Thursday, September 4, 2008

Country First

Yeah, I know I said I would re-cap the DNC. Don't worry; it's coming, but the vitriol and slime coming from the north is requiring my response.

John McCain is very fond in his campaign against Obama to say he "puts his country first." Obama did a good job of directly addressing that last week in his speech, but I wanted to draw some more attention. When John McCain says he puts his country first, one must ask, "What part of the country?" Clearly both candidates are very proud Americans -- you wouldn't run to be the symbol of a country you weren't.

When John and Sarah Palin say they put country first, the most glaring question is "Which citizens?" John McCain's tax plan is very top heavy. The people in the top 5% of incomes stand to save a significantly larger amount than anyone in the bottom 80% of earners. In fact, those in the top 1% will save almost 10% (on average), those in the bottom 40% will save (on average) about 2%. Clearly, he puts the very wealthy first. Barack Obama's plan is to cut taxes for the bottom 80% by about 5% (on average). He intends to pay for it though by raising taxes on the top 1% of earners by about 1 to 2%. Clearly he puts the regular citizens first.

Source (PDF)

How about the environment, this is a large part of what our country's future relies upon. Three out of the four candidates are willing to say that humans are having an effect on global warming. Sen. McCain is even will to call for a "cap" and trade program. However, he doesn't actually know what the word cap means. In fact, he wants to give corporations whatever carbon credits they request, and then let them trade them back and forth. However he doesn't want to charge for the credits, nor does he want to fine companies for polluting more than their credits allow. Again, John McCain puts corporations and the rich first. Obama understands that corporations are paid to only care about one thing, money. If there is no fiscal benefit for taking an action, or fiscal penalty for not, they won't take that action. Everything is about ROI. Because of this, he intends to auction off all credits and institute penalties for exceeding those credits. This will create a fiscal incentive to move to less polluting technologies. The money the government will raise through these auctions will also be reinvested in the environment with proceeds being turned into grants to green technology R&D. Clearly, again, Obama puts the environment and our nation's future before corporations and lobbyists.

What about the 51% of our country that is female. John McCain campaigned against (although he failed to cast his vote) the Lily Ledbetter act that would have given women more rights when it comes to fighting for equal pay for equal work. He and the Republican party were able to filibuster this bill this year. He was afraid that by opening up when a lawsuit could be filed, corporations would have to actually pay people fairly, reducing their profits. Barack Obama has campaigned vociferously for this; in fact, most of one day of the DNC convention focused on this, with Ms. Ledbetter herself making an appearance. Once again McCain puts corporations first, Obama people.

How about the military? John McCain wants to fight any where, any time. He wants to stay in Iraq for 100 years. He would love to attack Iran. He probably would have tried to send American forces in to fight against Russia in the recent Georgian incident (forget bringing back the Cold War, lets heat up things a bit). There is no doubt that given the proper resources (including troop levels and recuperation time) our military can meet any objective we set before them. McCain doesn't want to do that though; in fact, he has voted against giving veterans improved benefits and sufficient time back home with their families. Here McCain is putting the wrong part of our military first, as Pres. Clinton so accurately said, "[The] people the world over have always been more impressed by the power of our example than by the example of our power," but McCain has it backwards, caring more about showing off our power. Senator Obama though wants to use our military smartly as a targeted weapon to use only when absolutely necessary. He also wants to reward our veterans, many of whom sacrifice everything for their country. He fought for Sen. Webb's GI bill and for Walter-Reed reforms; he is still fighting for mental health parity for the troops. Again Sen. Obama puts our troops first.

I could go on (and probably will again) but remember, when a candidate says "I put my country first," ask "How?"


Comrade Kevin said...

You're trying to attack Republicans with logic. Nothing confuses them faster than that.

KBO said...

I'm totally interested in your perspective on you and Jae's trip to the DNC, but thanks for posting this.

As a huge treehugger, I wish more attention was being paid not only to energy needs, but conservation and preservation of biodiversity. We can only have economic sustainability with environmental sustainability. It's a global issue.

It kills me when conservatives play the libertarian card, but don't understand that seemingly innocuous companies they support are, through their business practices, denying people other countries, a right to resources that have been held communally for thousands of years. It's the whole There Will Be Blood milkshake analogy. Adam Smith intended the invisible hand to be guided by laws that channel the ambitions of men into good (or at least neutrality) for the community, but, in our free market today, there's no accountability to companies for the wide array of externalities whose costs are passed on to the community.


Bill Stankus said...

We live in a time of surging global religious fundamentalism... the Repugs have tapped into this w/in the country and it is now a situation of the fringe eating the core.

The trend towards this kind of election began after FDR's time and, as the country shifts from center to right, zealots and appeasers are the Repug driving force.

Logic and reason, tempered thought and discussion of issues are no longer part of the political scene.

And when issues are mentioned they are filtered through focus group reactions, polls and then spoken as cliches.