Monday, September 15, 2008

Getting Back to "The Issues"

I love it when I hear democrats say, "Let's get back to the issues." 

Historically, in elections, when democrats focus on the issues, they lose. That is why Obama has spent so much of his time on a soap box talking about a vague hope, and an unclear, but nonetheless forceful mantra of 'change.' 

And, focusing on the issues does not mean calling McCain Bush and trying to tie him to that administration. That is false campaigning. If they really want to focus on the issues they need to talk about McCain's record, not Bush's. And, if they really want to focus on the issues they need to tell people what an Obama administration would do to 'change' things. If they told America more about Obama's plans, most Americans would disagree. But, people don't vote on issues they don't know about, so instead they vote on character and personality, or, what they perceive as character and personality. So, let's talk about the issues:

Obama wants to cut taxes for the 'middle class' supposedly, and make up the difference by taxing those who make more, making our already unequal tax distribution more top heavy. 

However, his definitions of 'middle class' and 'rich' are not correct. Contrary to popular belief, people who make six figures, aren't necessarily rolling in dough. And, even people who make upwards of $50,000 a year aren't either.  And part of that is because they are taxed like they are rich, when they are not, and then those who make significantly less than them pay nothing. 

Obama wants to make more bureaucracy and government work programs like FDR did, federalizing medical coverage, and creating an 'Obama's Youth' movement. 

Now that might seem all well and good on the surface, except that when the government takes over any large organization or task, it tends to be miserably inefficient. The argument of 'you will pay less for your coverage' may be true on the surface, except if you pay less, you get less, and on top of it, you're not really paying less. To cover everyone's new "free" medical expenses, taxes will go up. And, those taxes don't go to R&D, new techniques, better training and better facilities. No, those taxes go to a new middle man. A technocrat who works for the government and tells you what the government will and won't pay for. The doctors will get paid a flat rate (regardless of their years of schooling and amassed debt from that schooling), and they will be forced to see ALL patients (even illegal aliens). But, so what?! Well, that means that doctors have less incentive to do their jobs well, and reduces the amount of time they can spend on patients, thus causing your "free" coverage to be worth just what you supposedly did not pay - nothing. 

The moral is, don't let politicians trick you into thinking you are getting "free" anything. The truth is, you pay for it. You know how everything in DC is "free"? That's because your federal taxes pay for all those museums and monuments. So, while it might appear to be "free," it's really not.

And, on liberal blogs, and news article forums I read elitist sentiments like this: "The American people are stupid. They are so easily duped by the republican machine. And those people in middle America aren't really Americans, and I sure as hell don't want them to run my country."

Wow. These comments come from people who live in big population centers on both coasts, who have no idea that most of what that they eat, and the electricity that runs their homes comes from those "people in middle America who aren't really  Americans." I love how people who live in big cities claim this moral, intellectual, and social superiority over those who live outside the city. It's a bunch of crock. Guess what? The kids who have an hour bus ride to their school from a podunk farm in rural Montana are often better educated than most inner-city kids. But, people who make these kinds of comments, that despise others who think differently than they (and call them stupid for not agreeing with them) are not inner-city products. Most of them have been fed from silver spoons, receiving their education at private institutions. Oh the irony!  


Anonymous said...

First off, please let me know when the Democrats lost because they focused on the issues. These elections are always media circus horse-races the last few years. Most elections weren't close, so I would venture to guess the candidates that lost big didn't lose because of the issues.

Obama's plan cuts taxes for those that make under $200,000 a year. If you make more than that, the taxes go up. It's that simple.

It's an unequal tax burden on the wealthy because they control a greater portion of the wealth. If the top 10% of people control 50% of the wealth (I have no idea what the numbers are, I'm just giving any example and don't intend for these numbers to be based on any fact), then they should be paying for 50% of the total taxes. The issue I have is how to decide where to draw the lines of income groups.

Of course lower income groups get services, because they're Americans too, and that's the nature of the country where we live. If you don't like the idea that everybody in the US has a shot to make something of themselves, then you can move do Dubai or something.

