Friday, June 13, 2008

Answers That Just Ask More Questions

This whole debate, well argument mostly, with The Doctor began when he attempted to claim that Obama is all sizzle and no steak and then threw out a grocery list of questions. What is really noticeable, however, is that 'his' candidate hasn't even begun to get as specific as Sen. Obama in proposing detailed politics and programs to get this country back on track.

The whole thread below was not much at all of, 'but McCain's plan will . . . " It was, in one breadth, attempting to claim there is no specificity in Obama's proposals, yet there seems to be enough detail that the likes of Doc and Swiftee can claim it is nothing but tax and spend liberalism. So who is using talking points now?

However, I will try to clarify by answering some of the Docs specific questions.

Doc asks:--> Expanding unemployment benefits is one of the smaller dollar cost to this total, has the least impact to the overall economy but is your main focal point. Why?

Because it is a small dollar cost IS the reason it should be expanded, and I don't agree that is has the least impact. It can have the greatest return on investment of some of the other stimulus proposals and THAT is what we need more of. I noticed today that the House, along with some common sense Republicans have passed a 3 month extension with a veto proof majority. We can't help with the pressing problems the Bush's recession has created if we don't address some of the rudimentary results. I believe extending unemployment benefits is one of the most cost effective ways to do it

Doc asks:--> How about a good old fashion approach of reducing costs or other great ideas like energy conservation, business stimulas ( tax incented reinvestments that lead to jobs ) Increased oil production/ exploration and refineries.

So are we talking economic recovery, energy policy, or small business protection. Sen Obama supports a good old fashioned Apollo Program type mission to tackle out energy situation. EXACTLY what you are asking for. THAT is the kid of commitment we need from a President. Poking holes in ANWR for a 20 year band aid won't get us anywhere but a giant sludge-filled ecosystem and back to where we are now. We DO need more refineries and we DO need to explore nuclear options.

I do think we should provide incentives for those businesses who remain committed to domestic productions. And we can fund those incentives by closing tax loopholes on business who have chosen to move their operations, in part or in whole, over seas.

Doc asks:--> So let me also be clear Flash you are NOW in favor of stimulis checks? Are you NOW saying middle class income is up to 250K? Are you NOW in favor of foreclosure bailouts?

My concern with the first round of Stimulus checks was whether they would be spent and actually stimulate the economy. The growing debt load people were carrying led me to believe that most people would not spend this money, but use it to pay off debt and therefore not stimulate at the level needed. We won't know the full impact of that first round until later in the Summer, but since we are already committed to that series of checks, a second, somewhat reduced round would appear as additional monies and would be more likely to be spent and therefore stimulate.

Doc asks:--> Are you NOW saying middle class income is up to 250K?

No, I'm not. I like to use a more reasonable and true definition of Middle class, one where the incomes is, in the middle. The Doctor is uncomfortable accepting actual data to determine where the Middle class is. Household income broken down by Quintiles (via NYT) is by far the best determiner or where the. We can take the true middle class, and just use the 35rd Quintile, or we can expand it to the more broad 2nd - 4th segments.

Using the Middle 5th, we have a household income range of 34,000 - 55, 000. If we include 2nd and 4th we have a range of 18,500 to 88,030. The lower limit of the top 5% is $157,000.; Now I am sorry, but it woul dbe a very tough sell for me, and many others, to imply that someone in the upper 5% of the household income category can claim to be Middle Class.

Doc asks:--> Are you NOW in favor of foreclosure bailouts?
I don't believe I was ever against Foreclosure bailouts. I do recall expressing frustration as someone who made the good choices, didn't raid my equity and took advantage of refi to lower my rate and reduce my term while preserving my equity. I asked a rhetorical question "What about those of us that did the right thing?"

The Tax Policy Center has attempted to do an analysis of the candidate's tax plans to see how things shake out

Household incomes in the true middle class range of 38,000 - 66,000 shows McCain's tax break at a mere $319 where Obama's is at $1,042. in the 66,000 - 112,000 range it is $1009 to Obama's $1290. Even as high as 161,000 now well into the Top 5% if households Obama's plan provide for $2204 savings to McCains $2614. It is only when you get into the millions of dollars of household income that you see the huge differences in the plans. One committed to helping the most people rather then a plan that targets the rich and wealthy.

Now this post is far longer than I like to go. I don't claim to be an expert but do feel I have a well rounded perspective. Some would rather attack attack the opponent, and some want to defend their own positions as the correct ones. But those that attack, without defending their own position tells me their position is weak out of the shoot. So if anyone wants to say Obama isn't being specific, I expect them to say McCain is and defend it. But I will be hard pressed to give credibility to those who choose only to attack. At least the Doctor is willing to acknowledge both sides of the argument.


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