It has been almost seven years since the Blog Things I’ve Noticed opened its doors (or rather its web pages. ) A lot has changed in that time both for me personally and for our world at large. But one thing has remained consistent. The world has not changed my “liberal progressivism” as I’ll call it. (That’s right, I’m proud to be a Liberal.) From logic, compassion, and my slowly developing wisdom, I’ve decided that it is the best way for our country to move forward. And for that reason, the staff at Things I’ve Noticed is endorsing Barack Obama for President of The United States in the election on November 6th, 2012. I am staying away from too charts or statistics which can be sliced and diced to make any point. Rather, I’m leveraging logic and principles to make the case that the re-election of Obama is important to keep our country moving forward.A lot has been made of the notion that Obama’s spending hasn’t done anything for the economy but many economists point to the fact it did work and it prevented our economy from going into a depression. Much of the debt that was generated was necessary debt because it made up for the loaning of money that banks stopped doing which had stalled the economy.
Regarding tax cuts for the rich, even intelligent wealthy people like Warren Buffet and Bill Gates realize that tax rates for the rich have to be increased. For the government not do so is like a person telling himself that he doesn’t want a higher salary and he’ll reduce his personal debt anyway by not spending on essentials that take care of his family. Republicans constantly lie about the impact that raising personal tax rates on people who make over $250,000 would have on small business owners and their hiring practices. The truth is that it only would affect less than 5% of small business owners. And hiring by executives who work for corporations and make over $250K would not be impacted because corporate tax brackets are completely separate. Obama has said he will lower corporate tax rates while encouraging companies to create jobs in the U.S. Regardless, if maintaining these tax cuts for the “job creators” is so important, then why have the tax cuts not led the supposed job creators to create jobs? They often claim economic uncretainty but when is there ever not uncertainty? Certainly record corporate profits could cushion this supposedly unprecedented uncertainty. If anything, our economy can only get better. One possibility is that many of these executives aren’t hiring because they’re trying to make Obama look bad and they’re holding out on hiring until they get their man in office. Or alternatively, they’re doubling or tripling up job responsibilities and squeezing people to work harder… or else. And people who have families to support have no choice but to do so. In general, when people advocate raising taxes on themselves, their motivation is to benefit the nation with a long-term focus. That’s a motivation I trust more than one that drives people to want to line their own pockets. Many of the wealthy are looking out for themselves. This is clear when one looks at the amounts of money that are donated to the Republicans. They are much higher on average than amounts donated to Democrats. There are corporate juggernauts like the Koch brothers who contribute millions of dollars to the Romney campaign. That just shows that they are passionate about donating because they know that they’ll get a good return on their investment by way of tax cuts for the rich.
Romney was caught admitting that he didn’t really care about the 47% of the people who supposedly feel entitled but interestingly, he now he says he cares about the middle class. He even mentions “trickle down government.” That is a huge bastardization of the term “trickle-down” from a man who advocates cutting taxes for the wealthy while mentioning cutting tax deductions that will have to impact the middle class. He won’t even admit which tax deductions he would do away with. Chances are they will hit the middle class hard. But Romney wants your middle class vote before he tells you how he’s going to screw you over. Income disparities have widened with these tax cuts for the rich because so little has trickled down.
I find it ironic that so many members of the so-called “religious right” would want to repeal Obamacare. There is no religion or humanist philosophy that advocates letting people die when there is an abundance of wealth and medical care all around this great country of ours. What would Jesus do? He would certainly not complain about raising taxeson wealthy people and tell poor people they must die because others and their government don’t care about them. I’m not Christian but I know that much.
As a male feminist, I believe that women’s rights should be a major concern for everybody, not just women. The Lily Ledbetter Act was opposed and filibustered by Republicans in the Senate. Romney would do what he could to restrict abortion in ways that would push women who want them to have them done illegally and more dangerously. Birth control and sex education are all at stake when the religious right takes over. Gay rights are another issue that people should consider. I am one hundred percent convinced that being gay is natural just like race. To discriminate against people who happen to be gay violates their human rights. I know people have religious convictions on this but in the end, if there were two kinds of government-recognized unions and we called one straight marriage and the other something like gay “mar-union,” there would not be such an uproar. And semantics shouldn’t get in the way of human rights.
