Joe The Plumber

Rather unfortunately, I feel compelled to make a statement here about this whole “Joe The Plumber” thing from the debate tonight. I say “unfortunately” because it is pretty well known that talking (or typing) about politics can easily turn into the first chapter in How to LOSE friends and ALIENATE People.

Here is the video of the encounter with “Joe The Plumber” that was a hot topic at the beginning of tonight’s debate:

Chad brought this blog to my attention today. I’ve actually met Ernie’s sister-in-law once or twice at our former employer’s Xmas parties (her sister worked there with Chad). His sister-in-law, Shawna, keeps a blog. CLICK HERE to read the post she made yesterday about the encounter.

I have to say that I completely agree with her. When Chad was working as an accountant with a Big 4 firm, we did really well for a time. Enough to spend a year as Richie Rich and watch our taxes skyrocket. We used the money we saved from that time to purchase our businesses: Custom Fence Company and A&R Painting. Right here, is where I have a fundamental disagreement with the idea that “the rich” are “evil” and “greedy” in America and can’t be trusted to “do right” with our money. What happens at the $200,000/year mark that supposedly turns Chad and I from “hard-working middle class” to (gasp!) “the rich”?

But, I digress, back to the specific topic at hand. When we first bought those companies, I didn’t love the idea of being an employer who doesn’t provide health care. Providing good benefits to employees helps us keep them in the long term, which is in our best interest. So, without any government mandate to do so, we looked into our options for group health insurance that would include our employees.

What came out of this were a couple of revelations. The first, that we probably would not be able to afford to provide that benefit for at least a few years down the road. Another was that in order to provide group coverage, we had to have and maintain a minimum amount of employees to opt into the plan. When I surveyed our full time workers about our plan to offer health care, not one of them was gung-ho about it and every single one of them indicated they would rather not have to opt in to the plan. I was really shocked at this. They were mostly afraid of the cost even though we would be paying half or more of the premiums!

Tell me how our small business is supposed to survive this economy if we are, among other things, required to offer health care that we a) can’t afford b) won’t qualify for because c) our employees don’t want it? “Spread the wealth” may seem fair to some, but it hardly seems fair to me after all the sacrifices of money and time we have gone through the past two years in order to make these business work.

I’m starting to realize a couple things about myself. I believe in small government and I believe in capitalism. And, I think it is unfair to link capitalism to greed and selfishness. If you look back in our history, you’ll find numerous examples of private enterprise providing great amounts of money for the public good – our first universities and volunteer hospitals (in a time before a health care system), for instance. Take what Bill Gates has done for education as another fine example.

The last point I’ll make is that most of my friends, Republican and Democrat alike are more than willing to give their time and money to “good” causes. It is no wonder that those of them that are Democrats would support the government taking more money, as they are willing to give it to help out (that is not to say Republicans aren’t). But what I question is the notion that they are for some reason not capable of making those decisions about their money and which causes they help ON THERE OWN. Maybe it’s more that they know they will give the money but believe “the rich” won’t (because rich people are greedy is the assumption I’m familiar with.)** I think the perpetration of this idea that “the rich” are a separate breed of people from the “middle class” is a false one. Take a look at books like The Millionaire Next Door and Rich Dad, Poor Dad. I’ve seen write ups on this before, that if you poll those who qualify as “rich” and millionaires, they think of themselves in terms of “middle class”. I can state this was true for Chad and I during that one year. Neither of us suddenly thought we could upgrade our house, buy new cars or travel with no regard for what it would cost us.

Argghhh, well, sorry for the rant. I’m no Dennis Miller, I know. But this election, for the first time maybe ever, feels like it directly affects me. Maybe I’m just growing up a little and can’t be content to remain indifferent to the political machine that is Washington D.C.

As for Shawna, I’ll be interested to check back in on her blog tomorrow to see what their reaction was to the debate tonight and “Joe The Plumber’s” new found fame.

