Sunday, November 2, 2008

My Vote

I keep politics largely off of my blog and will likely continue to do so after this. But Tuesday, our country makes an important decision, one with serious implications and consequence. I am sharing my views with you not to sway you or tell you you're wrong if your decision has already been made and you don’t agree with me. In fact, I'm happy to hear comments and opinions of the matter, I just ask that we keep it a civil, healthy debate. But I decided I do want my children to know how I felt about these decisions and this election and in so doing, I am sharing them with you…

This Tuesday this country will make a decision and the world will hear our voice. Our voice will indicate whether we embrace the concepts of Socialism and take the largest step toward a Socialist society this country has ever seen. Or it will indicate that we choose our Capitalist society and try to reform what may be broken. As far as I'm concerned, this is the most important election of my time and my vote will be heard. As for me, I chose Capitalism, freedom, individualism.

I think Obama has some good points and says things quite eloquently. He is a wonderful public speaker and I've actually sought out and read or listened to word-for-word, many of his speeches. He has a way of moving people and speaking to people that is a rare gift. I think he may go down as one of the best public speakers in history. But once I begin to dissect his speeches, I find things that I don't agree with. There are some things that downright frighten me. Don't get me wrong, I think his heart is in the right place and he has good intentions and I agree with many of the issues he brings up. I just don't agree to his solutions.

At the heart of Obama's plan is a "spread the wealth" campaign which promises to offer affordable health care, education through college for everyone, require automatic workplace pensions, provide cheaper drugs, and lots of other social and welfare type programs that really do sound like a great idea. Here's the problem, how they are funded:

Obama wants to increase taxes for the "upper" class
(this definition seems to be a moving target- was once $250K but the number is going down). The top 2% of the country's income earners already pay 90% of all of the taxes. Is it really fair to continue to impose more tax and on those that have worked hard and been successful and punish them for getting to that position?

He wants to reinstate the estate tax. This means that if your parents pass away, 55% of the money they would have passed on to you will instead go to other people you've never seen nor heard of. When I die, I promise you, I would much rather my money go to my children so I can ensure they are taken care of, rather than to have it go towards contraceptive education or some other program I don’t care about or support. If we take care of our families first, maybe they won't have to rely so heavily on government programs.

He is putting the burden on corporations to foot part of the bill. Many corporations are already feeling a hit during a time of recession (let's not argue whether or not there is one, the economy is definitely not great now). Many people are finding themselves victim of pink slips as companies just can't find profitability. Obama plans to pile on to that strain by requiring companies to fund even more money towards healthcare, more money for leave of absences, and offering pensions where they previously didn't have one. Here's the deal. If I don't like my benefits and what I'm being offered, I can go somewhere else. That is part of a free market. That is part of competition. If companies want to attract and retain the best and brightest, they will offer these benefits. If we force businesses to provide all of these great programs, here’s the ugly side effect, even more pink slips or lower salaries. I’d personally rather have more money and let the decision on where to spend it reside with me.

When it comes to welfare programs, there seems to be no end to the outreach of what the government should provide in Obama's mind. Don't get me wrong, I think there are people in this society that need to be taken care of and given a hand. But there are far too many that put themselves in that category because they have a sense of entitlement or just plain don't want to work. Surely we don't want to continue to perpetuate and even increase a society of people who are lazy and want to be taken care of?

In my opinion, we should continue to allow the private sector and places like churches to provide these welfare programs, not the government. And they should be a limited time during a rough period, not a lifetime sustainment. Programs that teach job skills, interview skills, provide clothing and residence to get established are all well and good. But of you've been given these things and two years later you've still gotten nowhere, one has to start to believe the problem is your lack of will and desire rather than opportunity. Then the programs need to start to be cut for that person. Obama has stated that he would want to model Marian Wright Edelman's prioritization in welfare programs. Funny thing is, even she believes that these programs should be privately funded and has largely dedicated her life to the collection and distribution of private funds for these types of programs.

