I disagree with Hightower.

What you will find here is: a centrist's view of current events;
a collection of thoughts, arguments, and observations
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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Campaign 2012 Obama Domestically

A continuing description of the candidates in several aspects of the job.  I am putting this up, not for your benefit, but for mine. I am soliciting your comments in the hopes of improving my own perspective.
See also Campaign 2012 Obama Foreign Policy for thoughts on that.

In domestic policy the thing that I wanted from Obama was NHI (= national health insurance.)  I would have preferred that it be a single payer thing and that the financing be honest.  See YA NHI1 and YA NHI2 

Of course we did not get NHI, but we got ACA which I consider to be a giant step in that direction.  We also did not get a fiscally sound system.  The second shortcoming of ACA is part of the more general fiscal problem.
With respect to the giant step.  I believe that we have not had NHI because of our system of employer provided health insurance.  People are afraid of what they do not know and so they cling to what they have.  The ACA offers employers a very good deal if they decide to not offer health insurance to their employees: a $2,000 “fine” instead of a $5,000 to $15,000 health care plan.  Hmmm - I wonder which they will choose.  Within a few years there will be far less employer provided health insurance.  Shortly after that we will have national health insurance.

I give a lot of credibility to the argument that we were in a very deep hole when Obama came in.  We are coming back.  They tell me that when the recession comes from a failure in the financial industry, then the comeback is slower. 

I understand that Obama could not get any more stimulus than he did, but it should have been spent on infrastructure rather than tax cuts (Republicans) and bailing out state governments (Democrats).  [Just on that thought, I too am a national debt worrier.  Perhaps even a "Krugman denier".  But there are limits.  Scheduled, short term debt is different.  More and more people are pointing out the lunacy of our not taking advantage of the following:  we have high unemployment, major infrastructure needs, and money that the Fed. Govt. can borrow for 10 years at less than 2%.  When the gods make you an offer that you can’t refuse, don’t refuse it!  We could borrow and spend a trillion dollars, earmark Obama’s tax on the rich (or something else) to pay it back over ten years. You can do that for a total interest cost of 11% of the loan.]

I blame the Republicans for the profligacy of continuing the “Bush tax cuts”, the Democrats for the subprime mortgage fiasco which the government financed and which has not yet been unwound, and both of them for constructing a financial system which includes entities which were too big to fail.   They have not fixed any of these things.  (Capitalism without failure is an oxymoron.  If a company is too big to fail it is too big to exist.  Break it up.)

The GM-Chrysler thing is something that I cannot judge – whether Romney’s direct bankruptcy and then refinancing was essentially the same as Obama’s except that the unions got a special deal from Obama which was funded by the government. (We still own a lot of GM.)

Obama’s attitude toward business worries me.  Like so many liberals he gives the impression that, if he had his druthers, he would really like to have his capitalism without so damn many capitalists in it.  The context from which his little “you didn’t build it” line came is more troubling to me than the line itself. “You say you worked hard.  There are a lot of hard workers out there.”  Seriously, what exactly is the conclusion that we are going for here?  (If you are going to answer this, go a little deeper than – “there is luck involved”.  Who among us does not know that there is luck in life?)  Seriously, if you were going to talk to people about what goes into starting a business, wouldn’t you at least mention risk?  And it is not just business.  A lot of successful people had to take risks to be where they are.  For example, if you are a doctor then you have all of the costs of the ten years of schooling beyond HS and the cost to live during those ten years.  But, perhaps the biggest thing is that you go for those 10 years without earnings, without building up any savings, without building up any equity in a home.  And nobody guarantees that you will actually become a doctor.

The main negative for Obama in this area is the fiscal problem.  I believe this is a very serious problem.  Not just the “fiscal cliff” that you hear about on TV from those who don’t know the difference between the debt and the deficit.  I mean the long term short fall.   I am not convinced that he takes it seriously. 

We the people have been borrowing and spending all of this money, not just in the recession, we have been doing this for years.  Who is doing it:  the “great middle class.”  That is the POWER in this country.  Who will speak truth to POWER? The politicians have been pandering to that POWER.  Listen to how often all of them talk about how they are going to protect the great middle class.  It is a constant pandering which is hard for us to hear because they are pandering to US. 
The left wants a larger government.  An honest liberal will tell me (or at least give me a signal) that to achieve his vision (with fiscal responsibility) we will need serious tax increases on the middle class (as well as the rich).  I have not heard that from Obama.  In fact what I have been hearing from Obama is a litany of promises to maintain all of the goodies that the various groups get from the government.
The right wants a smaller government. An honest conservative will tell me (or at least give me a signal) that to achieve his vision (with fiscal responsibility) we will need to cut some programs that are dear to my middle class heart and pocketbook.  I have heard that from Romney’s first choice: Paul Ryan.

grade B (revised from a C 10-9-12)

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