**I’m worried those sentences about “my friends that are democrats” is going to come across sounding like some kind of accusation. I can’t quite figure out if it is and if so, how to change it, but what I’m getting at is that my friends whom I know are democrats know me (and are aware of some of my republican leanings) and I don’t think any of them believe that I am greedy and wouldn’t give my time or money to help out good causes. So it’s a question about the line at which do we or do democrats, I guess, believe “the rich” will not give their money and time for such causes. When they think rich are the really thinking incomes of a million or more? A billion or more? If so, that’s a significant difference from defining “rich” at the $200,000 mark. (Though I’m not saying that I would agree that it is okay to take more money from the rich even if it was defined at that much higher level.)

27 Responses to “Joe The Plumber”

  1. Thomas Says:

    I guess I missed the whole Joe the Plumber meme.

  2. Teresa Says:

    As a caveat before I begin, I hope I don’t offend YOU here! I’d hate to alienate you!

    So first, there are a couple of specifics with which I disagree. First, Obama clarified last night that he wouldn’t require small businesses to provide health care. He also said last night that he wants to protect small businesses. (Whether he can deliver on any of his promises is an entirely different point, of course.). I’ve looked at his tax plan, and at least according the the Washington Post, anyone who makes up to about $600,000 will see a tax raise of about $12 (I don’t have the chart in front of me so that might not be exactly accurate, but the point stands that the tax increase, even on the upper middle class isn’t that huge). And the middle and lower class will actually see a tax cut. Moreover, the amount of money people have lost in the value in their 401Ks and other investments over the last few weeks far exceeds any tax raise or break. Yes, they will likely recover those amounts if/when the market recovers, but perhaps the focus (not by you, but by the country at large) on taxes is a bit misplaced.

    Anyway, I don’t disagree with your premise. People should be able to do what they want with their money (except in the situations of freeloader problems where people don’t want to pay but want to reap the benefits – things like schools, roads, police forces, etc. In a society of this size, it’s hard to avoid government intervention/control of those things). The problem with the current administration and with McCain is that HE doesn’t want to let you do what you want with your money. He wants to take your money to bail out Wall Street and buy up mortgages and to support the war (Democrats also want to do some of these things as well – my point is merely that McCain/Republicans have no moral high ground on this issue). Republicans can no longer say with straight faces that they believe in fiscal conservatism (ok, obviously, some individuals can, have, and do, but that’s not the way the party does things these days). The problem perhaps lies in the two-party system and maybe there is no attractive choice. I get why you believe what you believe and I get why you vote Republican. I too like the idea of capitalism. I like the idea of small government. I just don’t think this current batch represents those traditional Republican values. By trying to win the religious right’s vote, McCain and his party have now abandoned the values of people like Ronald Reagan and it’s really difficult for them to talk truthfully about fiscal responsibility on an individual, corporate, or governmental level.

    On your other point about corporations making decisions to help on their own, it is true that this happens. On the other hand, this moment in history may be the worst time to make the argument that we should leave it to the corporations given the public’s perception of the rampant greed and excess on Wall Street. There may be a problem, too, in equating wealthy people (who as people have internal moral compasses and care about particular causes) with corporations (which aren’t people and which are, and should be, driven by their bottom lines). We are living in strange times. Republicans are proposing to socialize things and expand government in ways we haven’t seen since FDR did during the Great Depression.

    Anyway, it will be interesting to see what happens. (And again, I hope I didn’t alienate you! I truly do respect where you are coming from on this stuff.). I hope this country finds its way again regardless of who wins the election.

  3. Suzanne Says:

    Here is a link to the Washington Post piece to which I believe Teresa is referring:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/story/2008/06/09/ST2008060900950.html

  4. Teresa Says:

    Thanks, Suzanne, that’s exactly the piece to which I was referring!

  5. JoyLuck Says:

    Hey! I want to leave a thoughtful, detailed response to your comments because (oh boy! I’ve actually got comments!!!), but I’m so tired from the flight today that I’ll try just say some things and then I’ll attempt to come back and make better, more coherent points about what I want to say at a later date.

    I brought up this particular subject of Joe The Plumber because of the statement Obama made – “spread the wealth” – but didn’t really intend it to be a debate about the specifics of Obama’s or McCain’s tax plans. There are plenty of folks out there doing that already who can make much better arguments for and against each than I could. And, anyway, I would only do that if I was trying to change your opinion and I promise I am not.