The fact is, Obama's plan nurtures the lazy and punishes the hard working. That certainly isn't the intention, but a nasty side effect. Just look at our own Pilgrims. They started out in a Socialized society. Everyone pitched in and shared what they earned or grew. Their first Thanksgiving wasn't the pretty picture we paint it to be in the kids school plays each year on Turkey day. They nearly starved to death. In fact, many did. But when they decided to give everyone their own little plot of land to tend to and own and when they told them keep what you grow and trade your excess, they flourished.

If there is any question we would raise a generation of children feeling entitlement (some say we are already there-- just wait), just look at France's problems two years ago. Chirac signed a bill intended to help them be more capitalist and to compete in a global society. The bill gave a one year trial period to anyone under the age of 26 and allowed an employer to fire him/her within that year provided they provide reason. Sounds reasonable, right? That's no different than most right to work states. Well, France's youth didn't think it was so reasonable. That labor law resulted in strikes, riots, cars being upturned and set on fire, businesses being pillaged. All for the sake of stating that the country was removing protections entitled to them that had been in place for generations. Is this really where we want to be headed?

Obama also staunchly supports anti-discrimination laws. I understand the intent. I too want everyone to be treated fairly. However, does anyone not understand that by enforcing anti-discrimination laws you are ironically causing discrimination? An employer should be able to hire the best person for the job regardless of the color of their skin, what their sex is, or who they have sex with. Conversely, they should be able to fire anyone regardless of the color of their skin, what their sex is, or who they have sex with. Anti-discrimination laws lend themselves to preventing companies or schools from choosing the overall best and brightest and prevent them from losing those that are not up to standards. This creates a myriad of problems from decreased productivity and efficiency and increased costs.

I also oppose Obama’s plan for reducing costs for medicine. He wants to force pharmaceutical companies to cap their costs and provide more affordable medicine for everyone. Sure, they could do that easily. The actual cost of the pill is usually pennies, if that. But again, there’s nasty side effects. For starters, that means companies would have far fewer dollars for research. This means fewer new drugs being available and smaller hopes for finding cures to diseases that continue to elude us. We would also force their hand in removing many of the programs they already offer to the poor and third world countries. We would see a huge decline in worldwide vaccinations and increase in disease. This just adds more risk to us as we continue to be a global society and travel to these places.

I could go on and on and talk about gun control, Social Security, the war in Iraq, Foreign Policy, and Homeland Security, but I’ve already written a novel and I think you’ve gotten where I’m going with these things. In the end, my biggest concern is not for me, it is for my children and my children’s children. I don't want to leave my grandchildren holding the bill for my retirement and standard of living because I failed to plan for it. Obama is creating a plan that is not sustainable long term. If you look at many European countries, with each passing generation they amass more debt and tax to continue to sustain their lofty programs. Some countries are already turning more towards Capitalism and away from Socialism because it just doesn’t work in a pluralistic society long term.

Obama wants to eliminate the poor altogether. It’s a good goal to have, as is world peace, but does the end justify the means? Will these means even get us to that end? I don’t think so. I think Obama is too much an idealist and not enough realist. He’s got a good heart and good intentions, but ill directed solutions that will impact generations to come.

John McCain, President
Sarah Palin Vice, President
November 4, 2008


Joanna said...

Very well thought out and explained. I don't agree with all of your points, but I really like the fact that you addressed your concerns without scare tacticts or misrepresenting the facts.

Elizabeth said...

AMEN! I agree with everything you said. I love your blog. One small note -- election day is November 4th, not 5th.


Deanna said...

Here! Here! Well said!

Lauren said...

Thanks for posting this. You covered many points that I completely agree with and too chicken to post about on my own blog. I want to teach my children that they have to provide and take care of themselves. Everyone hits a hard time and needs a hand to help them, but that is what family, church and provate organizations are for. Social welfare programs should be saved for people who truely can not take care of themselves.

Kaycee said...


