While John McCain was in Washington trying to pull a bailout bill together, Senator Obama tried to take credit for the bill by saying, from the campaign trail, that he was involved and pushing hard for provisions that protected taxpayers that were not in the original bill. What are these provisions exactly?  As usual Senator Obama did not give specifics. 

One of these provisions might be the requirement that the government try to renogotiate bad mortgages and lower monthly payements for homeowners that are in trouble so that they can keep their homes.  This sounds a lot like McCain’s HOME plan that is defined specifally in his JOBS FOR AMERICA plan on his website. 

Under the HOME plan 200,000-400,000 people would be able to keep their homes by writing down and retiring the existing loan the borrower has and replace it with an FHA backed HOME loan from a lender.  The plan also covers homeowners who are facing a reset or can prove that they will not be able to continue paying current rates in the future.   By doing this the government ensures repayment of the loans and can recoup billions of dollars currently being loaned to agencies like Fannie and Freddie.  In addition, McCain’s plan calls for more transparency and accountability for lenders, another provision of the bailout bill. 

Senator Obama, on the other hand, in his PLAN FOR AMERICA,  only provides a 10%  mortgage credit to homeowners who DO NOT itemize.  As long as you make less than $50,000 you will get back about $500 on your tax return.  In his plan Obama also highlights his introduction of the STOP FRAUD Act in 2007, an act that never passed committee in a Democratic controlled Congress.  In addition to these proposed reforms, Senator Obama wants to create a HOME score, create a fund to help “innocent” homeowners and restructure bankruptcy laws.  In the instance of the HOME score, lenders would have to develop a score that borrowers would use to compare mortgages.  Keep in mind no system currently exists and would have to be created in order for borrowers to be protected.  In the case of the fund Obama wants to create,  it would be PARTIALLY paid for by increased penalties on lenders who act irresponsibly.  The penalties are defined in his STOP FRAUD Act, the one lying dead in committee.  And do I really have to say how long it might take for Congress and Wall Street to restructure bankruptcy law? 

Taking credit or taking action?  You decide which is more imprtant.

http://news.aol.com/article/deal-reached-for-wall-street-bailout/188230?icid=200100397x1210456864x1200628120

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Personal Responsibility 1776-2008 R.I.P.

As much as America may need the bailout,  if the bill comes out laden with earmarks and other spending that has nothing to do with the current situation, John McCain should vote against it. 

Personal responsibility is the only loser in this bailout.  Despite warnings from Alan Greenspan, John McCain, and even Presidents Bush, Chris Dodd, Barney Frank and others in the Democratic party did nothing to prevent the current situation.  Even Bill Clinton used his power of 20/20 hindsight recently to say that he pushed too far on relaxing housing regulations in the 90’s and encouraged Democratic support of these measures too much.  The American taxpayers will be protected in this bill but only from further inaction by Congress.  The fact will remain that they will not be protected from themselves. 

Even as Washington mutual was failing last week, I was receiving multiple credit offers from them in the mail.  This is a company I have never had any dealings with, nor ever sought any dealings from.  Yet I was faced with the prospect of another credit line in these offers.  Over the past decade Americans have fallen for these offers (I am no exception) hook, line and sinker.  Promises of low rates and long terms are attractive when times are good.  But as the housing market slowed and economic growth slowed (it has never stopped), Americans started to blame everyone but themselves for the credit crisis.  Whereas a year ago they could afford an adjustable rate mortgage and 2 of each brand name credit cards, all with pictures of their favorite teams or animals,  a year later they are faced with bankrupcy and are looking to the government for help all because they made bad decisions. 

America and Americans have made some bad decisions in the past decade.  This is not a crisis that started with Bush and will end with the saving power of Barack Obama.  The only way this crisis will be resolved is for America’s leaders to put together a bill that is clean and Americans themselves to look at their own situation and resolve never to go back.  John McCain is a believer in personal responsibility, just like President Bush,  but his back is against Wall Street on this bill.  But voting against a bill laden with earmarks or extra spending is the right thing to do in this situation, even if it costs him the election.

As the Bell Tolls

The death-knell of the republic had rung as soon as the active power became lodged in the hands of those who sought, not to do justice to all citizens, rich and poor alike, but to stand for one special class and for its interests as opposed to the interests of others.

