andyb wrote:I don't have an agenda to push American politics further to the left than they already are, I like a number (but not all, I also like so of the Republican ideas) of the things that the Obama administration has tried to do over the last few years, such as an American NHS, and sensible tax policies.
Both of these things will help lift a vast quantity of Americans out of poverty, whilst reducing the percentage of people who are "low class" workers and expand the "middle class", these things will amongst many other things, reduce crime, infant mortality, poverty, sickness and ill-health, whilst increasing the amount of people available to work, and increase the level of education, which will ultimately (it will take decades to truly work) result in a higher GDP per capita, with a larger workforce, a better educated work force (also increasing GDP per capita), longer longevity, lower crime and a generally happier population.
These things cannot be argued with, as they have been proven countless times across many decades by countless countries around the world.
This will not stop "Capitalism", this will not stop growth, or investment, these changes will affect the rich the most (who often pay the lowest rate of tax), it will help the most deprived and down-trodden the most, and ultimately it will help everyone in the vast middle class, and not to mention everyone who becomes ill, or looses their job, or is simply unlucky enough to be born into a poor ill-educated family in a down-trodden area with high unemployment - these are the people who will benefit, 99% of the US population.
That is why I want to see Obama and Co win the next US election, I want to see America treat its poor and ill-educated people with respect and dignity, whilst being fair to those who simply trip over and break a leg, the only people who will lose out will be the rich, they will still be rich, just less rich.
And before you mention damage to economic growth, remember that everyone but the rich will have more money to spend, and spend they will - the only economic strife that will be caused will be temporary whilst the changes are happening, and then it will simply get better.
If everything you said was actually true (in terms of what creates the most wealth among the general population, including the poor) then I would support your objectives. But I don't believe you are correct in your analysis of cause and effect. So I believe your statements can be argued with.
I certainly am nowhere near the top 1% in terms of income or wealth, nor are the overwhelming majority of persons who support Republican candidates. It is possible that Republicans are wrong about how to fix the economy, get people back to work (which is the most important thing that can be done to provide dignity), and make life better for everyone. It is also possible that the Democrats are wrong. For example, there are a couple of interesting things about taxes that come into play:
1) The US has the one of the highest (if not the
highest) corporate tax rates of any developed country in the world. This is why many former former US companies are now based offshore (not talking about manufacturing, but corporate headquarters).
2) The amount of tax revenue the government receives is dependent on the amount of net income that people and companies make. The better off everyone is financially, the more taxes they pay to the government, and the more money that is available for social programs and the poor. John F Kennedy lowered tax rates
during his presidency because he was told by liberal economists that it would increase economic growth, and more companies and people would make more money, and pay more in taxes, even with lower tax rates. That is exactly what happened. Tax rates were lowered, and total tax revenue for the US Treasury increased as a result of the economic growth that resulted. This has been well-documented and was not a coincidence.
So it seems to me that everyone wants the same thing, we just have honest differences on what we think actually works.
Regarding what has worked in countries other than the US, no two countries are the same in terms of history, culture, immigration, etc, so I am not sure that all policies should be the same for all countries. I personally don't want to impose my ideas on the UK, EU, or anywhere else, since that is not of my business. I prefer to not be an imperialist and try to tell others what to do (unless it is a direct impact on US security such as in Afghanistan, etc, and even in that case there are limits on what we can tell them to do).
I think the US economy has been pretty successful compared to the rest of the world over the last 100 years, for the very reasons that make it different than most other countries. Right now we are swimming in debt, largely due to entitlements and social programs, and that is a problem for both the US and the EU, and that will have to be addressed via increased tax revenues
(which may actually mean lowering raising tax rates
, as I mentioned above).
Regarding Obama, I think his accomplishments are miniscule, other than at the "perception" or "feel-good" level. Let’s review some of the major areas of his term in office so far:
1. Financial Crisis
- Not one single Wall Street person that I know has been indicted for crimes related to this fiasco. The socialist Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were bailed out by Obama with no hope of repaying their loans. Virtually all the loans made to private banks and insurance companies have been paid back with a profit for the Fed. Instead of going after Wall Street for blatant criminal activity, the Wall Street execs (and even low level managers) have been paid obscene bonuses since the bailout, even for companies were Obama had the power to stop it because of US equity positions taken as part of the bailout. Obama complains, but does nothing because he got huge amounts of campaign money from Wall Street for his 2008 election. Instead of indicting the criminals on Wall Street, he goes after athletes accused of using performance enhancing drugs many years ago, such as Lance Armstrong (charges recently dropped), Roger Clemens, and Barry Bonds, all three of whom are retired. These investigations and trials have cost many tens of millions of dollars to the US taxpayers.
- Bush negotiated an exit date before he left office and the troops left according to that schedule during Obama's administration.
- Between Sept 2001 and Jan 2009 (when Bush was president) there were 578
US fatalities in Afghanistan. Between February 2009 and March 6th, 2012 there have been 1,255
US fatalities. Similar percentage increase in numbers for wounded during Obama presidency. Also similar percentage increase in numbers for the Afghan people and coalition forces. Obama has been a complete failure in Afghanistan and it appears that the Taliban has gained strength.
4. Health Care
- Obama had complete control of Congress for his first year in office, including a filibuster proof US Senate. Parts of Obamacare may be unconstitutional and the rest is hardly what I would call "serious reform". The major problem of US healthcare is the cost, not the amount of coverage given to people (there is a lot more free healthcare in the US for the poor than Europeans realize). Obama has done very little in this area.
- Pitiful. Unemployment has declined a bit recently, but he has been in office for more than 3 years and it is still way too high. Outlook for the world and US economy is not so bright. He has done nothing but give speeches.
6. BP Oil Spill
- Complete and total incompetence and failure of leadership by Obama.
7. The Rest
- There is not much else to talk about, since he has done virtually nothing but make people "feel good" about a liberal in the White House. Upon scrutiny, it is all smoke and mirrors. Liberals are blind to the truth even by their own standards of what they claim to believe in.