Monday, October 13, 2008

General Loathing.

Fair warning: This post is going to be basically a bitch fest over our current political situation.

I find that this whole election is going into the crapper. I consider myself an independent that leans a little to the right. I hold many conservative values, but I would never define myself with the republican party. I am very religious, believe in family, a small government, and a free market economy. Sounds like a republican, huh? Well here is my problem--the current republican running for president just plain sucks. What can I say? He supported the bailout and wants to spend another $300 million bailing out people who made bad decisions and got screwed by the housing market and credit crunch. Don't get me wrong, I all for helping out the needy, but seriously, what the hell happened to personal responsibility.

I also see health care going to crap if it is run by the government. McCain makes a good point when he asks why you would put the government in control of health care when it has screwed so much other stuff up. And, is NO ONE concerned about the national debt any more??? How is the fed going to pay for this stuff without raising taxes. Oh yeah, tax the wealthy, they've got the money! People seem to forget that the politicians that make these laws are the wealthy and they tend to look out for their own wallets.

I think my biggest issue with this election is that I see it as the lesser of two evils. I don't want to vote for either candidate, and I just can't decide who I want to vote against. I think my solution is to not vote at all because, well lets face it, I live in SC, also known as the reddest state in the country.

Anyway, another issue I have this election season is the ridiculous partisanship--people are genuinely mad at others for being a republican or democrat. Why is it that we feel it is our place to tell people what to think, or how to vote. It's all so disgusting. There's nothing wrong with civilized debate and discussion, but it is just so personal this election. It feels like people are being plain hurtful to each other for no reason at all.

I just hope that after this election things calm down, and our government can actually be productive and get things done that will really help people. I feel better now. If you made it this far kudos! I hope that's my only political post and I can get back to something that makes me happy--pottery!! Ahhhhh....pottery.


  1. Vote AGAINST Sarah Palin.
    Excuse me for saying so... but She's Trouble.

  2. my political beliefs are right in line with yours. I also see it as the lesser of two evils. The bottom line is that the republicans have not acted like republicans for some time. lower taxes, smaller government, promotion of business. there are what republicans should stand for. bush has been a disaster. however, that being said, i'm not about to vote for Obama. judi comments that Palin is scary. Obama is far more scary. There's not a problem out there that government can't solve according to him. He says no income tax raise on those making under $250k. But he wants to repeal the Bush tax cuts. Hello - that's a tax increase on A LOT of people making less than $250k. Also, he wants to give '95% of working Americans' a tax reduction. Hello, once again, over 40% of working Americans PAY NO INCOME TAXES. Let's just give them money. That works. We all saw how great welfare worked. I'm also tired of this 'screw the rich' attitude. They employ most of the people in America and the top 5% of wage earners pay 53.8% of the income taxes. I guess that's not enough. Americans over the past few decades have become less educated, more obese, and more dependent upon government. It should be no surprise that Obama is ahead in the polls. But, as they say in Alcoholics Anonymous, you must first hit rock bottom before you can get better. Sorry for the rant but I've spoken to so many Obama supports recently and most are voting on emotion. Ask them specifics and they are like a deer in the headlights. Obama is a charasmatic guy, but him as President is far more unsettling to me especially with Democratic control of both Houses. I don't like any one party to control all three. But don't blame me...I voted for Huckabee. Go Fair Tax!

  3. Thanks for the comments guys!

    Mike--you make some great points! Why is it that no one seems to see that big government that 'helps' everything and everybody means higher taxes? Anyways, thanks for the great info!

  4. You know, Obama may not have all the answers-who does? No one is perfect. But to think that Sarah Palin is even remotely qualified to run the United States of America if so called upon is frighteningly naive. Obama is at least, an intelligent, informed person who I believe genuinely cares about the citizens of this country. What I'd like to know, is what is so frightening about the prospect of him as president? It's one thing to have a different belief system than he does, but to be frightened? Why?

    I know it is popular to believe that by having universal health care that it will be screwed up by the government. Well guess what-I think all the millions of people who can not afford health insurance would rather have screwed up insurance than none at all. It is grossly unaffordable for a tremendous number of people.