  • Teddy Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States

 

“We want to take money and put it back in the pocket of the middle-class people.  It’s time to be patriotic..jump in, time to be part of the deal, time to help get America out of the rut.”

  • Joe Biden (D-Delaware),  2008 VP candidate chosen by Barack Obama

http://elections.foxnews.com/2008/09/18/biden-wealthy-americans-must-pay-more-taxes-to-show-patriotism/

http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/home/daily/site_091908/content/01125111.guest.htm

If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction program.

  • Bill Clinton, 42nd President

  • The community of nations may see more and more of the very kind of threat Iraq poses now: a rogue state with weapons of mass destruction, ready to use them or provide them to terrorists. If we fail to respond today, Saddam and all those who would follow in his footsteps will be emboldened tomorrow.The community of nations may see more and more of the very kind of threat Iraq poses now: a rogue state with weapons of mass destruction, ready to use them or provide them to terrorists. If we fail to respond today, Saddam and all those who would follow in his footsteps will be emboldened tomorrow.

    • Bill Clinton, 42nd President

     

     Now let me be clear: I suffer no illusions about Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal man. A ruthless man. A man who butchers his own people to secure his own power. The world, and the Iraqi people would be better off without him. But I also know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history.

    • Barack Obama, Presidential Candidate (D-Illinois)

     

    It’s simply not true that Saddam was providing weapons of mass destruction to terrorists. This incursion into Iraq has resulted in a situation in which terrorist recruits are up. It’s been acknowledged, now, by the Pentagon, that the insurgents active in Iraq are far higher. Terrorist attacks worldwide are the highest in 20 years. The notion that somehow we’re less vulnerable in the US as a consequence of spending 200 billion dollars and sacrificing thousands of lives is simply not borne out by the facts.

    • Barack Obama, 2004, Illinois Senate

    “I say to our enemies, we are coming. God may show you mercy. We will not.”

    • John McCain Presidential Candidate (R-Arizona)

    http://www.usa-patriotism.com/quotes/_list.htm

    Facts and Feelings from Wall Street to Main Street

    The biggest heart string issue any candidate can use to influence votes is the economy.  The last few days have been a testament to this.  While Obama uses “middle class” as a noun, verb and adjective in every speech, McCain has been trying to reassure Americans about the fundamentals of the economy.  In light of the polls today, it would seem Obama is the better string player.  But does he have the leadership and policies to back up what he is saying on the stump? 

    First to leadership.  It was reported today that the Democratically controlled Congress is considering another recess in light of the current economic situation.  The reason being that they don’t know what to do and don’t want to act in a manner that will cause any more harm.  Obama himself has yet to take a position on the bailout of AIG saying he needs more information before he can react to what happened yesterday. 

    While it is true that John McCain is part of the same Congress that is considering another recess, it is also true that he is a member of the party that stayed in the House to push for a vote on energy reform after the last recess was called by Speaker Pelosi.  The Republican representatives stayed in the House for days after the recess was called, lights out, trying to put pressure on the Democrats to allow an up or down vote on energy reform.  

    Unlike Obama,  John McCain has taken a position on the bailout of AIG.  According to ABC he is now a flip-flopper because he supports the bailout after he opposed it previously.  But they miss the point.  John McCain changed his position because he was able to see that if AIG was not given help in some manner-federal,private or the combination of both that has happened-the economy and millions of Americans who are associated with AIG in some way would have been decimated by even a partial failure.  Call it a flip flop if you like but leaders know when and how to act, even if acting goes against what they believe. 

    Now, the policies.  Once again  these are policy statements directly out of Obama’s “Blueprint for America”  and the expanded Issues section of the John McCain website.  They are not the soundbites or anecdotes candidates use on the stump. 

      Obama’s plan starts with, what else, the middle class.  While Obama is fond of talking about his tax cut and it’s perceived ability to help 95% of Americans, his plan does not address who is middle class.  He does specify a tax credit that would be equal to $500 per individual or $1,000 per working family in what he calls the “Making Work Pay” tax credit.  He says it would completely eliminate taxes for 10 million Americans and provide 150 million workers relief. 

