Monday, September 22, 2008

From Steve

NOTE: I asked an Obama Field Organizer to send me Obama's qualifications to be President. Instead, I received this is "fact sheet" used by Obama phone workers to help answer questions from prospective voters. Frankly, it created more questions, for me, than it answered.

Unity: Barack Obama believes we can unite people around a politics that puts solving the challenges of everyday Americans ahead of partisan calculation and special interest politics. [Sounds great. Could be true. Can you give me an example of when has he ever done that in the past?]

Barack does not take money from federal lobbyists or political PACs, and has taken a grassroots ‘bottom up’ approach to funding his campaign, making him answerable to the American People, not to corporations and special interests.

[Well, not exactly! Don't you recall that Obama publically agreed with John McCain to limit campaign monies to those regulated by federal campaign laws? Then, he quickly reneged when he discovered that he could get much more money from by-passing the law and his promise to McCain, and the nation. ]

Iraq: Obama opposed the war in Iraq from the beginning, and has a plan to responsibly end the war. [I guess I'm a little fuzzy in this. Didn't he just concede that the war effort was indeed working?]

Obama would immediately begin to pull out troops engaged in combat operations and pressure the Iraqi government to reconcile. [Interesting strategy. Please give me one example - in the entire history of human warfare - when unilaterally pulling troops out of combat operations (or, even announcing such intention) was not viewed by the enemy and the rest of the world as an admission of defeat. Does he really think this will encourage Al Qaeda to stop fighting or cancel their commitment to kill you, your children and everyone in free societies?]

He would call for a new constitutional convention with the United Nations. [Really? When did the UN get authority to determine a sovereign nation's laws? Whose Constitution does he want to change? Ours? ]

And he would take immediate steps to confront the humanitarian disaster in Iraq. [Is this anything akin to the massive rebuilding of political philosophy, infrastructure, schools, hospitals and social services that the United States military has been doing so very well for the past 5 years?]

Healthcare: Obama will sign legislation by the end of his first term in office that will provide quality, affordable and portable health care to every single American. His plan will save a typical family up to $2,500 every year by providing health coverage for every American, modernizing the U.S. health care system to contain costs, promoting prevention, and strengthening public health. [This sounds even better than Hillary's plan, which the Democratic Congress soundly defeated when they could not find a reasonable way to pay for it. How, does his plan not destroy the current health care and insurance industries which, in spite of serious flaws, are still far better and more cost-effective than any others in the world?]

Economy: Obama will restore fairness to the tax code and provide 150 million workers with a tax cut, including a new tax credit worth up to $1,000 per working family; 3x that of McCain’s middle class tax cut. [Please help me with Obama's math. Since 40% of American citizens (including Illegal Aliens) do not pay any taxes right now... and, he promises to reduce taxes for an additional 150 million workers - isn't that nearly our total adult population? Who is left to pay the taxes he will increase? Taxing big corporations has always reduced jobs and raised the cost of consumer goods.]

He will make strategic long-term investments in research, infrastructure, education, training, and workforce development so that America can create new high-wage jobs and prosper in the world economy. [Is he saying that the federal government will be investing tax-payer monies in private business or will create government-owned companies that will compete with private enterprises?]

Barack Obama will ensure that we enforce responsible oversight of our financial markets and ensure transparency from Wall Street, and he will fight for trade agreements that grow American jobs and contain good labor and environmental standards. [OK, This is an area in which Obama does have some first-hand experience -- or, at least first-hand advice. The very people who were at the helm of Fanny Mae, Freddie Mack, the SEC and several failed Wall Street financial giants when the decisions were made which lead to the current financial crises, now are key advisors to Obama's campaign. When they were in office, they made sure that Obama received the second-largest amount of lobbying monies paid to any Senator. The largest, of course, was to his fellow Democrat, Chris Dodd - the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. Tell me how this is responsible oversight... or responsible decision making? Obama can't even blame that mess on Bush.]

Obama’s tax plans will protect small businesses, and he will eliminate Income Taxes for Seniors Making Less than $50,000. [Wonderful! Basic economics clearly shows that business - small or large - should never be taxed at all! Because business taxes are always passed on to the consumers in the form of higher prices and fewer jobs, such taxes always hurt the people they are intended to help. So, while he's selectively eliminating taxes, how about removing any tax on Social Security payments, regardless of how much a Senior earns.]

Education: Obama is committed to strengthening our public schools. He will increase investment in early childhood education, and reform and fund No Child Left Behind. Obama will support paying teachers like the professionals they are and will encourage the development of professional, differentiated teacher compensation systems. He will make college affordable for every American by expanding grant aid and reforming federal student loans to free up more money for student aid. Students will be able to receive an additional $4000 per year to help pay for school under Barack’s plan in exchange for dedicating themselves to a term of public service upon graduation. [These intriguiging and expensive ideas certainly will appeal to the education industry. However, more than 60 years of throwing money at the school systems has only produced more costly school systems; not better students. How is he going to change undisciplined teaching environment and return "English" and the 3 R's to the curriculum?]

Energy and the Environment: Obama will make it a national priority to eliminate our oil imports from the Middle East from the Middle East and Venezuela within 10 years. [Ten years? How long did it take us to get to the moon? What did that cost, in today's dollars? This "priority" project is thousands of times larger than the Moon Mission.]

This massive effort will involve an approach akin to the Apollo project that will fast track the development of alternative fuels, renewable energy sources such as wind and solar, and will put a much needed focus on energy efficiency. [Sounds great but, it's very short-sighted. While this new technology is being developed, what do we do to improve our current methods of producing, transporting and selling goods? How do we continue to operate schools, churches, restaurants, medical facilities, manufacturing, retailing, TV, Radio, charities, books, services, transportation, etc., (ALL of which depend upon an ever-growing supply of petroleum), when the world demand for oil is increasing even faster than our own?]

Obama will provide short term relief to American Families by enacting a Windfall Profits Tax to Provide a $1,000 Emergency Energy Rebate to American Families. [So, he will tax the oil producers, thus raising the cost of oil products to consumers! Why not just tax the consumers, the result is the same.] He will crack down on excessive energy speculation, [Doesn't Obama understand how the world markets work? If he killed every American commodities speculator, the market would continue without a blip. Has he noticed that the price of a barrel of oil is back down to a 3-year low?!]

and swap oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to cut prices. [Apparently his advisors haven't mentioned that the United States is no longer the largest player in the world oil markets, China is! The amount of oil in our Strategic Reserves (which were established to stabilize a 1960's economy) would not keep our nation going for a week, much less have an effect on the world oil prices.]

Obama supports the most aggressive cap-and-trade approach to achieve an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050. ["Cap and Trade" is an interesting plan which tells industry and consumers how much 'greenhouse gas' they can produce in a given time period. If you produce less than your quota, you can sell your unused allotment to another business or person who goes over their quota. Thus, if you have a very efficient business that doesn't produce bad emissions, you could sell your "credits" to - say - John Travolta, so he can fly his personal (but, very dirty) 707 jet around the world. (Sounds silly, but that's the way "caps" work.)

"Caps", if adopted, will become a new form of commodity which would create yet another unregulatable "futures" market. That begs the question: "How would Obama or McCain enforce such a program in the massive third-world countries, (like China and India), which do not care about greenhouse gasses? Unless those nations accept the same costs and penalties, a Cap and Trade program simply gives our competition another trade advantage... and will drive more jobs and dollars to non-complying countries.]

Now, regarding my original question. Can someone please tell me, "What are Obama's actual qualifications for the highest executive position in the world?" Thank you very much.