    I know we like to pretend that in this country we don't live as socialist, but guess what-we have a socialist school system-that's what public school is-we have a socialist retirement fund with the SSN, we have socialized medical care for the elderly with Medicare, we have a socialist Library system, a socialist national park system, etc. Are you guys going to turn down your social security when you get older? Are you going to send your kids to a good private school so as not to participate in socialized education?

    The politicians aren't the wealthy that Obama is really referring to. He has said, and rightly so, that he is in an income bracket with those who do not need their taxes lowered, but politicians make 125-250K a year say, this is not rich. The rich are the CEO's who have annual salaries in the tens of millions of dollars. Tens of fucking millions. And you may want to believe that they pay a huge amount of that money in taxes, and you would be correct to a point, but percentage wise, by the time they get done with their itemizations, deductions, loopholes and every other tax write off that they can, they pay a lower percent of their income in taxes. Why do you think the McCains owns about seven homes? Think about it.

    You think Obama supporters vote on emotion? I'd like for one person to give me some logical reasons why I should vote for McCain. Something other than the dogma that they have been trained to repeat. Something that doesn't have to do with guns, small government and God.

    Hope you don't mind my long comment Ben and I hope it hasn't been offensive to you on what is your blog space. But feel free to rant on my page anytime!

  5. Actually, Palin has more experience to be President than Obama. Now, I will admit, I'm not an Obama fan, a Biden fan, a McCain fan, nor a Palin fan. Sarah Palin has been the governor of Alaska for over two years. That means she is the 'chief executive officer' of that state. Alaska has tens of thousands of state employees as well as a several-hundred-billion-dollar budget. This has been HER ultimate responsibility for her term. Obama on the other hand, is one of 465 legislators, in charge of an office that employs about 12 - 15 people with a budget of a few million dollars. She is not dumb as more Obama fans will be quick to tell you. She is new to the national spotlight. So is Obama. Did anyone see the video of Obama speaking when his teleprompter stopped working? He just stood there and stuttured. Palin is learning quickly what it's like to be in the spotlight. Someone told me the other day they thought Biden performed better than her in the VP debate. Duh? You think?! He's been a Senator in the thick of all this politics for 30 years. She's had five weeks to prepare. Given the circumstances I think she did very well.

    As far as national healthcare is concerned...I don't debate it with people. Instead I tell them this - I have a good friend who is Canadian and a very good friend that is Brittish. Both of those countries have nationalized health care. BOTH of my friends maintain private health insurance because the healthcare systems are so screwed up. I really don't want that here. The real solution is some level of government regulation and let the free market handle it. There are companies right now trying to sell health insurance to small companies...those that employee 4,5,6 people. But because of federal regulations it's nearly impossible. The solution, as with SO MANY OTHER THINGS, is LESS government, not more.

    I agree about schools. As previously argued, government should get out of it and let the private sector educate.

    I will send my child to private school. I'm not a fan of government schools.

    McCain owns seven homes because his wife's parents sold everything they had and risked their futures to come up with enough money to buy a beer distribution franchise. Through years of much hard work he became very wealthy. McCain married into the money.

    It's none of our business, frankly, what a CEO makes. That is up to the stock holders. Government needs to stop subsidies, tax breaks, etc. If after that a company wants to pay a CEO $50 million a year...well, it's their right. It's called capitalism.

    The percentage of tax argument is not really a valid one. If I make $50,000 a year, and pay 10% taxes, thus $5,000, do you really think I am some how more burdened than someone that makes $10 million, taxed at 8% that pays $800,000 in taxes?

    The bottom line is that our entire tax system is one big pile of shit. The Fair Tax is the solution. Cut out all the loopholes and such. The government would have more money than ever.

    The real question is why does the government need all of this money? Because government keeps growing and there are more and more people ready to line up to take what they can get. Government should be 10% of the size it is currently. They should provide a military, paves some roads, build some bridges, provide some level of regulation, and that's it! People have become so dependent upon the government...If the Founding Fathers came back to life today and saw the role the federal government played in people's lives they would be horrified. The solution is small government not bigger government.