    Obama also will simplify tax filings,  allowing taxpayers the option of signing a returning a pre-filled tax form sent by the IRS.  No itemization, no W, I or A forms, just sign a return.  Accountants beware, estimates are you will lose approximately $2 billion in fees when this happens.  Perhaps the accounts will need retraining after they lose their jobs, but not to worry Obama has provided for that in his plan. 

    First of all, if you take a job at McDonalds, your minimum wage will rise indexed to inflation.  Simply put, small businesses are forced to pony up money every year for every worker, NOT based on performance.  In addition Obama will raise the Earned Income Tax Credit so that you can work full-time and still raise a family.  Not only that but Obama will expand FMLA to companies that employ as little as 25 people and allow time off for just about anything.  While I can’t say that allowing time off under FMLA to see your kids soccer games is a bad idea, I can say that his idea to make states and companies to pay for FMLA time is a bad one.  But to this end Obama has promised $1.5 billion to the states to help them pay for the new FMLA rules. 

    If you decide, as an out of work accountant, that you want to enter the manufacturing field, Obama is going to spend untold (literally, he has no number) dollar amounts on new job training programs.  Using his education policy as a backdrop, most of this retraining will happen at community colleges where education will be free under an Obama administration.  If you decide to stay at home and work, Obama will give you high speed Internet as he spends countless (again no number) dollars on companies who provide Internet connection services. 

    Of course Obama has a record to back up his economic policies and tax cuts.  In 2007 he was a cosponsor on a bill (his site says he introduced it) by Dick Durbin called the Patriot Employer Act.  The bill currently sits in committee. Did I mention the Congress that controls these committees is controlled currently by Obama’s own party.  He also cosponsored the STOP FRAUD Act to help homeowners, it also sits in committee

    Sen McCain’s proposals start off with a balanced budget by 2013.  To achieve this McCain will:

    • make reasonable growth a reality
    • control spending
    • use bipartisanship like (hold on ) Bill Clinton did in the 90’s to pass a budget

    In assuring growth Mccain believes that small businesses will benefit the economy the most.  His proposals of low taxes and low rates on capital gains will allow those businesses to reinvest in their own future.  Also small businesses would be able to deduct equipment and technology investments they make to improve their businesses.  In addition to allowing businesses to reinvest in themselves, McCain is proposing reducing the Estate Tax to 15% which would allow more businesses to stay in the family.  In addition the Bush tax cuts would stay in place and may even increase for all Americans. 

    Another way John McCain can assure growth is the implementation of his energy policy.  Under his plans, which include ALL types of energy,  new jobs would be created in America to build and support new energy development.  In nuclear power alone it is estimated that over 700,000 jobs would be created under McCain’s plan.  Retraining is also a priority in a Mccain Presidency and would be fully supported. 

    The second part of McCain’s plan to balance the budget is to control spending.  John McCain’s efforts to control spending are famous and easily found on his congressional website.  But in addition to earmarks, John McCain has proposed a freeze on all non-defense and non-veteran discretionary spending thus allowing time to plan and prioritize all spending programs.  And as we draw down in Iraq and costs are reduced in the war, much of that money will go to deficit reduction, not universal health care. 

    One other point on spending.  Much has been made about the “Bridge to Nowhere” in Alaska.  Sarah Palin has been criticised for supporting the earmark before she was Governor and then voicing her opposition to it as Governor.  John McCain voted “NO” to this earmark (H.r. 3, CQ Vote#220: Adopted 91-4:R 48-4;D42-0, I 1-0,7/29/2005)and was only one of 4 Senators to do so, Obama voted for it.  When the money was allocated anyway, Palin did take the $36 million allocated BUT directed her Transportation Department to use it for infrastructure improvements in the state.  This is in keeping with improvements sought after the government directed states to look at all of their infrastructure after the bridge collapse a few years ago.  Here are two source to verify the bill-

    http://www.johnmccain.com/mccainreport/Read.aspx?guid=ab24d6d6-f796-4851-99ac-451d7567a5cc

    This site shows Obama and McCain’s votes on HR 3

    http://projects.washingtonpost.com/congress/109/senate/1/votes/220/

    Finally, John McCain’s record of bipartisanship shows that he can easily work with all members of Congress to make this happen.  Just as Democrats and Republicans are coming together this week to slow the bleed in the financial sector, Sen McCain has worked with Ted Kennedy, Joe Lieberman and others to introduce legislation that, many times his own party did not support. 