Energy independence is something that Obama wants to reach through our country reducing usage as well as using the resources we have. Reducing usage will keep us from needing an addition to the Keystone pipeline and all the environmental risks it poses. Most of the job creation would be temporary. Another BP style oil spill can’t be risked and it’s interesting how the Republicans generally oppose corporate oversight of environmental regulations. Many people blame Obama for high gasoline prices but he can’t control the price. It’s not as if the prices haven’t gone up globally. Obama is not president of the world. If anything regulation of oil speculation would control prices better than energy policies. But of course, Republicans oppose such measures.
Another Republican philosophy is to privatize many of the institutions that government currently runs because apparently, the government can’t do anything right. Can you imagine what would have happened to the livelihoods of senior citizens if Social Security had been privatized like George W. Bush had wanted to do? Many of our seniors would have been left out in the cold after the Great Recession in 2008. And now they want to do the same with Medicare. This would be dangerous (especially if Romney wins and Obamacare is repealed.) Access to health care for seniors and poor people would be controlled by the health insurance companies. Those with pre-existing conditions would be denied coverage or have prohibitively expensive premiums. And now after hurricane Sandy, we see that Romney flip-flopped or won’t answer questions about what he’d dowith FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Authority.) He and his Republican cohorts would have the states take care of emergencies with their own funds it seems. States have to have balanced budgets every year (unlike the federal government) and this would make the states suffer in other ways. Plus the federal government has expertise in emergency management that many states don’t have.
For the Libertarians, I would say that many of their candidates may have what they perceive as better ideal-world policies and agendas, but if one of those candidates was elected, they would face the harsh realities of politics and many of them would feel disillusioned just as a portion of Obama supporters from 2008 have felt. Getting rid of business regulations such as doing away with corporations would turn our economy upside down and would be impractical (if such bills even passed through Congress which is not going to turn Independent any time soon.) Libertarians and Independents may not be pleased with all of Obama’s record but that doesn’t mean that the alternative in Romney is better. In fact, I would argue that it would be much worse with respect to our military strategy in Iraq and Afghanistan. We vote in the reality of today. For that reason, a vote for a Libertarian or Independent candidate is effectively a vote for the candidate you probably don’t want. And yes, things won’t change to the degree they desire in terms of elections, but which candidate Democrat or Republican would open to election reform. I would argue that the Democrats would. But that depends on who is in Congress. Electing Independent congresspeople first would move the needle.
In the end, even if your principles fall more in line with the Republican party, by voting for Romney do you really know what you’ll be getting? He is the “Prince of Pandering,” the man who will say or do anything at any time as long as it helps him get elected. His stance on provisions of Obamacare, abortion, and tax increases for the middle class have changed many times. I ask Romney supporters if they really know what they’re voting for. What Romney does in office may be completely different than what you supported him for. Talk about uncertainty, economic or otherwise. At least with Obama, you know what he stands for 95% of the time. Sure there may have been a little change in what we might have expected but he has faced the realities of presidency with a Republican congress for half his term whereas Romney is just a candidate for presidency at all costs. Politics aside, I consider myself a good judge of character and Romney just seems fake. He pretends to be a commoner but has always had a wide assortment of silver spoons available. He’s the guy that says to start a business we should borrow money from our parents. He doesn’t even realize that most of our parents are not in a position to loan money to anybody.
In the end, it’s a battle between a president who believes in fairness to give everybody the same rights and a fair shot at success while investing in programs that will pay off in the future. The debt that has been incurred was necessary because of the hole we’ve had to dig out of. There is no quick fix and it will take more time to recover. This is a better alternative than going back to the Republican policies that favor corporations and the wealthy which got us into this economic mess in the first place. Their reckless use of the military has incurred the majority of our debt and claimed hundreds of thousands of lives. Some Reublicans leverage fear and hatred to drive their agendas with anti-gay, anti-immigrant sentiments. It’s time to stick together as Americans regardless of our backgrounds, orientation, or wealth levels and support Obama as he a vision that’s constant. Electing Democratic or Independent congress members and senators would also help pave the way for a better future. It is a critical time in our nation’s history and the progress must continue with Obama.