    It was Obama’s “spread the wealth” statement that promted the post because that is historically a very socialist veiwpoint and in direct opposition to the idea of capitalism. So, really, I guess I’m going for a discussion more about the general differences between democrats and republicans versus specifics on Obama and McCain – does that even make sense??

    I hear what you are saying about how the Republican Party has done a pretty poor job of being the poster child for fiscal conservatism the last 8 years, but I don’t think many folks who do beleive in the TRADITIONAL ideal of fiscal conservatism would say the best plan would now be to vote democrat because without a doubt fiscal conservatism IS NOT part of the democratic mantra. Fiscal conservatism and “spread the wealth” do not mesh. Oil and water, you know? What I’m hearing from Republicans in that regard is that McCain is just the lesser of two evils at this point.

    As for the bailout, I don’t really disagree with you, because that is a clear step towards natalism which is not something a proponent of small government (also traditionally a republican stance) wants to see. And I saw Obama and McCain on the same page with saying Ok to that (except maybe that Obama left a voicemail and McCain went into the office and talked to the clerk directly :)

    I have to agree with you as well about the fact that I don’t feel our current two party system is good for America. This is a good time to state that I am, yes, fiscally conservative, but also very socially liberal (pro-life, gay rights, etc.). I think that makes me more of a libertarian, in truth (Ron Paul!).

    Also, I’m going to do a more detailed post on this in a day or two, but I do beleive in government for things like you mentioned – roads, public works, etc. – and also for certain types of regulations. The example I’m going to go into in my upcoming post is with the Truth In Lending Act and how it could have helped (had it been better architected) with the subprime mortgage issues that have had such a huge part in our current economic situation.

    To wrap it up, I think the real goal of my post was more about me and my fleshing out what it is that I beleive. I wanted to do it in writing (and I’ve been thinking a lot today about WHY that is). I’ve always been one to just keep my mouth shut, pretty much, when politics comes up. Not because I don’t have an opinion, but because I’ve never been one to enjoy “rocking the boat”. So, it is only recently that I find I have this urge to express my opinions out loud, with conviction and with the possibility that others may not like it! This is HUGE for me. (Not sure though that I completely understood that that was the reason I wrote that post at the time though.)

    So, please beleive that in making the post my goal was never to change your opinion or leave you feeling attacked (and luckily it sounds like I didn’t do either of those things, whew!) At best, it made you more steadfast in your convictions.

    Lord, this is a ramble and I’m too tired to figure out if it even makes sense 😛

  6. JoyLuck Says:

    I meant PRO-CHOICE. I’m all about the CHOICE in every aspect, not just on this life debate.

  7. Teresa Says:

    Oh, I agree. A fundamental difference between Republicans and Democrats is the idea of spreading the wealth around. Republicans tend to want to give tax breaks, etc. to the wealthy and to corporations and to hope that the wealth trickles down. Democrats want a bunch of social programs that in theory are supposed to help people but often times become crutches and very often become big inefficient bureaucratic morasses of inefficient inefficiencies.

    Here’s the thing – I am, fundamentally, a Democrat (this is not a surprise to you, I know). And I do actually believe in social programs (which means that for me, McCain is not the lesser of two evils!). But I also respect that other people don’t think the way I think (thank goodness, boy this world would be boring – though perhaps I could be the Supreme Ruler and that might be fun!) and I also recognize that much of what I believe is a direct result of the way my parents (huge hippies that they were/are) believe. So while my beliefs are strongly held, I recognize too that they are merely beliefs and not truths.

    So I am glad you are writing. And I am glad you are expressing your political beliefs. I am a firm believer in the marketplace of ideas. One of the problems with living in this liberal enclave is that lots of people end up sitting around agreeing with each other. People don’t challenge each other enough. So you SHOULD speak up more. I don’t speak for all democrats (though again, if we are trying to fill that Supreme Ruler position . . .), but I don’t feel attacked when you express different opinions, nor do I fear that you are trying to change my mind. I guess my point is this – you should write and say what you believe – democrats be damned! No, seriously, it’s good for all of us to hear different points of view. When you stay silent, you are depriving us of the healthy debate in which we should all engage.