    As far as the government managing things - their track record is horrendous. Social Security is a perfect example. If I were a financial advisor and I told you, "I've got a plan for you. You pay into it every month for 40 years. Then, at approx. 65 years of age, we'll give you payments which represent about 2 to 3 percent return on your money. Oh, and if you die, you cannot leave the money to anyone or any organization. What do you think?" You would tell me to get the hell out of your house! But the government runs it and people don't want to change it. Unbelievable!

    Anyway, I've ranted way too much...

    On a positive not, I'm headed up to the Asheville area tomorrow to work with a potter (Tom Turner) for three days in Mars Hill. Really looking forward to it!

  6. This is how a political talk should go. Someone makes a point, the other makes a point. The problem I have been having lately is more the feeling that--"your stupid because you support so and so".

    Deb--I have to side with Mike. My wife is employed by the public schooling system and it is completely f'ed up. She will be moving to a Montessori school as soon as she can.

    State run health care is not the answer. I pay for my own health care because the business that I work for can't afford it. But the alternative of horrible health care does not appeal to me. I budget it, try to be healthy and take some damn responsibility for myself. The way I look at it, we have good doctors who are willing to go to school for ungodly lengths of time because they make a ton of money. If they didn't make as much, they would do something else and we would lose many good doctors. If the government ran health care, do you think they would pay the docs the big bucks? People want to believe that doctors are there to help people, but they are really there for the money. It is very competitive and this is why the best generally make it through.

    I hate social security. Period. I wish that it was not around at all. Some form of disability is great, but I will probably never see a dime of my social security, and wish I didn't have to pay it at all. Let me invest the way I want to, and I bet I'll be richer for it.

    I think that Mike is right on Sarah Palin. She may not be the best, but she is doing well for the time she has put in, and has sadly to say, about the same experience as Obama. This is not to say that I support her, not at all, but I think many people are being quite unfair to her. Even if she is a little nuts ;)

    I really do believe that the solution is smaller government all the way around. If it would get out of many things it has its grubby hands in, this country would be better for it. Taxes could be reduced and people would remember one import thing--personal responsibility. Don't depend on the government to get you through--do things for yourself.

  7. I am having a couple "friendly" debates with some friends who are on the McCain side of the ticket, including my in-laws. Despite my left leaning tendencies, I respect my friends and my in laws tremendously and in the end we all still love each other. I think it's our mutual respect and caring that keeps our debates civil, because regardless of the election outcome, our lives are still intertwined. We also have a lot of similar values even if we are on the other side of the fence politically - I think we just disagree on the solution.

    Where it gets ugly is when people can hide behind a facade of anonymity - feels like the gloves really come off and ugly things are said on both sides.

    I'm ready for the election to be over myself. It almost feels like we're in suspended animation right now until the night of Nov. 4th or morning of Nov. 5th when the outcome is revealed (hopefully it's not so close that we have to wait!)

    Maybe some good will come from this particular election...more involvement and interest in the political process.

  8. I wish I had seen these follow up comments previously. There are so many things to respond to. Poor
    Ben. Your blog has become a battleground.

    Experience isn't measured in time. It is skill gained and learned. Obama is more knowledgable than Palin. Period. She has a stunning knowledge of the world around her, and the machine of politics. Because she didn't totally screw up and make a fool of herself again during the debate shows that she can study well for a test.

    Nationalized health care does not have to be the end of private health care. If you can afford to pay privately, then do it. It is about giving everyone in this wealthy country, the ability to be healthy, not just those who can afford to be.

    I'm glad you can afford to send your kids to private school. I couldn't. The school system sucked and my local private would have been 25,000 dollars a year for my two kids.

    The reason the McCains own so many homes is because they are fantastic tax shelters.

    Yes I do think you are more burdened by paying 5,000 on 50,000 than someone paying 800,000 on 10,000,000. Was that a trick question?

    The social security system is going broke because you get back far more than you pay in over your lifetime. People didn't used to live so long, and now they are becoming a financial drain to the system.

    You might want more from your government than just that. How about police, firefighters, teachers (oh yeah, we'll just have private schools) Maybe that will end up like insurance, and only the wealthy will have their children educated. There are many programs that you do not think are necessary simply because you do not need them.

    Having a government is not the problem. That the government is so corrupt is the problem.

