Sunday, September 28, 2008
Round 1 of the McCain-Obama Debates: The Same Old Song and Dance by Akindele Akinyemi
I heard the first Presidential debate between Senators John McCain and Barack Obama on Friday night. Most political analysts have concluded that John McCain gets the tip for the first debate due to his stance on foreign policy.
However, I was not impressed with the Senator from Arizona. I felt that he could have discussed more domestic issues here at home instead of talking about reducing spending. Yes, Washington D.C. has become a tax and spend monster on Capitol Hill and something needs to be done but repeating yourself several times in a public debate is not JUST the answer.
Obama, on the other hand, has no clue on how to conduct business on foreign policy. His plan for a pullout from Iraq would be disastrous.
I do not find it strange that both Senators are upper class Americans who are out of touch with the middle and lower class people. Both point the fingers on the issue of lobbyists. McCain is running television ads tying Sen. Barack Obama to Franklin Raines, the CEO of Fannie Mae who was forced out for misstating the company's earnings. Meanwhile, John McCain's campaign is under fire for his campaign manager's ties to Freddie Mac. Rick Davis's lobbying firm, it turns out, was still receiving monthly payments until very recently, despite previous assurances that the relationship had ended three years ago.
Obama is also the second-biggest recipient of campaign contributions from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, behind only Senate Banking Committee chairman Christopher Dodd. What's remarkable is that the calculation by the Center for Responsive Politics covers 20 years, from 1989 to 2008, and yet Obama is at the top of the list after only one Senate campaign and four years in office.
What all this really indicates is how deeply Fannie and Freddie have been enmeshed in Washington politics. They hire top lobbyists from both parties, give lavishly to members of Congress from both parties, and generously subsidize lots of influential think tanks and charities in the Washington area.
Now both candidates are crying for a bailout of Wall Street. I guess the free market does not exist anymore from a financial perspective.
According to the Heritage Foundation Senator Obama's tax plan would end the Bush tax cuts and allow the top two tax rates to return to 36 and 39.6 percent. He also would allow personal exemptions and deductions to be phased out for those with income over $250,000. The real kicker, though, is that Senator Obama would end the Social Security payroll tax cap for those over $250,000 in earnings.
Therefore, Senator Obama's new tax rate would give the United States one of the highest tax rates among developed countries. Currently only six of the top 30 industrial nations have a tax rate for all levels of government combined of over 55 percent. Under this tax plan, the United States would join this group and have a higher top rate than such high-tax nations as Sweden and Denmark. The top marginal rate would exceed 60 percent with the inclusion of state and local taxes, which means that only Hungary would exceed Senator Obama's new proposed top tax rate.
Also, I am not clear on Obama's positions on wanting to sit down with the President of Iran or South Korea.
But the debates were the same soundbites that we have been hearing on the campaign trail. However, I spoke to some of the young adults who also watched the debates and they felt that Obama won the debate because he was calm and presidential and very knowledgeable on everything. They think the country needs a young smart president with new ideas, good judgement, and who is concerned about the poor and middle class to lead us into the future. Lastly, they feel that McCain is from the past, old ideas that just have not worked domestically or internationally.
What I told these young adults was while Obama sounded polished and convincing Obama repeated in the debates what he always says: that he'd only raise taxes on the top 5%, that anyone else making under $250,000/ year wouldn't have their taxes raised -- McCain let it go unchallenged, being no mathematician himself, but that's just Voodoo Economics. NO WAY could Obama keep to that, and provide his social spending programs which are estimated to cost at least $800 BILLION.
Finally, the debate was as chaotic asWall Street is for the moment. There was definitely a lack of respect and integrity for Obama on the side of McCain. Obama should have not reacted so much to McCain's criticism without suggestions and stated a more solid and concrete plan. I did not really hear any plans to sustain our world position as Americans, which would strengthen peace around the world. There was too much talk about war and not enough about hard facts to promote our country. As a country we are loosing ground in the international community and Europe looks at us and laughs as we flounder amongst ourselves in this primitive race for power. We have great minds in this country and we need to hear about a plan on how to use these minds to set the pace for the world and create a sustainable economy. In the end neither McCain or Obama won, they just left us wondering if we will ever have someone who can really die for their beliefs and get us back to fundamentals of the Constitution we started with back in 1776 that made this country so great.
Whoever is going to be the President better realize that we are in the 21st century and the same old song and dance will not work.