Fun With Politics, Part 5

I think it is finally time to put this series to rest, if only so I can begin to blog about other things that are going on currently. I didn’t feel good about interrupting this series because I know that many of you out there are hanging on my every word, so, without further ado, here are the remainder of the OnTheIssues issues:

13) Make taxes more progressive

My View: Another one of those topics that is kind of misleading, so on with their deifinition:

  • Strongly Support means you believe: A progressive income tax is one of the cornerstones of modern society. Its premise is that the wealthy contribute proportionally more than those with lower incomes. That is the right way to run our tax system, and we should keep it that way.
  • Support means you believe: Flatter taxes benefit the wealthy more than the lower and middle class. We should focus tax relief on the majority of taxpayers instead of on the richest few percent, while preserving important deductions like mortgage interest and charitable donations.
  • Oppose means you believe: A Flat Tax would simplify the entire tax system. It would get rid of loopholes that drive tax-avoiding behaviors. And it would remove most deductions and the special interests that come with them. In the meantime, tax cuts benefit the economy in both good economic times and bad economic times.
  • Strongly Oppose means you believe: Ideally, the income tax and the IRS should be abolished. Perhaps a national sales tax, like the FairTax, is a good replacement. Lower and flatter taxes are a good first step.
So, it looks like I strongly support this one. As with social security, there is no reason that those making an assload of money cannot pay more into the pot. Why should somebody that is working minimum wage jobs just to get by pay the same taxes, percentage-wise, as a person that makes that salary in a day? That just doesn’t seem fair to me. If you make less than a certain amount, say $25,000, you should pay no income tax at all. If you make more than a certain amount say $1,000,000, you should be paying at least $25,000 a year in income taxes. Now before people start getting all preachy about the poor needing to work harder and why should we punish those wealthy people for making money, I think that that wealthy person made his money due to our economy and should pay something back into it, and that poor minimum wage worker should be able to save some of his money so they too can move up the economic ladder. If we keep taxing the shit out of them, how are they ever going to escape poverty?

Obama’s View: Feels that the Bush tax cuts help corporations but not middle class, and that these tax cuts for the rich do not create jobs. HE was rated 100% by the CTJ, indicating support of progressive taxation. He voted no on numerous proposals to changes in tax law: raising the Death Tax exemption to $5M from $1M; allowing AMT reduction without budget offset; extending the tax cuts on capital gains and dividends; retaining reduced taxes on capital gains & dividends; permanently repealing the `death tax`; supporting permanence of estate tax cuts; raising estate tax exemption to $5 million; and repealing the Alternative Minimum Tax. He voted yes to raise the taxes on those earning over $1M and supported repealing the capital gains tax cut in order to give $47B to the military.

McCain’s View: Says is should require a 3/5 majority vote in Congress to raise taxes nad thinks that the tax system is fair since the wealthy pay bulk of taxes. We should remove charitable deduction because it only helps the rich (apparently poor people don’t give to charity), and thinks that we should expand the 15% tax bracket, giving tax cuts should go to middle- & lower-income people. However, he also wants to cut the “marriage tax” and the inheritance tax and feels that taxes should be flatter, lower, and simpler. He voted against Bush tax cuts, but only because they did not rein in spending. He was rated 50% by CTJ, indicating a mixed record on progressive taxation. He voted yes on the following tax measures: raising the Death Tax exemption to $5M from $1M; allowing AMT reduction without budget offset; Internet sales tax moratorium; requiring super-majority for raising taxes; phasing out the estate tax (“death tax”); eliminating the ‘marriage penalty’; extending the tax cuts on capital gains and dividends; supporting permanence of estate tax cuts; and repealing the Alternative Minimum Tax.

Match: I’m with Obama on this one. There is no reason why the wealthy cannot pay more taxes. Giving them tax breaks does not encourage them to support the economy anymore than they already do.