  9. I'm sorry, I meant that Palin has a stunning LACK of knowledge. A little afternote here. And this is a perfect example. Yesterday she gave her first policy speech or something, and was badmouthing earmarks for fruitfly research. One of the main focuses of her speech was funding research for Autism, and by the way, wanting to ensure that special needs kids can all go to PRIVATE schools, on the taxpayers buck. She obviously doesn't understand the gains in Autism understanding that have resulted as a result of, FRUIT FLY RESEARCH. Remember McCain saying so proudly how she knew more about that subject than anyone he knew. She just doesn't know the things she should know before she begins talking about them like she does.

  10. Deb--Like I said, I don't think that Palin is right for this country in the least, but I also don't think that she is a total idiot.

    You may have been only responding to Mike, but I also don't think that we should do away with public education at all, just fix it. I don't plan on sending my kids to private school, and the Montessori school I was talking about is not private, but a public charter school. I got a great education from public school, and there are good ones out there, but this no child left behind b.s. is just nuts and is ruining education in our country.

    Social security in theory is a good thing, but it also is totally screwed up. Make it an option, for those that can't handle money responsibly it is probably great. The fact that my grandmother is getting paid social security and has been for years, but only worked for a couple of years is ridiculous.

    To be perfectly honest, I don't know how to fix health care. But, putting the government in charge of it scares the hell out of me. They have totally screwed us so many things that I can't see them doing a good job with health care.

  11. Hi Ben. I don't think that Palin is a total idiot. I just think she is grossly underqualified to hold the position of President of the United States of America. A position which, its' sole purpose is to step into the position of President if need be. All I can say is, if McCain does win the ticket, I desperately hope he stays well for his entire term. She doesn't even understand the role the V.P. plays. She has said twice now that she has power wielding authority in the Senate, that she can help to form policies and such. The only power she legally has, and it is written into the Constitution, is to cast a tie breaking vote if the Senate is in a tie on a vote. That's it.

    I agree. The No Child ... act has made a not so great education system worse. It has tied the hands of a lot of teachers and forced them into teaching for government tests, limiting their ability to be creative in the classrooms. Much of the problem of kids not doing well at school, I believe is not having involved parents at home, and the government can't fix that.

    I don't know the particulars of your grandmother, but I will guess that she was raising her kids instead of working for much of her life. I am in the position where, because I stayed home to raise my kids, I have years of zero income, and as a result my monthly payments when I retire will be considerably lower than if I had been working, although I am quite sure I will still get back far more than I paid in. It is kind of like getting a financial penalty for being the Mom.

    I wonder why so many people are afraid of health care paid for by the government. The Republicans would like for you to believe that it takes control away from your doctor and you about your medical decisions, but it's a ridiculous scenario. The control has already been taken away by the insurance companies. They hold the power and strings. They decide, not the doctor or you, what treatment you need, because if they refuse to pay, your doctor is not going to give you the treatment.

  12. I read this blog about once a week and this is my first comment so here goes, I have to say Wow. I swear I was listening to military radio today while in the studio and I think I heard Mike's rant point for point and in the same order on the Rush Limbaugh show, I'm not kidding. You conservatives really need to reexamine your views. Just to cover one of your points, think about it no government is anarchy right so what does that make small government? Something approaching anarchy. We have a euphemism for that in America and it's called self regulating markets. You can't blame the people who took out sub prime mortgages for the current crisis, there isn't a trillion dollars worth of those mortgages. It's just the typical ploy to blame the poor and defenseless. Anyways small government is not possible in a country of 300 million. I’ll simplify it for you. If you own a piece of property and you’re the only person around for miles, you can burn your garbage, dump sewage in the river and run around naked if you want to, the problem is you live in a society, and as such there has to be a government there to make sure that what you do doesn’t step on the toes of the people who live next door. I would also suggest googling NLP it stands for Neural Linguistic Programming, its what conservative pundits pay big money to go to seminars and learn how to use in their talk shows. Lucky for you guys, Obama is going to improve your lives whether you want him to or not. You’re welcome.