    Hope you had a great trip! Looking forward to seeing you!

  8. Carrie Howell Says:

    I agree that one of the quickest ways to alienate people is to post your political opinions on your blog.

  9. Teresa Says:

    Oh, I don’t know. If not on a blog, then where, you know? She’s hardly the only person blogging about her political beliefs these days! (By the way, for a great summary of all the polls, check out http://www.fivethirtyeight.com. Super interesting – ok, full disclosure – it is a bit left-leaning, but there is so much really good statistical info there, it’s worth checking out.).

    The thing is I really do believe what I said – it is good for us (and Carrie, you and I are pretty much on the same page about most political stuff) to hear what other people think, even if we don’t agree with them. Without open discourse, it’s easy for me to get complacent (hence my surprise when GWB was elected not once, but twice!) and also to get a little lazy in my thinking (not saying that YOU, Carrie, are lazy in your thinking at all, I was actually talking about my own tendency to get lazy when everyone agrees with me, and saying it’s good to be challenged – it forces me to think about why I believe what I believe). What we believe (and how comfortable we are discussing what we believe) is a direct result of the families and places in which we grow up.

    Anyway, I, for one, vote for more discourse. Of course, Joy, just to warn you, if you keep writing about this stuff, you are going to have to be ok with me disagreeing with you in your own comment section!

  10. JoyLuck Says:

    I’m perfectly comfortable with you disagreeing, Teresa, with anyone disagreeing for that matter. And if it alienates people, then I guess I have to be okay with that too. After 32 years of worrying about it, I can say that I’m finally at a point where I am okay with it. “You can’t make an omlete without making eggs!” as the saying goes.

    Seriously, though, it’s not fun to think that my feelings alienate people, but as long as I feel that I am doing the best job I can NOT to attack others for their views then I feel like my blog, that is about ME, all aspects of me, is a great place to post my political opinions if I so desire.

  11. JoyLuck Says:

    And, by the way, like 10 comments! That’s a record for this blog!! Yipee :)

  12. Meus Says:

    Re: Teresa

    … and where does Obama expect to get the money to fund his new entitlements? McCain said,” Let’s not raise taxes on anyone.” Obama’s proposals will raise taxes on corporations, small businesses, etc. But you don’t raise taxes on corporations. Corporations pass taxes along to it’s customers who buy it’s goods and services; that’s not too difficult to understand – to do otherwise would mean that the corporation goes out of business and that means job losses for all it’s employees.
    Therefore taxes on corporations are, in actuality, an additional tax on working Americans.
    Obama said his proposal will mean a tax cut for 95% of American families. 40% of American families pay no tax under the current system – this means that these families will receive a government check instead – my tax money going to people who do not earn it and have no incentive to earn since they are receiving a government handout. This is socialism. But then, Obama is a socialist. You said,”… the amount of money people have lost in the value in their 401Ks and other investments over the last few weeks far exceeds any tax raise or break.” Apparently as justification for why it is ok to raise taxes! It should be the last thing you would want to do – to further penalize people with the foresight and perseverance to save for their retirement or other goals by raising their taxes! But that is what Obama is all about as he told Joe the Plumber “We need to spread the wealth around!” You said, “Republicans are proposing to socialize things and expand government in ways we haven’t seen since FDR did during the Great Depression.” This is a strange statement. Democrats are well known for their socializing ways – this is anathema to the Republican mindset! Obama’s policies will guarantee a 1929 type depression – you don’t raise taxes when the economy is in a catastrophic downturn. By the way, FDR was a Democrat!
    Remember, your children will have to live in the future you help determine. Be sure you make the right choice for their sake. Be careful what you wish for!

  13. Teresa Says:

    Meus,

    Well, I’m a Democrat, so I do support Obama. But I definitely do like to hear the other side. I don’t know that I’ll change my mind, but it’s good to consider all sides of the issues.