Maria said...

Bridget, I agree totally with Joanna, and really like reading your well written posts. I am wondering, though why not write about what you see in McCain, his policies that you support, and how he makes you feel just as you did for Obama. I think it would be great to read that as well.

Karen said...

I haven't been following the election at all but enjoyed reading about the points that you addressed.

Stacie said...

Great Post!

Christine said...

Very eloquently written. Your post was the first political post that I've read that I thoroughly enjoyed reading.

Ida said...

You know what I think, like a told you and Bill '06. Usa are a grate cuntry and I love that you are alowd to be ritch. But socialism can also be grate, In Sweden It works fine, but who knows, like Bill sad america is a mutch lager cuntry. Im hoping for Obama, I think hi will be a good change for america for 4 years but I dont think hi will last. Good luck America on your election!

April said...

So well said Bridget! I agree with you 100%.

Kara said...

Amen Sister! I totally agree with you. My husband has made a comment for years "Welfare is meant to be a safety net not a hammock."

Zoey's Mommy said...

I love your blogs! Like so many have said, they are always so well thought out and eloquently written.

I too will be voting for my children and their children. However, I will be voting for Obama/Biden. Not really my first choice, but definitely the lesser of two evils!

Anonymous said...

Okay, I'll take up your offer of leaving an opposing viewpoint.

Do you have evidence that the amount of money one makes directly connects to how hard they work? I have two Masters degrees and think I work pretty darn hard as a teacher, but I will never make much money. Meanwhile, there are very wealthy people living off investment income who have never worked a day in their lives. I just don't think wealth means a hard worker and a lack of wealth means someone who doesn't work hard. The rich getting richer at the expense of others hasn't done the country well during the last several years.

Like Amanda, I am voting for Obama because I am concerned about the world my children will inherit.


Michelle said...

Amen. Except for the anti-discrimination piece... there are bits of it (housing, loans) that needs to be in place to prevent some deeply entrenched yuckiness (that living in Chicago, you see -- slightly suppressed sometimes but definitely there and wrong).

And Stacey - hard work doesn't equal rich, and there are some wealthy who do no work. BUT with the promise of hard work comes the hope of wealth or at least comfort. If you take away that hope, why work? In my job right now, I'm over the midpoint in salary and got no raise last year (though I was in the highest ranked cohort) and won't again this year (same cohort). Want to know what that's doing for my motivation? Want to know what else I *could* maybe be doing if I had the hope of getting a raise in February? It's multiplying that by thousands and thousands of people that worries me.

Anonymous said...

Michelle-- I'm pretty sure people making over $250,000 a year will still be very comfortable if the tax cuts are repealed.

Fullerton Family said...

Amen, amen, amen!!

DesiDVM said...

Your arguments are well-defined, I'll give you that, although I disagree with a number of things. "An employer should be able to hire the best person for the job regardless of the color of their skin, what their sex is, or who they have sex with. Conversely, they should be able to fire anyone regardless of the color of their skin, what their sex is, or who they have sex with." I agree. With the idea, anyway. I think it's so far from the reality of the society we live in, though. Yes, it would be nice if employers hired only the "best," regardless of race, gender, etc., but my experience in America has been that people often equate "the best" with "people like me." I worked for a *professional* white male WITHIN THE PAST 3 YEARS who had no problem telling me that as long as he's in charge he'll never hire a "Mexican or a Oriental," regardless of their qualifications....If only we were all so noble as we like to think we are, maybe we never would have needed anti-discrimination laws in the first place.

fiftypushing said...

Living in South Africa, I am fascinated by your analysis of Obama. I searched the web for examples of McCain's track record as a Senator but couldn't find much. As someone said, are these really the only two candidates that could have been chosen? I bet there are many waiting in the wings who have perhaps better credentials than either, but don't actually want the job. Glad to hear there are so many Americans who look further than the surface hype. Good luck with whatever President you get today!

-Bridget said...

