Sunday, February 24, 2008

possible consequences of an obama victory

1) "Soaking those of us who earn our money (by raising taxes on higher-income families)." Let's say that this is what happens as the result of any changes in the tax code an Obama administration pushes through Congress. How exactly does this differ from what the Bush administration has done for the past eight years, or what the previous Bush and Reagan administrations did not long before that?

Reagan's tax plan, widely celebrated through the Republican Party as the best form of taxes ever enacted, was originally called "voodoo economics" by his vice president before the name "trickle-down economics" caught on. It involves giving tax cuts to the wealthy -- during the last eight years, some very generous tax cuts -- forcing the tax burden downward, onto the working class and other people who "earn their money," yet I can't recall much outrage from you over that when the subject's come up. Quite the opposite, actually.

So if all Obama could accomplish would be to perpetuate the status quo, because the wealthy find loopholes and ways out of shouldering the share of the tax burden, and as a result he continues to soak the same people that the GOP has targeted, how is that a problem, when it's the approach conservatives have told us repeatedly works best?

My understanding is that Obama would prefer a trickle-up model, where money goes to the people who need it, allowing them to reinvest it in the economy directly, fueling new growth and creating jobs in sectors where the neediest members of our society stand to benefit the most from it.

2) "show international weakness." Again, I believe this is something the Bush administration has been doing already. Ever since that ill-advised invasion of Iraq, the United States has been remarkably impotent on the world stage. North Korea was able to jerk our chain with its nuclear program, essentially asking, "What are you going to do about it? You're already overextended in Afghanistan and Iraq." Iran has been able to flex its muscles and defy the United States repeatedly over its uranium enrichment program, because its leaders have known that we're already in too deep and overextended in Iraq to do anything about it.

What the lesson has the Bush administration shown the world with its swiftness to invade Iraq before we had settled the situation in Afghanistan? That we're impotent to work our will anywhere else in the world too, whether working toward any chance of peace between Israel and the Palestinians, or contending with rogue regimes like North Korea and Iran. (To say nothing of the mess we made in trying to influence elections in Central America.)

Drawing down our troops in Iraq arguably would leave us ready to deal with actual, rather than imagined, threats. All getting bogged down there accomplished was showing everyone that we're quick to go to war with leaders we don't like, but slow to have a plan for what to do next.

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