    A couple of points – yes, McCain said, “let’s not raise anyone’s taxes.” And hey, that’d be great. But realistically, that’s not possible. Our country is in more debt than ever before. We continue to incur more debt daily to pay for two wars. We’ve now signed up to bail out Wall Street and possibly to buy up people’s mortgages. Someone has to pay for those things. And, unfortunately, it is going to be the taxpayer. I hate that that’s true because I didn’t borrow irresponsibly and I didn’t create this mess on Wall Street, but someone – and likely the American taxpayer – will have to pay for it. There is no money left in the coffers. McCain is being disingenuous on this point. Again, I agree, it’d be nice not to raise taxes, but the government will have to raise taxes, not to pay for any promised entitlements, but to pay to get us out of the hole we are in.

    As for raising taxes on small businesses, yes, it is true that under Obama’s plan that will happen, but ONLY if the small business has profits, yes, profits, of $250,000 per year. Salaries paid to owners are an expense, so those don’t count in profits. I’m not saying that justifies a tax increase necessarily, but I’d be interested to see how many small businesses the tax increase will actually affect. I do take the point that if we raise taxes on corporations too much, corporations will leave and do business elsewhere and that’s not good for the American worker. BUT with tax loopholes, the US is currently one of the most corporate friendly countries. Yes, perhaps Obama will change that, we’ll have to see.

    I’m not sure I quite understand the point about people getting a government check, though. And it seems like a plan that lowers taxes for 95% of the country is a good plan, no?

    I do know that FDR was a Democrat (although Herbert Hoover, a Republican, was president when The Great Depression started). And I also know that FDR created enormous social programs. My point was that the current bailout of Wall Street (supported by both Democrats and Republicans, and in particular, supported by our current Republican president) represents the greatest socialization this country has seen since the Great Depression. Yes, I agree that socialization runs counter to Republican ideology – but yet, the Republican president and the Republican presidential nominee support this plan. I’m not saying the plan is a bad one or a good one, my point was simply that by proposing and supporting the plan (and by increasing the size of government by creating additional agency oversight), the Republicans have gotten away from their core values of fiscal conservatism and small government. So I agree with you – the bailout plan SHOULD be an anathema to the Republicans.

    As for my point about the loss in value to investments, no, I didn’t mean it was justification for raising taxes. I merely meant that there are lots of issues and lots of ways that people are losing money in the current economy, taxes is only one of them and not even the largest.

    Anyway, thank you for disagreeing with me! I love the discussion. Like I said in an earlier comment, it helps me clarify why I believe what I believe.

  14. Meus Says:

    It’s an accepted fact that when taxes are lowered the economy grows and the government revenues increase whereas when taxes are increased the economy suffers for numerous reasons and government revenue decreases! Obama’s tax increases do not target the bailout – his proposals were in place before the bailout was considered. His tax increases would be in addition to any taxes targeting the bailout – a true course to a depression. To say that being a Democrat means you support Obama implies that issues don’t matter since being a Democrat is sufficient reason to vote for Obama and overrides any consideration of issues.
    It is possible that taxpayers will
    profit from this intervention as was done following the S&L bailout.
    Because there are tax loopholes is not justification for raising corporate taxes. The proper way to handle this is to eliminate loopholes, not raise taxes. To say that US is currently one of the most corporate friendly countries is disingenuous. And we don’t have to see what Obama will do – vote for McCain – you can be sure what he will do.
    For Obama to say that he will lower taxes for 95% of American families when 40% pay no taxes is a misrepresentation. He can’t LOWER their taxes – what he will do is have the government write them a check when they have done nothing to earn it and have no incentive to do anything to earn anything – it’s FREE! That’s socialism – giving someone’s hard earned money to someone who has done nothing to earn it!
    Small businesses that have profits use those funds to grow their business – to hire more employees and provide more services. Is it wise to penalize success
    for businesses that are growing jobs in a bad economy? I think not.
    The contention that Republications and the current administration are responsible for the greatest socialization this country has seen ignores the fact that many MORE Democrats voted for the plan than did Republicans and both Obama and McCain were for it. This contention is a puzzle: as though the Democrats and Obama had no part in it. The plan was supposedly bi-partisan
    And the plan as first proposed by Democrats even had a provision for earmarks to Acorn.
    Meus Visum

  15. Teresa Says:

    Joy – look what you’ve started! We are up to 15 comments when I post this!!!

