Knowing In Part
of differing political viewpoints
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center of America.
Friday, September 03, 2004
Well... I am thoroughly ensconced in my nice Pennsylvania college town. Classes are not as time consuming as I had though, and I am actually looking at forward movement on many of the laboratory issues that have delayed my active participation in science. (By that I mean I think the school is getting ready to complete my research lab's upgrade.) I am slowly and meticulously spending dribbles of my start-up funds to get some of my research projects moving (if anyone hits the lottery I really could use a TGA).
Then, in the midst of all the good things going on here for me, I have to listen on the radio and the blogsphere about all this election year crap. And I do mean crap. Where did the "vote for me because I am..." go that Edwards did so well? I do not want to vote in an election where the campaigns (both of them and their respective 527s) can only harp "vote for me because my opponent is a ...". Wow, what great leaders we seem to have in these modern times.
I am a Democrat, of both upbringing and choice, and I am sorely disappointed with my party's choice for President. However I can not go like Zell Miller or Michael Totten over to the Republicans simply because they seem to be better on some issues than the Democrats. The main reason for this is that I have yet to see good evidence that either side is better than the other at security or defense. I have yet to hear someone from either side give a REAL reason for voting for either candidate.
I used to talk with Ben about how I felt that world opinion does matter. Most of the underlying reason for that was due to trade and commerce as well as a little safety and security. I felt at the time that the person selected would be pivotal in altering (good or bad) our realtions with the rest of the world. But after this election I don't think it will matter anymore. Either man is tied to the same wheel of destiny and I really doubt there would be much change in the reasonable actions that need to be taken. Look at a few of the long term issues we face:
Baby Boomers are retiring.
Heavy currency investment by China and India.
Terrorists attack anyone they see fit to call different.
Global insecurities in Europe due to the faltering state of the social welfare system.
Global interconnection and the transmission of disease.
These are the issues I want to hear directional solutions to. Not "I will make the tax cuts permanent" or "I will only tax the really really rich". I want to hear and see candidates that I feel rightly understand the seriousness of long term thinking. To me this is the biggest reason not to vote for Bush. I am not going to disagree with Ben that the tax cuts have helped people today, but what is the cost to them and us 10 years from now. If he can genuinly answer that question without obfuscating and warping the forcasts with really suspect estimation (a charge that is well documented regarding jobs estimates, prescription drug costs, etc).
I am not looking for an argument. I do not want anyone to try to convince me that Bush is good and Kerry is bad. As for military service, Bush was in the Guard (albeit a somewhat easier route than my father-in-law had) and Kerry served on a swift boat. Max Cleland lost 3 of his limbs in Vietnam and John McCain spend about a decade as a POW. As far as I am concerned its all a wash. I am offended that anyone would accuse them of not being for America. I wish this issue would go away. My simple thinking is that if Kerry is not fit for command (and he went mind you) then Bush is not fit either.
I lost my trust in the current administration because:
(1) there is little variation in the thinking I read about on the GOP side,
(2) the inability to be human and change course when things so not seem to be going just right, (3) they are way to secretive about stuff [Kevin Drum agrees], and
(4) I hear a lotfrom them about doing what's best for America... but I do not really perceive that in their actions to the same degree as their rhetoric.
I think the last one is important, as the safety of America issue is really a post 9/11 issue with regard to the terrorist aspect. I mean this because in many ways some of actions, statements, laws, regulations, and hi-jinks that are occurring currently (the loose and fast haddling of voting in Congress to the use of innuendo and deceit to obscure a foe or an issue) are all counter to what I perceive as the true best interests of all Americans.
So... what I am trying to say is... I'll vote for Kerry. He's locked into a course of action and I'll give him four to let me down or not. Bush has already had his shot and fell short.
What a crappy reason to elect anyone.
Monday, August 30, 2004
Bush's Tax Cuts
I thought I had been paying attention to the economic side of the Bush presidency. I thought I was up to date on what was going on. How wrong I was.
The Detroit News has an interesting graphic that shows the effects of the Bush tax cuts. As a fiscal conservative I approve of the idea of tax cuts in general, but had pretty well accepted that the Bush tax cuts were unbalanced for the wealthy and had given the little guy a short shrift. Checking out the actual numbers from the Congressional Budget Office I see that I was way off and I think most coverage of the tax cuts has been way off. Assuming that the top 20% of earners earn more than $100,000 a year (couldn't find an exact number) those families tax burden has increased by 3.8% of the total income tax paid even though their actual taxes have decreased 3%. Every other income group is now paying proportionately less than before the Bush tax cuts. That means that 80% of the country is now paying less of the total income tax than before the Bush cuts.
Let's put this another way. Everyone is paying less in taxes that before the tax cuts. The top 20% are paying more of the total taxes than before the tax cuts. I'd say that is the definition of "progressive" taxation. Bush has managed to shift the tax burden more onto those most able to pay. Isn't that was most Democratic and progressive activists want in the tax system? Yet despite these numbers the Democrats are telling everyone who will listen that George W. Bush has shifted the tax burden off the rich and onto the middle class. The numbers say otherwise. If I were running the Bush campaign I'd be sure to mention this at every press conference for the next few weeks. Something along the lines of "The tax cuts pushed by the Bush administration have eased the tax burden on the middle and lower classes below anything seen during the Clinton administration." I wonder how that would play? Needless, I was shocked to see these stats and I hope everyone takes a look at this and then listens to the talk about tax cuts in the next couple of months.
Thanks to Instapundit for posting the link to the article.
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