Friday, August 22, 2008

Why I am Voting for Obama

McCain's House Gaffes continue to be in the news, and already voters are starting to take notice. Obama has taken this to his advantage to drive home McCain's inability to relate to the Average American, and thus McCain's inability to fundamentally understand the problems in the economy.

People will parse the argument that because he is so rich, he doesn't know and shouldn't be expected to know off the top of his head what he owns both in personal and investment properties. If that's their defense, my question is, how can we expect a man who can't even manage his finances to some extent, be able to manage a country? I don't expect McCain to do his taxes, but he should have some understanding of what his net worth is, and how many homes he has. Others will argue, well it's actually Cindy's, on this point, I think the Republicans have no room to argue, as this is EXACTLY the same argument they used to sink John Kerry on Therese Heinz.

Some liberal pundits will argue this is a sign of his age - I don't agree. I think it's more of a lack of ownership of his own finances, and the fact that he is so rich, he doesn't know or need to know. Don't get me wrong, I don't blame him for being rich. Per his point from the Saddleback Forum, many rich people are unhappy. So given how much wealth he and his wife have, he must be one unhappy man.

But that's not the point of my post. It's more to illustrate the point, that John McCain is out of touch with the Average American, and that's just one reason why I can't cast my vote him. But this isn't the only reason, and there is hard data and arguments to support my point.

I'll be honest with you, for most of my life I have voted Democrat, initially because my parents were democrats, but more recently because of both the micro and macro issues we face. In particular, with the past 8 years, the country has been going in a very wrong and dangerous direction. Recently, an acquaintance of mine has challenged me on why I should vote for Barack Obama. I think that's a fair question, as much as I doubt what the average American knows (this is from reading up on the Pew Research on Media Matters), do I know exactly why I am voting for Obama? I have several concerns on the direction of our Country, and I feel that Obama is our best solution.

Our Foreign Policy is in disarray, and we are in danger of losing not only the principles for which America has stood for, but our inability to influence the international community. The War in Iraq was a mistake, and has not made American safer. Rather it has made us more at risk with our foreign, military, and economic policies compromised.

On the state of America's Economy, we have seen such a reversal in our progress, with the gap between the rich and the poor growing so significantly, that you'll find that Robert Rubin, the Chief Economist under the Clinton Administration who felt that free market policies were more important than class differences, is reversing his position.

Why should we care? The economy's ability to grow is based on organic growth of goods and services, produced and sold. When you have 80% of the population unable to buy with out using credit, and a lack of real savings increasing in the US Economy, you get a double whammy. Manufacturers, Retailers, and Service Providers see a drop in sales and profit. This then leads to a scenario where we see unemployment increasing or jobs being sent overseas with companies trying to cope with rising costs and maximize what profit they can. Given the lack of organic growth, and in trying to meet Wall St expectations, the first big win corporations can make is to reduce cost, and labor accounts for a large percentage of costs. With unemployment on the rise, people can afford less, and thus we have a vicious downward spiral. With less ability to save, we have less going into investments, which could help expand the economy.

Then we have the Federal Deficit, which poses a problem not only on our ability to be flexible in applying appropriate Fiscal and monetary policy, but it causes a national security risk, and a very precarious situation with the value of the dollar. We have all experienced the devastating affect of the rapid fall of the dollar, with the price of Oil skyrocketing. Currently under the Bush administration, we have the largest percentage of debt being owned by FOREIGN NATIONAL INTERESTS.

The deficit has ballooned due to the irresponsible Tax cuts and the Iraq War. Some of you may scoff and say they like having tax cuts - I won't disagree with you. So how did that $600 tax credit work for you? Under the Bush Administration, the tax policies put in place has benefited the top percentage of earners MORE than the middle and upper middle class.

According to the Center for Tax Policies, with data from the CBO and the Brookings Tax Policy Center,

    • The Bush tax cuts have contributed to revenues dropping in 2004 to the
      lowest level as a share of the economy since 1950, and have been a major
      contributor to the dramatic shift from large projected budget surpluses to
      projected deficits as far as the eye can see.

    • The tax cuts have conferred the most benefits, by far, on the highest-income
      households — those least in need of additional resources — at a time when income
      already is exceptionally concentrated at the top of the income spectrum.

    • The design of these tax cuts was ill-conceived, resulting in significantly
      less economic stimulus than could have been accomplished for the same budgetary
      cost. In part because the tax cuts were not as effective as alternative
      measures would have been, job creation during this recovery has been notably
      worse than in any other recovery since the end of World War II.

Based on this, those earning more than $1 Million garnered 15% of the tax cut benefits, and the top 1% received on average $34,992 in tax cuts. But at what cost?

Why am I so focused on the Bush Administration? Because McCain would continue the same bad policies.

While the right wing attack machine is eager to paint Obama as a traditional tax & spend democrat, a socialist, and near communist, the truth behind Obama is more complex then the what the average American can imagine. This is what the Republicans are hoping to bank on, as they run negative ads and false facts about Obama and his economic plan, they are gambling that most Americans will not invest the time to really understand the complexities and investigate the facts.

I don't give Obama a free pass either, unfortunately, given the level of negative campaigning, Obama has had no choice but to run harsh ads as well at McCain. But if you compare the percentage of campaign funds on negative advertisements vs. their own messages, McCain spends a disproportionate amount of time and campaign funds attacking Obama, and less on the realities of what he brings to the table. This should tell you that McCain's platform is SO weak, he can't even convince the American Voter to select him as President on what his policies will accomplish. When he's not attacking Obama, his constant message is "Surge worked", "Drill here - Drill Now", "I want to give Tax Cuts", and "I know how to win wars".

Both have taken liberties on their advertisements, but when you check with, you will find McCain is more labeled with "Liar Liar Pants on Fire" than Obama.

Furthermore, Obama has had to reassess his opinion on Offshore Drilling. It was clear he hated to do it, and he made it as a very limited concession. It's difficult to maintain your position when 72% of Americans are in favor of Offshore Drilling, even when you know this is only a gimmick, and not a real solution.

In the next week, I am going to explore in more detail on the following issues that I think are important, and validate for myself why I should vote for Barack Obama.

  1. Economy - as they say "It's the Economy Stupid!"
  2. Tax Cuts - Comparison of McCain vs Obama
  3. Iraq War
  4. Foreign Policy
  5. Domestic Policy & Constitutional
  6. Health Care
  7. Cultural America - Immigration, Religion, & Abortion
  8. Environment

We are truly at a cross roads- not only in our American History, but in our World History, and the decision we make will have such a far reaching impact for not only ourselves, but our children.

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