    Meus –
    No, no, I definitely do think the issues matter. It’s just that Obama’s stance on the issues is closer to mine than McCain’s. I will say, too, that I really used to respect McCain. I didn’t always agree with what he said, but I thought he was a principled straight talker. Since he won his party’s nomination, I think he has lost his way. But even if I COULD have voted for him, and realistically, I may never vote for a Republican (and that’s true because I do believe in funding social programs and I don’t mind if my taxes go up to do it, even though I recognize that there are big huge problems with some of our existing programs, and I do want the government to stay out of my personal life, and that may make me a socialist, but I’m ok with that), but McCain’s pick of Palin as a running mate was the final straw. I will grant you that McCain is experienced. He knows the issues, he’s been around a long time, he’s served his country well, and he might even make a good president. He certainly has more foreign policy experience than Obama. But he is also the oldest man to run for a first term. And he has been diagnosed with a kind of cancer for which the prognosis is usually five years to live. I don’t wish him any ill will at all. I hope he lives a long and full life (especially if he does get elected!). But if something did happen to him, Palin isn’t ready to be president. Obama might not be either, but he at least has demonstrated an interest about the national political scene and an intellectual curiosity about the issues that will face the President. Palin – not so much. In addition, I find her coded rhetoric bordering on racist. She stands in front of crowds and doesn’t calm people down or correct them when they yell that Obama is a terrorist and to “kill him” and that’s a really huge problem for me. McCain, to his credit, didn’t stand for that at a recent rally. So I am as much voting against Palin as I am voting for Obama.

    One interesting thing, though, on the economy – in “Unequal Democracy,” by Princeton academic Larry Bartels, the non-partisan and non-political Bartels points out after an exhaustive study of Democratic and Republican presidents that the Democrats built a better economy and a more just society.

    On your point about the government writing a check to those who don’t pay taxes, I hadn’t seen that point. Will you post a link to that? I do agree that that is troubling and I do agree that would be problematic.

    About the bailout, no, I wasn’t saying Democrats don’t support it. Of course they do. But Democrats aren’t anti-big government and aren’t known for fiscal conservatism. I guess the point I was trying to make – albeit ineffectively it seems – is that the current Republicans in office are not staying true to Republican ideals. Originally, I was trying to say that I think I would be frustrated (and indeed, my far more right-leaning husband is frustrated) if I valued those things because those values aren’t being reflected in the Republicans in office or in the candidates. I am not saying that Obama is a better choice on those issues – he clearly is not. But that’s not what his party stands for, so his position isn’t inconsistent.

    Here’s the thing – I respect you and your right to vote for the candidate who aligns with your ideology. I respect that you are calling me out on the things I’m saying. I need to be called out. I still believe what I’ve said and what I am saying, but as I said in an earlier comment, while my beliefs are strongly held, I recognize that they are beliefs and not truths.

  16. JoyLuck Says:

    Teresa and Meus, you are both so well spoken in what you beleive. I wish I could relay my thoughts so clearly. There is a lot of good stuff here to think about, an unintended consequense but bonus of making this post, I guess.

    A lot of political points have been made here that I’d love to comment on, but I find I want to expand on something Teresa said, which really resonnates with me:

    “I still believe what I’ve said and what I am saying, but . . . while my beliefs are strongly held, I recognize that they are beliefs and not truths.”

    I’m a novice at the art of being able to state what I beleive as clearly as the two of you. For me, it’s like, I can’t really define them so well, but I know ’em when I see ’em!

    This post was my first attempt to state, to no one but myself really, that I’m a capitalist, I beleive in the markets and I beleive in limited government. I know I beleive in choice and so that tends to make me socially liberal (though I beleive in my right to bear arms if I so choose, which is traditionally a conservative stance). And, I don’t especailly favor laws or bans. I think I could best describe myself as Libertarian, but I’m recently learning more about it so I’m not 100% sure yet.

    There is a lot of weight that comes with making a political post (will I offend? who will I offend? should I be silent for fear I might offend? etc.), but at the same time a weight was lifted off me to be able to say, “To hell with it, this is what I think!” – At least for now :) Life is, (hopefully) long and I hope I still have much to learn. La donna e mobile! (The woman is fickle!)

