Sunday, November 2, 2008

Election issues 2008 - part 4

I've really got to slam this out because I have less than two days to go.

Health care (3)
This issue needs to be addressed, but it is another issue which the President has little effect. The fact of the matter is our health care system is dictated by the insurance conglomerates and pharmaceuticals. We don't have a discussion about health care in this country without it being phrased in how we're going to provide health insurance. This is silly. We don't talk this way with other issues. We don't talk about how we need to help get every child into schools, we provide schools. We don't talk about getting people access to roads, we make roads, bridges, etc. We need to provide health care, not health insurance. The goal of the government isn't to fill the coffers of corporations.

The United States of America spends more tax dollars per capita every year than any other country in the world, yet fewer people have access to health care, and those who do get less care. Only three nations spend over 10% of their GDP on health care (USA, Germany and Switzerland), and the USA spends nearly 15%. Clearly our system is profit oriented, not results oriented. The goal is to maximize profits, not heal people and keep them healthy.

I would rate this issue higher if the President had more control in this area. We need to join the rest of the developed world and move to a single-payer health care system. We're already spending the money (more than anyone), so why not spend it on something that works? Don't give me the sob story that you have to wait a couple months to visit your primary care physician in Canada - I had to wait over two-months to get into mine through my HMO. We have socialized schools, utilities, etc, why not health care? (You are against it now, but when you have it you'll use it.)

Former Representative Cynthia McKinney voted every chance she could for a single-payer system. +3

Former Ambassador to the UN Alan Keyes thinks people paying for their own health care directly, without insurance, would bring the costs down. This doesn't work with any other industry, why would it work with health care? Industries maintain profit margins, and unless doctors work for minimum wage, health care will remain at a certain level. -3

Ralph Nader supports a single-payer system. +3

Senator Barack Obama's health plan basically helps people afford insurance. This is subsidizing insurance companies allowing them to keep their costs high while lowering the cost to the patients. For all this talk about Obama being a socialist, he sure doesn't have any socialist policies. His plan is pro-corporation, pro-profits. It would give 34-million people insurance, but would add $1.6-trillion to the national debt (over ten years). -3

Former Congressman Bob Barr wants to cut regulation on health care. What does he want to do, allow needles to be reused? -3

Senator John McCain's plan is probably the worst of the bunch. He wants to tax businesses who offer health care, and pay up to $5,000 (directly to the insurance companies) for those who seek out their own insurance. Up to 12-million people may lose their current coverage, but over all may give up to 5-million people insurance (by 2013) while adding $1.3-trillion to the national debt (over ten years). This is a similar plan to Obama's only it costs more for less. -3

Budget deficit (2)
I mentioned before that our politicians are full of crap if they think they can maintain spending as much as they are while also cutting taxes. Well, this is s similar issue to tax policy (also rated 2), but it deals with how the candidate plans on balancing the budget. This issue is affected by the President because s/he tells the Congress how much is needed for executive offices (which is most programs), so I am rating it separately from tax policy.

I'm of the mind that we should not have a deficit at all, and we should pay down our debt as quickly as possible. I would be in favor of an increased tax specifically set aside for debt payment if the budget had no deficit. We lose leverage with countries to which we own trillions of dollars.

Former Representative Cynthia McKinney would adjust the tax code to increase revenues. See the tax policy section for more details. There isn't much else she says about how she'll balance the budget. +0

Former Ambassador to the UN Alan Keyes wants a Constitutional amendment mandating a balanced budget. He wants wants to balance the budget and reduce our debt. Yet he wants to cut our taxes, increase military spending (which is already over 50% of our budget, and over 50% of the combined world's military budget as well), increase spending for NASA and national parks, and decrease spending on transportation and infrastructure (which is fragile and in need of rebuilding), and greatly reduce funding for education (because who needs to learn?), environmental protection (because who needs to breathe?), agriculture and arts. Not sure how he plans on balancing the budget, especially when he thinks the economy is fixed when families are strong. +0

Ralph Nader wants to reduce or cut corporate welfare, and cut tax loopholes for corporations. He would also seek to reduce military spending by 1/5th. +2

Senator Barack Obama would extend the Bush tax cuts to the middle class while raising taxes for those who make above $200,000 near those they had in the 1990s. He models the 1990s Clinton PAYGO system, which did have the USA running a budget surplus and payed down the national debt. Bush reversed this trend with reckless spending, Obama wants to get back on track. However, the Tax Policy Center says his plan would increase the debt by $3.5-trillion over ten years. +0

Former Congressman Bob Barr would balance the budget by repealing the 16th Amendment to the Constitution (giving Congress the right to levy income taxes). Not sure how removing taxes will balance the budget. -2

Senator John McCain would keep the Bush tax cuts. He promises to balance the budget by the end of his first term. Not sure how that will happen when he wants to go to war with Iran, Russia, China, Venezuela and Spain. He has said he would cut military spending (while also criticizing Obama for saying the same thing), and take trillions out of Medicaid. He also claims he can find hundreds of millions in earmarks (even though eliminating all earmarks would only reduce the budget by less than 1%). The Tax Policy Center says McCain's plan would increase the national debt by $5-trillion over ten years. -2

I'll have more tomorrow, and probably finish it on Tuesday. I'm having my wisdom teeth pulled out so I'll be home all day Tuesday determining whether or not I'll actually vote.

Standings so far:
McKinney: 22
Keyes: 1
Nader: 18
Obama: 10
Barr: 6
McCain: -19

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