Saturday, September 22, 2012

Presidential Politics

When the Utes are playing one of their worst games in years, its a good time to post on the blog about politics:

I had a friend (Sean Anderson) post a request on facebook for any reasons why Barack Obama deserves another 4-years in office.  We all know about the big differences (abortion, gay marriage, Mormon, African-American, etc.), I took this as an opportunity to explore the differences between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama on concrete issues that impact me and my family.  Following are mainly duplicates of the comments that I posted.

From what I can tell, Obama and Romney are very close on foreign policy. Both support Israel, both support the UN and NATO and both defer to the military as to when the war in Afghanistan should end. One of the big exceptions is with regards to Cuba. Obama wants to open travel and lift parts of the embargo, Romney wants to keep things as-is.

Obama believes in global warming, Romney doesn't. Obama wants to continue to preserve and protect National Parks and Forests, while Romney doesn't. Personally, I think that for us to be good stewards of the earth is critically important (Considering that we drive a Highlander Hybrid and Chevy Volt as well as purchase wind power, this may have already been apparent).

I think that Obamacare has gotten a bad rap from many people who haven't read or don't understand just what the plan entails (I'm not defending it, but just pointing out that much is misunderstood). Most people agree that something needs to change with our health care system, but few people can agree upon what that change should be. I like that the process has been started, now lets start to optimize it. The absolute best explanation on Obamacare (with citations and links to the actual bill was posted on a couple of months ago: Take a moment to read through this. I found it absolutely enlightening and it made most of Obamacare must less scary.

One of the other big things that I struggle with is the tax cuts for the rich that the Republicans are so obsessed with. First off, recall that the last time the budget was balanced was under Bill Clinton (granted the economy was growing like mad), but this was also before the huge tax cuts of 2001 and 2003. Yes they have benefited me and my family, but they were an enormous benefit to the rich and super-rich. Obama supports extending the tax cuts for those of us making less than $250,000 while eliminating the tax cuts for those making more than that. Luckily (or not so luckily), I fall squarely in the making less than $250,000 camp so this won't impact me at all. Refer back to Ben's most recent ramble ( where he believes that the tax cuts should be extended to US corporations (and I assume, not to the rich people, although that is 100% speculation). This I agree with as well. Anyways, I'm still in the undecided camp, but these are a few of the reasons why I'm certainly not against Obama. Clearest choice in a generation? Not yet for me. I've got to prioritize my issues before I can make that choice.

Obama supports citizenship for children of illegal immigrants born in the USA, Romney doesn't. Some of these kids have lived in the USA for 15+ years and don't speak the language of the countries that they would be deported to. Also, Obama supports temporary amnesty for illegal immigrants working in the US, Romney doesn't. Additionally, Obama would allow the children of illegal immigrants access to government subsidized healthcare. 

From recent news, I appreciate the Mitt Romney has released his tax returns validating the claims that he has been making over the last few months.  His tax returns are an indication of his honesty, his generosity and his ethics (he paid a higher tax rate than he had to in support of his principles). 

Lastly, Obama supports net neutrality while Romney does not.  Net neutrality is "a principle that advocates no restrictions by Internet service providers (ISPs) or governments on consumers' access to networks that participate in the Internet (see Wikipedia - Network Neutrality)." Specifically, Obama supports FCC regulations that force ISPs to provide equal access to all content on the Internet, while Romney would prefer to leave these issues up to the open market.  Unfortunately, this would allow my ISP (Comcast) to slow-down my connection speeds when I am streaming something from Netflix, or prevent me from accessing or [Source:]

So what do you think?  Are there other issues that are more pressing or important than those that I've posted above?  As an undecided voter (mostly) in a state where my vote will not count, why specifically are you supporting one candidate over the other?


Julianne Donaldson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fred said...

Good analysis. I tend to agree with Obama more on tax policy and immigration, but I don't agree with him about health care and moral issues. Luckily more than policy comes into play. I am voting for the person I think has the best character. I hope I'm right.

Hyrum said...

Thanks for the great post Tyler.

A couple of points:

Both Republicans and Democrats take credit for the balanced budget during the Clinton years and both deserve partial credit. The Republicans forced Pres. Clinton's hand 3 times with their balanced budget proposals and he rejected them because he thought the cuts to entitlement programs were too deep. He did finally accepted them and signed off. Good for both parties for working together, making sacrifices, and getting the job done.

Hopefully our elected officials will learn how to work together again and we can overcome the current stonewalling and all-or-nothing attitudes.

Secondly, the idea that Democrats are for the poor and Republicans are for the rich is very convincing when you see how adamant Republicans defend tax cuts for the rich. But there is some logic to the argument. These cuts are usually for capital gains which are associated with stocks, bonds, etc.

Everyone wants to make the best ROI on their money. Lower taxes on capital gains means better return margins. And personal investments in the stock market is a free-market stimulus rather than an artificial one.

People who invest in stocks and bonds. are in a sense loaning money to public and private institutions. When those organizations have more money, they can grow, hire more people, etc. Thus stimulating the economy.

I think this approach makes much more sense then sending each family a check for $500 or having government bureaucrats make investment decisions.

Nancy said...

Wow I just wrote this huge post and it didn't post. I thought your post Tyler was thoughtful, but I have to disagree with several points.

