Friday, October 31, 2008

Bumper Sticker Thoughts

Corporations don’t pay taxes; corporations’ customers pay taxes.

Let’s raise taxes – since Congress is SO good with money.

I’ll spread my wealth myself, thanks.

The Case for McCain

I’ve been pretty hard on Sen. Obama. And I don’t plan to stop any time soon. However, though there are plenty of reasons to vote against Mr. Obama, there are actual reasons to vote for Sen. McCain.

The Man
John McCain has seen the ugliness of war firsthand. He also has sons in the military. He knows war can be necessary, but he is neither a “chicken hawk” nor is he likely to rush into any war.

Sen. McCain has been a POW. There he demonstrated his character by refusing to be released early. He also showed his character when he admitted to Rick Warren he was glad he didn’t know how long the war was going to last. As he put it, his experiences there taught him humility (a virtue our leaders need in abundance) and to put his country before himself.

After the war, he commanded a naval squadron where he exhibited strong executive skills using sometimes unorthodox methods to make dramatic improvements in performance.

His years in Congress (in both houses) have shown us a willingness to do what he thinks is right rather than just support the party line. He’s willing to stand up for his beliefs, even when it gets him in trouble with his party, and he has a demonstrated ability to negotiate and work with people with different goals.

The Plan
His tax plans would encourage corporations to stay in the US and give employers incentives to expand their businesses – stimulating the economy, creating jobs, and increasing government tax revenues. His fiscal policies would cut wasteful government spending.

His health care plan would open up the tax benefits of buying health insurance to people who have to buy their own and provide downward pressure on the costs of insurance and health care.

His judicial philosophy would appoint judges to the courts who would not legislate from the bench and would be more likely to overturn Roe, making abortion* again an issue for democratic debate rather than judicial fiat.

His stance on war and the military make it unlikely he would start any unnecessary wars and also make it less likely that foreign dictators would want to test him.

His energy plans would encourage the creation of alternative energy sources but provide the US economy with an increased supply of petroleum as we wait for them to arrive.

John McCain is not perfect. Like us all, he’s made personal and moral errors. He’s offended scads of people and has made numerous votes he now regrets. That is going to be the case for anyone who’s been in Congress as long as he has.

The question is not whether or not he’s perfect but whether or not he can ably lead this country for four years in a time of economic instability and aggressive enemies. I think the record shows he can and his proposals show he will. Now we must give him the chance.

*The Problem
McCain and Stem Cells
John McCain is open in his support for embryonic stem cell research (ESCR). That saddens me. I think it is a grave error in morals and logic.

Why does that not keep me from voting for him? Two reasons:

First, as much as I dislike his position, it pales in comparison to the alternative. Either John McCain or Barack Obama will, barring divine intervention, be our next president. The latter has never met an abortion restriction he would support. Millions of lives have been saved over the last 20 years by various abortion restrictions and limitations that he would discard with the stroke of a pen.

Math is a cold comfort, but it does provide some.

Second, I think Sen. McCain’s swayable. A lot has happened since the embryonic stem cell research first appeared on the political scene. Not only have we made more discoveries with adult stem cells, we’ve been able to turn non-embryonic stem cells into the pluripotent cells that drive the ESCR fervor.

Given those scientific advances, I think Sen. McCain’s mind could be changed on the issue. He’s already demonstrated a willingness to change his positions when the facts on the ground change, and on this issue they have indeed changed. If I didn’t believe this, I’d have a much harder time supporting Sen. McCain.

So I live with the cold comfort of math and the warm comfort of hope.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Who is this Barack Obama?

Even though he’s been running for president for two years, we still don’t know a lot about Sen. Obama. He’s been coy about his birth records and has refused to release any school records (transcripts or theses) or medical records (though, in fairness, Sen. McCain hasn’t released his medical records either).

Here’s what we do know about him:

He’s dishonest. He lied or broke his word about accepting public campaign financing after he realized he could raise a lot more by refusing it. His record breaking fundraising has included anonymous donations from all over the world. His campaign has even suspended standard credit card security protocols that would flag illegal donations by non-Americans and prevent fraud.

He repeated his lie about the Illinois Born-Alive Infants Protection Bill in the presidential debate after earlier admitting that National Right to Life was correct.

He plays dirty in politics. His first campaign wasn’t really a campaign because he got everyone else thrown off the ballot. That’s a new kind of politics alright. (see The Case Against Barack Obama, Chapter 1)

He’s willing to use police power to quiet dissent.

He has little respect for the Constitution.

He has little respect for the “common man” unless he’s campaigning in middle America. When he’s on the west coast, people who don’t support him are “bitter” and simply clinging to their guns and religion.

He wants to take care of you, but he doesn’t take care of his brother or aunt. This is the person who told us we are our “brother’s keeper” and to take care of “least of these.”

He hangs out with anti-American or blame-America-first types and other unsavory characters – Rev. Wright, Father Flager, Rashid Khalidi, Tony Rezko, and William Ayers. That doesn’t necessarily mean he thinks like them, but you have to ask why he associates with so many of these people.

He isn’t very bipartisan for a “uniter.”