    Anyway, y’all don’t mind me. As you were. I’m really just an observer at this point, enjoying the education.

  17. Meus Says:

    Teresa,
    You said,” She (Sarah Palen) stands in front of crowds and doesn’t calm people down or correct them when they yell that Obama is a terrorist and to “kill him” and that’s a really huge problem for me.” However there is little evidence that this ever happened. One reporter made that statement and no one at the rally heard that and surely Sarah Palen didn’t hear it! There is plenty of room for doubt that this ever happened.
    This sentence confounds me,” I find her coded rhetoric bordering on racist…” I guess this depends on YOUR code book. It seems to me that there are people who will vote for Obama because they are afraid if they don’t they will be viewed as “raciest.” And there are others who will vote for him because he is black and some who will not vote for him because he is black..
    Perhaps all these are raciest – certainly not non-raciest. Obama said something to the effect that “They will say I am black, that I don’t look like others on the dollar bill…” If that’s not raciest I don’t know what is!
    To say that Sarah Palen is not qualified to be President when Obama is qualified is disingenuous. I would feel much safer with Palin as president than Obama. Palen has executive experience as governor of the state of Alaska
    where she MAKES decisions. She is commander-in-chief of the National Guard. She has a son in Iraq. Obama has never served his country – not in the military, not in the National Guard. What qualifies him as potential Commander-in-Chief? Obama has, to his detriment, denied that the “surge” is working but supposedly is a proponent of the same strategy in Afghanistan.
    Purely political expediency.Obama WAS a community organizer and a supporter of Acorn which is under investigation in numerous states for voter fraud. He has unsavory relationships with William Ayres and Reverend Jeremiah Wright among others. He could not get a job in the defense department because he could not get a security clearance. He has little experience as a Senator, initiated no legislation and votes straight party lines – he has no bipartisan record but McCain does.
    I agree that Republicans now in office are not true to form but McCain is not typical of these Republicans. However Obama is from the same mold as Nancy Peloski and Harry Reid.
    Most voters seem to think the economy is the major issue. It is not. A terrorist attack with a dirty bomb could decimate the economy not to mention the number of lives it would cost. It is essential that we win the war on terrorism.
    If we lose nothing else matters; prepare to be a Muslim or to be dead. Obama will cause us to lose that war. McCain will not.
    http://www.liberallyconservative.com/?p=2577
    Meus Visum

  18. Teresa Says:

    Meus –

    Well, I think one thing we can probably agree upon is that we are unlikely to change each other’s mind about this stuff! So I will say only one thing.

    I think we need to be careful about holding against the candidates the people with whom they associate. For example, we could hold against McCain his associations with Charles Keating (who was convicted in state and federal courts of many counts of fraud, racketeering and conspiracy) or G. Gordon Liddy (who masterminded the break-in in the DNC headquarters and who served four and half years for his role in the burglary). I hope that despite his friendships with both men, McCain doesn’t support the actions of either of them and therefore, I will not hold those friendships against him when I consider who I will vote for. Both candidates appear to have associated with people who have made bad choices and who have done bad things. So I am not sure that is a useful path to go down when looking at either candidate.

    Anyway, I wish you a good voting day on November 4th. I doubt we will vote for the same candidate, but I am glad to live in a country where we have a choice, you know?

  19. Meus Says:

    McCain’s association with Keating was investigated by a congressional committee McCain was declared not guilty of any wrongdoing. McCain has been “completely open” about his relationship with G. Gorden Liddy and is not of his mindset. Obama had tried to deny any relationship he had with Ayers stating that they were on a committee together and the “now respected” Chicago professor had been an early supporter despite Ayres statement in 2001 that he should have done more (bombings).
    There has been no investigation of Obama’s association with Ayres or with Acorn.
    He was a member of Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s congregation for 20 years – a pastor who said “…GD America!”
    Associations are important – ask any gang member! It is important to know who the associations of a candidate for President of the United States are – Perhaps a voter will decide that such associations are not relevant but is important to know the extent of such associations! Most Americans would not want to associate with a domestic terrorist!