Thank you everyone for your comments! I appreciate that everyone has kept this very supportive, even when we have agreed to disagree. Some of my closest frieds in real life and online are voting for Obama and I respect that. My intention was not to alienate anyone and I think everyone has understood that.

For those that have said thanks, but I disagree: Thanks for leaving your comments and letting another side be told. I am always interested in hearing about the other side and try to keep an open mind when listening to others. Thank you!!

For those that agreed, thank you for showing your support.

Elizabeth: Doh! I'll change that date. What a dork I am!

Maria: With election day so close I had an opportunity to choose one or the other. I felt in this case more strongly that I wanted to share why I disagreed with some of Obamas solutions rather than why I supported Cain.

Ida: I know how you feel about Socialism and am so glad you feel it works for you in Sweden. Sweden is a bit unique in that until very recently, you had a very homogenious population in race, beliefs, and values and a very small population to support. I think that is key to Socialism working and why it would not work so well here. Your Dad sent me a wonderful note last night that I may ask to share on my blog. He shared with me some of the reasons why they support socialism and how it works or doesn't work in Sweden and other countries. Interestingly, he told me that in the end, he'd probably vote for the republicans in this election.

Anonymous- I absolutely do not equate hard work with more money. But the opportunity to have more money and a better way of life is a huge motivator for many. Take it away and productivity and morale often goes down.

Michelle and Desi- I admit I was a bit of an idealist myself when I wrote that anit-discrimination laws should be removed. I do understand that discrimination does still exist (very sad). Unfortunately, the way these laws are written, they basically allow someone who is racist to continue being racist and prevent those that aren't racist from making the best possible solutions for their businesses. I think that if these laws should exist, they should be rewritten in a way that produces the opposite effect than what I described above.

Fiftypushing- I totally agree with you. If I had my say, we'd amend the constitution so that immigrants could run for office and I'd put Mark Steyn at the top of the ballot.

Ida said...

Well I did vote for the republicans in sweden. So where does that live me? In the middle (maybe?)

Anonymous said...

oh I do so love it when Republicans try to scare everybody with the socialism tact. I thought it was Repubilcans who were the book burners... Anyhow, if conservatives don't want big gov't then why don't they stop trying to legislate morality, stop trying to spy on their own people, stop inciting wars across the globe, etc. I guess the argument against liberals is that they'd cost the taxpayers a fortune while reducing the incentive for people to work? Well, I don't know what everyone else sees, but 8 years of conservative rule and the taxpayers are on the hook for a fortune, real wages are in the crapper, the economy is in tatters, our huge gov't is in massive debt, all the while the disparity between the very wealthy and the rest of us grows wider and wider. Sounds pretty Orwellian to me.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't call the last 8 years of Republican rule "conservative" by any means. Bush is pro-business, but he's also clearly pro-government and not afraid to spend, spend, spend. The Republicans haven't been "conservative" since Reagan left office.

Why do you think McCain is having such a tough time getting the Conservatives to vote for him? It's because he's not a conservative and everyone knows it.

But once Obama becomes President all our worries will vanish. Just ask this lady...

Lindsay said...

Bridget - great post! I agree with your analysis and appreciate the way you've presented it. I, too, am a captialist at the core of it and believe the Church (or other private organizations) should bear the responsiblity for charity, etc.

Re: work and money - a different perspective... My great-grandparents were all farmers. They worked hard to provide a better future for my grandparents who did the same for my parents and on down. I received a top-notch private school education, and I graduated from college and grad school with zero debt. Yes, it was given to me, and I didn't have to work for it (money-wise). You bet your buttons my family did, though. My husband and I work our tails off to provide even more for our children. Sometimes, it takes generations.

And, by the way, the first 10% of our gross earnings goes to our church and other charities we believe in (e.g., Komen, AHA). Maybe we're exceptions, but we like to put our money where our mouths are, so to speak.

Now, let's all go read some Ayn Rand! (kidding - she doesn't allow for charity at all!)