14) Illegal immigrants earn citizenship

My View: Illegal immigrants are a problem; I admit that. But I think everyone that came to America after 1492 is an illegal immigrant. The only people that have claim to this land are the Native Americans, but we saw what we did to them. I am not opposed to illegal immigrants getting citizenship. Most are seeking a better life for themselves and their families. However, it is also important that we don’t allow so many illegal immigrants to come that we have to adjust the way we do things. If people are going to come to this country, whether it is legally or not, they need to adapt to living here. They can practice their culture at home or in their neighborhoods. I don’t think we should have to print voter registration in English, Spanish, Chinese, and every other language. When we go to other countries around the world, we are expected to be able to converse in the native language a little, even if it is simply to ask where the bathroom is. They make exceptions for us because we are American, but not every country speaks English and we should stop acting like they do.

Obama’s View: Believes that some people use immigrants as scapegoats for high unemployment rates, since they are taking jobs that Americans could do. He supports granting driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants, and supports comprehensive immigration reform, but stops short of amnesty. This reform must include more border security and a border wall. Provide a pathway to citizenship, but make people earn it. We should extend welfare and Medicaid to immigrants, and provide funding for social services for noncitizens. He was rated 8% by USBC, indicating an open-border stance. He does not believe that English should be the official language of the US government, but voted yes on these other immigration topics: continuing federal funds for declared “sanctuary cities”; allowing illegal aliens to participate in Social Security; and establishing a Guest Worker program and giving Guest Workers a path to citizenship.

McCain’s View: We should certify that the border is secure and only then allow guest workers. Believes that having 12 million illegals in country now is de facto amnesty. Feels that immigration reform needed for national security, but we should give everyone in the world an opportunity to come to America. We should provide more help for legal immigrants when immigrating & once here, and stop having ballot initiatives against immigration. We should focus on English immersion over bilingual education. He was rated 18% by USBC, indicating an open-border stance. We should: limit welfare for immigrants; allow visas for skilled workers; more foreign workers into the US for farm work; allow illegal aliens to participate in Social Security; establish a Guest Worker program and give Guest Workers a path to citizenship; build a fence along the Mexican border; and declare English as the official language of the US government.

Match: A little bit for both candidates on this one, though I think McCain’s views are somewhat painted by him being from a border state.

15) Support and expand free trade

My View: While I think that we should all “buy American,” programs like NAFTA and others have impacted the global economy for the past 14 years or so. I would support a system in the Americas similar to the European Union: one currency, membership only when you meet certain requirements, and free trade between the nations involved. It would allow for the regional economy to grow, but also aid the world economy. You could also standardize wages in all involved countries, making it difficult for companies to send work overseas. Lastly, we should support globalization because it may lead to great discoveries in medicine, technology, and other areas of reasearch and development.

Obama’s View: Thinks that people don’t want cheaper T-shirts if it costs them their job. We should amend NAFTA to add labor agreements, and believes that fair trade should have tangible benefits for US. We should give corporations tax incentives to create jobs at home instead of offshore. He voted against implementing CAFTA for Central America free-trade, but supported a measure for free trade with Oman.

McCain’s View: Sees globalization as an opportunity, so we should reduce barriers to trade. We should have free trade with any country except security risks because free trade is indispensable to our prosperity. Supports NAFTA, GATT, MFN, and Fast Track, and feels that we should promote the Andean Free Trade Agreement. He was rated 100% by CATO, indicating a pro-free trade voting record, including sponsoring a bill for trade with post-Orange Revolution Ukraine, supports permanent normal trade relations with China, Vietnam, Singapore, Chile, Oman, and other third world countries. Favors implementing CAFTA for Central America free-trade.

Match: Looks like I am with McCain on this on, though ultimately, free trade does not directly impact my life at the moment. I work for the Army; we export force!

16) More spending on armed forces

My View: How do you think I feel about this? Of course I want more spending on the armed forces. I think the military should be larger. We spend so little of our GDP on defense it is ridiculous, especially compared to the amount of money we were spending in the early 20th century. I am not saying that we should have a standing military that is super huge; we still are the most technologically advanced military in the world so we can make up for smaller numbers. I do think, however, that more money should be spent on benefits and pay, making the military an attractive career choice for everyone, not just low and middle class people from the south. People from all walks of life should see opportunities in the military, and more money is the answer. When the Army Reserve has difficulty recruiting in New England because a 18-23 year old kid can get a job at McDonald’s and make more money, there is a problem. But I am not saying pay a lot; just match military wages better with private sector wages.

