Friday, October 17, 2008

My Wasted Vote

I need to take a break from looking through Obama and McCain's campaign platforms. Poring through pages of broken plans and ill conceived ideas is tiring and frustrating. I want to talk about my wasted vote.

As my other blog articles (and the intro to this one) indicate, I'm no big fan of John McCain or Barack Obama. The two party system in place in this country has repeatedly failed us, and will continue to do so for as long as it exists. The republicans and democrats can push forward any two misfits they find, and people vote for them because we think they're the only choices.

I don't think most people are voting for the person they think is best for the job. Honestly, I don't think most people vote for a candidate. I would say it's more accurate that they're voting against the other guy. I think the most common justification for voting a certain way is, "At least he isn't as bad as ."

At some point the political parties must have realized that this is the case. The campaigns are completely geared towards showing that they are not each other, the current administration, or "the good ol' boy network", but they don't really tell you who their candidates are. It's because they don't want you to know.

I could not live with myself if I voted for Obama or McCain, so I'm voting third party.

If I looked at voting like everybody else, my vote would be completely ineffective. Most people don't know who my candidate is, much less that he is running for president. He has no chance of winning. My vote won't be used to assure 'the other guy' doesn't get elected. If one candidate wins by one vote I could be deemed responsible. So, is my vote wasted?

The lesser of two evils is still evil. As I said, I cannot possibly vote for Obama or McCain. My choice is between not voting at all and voting my conscience. It's a pretty easy choice. Perhaps we would get some better candidates to choose from if everybody actually voted for the candidate they thought was the best. Campaigns may even focus more on the issues. Third party candidates could become viable. At the very least, we would all be able to stand up and be proud of who we voted for instead of hoping somebody better comes along next time.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Election Issues - The Economy (Part 2, Housing)

The housing market in the United States has been in a downward spiral for quite awhile now. Many Americans are very concerned about this topic and want to know what the the next president will do about it.

John McCain wants to institute a "HOME Plan", enabling those with mortgages in default to trade them in for kinder, simpler mortgages. Basically, all you've got to do is stop paying your mortgage for a few months and go fill out a form at the post office. The old mortgage goes away, and you get a new one based on the current market value of your home. I can't even imagine the ways in which this will be abused.

First, be a deadbeat. This plan is only open to those that don't pay their bills, so it obviously encourages people to default on their loans. Quit your job, stop paying the bills. Don't worry, your socialist republicans will take care of you. After you get your mortgage bills lowered you can try to get a job as a flagman on unneeded road construction sites.

Second, depress housing values. If you want to get the most out of this deal you've got to make your "current market value" as low as possible. Stop cutting the grass. Park an old car in the yard, put it up on blocks, and just for good measure, burn it. You'll have your cheap mortgage in no time flat. It's even better if you have good neighbors, you can encourage them to trash their houses too. If you turn the neighborhood into a slum that's got to get you a better mortgage. In real estate, it's always location, location, location.

Barack Obama's plan to adjust your mortgage payments isn't quite as blatant. What he wants to do is allow the bankruptcy courts to adjust your mortgage payments. It's not quite as simple as going to the post office, but if you're willing to give an unscrupulous lawyer a cut of your windfall you can have a cheaper mortgage in your Obama presidency.

Don't worry about all the money you're taking away from the banks with these plans. We've already given them over 700 billion dollars, and I'm sure we'll come up with some more when they need another $1,000,000 hotel suite or $500,000 hunting trip.

Both candidates have plans to regulate the mortgage industry and to place protections against mortgage fraud. I may be wrong, but thought we already had laws about fair lending practices and protections against fraud. I seem to remember signing a dozen or so papers to that effect the last time I bought a house. There was one sheet in particular, called the lending disclosure statement, that summed up my entire mortgage including monthly payment amounts, interest rates, loan term (or length), early payoff penalties, and the total cost over the life of the loan. Unless I'm very much mistaken, this is a pretty good protection against fraud. Either the disclosure is right, in which case it isn't fraudulent; or the disclosure is wrong, in which case you can take them to court. Why do we need another law there?

The simple fact is that people signed mortgages that they couldn't afford, and banks loaned money that they couldn't afford to lose. The government will only make this worse with further legislative bailouts. These measures teach both banks and individuals that it's o.k. to do stupid things because the government will swoop in with $700 billion and new mortgages for everybody! When being wrong has no consequences there's no incentive to be right.

Election Issues - The Economy (Part 1, Taxes)

In my last post I showed that the two party system has given us two candidates that are both, in effect, pro-abortion. In my opinion, the daily slaughter of innocent unborn children is the most important issue, but let's see which one of these candidates can fix the economy.


Barack Obama plans to immediately spend $50 billion. Half of it is slated to go to the states, and the other half is supposed to save jobs.