Now, none of this necessarily means he'd be a bad president, but I think it's worth pausing to consider that a large chunk of the little that we know about this man is negative.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

What's Wrong With Redistribution?

If you haven't seen this video of Fox News' Megyn Kelly putting the smack down on Obama staffer Bill Burton, it needs to be seen to be believed. Good stuff!

Anyway, Mr. Burton does ask an important question. Once upon a time, John McCain opposed President Bush's tax cuts. He says McCain said they went too much to the wealthy; really, his big complaint at the time was that he wanted to cut spending and pay down the debt too.

Mr. Burton seems to think this is the same thing as what we're calling "redistribution of wealth."

In reality, there's a huge difference.

Sen. McCain wanted to use the money for specific expenses. Sen. Obama wants to "spread the wealth" -- an opened ended agenda that has no clear goal or endpoint.

What's wrong with that? Though we all hate taxes, we recognize the need for government to do specific things. If they need to pay down the debt, fund a war, or build roads, that requires money. If we don't like it, we can argue that a specific project is unnecessary.

"Spreading the wealth" is not a project -- it's a philosophy. It would be a dozen or more projects all with the same flawed mindset.

The concept of spreading the wealth or redistribution depends on the notion that government has the authority and the wisdom to say who has enough, who needs more, and how much is enough to take.

I don't think government has the authority, and I especially don't think it has the wisdom.

Monday, October 27, 2008

EMILY Wrong on McCain

EMILY's List, a left-wing group dedicated to "electing pro-choice Democratic women to office," has put up a voter's guide. It tries to sound like it's being fair and balanced, but, to no one's surprise, it's not.

A lack of balance doesn't bother me, but a lack of truthfulness does. Perhaps intentionally, perhaps not, they misrepresent Sen. McCain's health care proposals. Their sole statement of his plan is that he "would make employer-paid health premiums part of taxable income, creating a new tax on working families."

That's so almost true it could be mistaken for the truth.

The core of Sen. McCain's plan is to shift the tax benefits associated with healthcare from the employer to the employee. So, yes, his plan would make the employer-financed health insurance taxable; it would then give every taxpayer a tax credit for health insurance.

If your employer provides health insurance, that benefit would be taxed, but then you would get the tax credit. For most people with employer-financed health insurance, it would be a wash.

Those without employer health insurance would finally, after decades of exclusion, be able to get a tax break on their self-purchased insurance.

The end result would not be a tax increase but a tax decrease -- and access to health insurance -- for millions.

Today's WSJ has a nice explanation of how McCain's plan would work.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Obama on McCain’s Tax Plan

Sen. Obama is very upset that Sen. McCain’s tax plan will “put corporations ahead of workers.”

He’s also very upset about corporations moving overseas (and taking American jobs with them).

There’s a disconnect here. The US has one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world. Though there are certainly plenty of reasons to do business here, there are certain financial incentives to move somewhere else.

If enacted, Sen. Obama’s plans would aggravate that situation. Sen. McCain’s plans would at least keep things from getting worse.

For the healthiest economy -- which is good for everyone -- we should try to make the US the place every corporation wants to be.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Another Lefty Cries Racism

Lewis Diuguid, a Kansas City Star columnist, says calling Sen. Obama's policies socialist is a "code word for black." His "evidence" is that the term was used against black reformers in the past (he assumes we all know these people weren't socialists).

I'm sorry -- do most people know that WEB Du Bois was called a socialist? Don't most people think of socialists as crazy white guys? It would never cross my mind that "socialist" was a racial term. I use the term strictly to refer to people with statist economic policies.

I think this is another attempt by the left to make the right afraid to criticize Sen. Obama lest they be accused of racism.

I also think the cries of GOP racism are intended to provoke a reaction in minority voters who might otherwise sit out the election or, worse, vote for Sen. McCain.

25 Reasons You Might be a Racist

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Obama’s Tax Plan and the Credit Crunch

Driving home yesterday I was suddenly struck by the discontinuity between Sen. Obama’s approach to the so-called credit crisis and his tax plan should he be elected president.

The basic problem as Wall Street crumbled was that the flow of credit halted keeping companies from being able to borrow either short- or long-term – credit that is used to finance day-to-day activities, inventory, and expansions of businesses.

There’s another word for this “credit” – money. They need money to make their businesses work. We need free-flowing money to keep our economy running.

According to Sen. Obama, failing to keep the money flowing “would have devastating consequences for our economy, costing millions of Americans their jobs.”

Yet his tax plans – raising the top income tax rate more than 11% plus increases in capital gains and payroll taxes – would suck money out of the economy, out of businesses just as surely as the credit crisis did. This isn’t a matter of opinion; it’s simple economics.

Can someone please ask Sen. Obama why it was so essential to keep money in the economy in September but it won’t be next year?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Obama, Powell, and Race

By now you've heard that Colin Powell has endorsed Sen. Obama for president. This would be a complete non-issue if he wasn't a Republican -- though he's always been liberal and pro-choice -- and Pres. Bush's former Secretary of State. The latter makes me want to have someone ask Sen. Obama about Powell and Iraq, but I'm not going to hold my breath.