First, Obama has not supported Israel. As an Israel lover, these last 4 years have been brutal, Obama often siding with the Arab states against Israel. The first positive thing I saw from Obama came the day before Mitt went to Israel. Saving face I guess.

Obamacare..Wow. When Obama passed this he said, It may not be the best but we have to pass something now. Really, we couldn't have waited a few months to get the best? What was the rush? Last week the Obama party came out and stated that they were off by 2 million people so there would have to be a big Tax (of course they don't call it a tax, I think they called it a fee or something) to the middle class to pay for the Obama care. Really? This doesn't build confidence to me. Obama Care is socialized medicine. Socialized medicine will limit research and improvement in medicine.

As far as immigration, I think if they are illegal, it should be illegal to have me pay for their health, food, etc. benefits. Why have many hospital in the border city's had to close? Who is going to pay for the free health care for people who don't pay? Very healthy and capable people I might add. I like Mitt's idea that those immigrants who are here in the US to get an education shouldn't be force to go back to their country. They should be allowed to stay and help the US develop technology and anything else their brilliant minds could help us with.

Also, I am not fond of the downsizing of the military. In the Book of Mormon, we read how Captain Moroni built up his military defenses and weapons of war in times of peace so that they would be prepared in times of war. China is spending a large part of its GNP on defense, much more that the US. Does that concern anyone else besides me?

Another stance I agree with Romney is about unwed mothers. It is a blight on society. A high percentage are on Welfare, a high percentage of the children end up in jails and prison and then these children have children out of wedlock and the cycle continues. I love his stand on traditional marriage and morals and strong families. It is the traditional family that will provide a moral and ethical basis for goodness in the United States.

Sabrina said...

Sooooo tired of only 2 candidates having a shot at winning. I am not likely to vote for either. I hate Obamacare. It's facism. I hate our current foreign policy and neither mainstream candidate looks to make that situation better. I probably hate a lot of other things about either's stances. I really can't stand how big our federal gov' has become and how presidential candidates make all sorts of promises about affecting change that shouldn't even be w/in their authority according to how the Constitution lays out the balance of power. In any case, give me a candidate that will turn much of the governing back to the states and be honest about what they can actually do as the POTUS according to the Constitution and then I'll enthusiastically cast a vote. as of now, I am debating whether it's even worth it to go to the polls.

Ben said...

I'm going to put up a Ramble sometime soon with my thoughts on the pros and cons of each candidate. As of right now, I'm not sure who I'm going to vote for, to be honest. Luckily (unluckily?), my vote doesn't matter much in MA anyway; Obama's got it locked up here.

You're right that I don't think the tax cuts for the rich should be extended. Here's a link to what I wrote about raising taxes a year ago:

On balance, I think that we need to cut spending more than raise taxes, and here's where I wrote about that:

As for immigration, I'm with Obama for the most part. With healthcare, I need to read your link to reddit when I get a minute. I'm undecided there. I think Obama has done fine with foreign policy, and Romney wouldn't change much there. Not believing in global warming is criminal at this point. The evidence is just too strong to deny it. That's an area that needs to be addressed. I don't think Net Neutrality is a central issue.

Here's my big question: why is education not being brought up in this election? Which candidate is stronger on that front? Education has got to be one of the top three issues this election, and no one is talking about it. Is Obama's "Race to the top" working? What does Romney propose? I'd love to see more about that.

Ben said...

Sorry, one more thing: China isn't spending more on defense than the U.S., either as a share of GDP or in just plain dollars. Here's the link to Wikipedia:

The U.S. accounts for 41% of worldwide defense spending. Sorry Republicans, but that's just insane. We've got to cut that down.

Shiree said...

Thanks for the level-headed analysis, Tyler. All the mud-slinging from almost everyone is really getting to me. It's nice to hear a non-cynical voice.

Juanton said...

Sorry, I know I am a little late to the party, but I just wanted to echo Kirk’s sentiments expressed on Facebook. I think that as members of the church we have a bit of a difficult task; it seems neither major party fully conforms to the standards and values that we support. We know that God’s main goal is the salvation of souls which should be our underlying goal and should help us establish our personal priorities in evaluating candidates. While I feel that caring for the environment and for the temporal welfare/healthcare needs of others are very important issues, I personally feel that those issues are definitely secondary to the moral issues of abortion, gay marriage, high divorce rates, broken homes, and the overall attack on the traditional family on many fronts.

While I know that physical wellbeing has a definite effect of spiritual wellbeing, you don’t lose your eternal rewards over being poor or sick. “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matt. 16:26) I try to vote for candidates who come the closest to supporting the issues which I feel are the most important, although that is becoming more and more difficult.

Juanton said...

BTW, on a tangent, I would highly recommend everyone read the article “Apocalypse Not” in the September Wired for a good reason to be skeptical, not in the existence of global warming, but in the fantastical claims that have continued to be “immanent” for the past couple decades. I think we should be protective of the environment and do better at reducing harmful emissions, but the big rule in statistics is *correlation does not prove causality*. We have a hard time predicting the weather more than a week out, yet scientists claim to understand how all of the cogs fit together to cause the recent weather changes.

Cause for concern and research, yes. Cause for doom-and-gloom, not yet, at least in my opinion.