Monday, November 3, 2008

A Rare Migrant, and Why I Voted for That One


Biden time until tomorrow!

I have made a point of keeping this site non-political, but here's a sighting from yesterday afternoon at the University of  Florida campus I must share: a rare migrant from the Delaware, the Scranton Warbler, known for its rich and varied vocalizations. It, and other birds it travels with, have been seen frequently in Florida as of late. Many think this is because of the increasingly welcoming environmental conditions for them here.

I bring this up because
My Friend from up the coast has thrown his lot in with the other guy. Why, he asks good naturedly (the only way he ever asks stuff) would you vote for someone who wants to RAISE YOUR TAXES??

Two reasons: First: for almost all of us, HE WON'T. If you make under 250 grand a year (which I'm guessing My Friend does), you'll be getting a TAX CUT, not a raise. And if you're thinking (like Joe the Plumber) "what if I make a miillion bucks with my book deal and country music album, why should I pay taxes on that?" Consider this: both Colin Powell and Warren Buffett (whom doubtlessly make more than 250 grand) have both crossed party lines to endorse Obama. Both do so knowing they'd pay a bit more in taxes under him. These guys are both civic-minded and financially savvy--they wouldn't be doing this unless it was in their best interest, and the interest of America as a whole.

Second, consider this: Taxes pay for essential goods, such as roads, schools, parks (where birds are!), and the military. As Oliver Wendell Holmes (no commie) once said, "I like taxes. They pay for civilization." I share his sentiment: I don't mind part of my tiny salary going towards the common good. What I do mind is having huge portions of it hacked off and used to cover tax breaks for American companies that ship our jobs overseas, and for a pointless war in Iraq.

Another reason I'm voting for That One: Health care. One reason I moved across the country and away from my husband (who I haven't seen since August, and won't see again until Christmas) is because of this. His job doesn't offer any. So he got an individual policy that costs about $500 a month for the two of us (and no,, neither of us has any chronic illnesses) .And my husband's job is temporary, and the only job opportunities I had back home didn't include health coverage either. So I shlepped my ass out here to the swamp in part so I can get--ooh!--a year's worth of insurance that could potentially cover him as well as me, if, god forbid, his job ends sooner than they promised.

Under McCain's plan, my health benefits will be taxed, and it will no longer be advantageous for companies to offer them. And under his plan, there will be no guarantee that one can buy insurance affordably on the private market: companies will still have the right to turn people down for pre-existing conditions. My healthy, then 30-something brother-in-law was turned down for health insurance because he had asthma as a kid. He's now covered under my sister's insurance. What if that goes away?

Under Obama's plan, companies won't be penalized for offering health benefits, and it will be easier for freelancing individuals like my BIL to buy their own. What's not to like?

And here's another reason to vote for That One:
Birds.

And no, he's not a terrorist, socialist, or baby killer. For the facts, check
here and here.

I could go on forever, but I'll finish off with a personal reason: the John McCain who's running this year isn't the man I respected as a member of the loyal opposition four years ago. I'm effing sick of being told by him, Sarah, and their surrogates I'm not a Real American. As anyone who reads this regularly has probably guessed, I'm (1) nonwhite, (2) grew up in Los Angeles, land of the weird (and darned proud of it), and (3) one of those pointy-headed elite college professors (and darned proud of that too; I worked my ass off to get where I am.). John and Sarah would have you think people like me are lazy decadent leeches ruining it for the rest of you. Well, guess what?? I'm a proud third-generation American; my father was an Air Force officer. I vote and pay taxes. I do volunteer work. I work 60 hours a week as teacher and researcher, and pull in less in a year than Joe the Plumber. Seriously. E-mail me offline and I'll tell you what I'm making. I don't get paid a penny of overtime for all the late-night and weekend work I do, but if, God forbid, I call in sick, it IS deducted from my paycheck. Joe the Plumber would cry like a proverbial girl if he had to do my job. Don't tell me I don't get it. I do.

And I'm terrified that the environment of hatred and fear that they've stoked against people like me will blossom should they be elected.

So get out there and vote! And vote for my guy.... or I'll slap yo' momma!

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Obama first said $250,000, then reduced it to $200,000. Biden said $150,000, and Bill Richardson over the weekend said the threshold was $120,000. Sounds pretty elastic to me. Keep in mind that Mr. Obama has also promised to either repeal or let lapse the Bush tax cuts. That's an effective tax increase - and not just for people making over 250k.

