Barack Obama – A Jimmy Carter for the New Millennium

In the interest of presenting all perspectives, I asked one of the most intelligent and articulate conservatives I know to present a counterpoint to our recent endorsement of Barack Obama. – MJR

Spread it around a little
You have to admit, this IS clever

by Jason Fischer, Special to the Legal Satyricon

First off, I want to thank the Legal Satyriconistas for extending an invitation to me for a counterpoint to their recent endorsement of Democratic Presidential Nominee, Barack Obama. In today’s political landscape, where polarization is the norm, it is increasingly important that healthy, two-sided, rational debate be encouraged. Also, I apologize for violating the five-hundred-word suggested limit, but I’m not sure I could have expressed myself properly otherwise.

Unlike the Satyriconistas, I am unashamed to say that I cannot get past voting against a candidate. Like many presidential races before, this one presents two candidates, neither being outstanding, but one being completely intolerable – to me anyway. I lack Mr. Blevins’ conviction to vote for my ideal candidate; otherwise I would probably pull my metaphorical lever for Ron Paul, but throwing your vote away is not a constructive response to the current problem (sorry, Beef). I will absolutely be voting for John McCain on November 4th, but not because I agree with his stance on abortion (which I don’t), stem cell research (no, again), same-sex marriage (three times), or government bailouts of financial institutions (don’t get me started). I am voting for Senator McCain because I know what he stands for, whether I agree with him on everything or not, and he has a verifiable pattern of performance. I know where his moral compass points, and I feel confident that I can tell you what actions he would take in a variety of situations. I am voting against Barack Obama because I don’t know those things about Senator Obama, and the foreshadowing that is available downright scares the bejesus out of me.

Ms. Christensen eloquently states that she is voting for Barack Obama because she thinks that he is smart, and she thinks he will make good decisions as president. I cannot agree with her assessment. I’m afraid that Ms. Christensen mistakes “well-spoken” for “intelligent.” From where I’m sitting, Senator Obama does not seem any more clever than average, and all of his decisions seem to be motivated by one thing – furthering his own political career. Since he cannot possibly have any further political aspirations if he’s sitting in the Oval Office, where will Senator Obama pull his inspiration from if elected? What mission statement does he have for himself?

I guess we could look to the promises that are being made now to paint a picture of what a Barack Obama presidency would be like. Let’s face reality here, folks. Presidential campaign promises are rarely worth the overpriced, recycled paper that they are printed on. The reality is that the executive branch has surprisingly little power to implement any real agenda. George W. Bush, while running for reelection, promised to fix Social Security in his second term, and we all saw how that worked out for him. Both his father and Bill Clinton promised not to raise taxes, but ended up signing legislative decrees that did the opposite. One promise that is getting a tremendous amount of airtime is Senator Obama’s “tax-cut-for-ninety-five-percent-of-Americans” claim. I think it is extremely helpful to review the “evolution” of this promise, as it has developed over the last several months.

Senator Obama began this “plank” of his platform with the idea of raising taxes on the top income earners in the country. He claimed that only those making over $250k would see an increase. This slowly evolved into the logical corollary that, if you made less than $250k, you would not see any increase in your taxes. So far so good, if you ignore the fact that capital gains taxes, which will be increased under the Obama tax plan, are not dependent on your income (i.e., everyone who has investment income will see an increase, including retirees who generally have that as their only income, and usually take a great deal less than $250k a year from their investment accounts). In its latest incarnation, we are now hearing about a tax cut for anyone making less than $250k/year. This claim should be met with a healthy amount of skepticism. My prediction: unless you are somewhere near the poverty line, you will see your tax burden rise to a level close to where it stood before the Reagan tax cuts of 1981. Goodbye economic expansion; hello neo-socialism.

Now I’m as sick as the next guy of hearing about “Joe the plumber,” but I find it really interesting that he is being vilified for experiencing and expressing the aforementioned skepticism. How dare he, instead of blindly rejoicing about what Senator Obama was promising for him today, consider for a moment what Senator Obama’s promise might mean to him in a year or two? Such audacity, not about hope, cannot possibly be tolerated – unless, of course, you have any aspirations of improving your position in life.

I don’t know about the rest of the electorate, but I would like very much to break into the $250k/year club. What kind of incentive remains for me under a Barack Obama tax plan that intends to punish me for attaining that goal? Like any other socialist agenda, this fosters an attitude of complacency, rewards mediocrity, and encourages stagnation. We’ve seen this kind of thing before, in the late 1970’s – nearly 10% unemployment, over 13% inflation, oppressive interest rates, energy shortages, and other signs of general economic distress. Thank you, Jimmy Carter, for showing us how not to run America. And an even bigger thanks to Ronald Reagan, for cleaning that mess up. “How?” you ask. By signing legislation that incorporated the largest tax cut in American history. There’s a reason that, in his 1984 reelection, Reagan won every electoral vote except those from his opponent’s home state and the District of Columbia.

I could go on and on about the negative aspects of Senator Obama’s plans to change America. The simple truth to me is that I don’t see a whole lot of good coming if Barack Obama is elected president. About the only light I see is (hopefully) a closing argument in the affirmative action debate that has divided this country for too long.

Jason Fischer is a student at Barry University School of Law, Class of 2009