  13. While I agree with ne that there is a lot of propaganda and fear based brainwashing on the extreme right (think about it, their bases are religious extremist-fear based, the gun lobby and their paranoid "you'll have to pry my gun from my cold, dead fingers" type-fear based, and don't trust your government to take care of anything, even though I'm running for government ... you can trust me-fear based).

    I strongly disagree with the statement that you can not blame the poor and defenseless for taking out mortgages they could not afford. Personal responsibility for everyone. That is the Republican in me. People need to accept that they made a mistake and learn from it. I despise trying to blame others for your own poor decisions, regardless of how optimistically you might have made them. I'm all for helping the truly needy, and I'm also all for everyone trying hard not to be needy.

  14. I had really kind of wanted to stop commenting on this subject entirely, but now I don't think I can. My biggest issue with this whole election is not what the candidates stand for, not what will happen after it's over, but what it is doing to people, and what it is turning them into. The whole idea (and I've mentioned this before) that people are genuinely stupid and/or ignorant for their views is just appalling. If you are so proud to be an American, you should be proud for a real reason--the right to have your own opinion. Everything is becoming a personal attack just because someone doesn't agree with someone else, and it's just getting old. The whole reason for my original post was to express my frustration with intolerance of other's ideas and ideals. I will say that I don't agree with everything anyone says, but that doesn't automatically make me right and them wrong. It really bugs me when people use terms like 'you conservative' or 'you liberal'. Like it defines a person and groups them in with everyone that shares any one common belief. Just because I am for smallER government does not automatically define me (or Mike for that matter) as one of those conservative, right wing, and apparently anarchist, super religious fanatics.

    And you really don't think people should take responsibility for their mistakes in the sub prime loan situation? If someone says, "hey, I can get you a loan for a house that you really should know that you can't afford, and there is a chance that the rate on said loan MAY go up at some point, to the point that you might not be able to afford your mortgage payment." Would you take this loan? And I know that they made it more attractive, but seriously, my wife and I bought our first house at the age of 22 and were offered the arms and all of that nonsense, but common sense won us over and we got locked in at a rate that made our small house easily affordable for our budget.

    I'm sure you can say, "oh, but other people didn't know, or they were never taught financial responsibility." That is just plain bullshit. All that leaves is that all of these Americans were just too damn dumb to understand interest at all, and how a variable rate loan would change the amount of home they are able to afford. If two 22 year olds can take enough responsibility for their future and financial stability, anyone can. And if they can't, our country is in much worse shape than I thought.

    It goes back to what I've said many times, Americans have fallen into believing that they have no personal responsibility, and that the government will be there for them when they fall. "Oh, I can't pay my mortgage....hmmm....maybe I'll just default on my loan and go bankrupt and start all over! A fresh start!"

    Don't get me wrong, I do feel sorry for the people in these situations, but it really is their own damn fault. It is just too easy to blame the big bad banks, and yes, they loaned money to people that they shouldn't have, but that is a risk they were willing to take, and now it is biting them in the ass. The responsible banks (mainly local and regional) did not participate in the sub prime lending practices, and they are doing fine. The banks that DID participate are being bailed out by our wonderful government and putting our country into even more outrageous debt. The bailout plan was supposed to SAVE our economy, and, boy has it worked! Banks still got bought out, the stock market still crashed (I realize that it went up today, and that is due to smart investors realizing that, hey stocks are at a pretty damn low level, so lets make a few bucks) and our country is still heading into a serious recession.

    Anyways, I'm done for tonight. In a few days, everything will be done and hopefully people will go back to having some composure and respect for other's opinions.

  15. Hi Ben. Well, I for one will not comment on the subject here again, as I did not know it was bothering you. So, I am sorry about that. I don't know if you were referring to my comments about personal responsibility, but if you were, then you misread what I wrote, because I am in total agreement with you. I do NOT think people should be bailed out of their bad mortgages. They made the decisions they did and many of them ended up being mistakes. I don't even really feel sorry for them, because they made a choice based on information they had, and they apparently chose to ignore the crucial details. But I do stand by my opinion that the Republicans maintain their numbers through fear.

  16. Deb--I was not referring to your comments on personal responsibility. And, I really try not to support either party because both have their faults, and I tend not to agree with much from either. I don't mind discussing these issues, but it is personal attacks that bother me. No worries!