I don't make $250,000, but some years I do make $120,000. Of that, roughly 40% ends up in DC or Sacramento via income taxes, not to mention that I have to pay the full 15.3% social security tax, and the 2.6% Medicare tax. I'm not real excited to pay more than half to the government, considering I don't use much in the way of government "services".

As for health care, I'm 53 and have paid my own health insurance every year for 30 years. I certainly don't want you to pay for it, and I don't want to pay for yours.

You may be struggling, but tell the truth: you did know what your job paid before you took it, right? You made a free choice. If it's not working out for you, you can make another one.

I'll be voting for "the other one" this year, but if your candidate prevails, he will be my president too, and I will wish him good luck and Godspeed. I'm sure you'll feel the same if the reverse happens.

Corey said...

Well put .. again, I don't begrudge you your choice or your reasoning, I just respectfully disagree.

For the record, the last public mention of the $250k threshold actually had it at $150k, so watch out!

As for health care . . I think the best any of us can hope for is that nothing changes. I've got some time under my belt in the insurance industry and I'll tell you that the pre-existing condition issue will never fly . . that would bankrupt insurance companies within a matter of months. Maybe some tighter controls on frivolous charges and some regulation of drug costs, but I think it's better left largely alone. McCain's plan sucks, but it'll never make it through Congress.

As for the taxes, I think we need to move toward a more fair system. McCain's plan lowers taxes for 100% of Americans, Obama's 95%. Just because I'm not one of the upper 5% doesn't mean I think their taxes should go up. 43% of Americans currently pay zero income taxes . . Mr. Obama's plan brings that closer to 50%. That's moving away from fair, not toward it.

Finally, before I tell you that we're still friends, I'll point out the "tax cut" fallacy. Tax cuts (for anyone) do not cost you or the government money. It wasn't the government's money to begin with. They're a reduction in revenue, but that's not on the same side of the balance sheet as an "expense". Even when it's for an "evil rich corporation". Remember, oil companies earn about 8 cents for every gallon of oil they drill, transport, refine and sell. The government, who does no work on the oil, takes 15 cents per gallon. Don't hate the player, hate the game!

Anyway, I'm done now. I appreciate the candor of your post, I just respectfully disagree with your point of view. I feel you've been sold a bill of goods that isn't what it seems to be. Doesn't mean we're not still friends though! Happy poll watching today!

owlgirl said...

It's good to know that folks of different political persuasions can disagree with respect and civility. This is a far cry from the divisive rhetoric we've been hearing for the past several months from the campaign of "the other one."

That said: I do have to wonder why anyone who is an ardent birder would vote for "the other one." I'm assuming that birders are de facto environmentalists; and on that count, one ticket's policies (and beliefs in the causes of climate change) are superior.

Felicia said...

Thanks for your civil and thoughtful comments. There's a lot I can say about them, but I'll keep this short(ish)

Point 1: My job was my choice; why don't I go and get a better one? Well, this IS the better one: my other option was three part-time positions at three different schools, no benefits, nada. In this economy, there aren't that many choices. And I could turn this argument around: why don't Joe the Plumber and Joe the Truck Driver just get better jobs if their lives are so hard?

Point 2: Covering people with pre-existing conditions will bankrupt insurance companies. I can believe this. So this means one of two things: if they can't afford health care on the open market, too bad—they should just up and die for the financial benefit of the rest of us. You guys are decent people; I don't think you believe this is the way to go.

The other thing it could mean is this: THE SYSTEM IS BROKEN. Health care isn't like car insurance: your driving skills and car are a matter of choice, but even people with good health habits can get cancer or have accidents with long-lasting effects. Maybe this is a fundamental difference in philosophy between me and you, but I believe health care is a right, not a privilege for the wealthy. Just about all other developed nations share my view: I've lived in France and Canada, and found their universal health care systems easier tto deal with than my HMO. Yup, I've experienced evil socialized medicine firsthand—and guess what? I'm still alive.

(Oh yes, my tax rate in Canada was about the same as what I was paying in the US. )

Point 3: By throwing in my lot with Obama, I've been sold a bill of goods. If so, then I'm in good company: Thanks for your civil and thoughtful comments. There's a lot I can say about them, but I'll keep this short(ish)

Point 1: My job was my choice; why don't I go and get a better one? Well, this IS the better one: my other option was three part-time positions at three different schools, no benefits, nada. In this economy, there aren't that many choices. And I could turn this argument around: why don't Joe the Plumber and Joe the Truck Driver just get better jobs if their lives are so hard?

