Saturday, October 20, 2012

Barack Obama for Another Four Years

Some of my friends and family will not be voting for Obama. Many others won't be voting for him either. It surprises me that any citizen can vote against Obama. Or that anyone can vote for Romney. Here is why I am for Obama.

Our country is heading is the right direction with Obama. Being an older guy - I had a different Romney sticker on my car in 1968 - perhaps I take a longer view. History is important.

So I look at the dire situation this country was in at the time GM was facing bankruptcy. Job losses were huge. The stock market was losing value. Personal wealth and in particular home values were going negative. The world was on the brink of a depression. The Democratic team in government moved us away from this doom. So I am for Obama.

The deficit and the debt is a threat but to solve either unemployment must be lower. First, employment is heading in the right direction. Look at these charts and situation either candidate will face in January. Lower unemployment. Booming housing market. And better consumer confidence. The United States is back thanks to the last four years. So I am for Obama.

But back to the deficit and debt. People often talk about these together and they are two different problems. So I want to focus on the deficit and then the debt. First the current situation is not dire given the historically low interest rates that treasuries are now paying. Second, the deficit is being reduced because of the economic situation I just mentioned. Third, is there any reason to believe that a Republican administration can reduce the deficit? History shows us that Democrats are better able to do this than Republicans. Just look at Clinton's surpluses verus Bush's deficits. Fourth, tax cut will not reduce the deficit - see Ben Stien on Fox and Friends. So I am for Obama.

Now to the debt. Politician are right to talk about this as something that we leave our children. Politicians tend to kick problems down the road. Our current debt crisis is overwhelming a result of the previous Republican President, Vice President and Congress. Look at this one chart that shows the huge problems caused by the Bush tax cuts and the unbudgeted wars. Romney's and Ryan's support of continuing the tax cuts is the wrong direction. So I am for Obama.

Science advances our civilization. The anti-intellectual leanings of the previous Republican administration is not something I want to go back to. Embracing the anti-climate change views is just one example. Steven Chu appointment as Secretary of Energy is one example of were professionalism mattered for this administration. So I am for Obama.

Less government is a nice rallying call. But often people say this when they really mean that they don't trust government. But let's first look at less government. Government employment is down. Here is the chart showing public sector employment.  Part of the reason we have a slow recovery is because we have taken the path of less government. But you cannot want less government and then blame Obama for slow recovery too. So I am for Obama.

The social conservatives really don't believe is less government. They are against gay marriage. Defense of Marriage Act was so misnamed. They don't want individuals make decisions on abortion. Andrew Sullivan has called this out over the years. So I am for Obama.

Trust in government. Is government more efficient that the marketplace? No. But does that mean that every function of government should be privatized. Absolutely not. Look at the poor history of chartered schools. Look at the problems with military and semi-military contractors. Look a prisions. A company running a prison wants more business and not to find a way to reduce the prison population. So I trust government. I understand that you may not. But I do. So I am for Obama.

The disgrace of voter suppression and  non-existant voter fraud must be blamed on the Republicans. The voter id laws that Republican legislatures have passed is one of the most anti-democratic acts that I can remember in my lifetime. How can any candidate support this? It is unpopular to be against voter id but the Department of Justice has acted. So I am for Obama.

The other disgrace of the last few years has been the Republican Congress. During their first year of a majority in the House they did virtually nothing for job creation. They passed bills isolely for publicity and not to help the country. Their unified stance to be against anything the President recommended was selfish and echoes of the legislative problems in Congress pre-civil war. Obama has some blame as Woodward points out in his book. This situation worries me greatly. But many individual Republicans in Congress took this stand. So I am for Obama.

Libya may have been Obama's finest hour contrary to what we are now seeing in the news. I believe history will show Hillary Clinton as an outstanding Secretary of State. This is speculation and history will decide. But there should be little doubt that our relationship with our allies is improved. Our country is still paying for the reckless acts of the neocons of the previous administration who are Romney's advisors. So I am for Obama.

Even if one was opposed to any war, one must support our vets who bear the consequences. Though I have not studied this issue, it appear that this administration has supported vets better than any previous administration. So I am for Obama.

Obamacare. I am so glad to see Obama embrace this label. It maybe is legacy. It is hard to understate the positive impact of this legislation. Study the issue of pre-existing conditions. Study health insurance in other developed countries and the United States looks backwards. While I don't think it went far enough, I certainly don't want it repealed. So I am for Obama.

"Just trust me, I have a secret plan." I've heard that before. Recent news about George McGovern remind us that Nixon said the same about the Vietnam War. And we trusted Nixon? History has a strange way of repeating itself, or being so perceived. I'm not for Obama because of this, but Romney's asking for trust scares me.

Drones and privacy. I don't think either candidate speaks for where we should be going as a country related to these two issues.

One side point to keep this all in perspective. NPR pulled together an all-star team of economists to create a dream candidate based on economic policies they could all support. If enacted we could be a better country. But as you'll read, it is probably impossible to have any of these policies enacted just as single payer healthcare is unlikely.

And a final note. This is a billion dollar campaign and too much money corrupts. Lawrence Lessing's book Republic Lost details this. The ability to raise money is seen as an indicator of a successful candidate. I don't this our forefathers thought so. Obama has called for a constitutional amendment that is probably too small of a step. But it is the right direction. So I am for Obama.

Conventional wisdom is that incumbents had to run on their record. Thus, much of the above relates to the last four years. Foes argue that we need a plan for the next four years. Previous actions are the best indicator. I'd like to see the policies of the last four years continue for another four years.

I'd like to see the economy continue to recover. I'd like to see social progress continue. I'd like to see us continue our current foreign policy and withdraw from the battle field. I'd like to see Obamacare fully implemented. So I am for Obama.

I understand that you may not agree, but I hope you do.

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