The states are expected to lower tolls, taxes, etc., and use their half of this money to make up for the lost revenue. I can guarantee this won't happen. Once the states have this new money they'll find a way to spend it. This is a clear cut case of the federal government stealing our tax money just to give it back to us, and we don't even get it back in the end.

The other $25 billion, going to job growth, will be similarly wasted. A reincarnation of the Great Society, this money is supposed to be used to repair bridges, roads, schools, etc. I will agree that the government has the responsibility to build infrastructure, but these jobs will be created and the money spent whether it's actually needed or not. Most likely we'll see two extra flagmen sitting around on barrels at every road construction site. Remember me fondly when you see it happen, and remember that you're helping to pay those guys whether you like it or not.

Obama also plans to give a $500 tax credit per person or $1000 per working family. He wants to completely eliminate income taxes for seniors making less than $50,000. According to his website these two actions would eliminate 37 million people from paying taxes. I'm all for tax cuts whenever we can get them, but businesses and those that don't qualify for tax free life will be picking up the tab for the lucky ones. Also, it's probable that 37 million is a low number. As people live longer and more people achieve retirement age the number of people dropping off the books will grow.

Obama's biggest tax proposal isn't designed to save us money at all, but rather to save us time. He wants to revamp the entire system so all your tax forms are pre-filled by your employer(s) and bank(s), "so that millions of Americans will be able to do their taxes in less than five minutes." This sounds great, doesn't it? Oh, except for you small business owners who will be doing countless amounts of extra paperwork every year. Oh, and those who discover errors on their pre-prepared forms. What fun it will be to try to get that fixed. Oh, and it might not be great for anybody else either. Every business, bank, and employer will find a way to pass the additional cost down to you.

Politically, Obama's plans are brilliant. Everybody wants a tax cut, and Obama's people know that seniors vote in greater percentages than any other age group. Everybody wants life to be simpler, and nobody likes going through all those forms at tax time. It all sounds great, until it isn't. That doesn't even account for the parts of the plan he isn't advertising, or how he plans to pay for it all.

As conservatives, we are expected to know that Republicans are better with the economy. John McCain's tax plan must be better.

McCain doesn't propose an income tax cut, but he claims that he'll make it harder for congress to raise taxes. Not much to write home about, and I don't think he can pull it off. Nothing can stop congress from raising taxes when they have a mind to.

He wants to ban taxes on the internet, new cell phone taxes, and cut the corporate tax rate; which are reasonable things, but not major changes.

McCain throws in his own plans to reduce Medicare costs and an unspecified plan to simplify the tax system. These are arguably not as politically effective as Obama's plans, but the effects would likely be equivalent.

Neither tax plan looks good at this point. McCain tries to be a realist by not promising a lot of things that he can't deliver, but I don't think he can deliver even the small things that he has promised. Obama's plans are grander and sound more refined at first, but they would have devastating effects. I couldn't vote for any of these guys based on their tax plans.

Edit: I would like to note that McCain's tax simplification proposal is designed to be optional, so you can still use the existing system. Most of us would probably still need to figure our taxes the old way every year just to see which one will save us the most money. It actually adds complication to the process. Thanks for the headache, John McCain.

To be continued...

Election Issues - Abortion

I wanted to take some time to examine the positions of the Presidential candidates, but I may not have time to get to all the issues. I'll start here with a look on their beliefs about abortion and see if I have time to do more.

On the Presidential debate tonight, both candidates said that they have no litmus test when it comes to abortion. Barack Obama stated that he supports Roe v. Wade, and John McCain expressed his position that it was "a bad judicial decision."

What does this mean? I think everybody knows that Obama actually does have a litmus test. Think about it. Can you honestly picture him appointing a conservative pro-life judge? Of course not. Obama has long been an advocate for abortion, including late term and partial birth abortions. Barack Obama seems to love abortions of any kind, at any time, by anyone, for any reason.

O.k., but what about John McCain? He's our conservative pro-life champion, right? Not so fast. McCain said he doesn't have a litmus test for judges. McCain wants the states to decide the abortion issue. This is erroneous thinking, the states shouldn't have the right to legalize murder. This is a political ploy by McCain, there's now no need for him to take a stand on abortion. We have heard the 'no litmus test' and 'state's rights' arguments from candidates before. It has always ended with them picking liberal pro-abortion judges.

Incidentally; McCain's running mate, Sarah Palin, always believed that there should be a federal law against abortion. That is, until she was chosen as the Vice Presidential running mate. Now she believes the burden should be placed upon the states as well. Convenient, don't ya think?

What all this means is that neither candidate is willing to protect the unborn child. Neither candidate will even attempt to save one unborn life as President of the United States. If you are truly pro-life you can't reasonably choose either one of these guys.