Friday, July 13, 2012

Political statement: Obama 2012!!

Dave has decided to use his corner of the web to formally endorse
Obama for president in 2012. This view does not, necessarily,
represent any writers, guests, or advertisers on this site. This is my
personal viewpoint.

I am NOT inviting a discussion on this topic, though I am certain some
of you will want to debate me. I am not engaging in the debate. I am
expressing my support and leaving it at that.

Now as for why I am supporting him, I have 5 key points:

1. Obama's economics. One of the first thing he did upon taking
office was to review the defense budget with Robert Gates. The
approach was pragmatic: what do we no longer need to fund, what things
are assets in our current theaters, and what things do we need more
of? The result was a reduction in defense spending, which the
"opposition" doesn't like. But really, in a world where we're
fighting insurgents, it makes much more sense to have more Bradley
Fighting Vehicles, and fewer F-14s. Is the military less equipped?
Are there areas where you here he cut too much? No. Its about
prudent expenditures.

Then, on to NASA and the end of the shuttle program. I did some work
at NASA in the early 90s, and at that point, the shuttle program had
outlived its usefulness. I found that there was no innovation in the
program. It was time to move on, but it took 3 presidents and a down
economy for someone to actually make the bold decision to end the
program. NASA itself still exists. And, really, the cancellation of
the shuttle program was a relative drop in the bucket of the overall
expenditure. Let private companies do it better, cheaper, and faster.
And let NASA do the administration of the program.

2. Obamacare. Okay maybe the new law isn't perfect. But it's the same
law Romney supported as governor. And so did the GOP at the time. You
can call the mandate a tax or penalty but in the end it's a way for
everyone to contribute. You don't want to have healthcare? Then don't
purchase it and pay a bit more in taxes. I know some people who plan
to do just that, and that's their business. What gets lost here is
that under the "old" system, everyone's taxes pay for a system that
has public hospitals. Those that can't afford, can't have, or don't
want insurance go there and get healthcare essentially for free. And
we pay for it. Under the new system the burden is reduced on us
because they have to contribute as well. Plus all of the rules about
pre-existing conditions and coverage to students are better because
there are fewer people who can't have insurance. And very few will be
able to game the system in order to get something for nothing.

Insurance companies may generally dislike the concept because their
profits may go down, but they increase the number of people on the
roles. And frankly, insurance companies (of any type) should never be
publicly traded for-profit companies anyway. The service is for cases
where there is need, and shouldn't be about making money.

Romney has said he wants to "repeal and replace"....please tell us
what your replace would look like. Assuming you get elected, you'd
have a chance to implement it. If you don't, then we stick with
obamacare. You have nothing to lose by telling us. By sluffing it
off, and not giving us any details, you're telling me you simply want
to repeal and nothing more. Be honest and tell us that you hate that
Obama did something no president has been able to and it makes you
mad. And so you simply want to repeal, out of some weird sense of
spite. And in order to give a favor to those who contributed to the
campaign.

And by the way, the law is the law. Regardless of how unpopular it is
and whether you think "it's bad policy," Romney and other leaders
should be encouraging governors to
implement it, rather than subtly encouraging this "we expect Romney to
win, so we just will ignore it."

3. The economy. The US economy is a behemoth. It functions as almost
a life of its own. It reacts to many factors. But I do not believe for
a moment that a single persons actions - or inactions - can have a lot
of bearing over the course of months, or really even 3 years. It took
8 years of Clinton policies followed by 8 years of Bush policies to
get us here. No one. And I mean no one could have moved us away from
recession. To blame Obama is folly. I will say that I think he's
generally making good decisions - he turns to Buffet and others for
general advice. I also realize that he's had some missteps. But on the
whole, it's been positive. In particular his decision to change the
TARP and auto bailout into loans resulted in nearly every dime being
paid back - with interest - and in many cases healthier companies were
born.

He was nearly on point when he said "the private sector is doing
fine." Look at all of the companies that are cash rich and which are
turning huge profits. The problem is: they're not hiring anyone, and
so unemployment remains high. Is that *his* fault? No siree, Bob..

4. The cash grab. Romney is "out earning" Obama in campaign money.
Obama does have super pacs, but much of his money comes from grass
roots movements. Romneys money is mostly from his super pacs, which
often come from large corporations, or from individual donors who are
wealthy. He's had several insider-only events where it's been all
about the money. And there is a difference between a "fund raiser" and
these absurd invitation-only events where the uber rich hobnob and
discuss their shared goals, whatever they may be.

And there's a very important attribute here: this kind of money always
has strings attached. It's given with the explicit understanding that
if Romney is elected, he will curry favors to these people and their
companies. What sort of favors? Who really knows. But I have to
imagine that they won't be beneficial to those of us who don't run
large companies and who aren't billionaires. I can only imagine that
there could be fewer rules & regulations, and more "freedom from
government intrusion" which likely would mean more pollution (hey who
cares where food comes from and what toxic substances may be on it!!),
and the ability to screw workers at every turn (who needs unemployment
insurance anyway).

5. I have an enormous problem with Romney's financial status. He has
large sums of money in various off-shore accounts, including a Swiss
bank account that he "forgot about." Now I have no idea what it's
like to have beaucoup bucks, and to want to shelter that money from
taxes. And, I can't begrudge a private citizen who has that kind of
money from wanting to protect themselves, even if I think it's silly
to try and avoid paying taxes in some way.

In any case, now he's a candidate for PRESIDENT of the United States.
He needs to set an example, and it's NOT acceptable for him to have
money stored off-shore and away from US banks! He should be showing
us that he wants to follow the rules, pay his taxes, and show faith in
US banks.

In summary, I think that Obama is doing a generally good job. There's
a lot of political rabble about how bad things are. But...are they? I
actually think that the GOP likes to deal in fear mongering and that's
crap. We're on the right path, and things are generally better than
we're led to believe.

Fear mongering is a huge part of the GOP engine. Obama has made every
effort to end the bickering, but he's rebuffed by the party of "no".
Its really a shame that there has been a "you're either with us or
against us" for some time now.

And that's why I say Obama 2012!