    This is a quote:
    Americans for Tax Reform today released the following “top five” facts related to the Obama tax hike on small businesses:
    1. Two-thirds of small business profits are earned in households making more than $250,000 per year — the very households Obama is shouting from the rooftops that he will raise taxes on (Source: IRS Statistics of Income Bulletin*). Small business profits are used to create jobs and invest in America. This is the answer to the Obama campaign’s irrelevant claim that the number of small businesses affected will be small – the fact is that the bulk of profits will face a tax hike.
    2. Small businesses pay income taxes at the household level. This means that the Obama plan to raise tax rates is a direct tax hike on small businesses — sole proprietorships, partnerships, S-corporations, and family farms
    3. The tax rate on the lion’s share of small business income could
    reach 54.9 percent under a President Obama (the individual top rate will climb from 35 percent to 39.6 percent and the Social Security/Medicare tax rate could climb from 2.9 percent to 15.3 percent. Put those together, and you get 54.9 percent) (Source: http://www.barackobama.com)
    4. This 54.9 percent tax rate would be the highest since the Carter
    Administration, when America suffered through double-digit inflation and unemployment (Source: Congressional Budget Office)
    5. America’s 26 million small businesses employers give a paycheck to 116 million employees (Source: Census Bureau). When small business taxes go up, millions of these employees will be at risk of being laid off.
    “Obama’s tax increases will only affect you if you have a 401(k), have any savings, buy things from small businesses or are looking for a job,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “If you fall into one of these categories, his policies will screw you. Otherwise, you’re fine.”
    * “Small business profits” is equal to the net profits less net losses of sole proprietors, S-corporation shareholders, and partners. According to the IRS, two-thirds of these small business profits are earned in households with adjusted gross income (AGI) equal to or greater than $200,000. In 2006, $473 billion of the $706 billion (two-thirds) of small business profits was earned in households Obama has said he would raise tax rates on.

    End of Quote
    And this will happen in a down economy insuring a deepening recession!

    Meus Visum

  20. JoyLuck Says:

    Those are some scary statistics. You’re stressing me out, Meus!

  21. Suzanne Says:

    For your information, Joy, although I hope you’ve looked into it yourself.

    http://www.atr.org/home/about/index.html
    “ATR [Americans for Tax Reform] is a nonprofit, 501(c)(4) lobbying organization.”

  22. JoyLuck Says:

    Thanks Suzanne. Meus pointed me to it in his previous post. Was not aware of it before then though.

  23. Suzanne Says:

    It’s worth comparing their data to a non-partisan group’s data, especially since the statistics are “scary,” as you say.

  24. RF Says:

    Interesting

  25. JoyLuck Says:

    From author John Scalzi:

    The reader who believes a fiction author should keep his or her opinions to themselves is effectively (if generally unintentionally) saying “You exist only to amuse me. You are not allowed to do anything else.” To which the only rational response is: blow me. I’m not going to hesitate to add my voice to the national dialogue on any subject just because someone somewhere might not be happy with what I have to say. And more to the point, I think it is bad and dangerous thinking for people to suggest that fiction writers should have to live in a black box of opinion. The idea that writing fiction somehow obliges or even just encourages a vow of silence on any subject, politics or otherwise, that might offend someone somewhere, is flatly odious.

  26. Meus Says:

    “Assuming that Obama captures 35 percent of white voters, 95 percent of black voters, and 60 percent of “other” voters, the change in the racial composition of the electorate since the first of the year is worth a net of about 1.5 points to Obama in his race against McCain.” (Nate Silver)

    1. Why are 95% of black voters for Obama?
    Obviously because they have carefully examined the issues and have determined that Obama is right on the issues. The other 5% are as obviously misguided- not considering the issues…
    2. Why are 65 percent of white voters not voting for Obama?
    Obviously because they are not addressing the issues but, instead, are voting against Obama for purely raciest reasons!
    3. The same reasoning as 2. applies to 40 percent of “other voters” who, misguidedly, are unwilling to vote for a black candidate no matter what the issues.

    Go Obama!

    Meus Visum

  27. Meus Says:

    Obama elected?
    Atlas Shrugged…

    Meus Visum

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