Point 2: Covering people with pre-existing conditions will bankrupt insurance companies. I can believe this. So this means one of two things: if they can't afford health care on the open market, too bad—they should just up and die for the financial benefit of the rest of us. You guys are decent people; I don't think you believe this is the way to go.

The other thing it could mean is this: THE SYSTEM IS BROKEN. Health care isn't like car insurance: your driving judgment and car are a matter of choice, but even people with good health habits can get cancer or have accidents with long-lasting effects. Maybe this is a fundamental difference in philosophy between me and you, but I believe health care is a right, not a privilege for the wealthy. Just about all other developed nations share my view: I've lived in France and Canada, and found their universal health care systems easier tto deal with than my HMO. Yup, I've experienced evil socialized medicine firsthand—and guess what? I'm still alive.

(Oh yes, my tax rate in Canada was about the same as what I was paying in the US. )

Point 3: By throwing in my lot with Obama, I've been sold a bill of goods. If so, then I'm in good company: Christopher Buckley, son of conservative godhead William F. Buckley and a former National Review columnist. (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/10/14/AR2008101402492.html), Scott McClellan, former Bush press secretary (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/10/14/AR2008101402492.html) and Douglas Kmiec, former legal counsel to Ronald Reagan and Bush Sr. (http://www.catholic.org/national/national_story.php?id=27300) all men with sterling Republican credentials, have all endorsed Obama. The links here will explain their stories.

Okay, enough of this. Now back to our regularly scheduled programming of birds, birds, and more birds…

Rasta Redneck said...

I think Obama's a foolishly naive choice, but on the other hand Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, Vladimir Putin, and Osama bin Ladin all hope he wins. With you, that's four to one, so you must be right!

On the other hand, this probably means a Republican Congress in 2010 and the first of two Palin landslides in 2012!

Felicia said...

Oh Rasta!

First, Osama bin Ladin et al supported *McCain*, not Obama (see this link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/10/22/al-qaeda-supporters-endor_n_136779.html)
What better way to recruit more America-hating suicide bombers than to ensure the choice of a president determined to keep up Bush's bellicose, antagonistic policies of isolating America from the rest of the planet?

And dude (or dudette)! I can totally see why some people may have been drawn to McCain as a comfortable, familiar choice, and I can understand and respect the libertarian views of Corey and the anonymous guy (I don't agree with them, but it's logically consistent)...but... SARAH PALIN?? Good god, even most Republicans I know think she's a loser. If you paid any attention during the debates and the few interviews she's deigned to give, it's clear she has the intellectual curiosity and analytical skills of a clapper rail with red-tide poisoning.

Even FOX NEWS (yes, FOX NEWS!) reported today that people in the McCain camp had told them that Sarah didn't know Africa was a continent, and didn't know what the participating countries in NAFTA were. (Here's a link to the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MWZHTJsR4Bc) That lapse in knowledge would be pathetic for a 5th-grader; in someone even considering the presidency, unforgivable.

I'm hoping her 15 minutes of fame are up.

Corey said...

Oh Felicia, please don't buy into the Palin-bashing propaganda being put out by the McCain campaign. This happens after every election, it's mere scapegoating. While I don't question your anecdotal evidence, nationwide polling doesn't support what your local conservatives are saying about Palin. 82% of conservatives exit-polled said they thought Palin was a positive aspect of the campaign, and nearly 60% said they wanted her to be the Republican Party's nomination for President in 2012.

I really think the Africa thing is a case of "drive-by" journalism, although I haven't researched it. I think the Palin-bashing says a lot more about the McCain advisors than it does about Palin . . really, if she was that unqualified, why did those same advisors choose her as the running mate after what they claimed was a "thorough" vetting process? It's just my opinion, but it sounds like scapegoating to try to save face, and I frankly don't buy it.

As for her 15 minutes having expired, I wouldn't hold my breath. It's very likely that she'll obtain the Senate seat soon to be vacated by Mr. Stevens. If that's the case, we'll get a chance to see if the "Katie Couric" version of Sarah Palin was in fact the real thing.