The preamble, the very first part of the constitution, the "mission statement" of our government so to speak, clearly states that part of the mission is the "provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare..." That's what the government tries to do. I'd also like to throw in that Republicans have not cut spending, and John McCain hasn't said any of the programs he'll be cutting. Neither has Obama.

The thing people don't realize about socialized medicine is that it's better. It just is. Look at health standards in other countries, they're better. Infant deaths, preventable illness. The uninsured are sick. Most bankruptcies are caused by people who have unexpected medical expenses. Yes, it'll cost us more, and it will be less comfortable for the white collared elite, but socialized medicine's benefits will vastly outweigh the slight discomfort that the few who are comfortable paying high insurance costs. Keep in mind that we already are paying for the uninsured in our medical bills because hospitals MUST already accept uninsured patients. Drug prices are lower elsewhere too, because the drug companies don't have their hands in the government's pocket, but that's a whole other rant.

It's time we had a leader that did what is actually best for the country even when it's difficult.

Lastly, don't associate all liberals with a few idiot bloggers. I'm not a Democrat, I'm an independent, and even though I'll be voting for Obama come November, I'll remain an independent.

Michael Powers said...

First, just because people have more money does not mean they obligatorily have to give more of it to the government.

The government is much more inefficient at using it, so if I had extra money I'd rather give it to private research institutions and charities. I also think that if we all are using the same services, we should pay the same amount. How does taxing people who have achieved the American dream more encourage people to do more?

And, it's not the taxes on the individuals that cause the most problems, they just compound things. The corporate tax rate in this country is the second highest in the world, at 39%. Only second to Japan at 40%. That is what sends our jobs overseas. That is why our companies have a hard time staying competitive. And that is one of the major reasons unemployment is so high currently. Therefore, cutting taxes for the employees, and people who do not create jobs actually is only a temporary fix. What needs to be done is a complete overhaul of the tax system. Get rid of the FED. Get rid of the AMT, the death tax, the estate tax, the double taxation on investments, etc. If we're going to cut taxes, cut them across the board, and then get rid of the programs that are failing or have already failed. Just because I earn less doesn't mean I DESERVE a tax break any more than people who earn more.

Second, there are better alternatives to socialized medicine. Having a mixed program where there is some government where it is needed is fine, but privatized systems create the best drugs, surgical techniques, and motivation, and should not be dumped for complete government control.

Anonymous said...

The reason we have more jobs overseas and higher taxes is lack of tariffs. If you make widget A in china for 50 cents, and it costs 95 cents to make in the USA, there should be a 45 cent tariff. It's that simple... lowers taxes and keeps jobs here. Hurts China? Yep, but that's China's deal.

Privatized systems are the best for the economy and the worst for people. They discourage innovation and encourage development of drugs that are profitable rather than helpful to the human condition. They encourage doctors to be specialists and neglect primary care. Medicine and health should NOT be about profit. If you have an idea about how everyone can get health care with the way things are, I'd love to hear it, because as far as I can tell the Republican's answer is "Good luck, I'm sure the free market economy will take care of it!" Yeah right.

Michael Powers said...

Lack of tariffs doesn't cause jobs to go overseas. That is a false correlation.

We have goods and services that we can provide the world at a competitive rate, but other countries protect their markets with tariffs to prevent us from dominating that market. Likewise, we protect goods and services here that can be produced much more cheaply abroad. Protectionism is a dangerous tight-rope walk. It may be good in the immediate, but it hurts in the long term.

If you want those industries that are being sent overseas to be competitive here, don't falsely inflate the price of others' goods to match ours, but reduce the barriers and inefficiencies here that make production cost so much in the first place - taxes, regulatory practices, patent law, etc. That way, we can create a better product at a cheaper price.

And, secondly, I'm not looking to hurt China, India, Brazil, or anyone else. We need to have a larger world view. We are all citizens of the world, just as we are citizens of the US.

And, on another note, how do you figure that privatization discourages innovation? Privatization means people like you and me, small businesses owners, can start businesses on our own without a whole lot of government interference gumming up our opportunities. Why does privatization encourage innovation? The person with the best idea, and the best strategy to make it fly has success. The market dictates that. With government help, the mediocre ideas and systems get bailed out and kept afloat. This creates inefficiency and stifles creativity.