Friday, October 17, 2008

Tax plans

If you're interested in the differences between the tax plans Senator Obama and Senator McCain have proposed, you'll probably find the Washington Post's Obama and McCain Tax Proposals as informative as I did.

I'm particularly interested in the fact that McCain's tax break percentage increase as income increases while for Obama tax breaks increase and income decreases. Given the increasing disparity in wealth between the extremes, I believe Senator Obama's plan is the most equitable given this data.

One other fact I haven't been able to find yet is how Senator McCain plans to finance his tax cut. Folks used to complain about the "tax and spend liberals". I think it's time they started worrying about the "borrow and spend conservatives" who have driven up the debt and deficit over the past eight years.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Statistics and trends

I've taken to following as many of the daily polls and statistics tracking the upcoming election as I can. My cousin recommended the site to my parents, who passed it along to me. It's hard to argue with cold mathematical prediction models or to skew them to your liking. The only thing you can affect is the questions asked, and with the slew of polls they track that noise is hopefully canceled out. I recommend taking a look if you don't feel you're getting your daily dose of campaign updates already. From their FAQ, here's a bit on their goal as a site:

What is the mission of this website? Most broadly, to accumulate and analyze polling and political data in way that is informed, accurate and attractive. Most narrowly, to give you the best possible objective assessment of the likely outcome of upcoming elections.

For the other end of the objectivity spectrum, there's the Washington Post, as discussed by Chris Bowers in his post "A 2.2% McCain lead is greater than a 13.8% Obama Lead."

I also took a look at the latest ABC/Post polling data and was intrigued by one of the results they called out:

                              Vote preference 
among likely voters
More important Obama McCain
Positions on issues (49%) 68% 29
Personal qualities (39%) 34 61

As one of the 49% of folks who is more interested in the candidates' positions on the issues they'll face as leader of the free world, I may admittedly be a little bit biased here. However, it does strike me as telling that those who are more interested in the candidates' positions are overwhelmingly Obama supporters. We've already had one president that folks would like to have a beer with, and his approval rating is now lower than Richard Nixon's worst (also from the ABC/Post poll).

True, a president must be an able diplomat with foreign leaders, but only 2% of those polled said that foreign policy was the most important issue in choosing a president. True, a president needs to be able to broker deals with both house of congress, but Obama holds an edge as a "stronger leader", 54% to 40%. What personal qualities are those polled considering? I don't see the raw data for the question in the report broken down by candidate, so it's difficult to glean any more data here. If you have any insight, please do let me know!

Friday, October 3, 2008

On debating: Palin's tactics

In last night's debate, Governor Palin decided that she could take a lifeline out at any time by simply deciding not to address the questions posed to her. Toward the beginning of the debate, she said, "And I may not answer the questions that either the moderator or you want to hear, but I'm going to talk straight to the American people."[1]

That is no way to have a debate. I'm one of those American people you mentioned, Governor Palin, and I would have been very interested to hear you address the deregulation question Senator Biden was discussing before the above quote, as well as a dozen other questions you decided to simply ignore.

Let's be very clear - as leaders of the free world, the president and vice president do not get to decide what issues to address. They are responsible for all of them. Playing ostrich and dodging issues you don't like is exactly what got us into the economic mess we're in. Pundits were saying you merely had to hold your own last night, but I believe you had to show you were capable of governing a nation after having governed a state with a population lower than that over a dozen cities in the lower 48 states. In that respect, you have failed to convince me you are ready to serve as vice president of the United States.

Moreover, your broad interpretation of the powers and duties of the office of the vice president are frightening and dangerous. As previously mentioned in "Ongoing Investigations", you consider yourself to be above the law. No citizen of the country is ever above the law, and no citizen in their right mind wants a vice president who puts themselves above the law. To directly quote:

IFILL: Governor, you mentioned a moment ago the constitution might give the vice president more power than it has in the past. Do you believe as Vice President Cheney does, that the Executive Branch does not hold complete sway over the office of the vice presidency, that it it is also a member of the Legislative Branch?

PALIN: Well, our founding fathers were very wise there in allowing through the Constitution much flexibility there in the office of the vice president. And we will do what is best for the American people in tapping into that position and ushering in an agenda that is supportive and cooperative with the president's agenda in that position. Yeah, so I do agree with him that we have a lot of flexibility in there, and we'll do what we have to do to administer very appropriately the plans that are needed for this nation.[1]

I think not, Governor Palin. Please reread our Constitution.

[1] Transcript of Palin, Biden debate