    There is more to the McCain plan but I have gone on long enough (Printed text for McCain goes on for 14 pages, Obama has 5).   Figuring out what each candidate is saying on the trail is difficult.  Sen Obama clearly uses emotion over reason and Sen McCain tries reason more than he should sometimes.  But after writing my longest post yet, the bottom line is this.  On May 25, 2006 John McCain spoke to the Banking Committee and warned of the failure of Fannie and Freddie as well as others (AIG).  Franklin Raines and Jim Johnson, now advisers to Obama, were executives in the banking industry then.  Chris Dodd (D) was the ranking committee member and killed the resolution John McCain and others proposed.  Where was the leadership of Obama and the Democrats then?

    Again look at the comments:

    http://hotair.com/archives/2008/09/17/mccains-attempt-to-fix-fannie-mae-freddie-mac-in-2005/

    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2084424/posts

     (Thank you to all sites listed)

    Palin Action Figures

    Sarah Palin action figures.  Buzz over these has been everywhere.  Check them out here. 

    http://www.herobuilders.com/

    Who’s on my $20 now?

    In the past few weeks Obama has become the embodiment of the hopes of America, he has redecorated the White House with a new basketball court and less TVs,  and has taken a Presidential trip overseas.  Now he has cast himself as a new face of American money. 

    On Thursday, Obama reiterated his charge that the Bush and McCain team (?) were trying to make voters afraid of him.  In several speeches, Obama accused the Republicans of saying “You know, he’s not patriotic enough, he’s got a funny name, you know, he doesn’t look like all those other Presidents on the dollar bills.”  Then in defense of the statement, David Axelrod and others have been saying that McCain started it.  The question is HOW?

    Sen McCain has never used a racial slur against Obama.  Ted Kennedy was the one who got mixed up and called him Osama in an introduction he was making to voters.  Obama was the one who gave “The Race Speech” to let voters know he was black after the Clinton’s made several reportedly racial remarks.  The worst Sen McCain has done was to liken him to celebrity’s who happened to be white women.  It has also been widely stated, almost reverently at times,  that only in America could we be facing the choice of a Presidential candidate with the middle name of Hussein. 

    Sen Obama is again deciding to use the race card in this campaign to draw attention to himself.  In the same breath he is trying to paint a picture of a McCain Presidency as a third Bush term,  a charge Obama is using to incite the same fear he is accusing McCain of promoting.  Yet, in every attack McCain has used there has been real policy differences discussed.  Obama has only used his “Hopes and Dreams” scenario in a majority of his ads.  The accusation that McCain was the one who started this race issue is LUDACRIS (hear HIS new song?) and baseless. 

    If Sen Obama wants a real discussion of what Americans are afraid of he should look at his own policies, not his race.  On energy, Sen Obama does not support any measures that will help Americans in the long or short term.  Offshore drilling is a scheme to him, yet when the ban was lifted by President Bush two weeks ago the price of a barrel of oil and the price at the pump dropped.  Nuclear is risky for Obama yet produces clean power at a much higher rate and is safer than traditional power plants.  And incentives to find alternative power sources are nothing more than political pandering to Obama.

    On the issue of Iraq, Sen Obama wants us out of the country in as little time as possible.  He did not and still does not support the surge despite its ongoing success (10 soldiers and 510 civilians died in July, a 75% drop from the same period last year).  He disagrees with the commanders on the ground, possibly because of his extensive knowledge of the military, and would only listen to them if it fits into his plans as Commander in Chief.  Obama also wants to refocus our military might to Afghanistan, citing the surge of violence there in recent months, but also wants to meet with Iran and Syria with no preconditions to discuss options in the region. 

    On health care, Sen Obama wants to give coverage to everyone to the tune of billions a year.  Not a bad idea except that the cost would be prohibitive.  Obama says not to worry that the money being spent on Iraq would fund his initiative.  What Obama does not say is that the money being used for Iraq is already being taken out of various Government agencies who would have to continue to operate on a lower budget or cut services even more.  To fund the war each agency has to give a portion of its budget back to the government for war funding, so the $10 billion we are spending in Iraq is not the free money Obama sees. 