Obama’s View: We should grow size of military to maintain rotation schedules and give our soldiers the best equipment and training available. He also sponsored a bill for Iraq budget to be part of defense budget and voted yes on limiting soldiers’ deployment to 12 months.

McCain’s View: We should clean up waste in defense acquisition and eliminate other “defense pork.” We should terminate development of the C-130, B-2, and Seawolf, instead using the funds to modernize existing weapons systems. We should raise military pay to avoid military draft. He sponsored bill for Iraq budget to be part of defense budget, but wants to reduce federal government size & scope, including military.

With McCain again. Not surprising for a former P.O.W. to be in favor of military things, no?

17) Stricter limits on campaign funds

My View: I think we should only allow public money for campaigns. That way, the political process is openend to many more people and everyone is playing on the same battlefield. If I wanted to, I could not run for major office, even beyond the local level, because I do not have money. I would have to fund raise like a mad man, and if I came against someone with a small personal fortune, he could simply outspend me. That’s not very fair. Every body should get the same amount, and once it is all gone, you don’t get any more. This would also shorten campaign seasons so our elected officials could actually work and not spend all of their time schmoozing for more money from donors and other special interest groups.

Obama’s View: He ended corporate jet travel subsidized by lobbyists, and proposes reduced cost TV ads for candidates with an $85M limit per candidate. Thinks that we should have public campaign financing with free television & radio time, and that lobbyists or PACs should not be able to contribute to elections to influence votes. Wanted to establish the Senate Office of Public Integrity, and voted no on allowing some lobbyist gifts to Congress.

McCain’s View: We should limit campaign contributions, but not free speech. Believes that campaign finance reform is needed to restore faith in politics and that “Soft money” makes the government work for special interests and not the people.

Match: Both candidates share the same view, so it’s a wash.

18) The Patriot Act harms civil liberties

My View: Of course it does. Just because we were attacked does not make it okay for the government to be up in my business. If I want to check out Mein Kampf from the library, I should not have to worry about agents raiding my house because they think I am a Nazi or something. Now, that’s a bit dramatic, but you get my drift. As long as I am not downloading child pornography or guides on how to blow up important government buildings, I should be allowed to do waht I want on my computer or in the privacy of my own home.

Obama’s View: Feels that the politics of fear undermines basic civil liberties, and that America cannot sanction torture. We should close Guantanamo and restore the right of habeas corpus for a detainees of the War on Terror. He did, however vote yes to reauthorize the PATRIOT Act.

McCain’s View: Feels that is okay to hold even US citizens as enemy combatants. He sponsored a bill banning torture of terrorists in US custody, but also voted yes on extending the PATRIOT Act’s wiretap provision and reauthorizing the PATRIOT Act. We should not preserve habeas corpus for Guantanamo detainees.

Match: Looks like I am with Obama on this one here.

19) Replace US troops with UN in Iraq

My View: It is our mess; we should fix it. We can’t turn and run now, otherwise all the lives lost will be for nothing. I am not saying that we should fight there forever; we will never win that was of attrition, but we should stay for the time being. We cannot admit defeat and the “Surge” worked.

Obama’s View: Feels that we can’t do anything at home while spending $12B a month on Iraq. The US policy should promote democracy and human rights. Even though the war in Iraq is “dumb,” troops still need equipment and they should have the best equipment available. Voted no on redeploying troops out of Iraq by July 2007, but yes on redeploying US troops out of Iraq by March 2008.

McCain’s View: Supports the Bush doctrine of pre-emptive war, and believes the costs will be far greater should we fail in Iraq. A timetable for withdrawal is a white flag of surrender. Feels that staying for 100 years is okay as long as US casualties are low. We should send in a heavy wave of troops to Iraq to establish order and complete the US mission in Iraq. Voted no on redeploying troops out of Iraq by July 2007, and again by March 2008.

Match: Again, I am with McCain on this one. We should see the fight until the end. If we do not, what was the point.

There you have it. 19 topics covered in a little over a month I think. Hopefully, I have provided some insight that will help you when you step up to vote in about a month. If not, thanks for reading anyway. Hopefully, my next blog will be a bit more exciting. Until then, goodbye!

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