Mr. Powell has said he supports Sen. Obama "because of his ability to inspire, because of the inclusive nature of his campaign, because he's reaching out all across America, because of who he is." In other words, he doesn't know what Sen. Obama believes either.

Anyway, though people will say what they'll say, Mr. Powell denies that race made a difference in his decision, and I'll take him at his word. If it was a factor, he would hardly be the first, though -- just about every conservative black politician and pundit has admitted a temptation in this regard.

Does this surprise anyone? I've heard many women talk about Sen. Clinton or Gov. Palin in the same way that black people have talked about Sen. Obama. People are attracted to people who are "like me." They tend to live together, clump together at work or at church, and when they get to opportunity to vote for someone like them for an office that has never before been an option, it gets their emotions involved. That's normal, and it should not be called, as some have, racism.

I just hope that when the day comes to "pull the lever," people will put their excitement about someone "like me" on hold long enough to look at the issues.

Mr. Powell says he doesn't want pro-life judges; well, we knew he was pro-choice. But a lot of people who say they want to vote for Obama are pro-life, anti-tax, small government voters the rest of the time.

Let's set our emotions aside and vote on the issues. The issues will matter long after the euphoria of being able to vote for someone "like me" has passed.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Adventures is Missing the Point 2

Joe the plumber is the new poster child against Sen. Obama’s tax policies. It shouldn’t surprise us, then, that he’s the new target of the left-leaning media. They’ve “discovered” that he’s just a middle class guy who’s in no danger of being in Obama’s magic 5%.

So what?

The man’s points are all true – Sen. Obama’s plans would take job-creating capital away from small businesses. Maybe Joe would benefit in some small way from Obama’s tax plans. I might too. That doesn’t change the fact that his plans would be toxic for our economy and just add to the class-warfare that is already rampant in our culture.

Adventures in Missing the Point 1

Senator Obama has said many times on the campaign trail:

America has 3% of the world’s oil reserves and uses 25% of the oil.”

His point is apparently that we cannot “drill our way” out of the energy crisis.

Has anyone claimed that we could? Drilling will not solve our long term problem. Drilling will ease our short term situation.

The way Sen. Obama talks, you’d think all kinds of alternative energy technologies are mere months away from commercial use. The truth is we have no idea how long it would take to switch our economy to non-fossil fuel energy.

We do know that we’re sitting on a lot of fossil fuel, though, and that accessing it would lower prices and loosen some of our entanglements in the Middle East.

Sometimes I think Sen. Obama has another “point” in his 3%/25% line. He likes to point out that we use so much of the world’s oil.

Assuming his numbers are correct, we use 25% of the world’s oil supply. We also produce 20-30% of the world’s GDP. That seems like a fair trade.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

More Debate Followup

A couple more things from the last presidential debate.

First, Sen. Obama says Americans weren't greeted as liberators in Iraq. I don't remember it that way:

Now, I know their attitudes have been as fluid as ... well, ours, but that doesn't change how they originally received us.

Second, the question about healthcare being a right, privilege or responsibility caught me off guard. I kind of wanted to say it was a right, but I saw they would want to make that mean we should provide healthcare to everyone free of charge. I knew that wasn't true, but it took me a while to put my finger on it. (This is why I'm a blogger, not a debater.)

I think healthcare is a right. If we're all created in the image of God, if we all have an unalienable right to life, then healthcare should be a right -- anything that is essential to life is a right.

The disconnect is that the left would say anything that is a right should be provided by government. That is obviously not true.

We all have a right to free speech. That doesn't mean government has to provide everyone with a laptop and Blogger account. It means government can't interfere in our right.

A right to healthcare only means that no one should be denied access to healthcare -- ala, "only party members are permitted this procedure" kinda stuff.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Obama on War

UPDATE: I've been asked to provide quotes to support my claims regarding Sen. Obama's statements. They all come from the CNN transcript of the town hall session.

We learned a bit about Sen. Obama's philosophy on war at last night's debate:

=He doesn’t have any problem invading a country who isn’t a direct threat against the US.

Brokaw: What is the Obama doctrine for use of force that the United States would send when we don't have national security issues at stake? (emphasis added)

Obama:...we may not always have national security issues at stake, but we have moral issues at stake.

=He supports invading countries where people are suffering from their government.

Obama (to same question): If we could've stopped Rwanda, surely, if we had the ability, that would be something that we would have to strongly consider and act.

=He doesn’t have any problem ignoring the UN and doing what he thinks is right.

"...we will never take military options off the table. And it is important that we don't provide veto power to the United Nations or anyone else in acting in our interests."

=He doesn’t want people who are friends with terrorists to have dangerous weapons.

"We cannot allow Iran to get a nuclear weapon.... it would also create a possibility of nuclear weapons falling into the hands of terrorists. And so it's unacceptable. And I will do everything that's required to prevent it."

So, why did he oppose invading Iraq?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Despairing Over Government and the Credit Crunch

Since Justin Taylor's tapped into the wit of Despair, I thought I'd share one of their "demotivators" with application to our current situation:

Despair poster

See the original (and lots more) from Despair, Inc.
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