    On the issue of the economy, Sen Obama supports tax increases for “wealthy” Americans but has yet to define who will be defined as “wealthy”.  He supports PAYGO policies and the limiting earmarks (good) but also supports more stimulus payments with no spending cuts.  Obama also wants to tax windfall profits, again without an explanation of what a windfall profit margin is, and raise the minimum wage to what some call a living wage.  Both of these practices would raise prices across the board and further weaken the economy by hurting the small businesses that run our country.  In addition his guarantee of paid sick days for all workers will further weaken small businesses who are just starting out and can not provide such benefits. 

    Sen Obama was again partially correct when he said that the Republicans were trying to scare voters.  However his insuation that McCain and his supporters are using race to frighten voters was off the mark.  The majority of voters do not care about his race or ethnic background and Obama is the only candidate who highlights his diversity and calls it an adversity.  What voters are scared of is not who is on their money but rather who will help them earn and keep more of their money.  In that scenario, voters should be scared of calling Obama Mr. President.

    McCain is too liberal?

    I don’t understand the comment ” If Obama is running against McCain, I’m voting for Obama!”.  I like to look at the issues, especially when voting for a President or Congressman.  I can’t stand feel good rhetoric or visions of bridges that lead to the 21st century and beyond.  Anyone voting against McCain based on his “liberal” views needs to seriously look at Sen Obama’s views on the issues. 

    On poverty, Obama is willing to establish 20 “Promise Neighborhoods” that will offer all kinds of social welfare services in areas that have a  high concentration of poor and neglected families.  He will sign a Fatherhood act that will basically establish Fatherhood as a right, not a privilege, as long as you pay for that right.  He will increase the minimum wage every year, destroying an untold amount of small businesses.  In raising the minimum wage every year, he will also destroy the idea that education is the road to success.  The minimum wage was established as an incentive to move beyond your current status, not maintain it.  It will also allow employers to forego merit raises knowing that their employees will receive a raise every year anyway. 

    On Diplomacy, Sen Obama will be out of Iraq in 16 months, believing we can not win despite significant progress in that country. He will maintain a presence somewhere in the region, however, and be ready to make strategic strikes in the Middle East if necessary.  (Presumably with the military he just told they were not good enough in Iraq) He would offer Iran the chance to be involved in world affairs through the WTO and give them economic investments.  The same Iran currently waving signs that state”Death to America” while they burn our flag. The same Iran that has a leader who believes the Holocaust was not necessarily a bad thing. He will also go to the table with other leaders in the world with no preconditions,  a tactic that puts America in a weaker position to negotiate in its best interest.

    On the economy, more tax breaks will be offered than ever before but not for anyone who seeks to better themselves by making more money.  Tax breaks for the wealthy, defined as those making from $50,000-$75,000 or more, would be ended and only those people who make less or have more kids would be eligible for any tax relief.  Sen Obama has also developed a multitude of programs that give money to anyone who wants it.  College would be partially funded by the government,  educational debts would be forgiven if you pledge yourself to national service in some form and any time you want a new job your health-care benefits and retraining will be protected and paid for by the government. 

    On Immigration, Sen Obama will support sweeping amnesty to promote “family” over “country”.  Sen Obama seeks to fix the illegal immigration problem simply by offering more help to Mexico economically and increasing the number of border agents but not closing the borders.  And while closing the borders entirely is not possible or will not solve the problem or preserve America as the melting pot it once was, supporting legal immigration with more simply more bureaucracy is not the solution.  This is an issue that must preserve America and its values, not impose the values of other cultures on America. Admittedly, both parties need to do a better job of protecting American values on this issue. 

    Can someone please explain why Obama over McCain?  Sen Clinton is even less liberal than Sen Obama!  If the worst offense made by McCain is Mccain-Feingold, or McCain-Kennedy or even McCain-Lieberman,  which seem to be the big 3 issues, why not get past these instead of voting for a complete polar opposite?  I understand conservative values and the need to those values in the voting booth, but Obama over McCain?  Hopefully, this is all just talk.