percent of the population. Instead of creating a new huge bloated bureaucracy for health care I would just favor increasing that amount. I would much rather have Medicare provide free care to all children under 18 through our current system than overhaul the whole thing and get it bogged down in red tape. So basically I think his policies would bust the budget, even with his increased taxes on the rich.
  • "UNITY". I don't see any track record of reaching across the aisle. He talks big talk but I haven't seen anything to back it up (cosponsored bills, voting towards the middle, picking an I or R running mate, etc.). You want a new kind of politics? He plays all the political games that the rest of them do. His campaign is just as critical and faux-outrage-crying as McCain's is. No one is above it and it really bugs me when they say they are.
  • Bitterness. I really really didn't like his "Bitter" comment. I didn't mind the pastor so much (are we really surprised that there is still that much racial anger in this country only one generation removed from segregation??). And I don't care about "lipstick" one bit. But the comment really revealed an attitude of educational elitism (us downhome folks are too hick to know what's good for us, etc.) that makes me gag.

Ok, that's enough for today. McCain version to come later :-)


  1. I 100% agree with you about education. As far as taxes go, I can't decide. I think that higher taxes for the wealthy is a good idea, yet worry about high corporate taxes forcing those companies overseas. The balance of course would be incentives for those companies to stay here. I know I need to follow the campaigns more closely. Where can you read the speaches and policies of each candidate?

  2. I'm getting rather educated on your blog Kris, and I love it. I'm pretty split too, actually I'm just really scared either way, adn that probably has a lot to do with the fact that I'm morbidly uneducated (do you like how I totally misused the word morbid!) Anyway, keep it coming, I'm drinking it up!