Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Questions from an Undecided Voter

So I've been chatting with a close friend who's still undecided about who to vote for. I thought it might be interesting to post her questions here, in the hopes that you all might help me answer them. This is a long-time Republican (who admits she previously voted "blindly") who is really trying to make her own decision this time, and based on all her values, not just a single issue or two. So, here are the things still holding her up from voting for Obama - help me convert her! :)

1. Taxes: the concern is with Obama's plan which, according to what she's read, will cause her husband's employer (a small business that makes $7 mil a year) to pay so much more in taxes that the husband will likely be laid off (otherwise the owners would have to take a pay cut - which they estimated at $90,000 - and they won't like that). Now apart from the gross injustice of this situation (and what small business owner makes so much that they would have $90k CUT??), does anybody know enough about the tax plan to say whether this is actually the case? It sounds like crazy troll logic to me. But she claims that whenever Democrats are in the White House, his kind of job tends to be laid off (she admits this is partly due to the fact that they have contracts related to wars, and Republicans make more war...but when you're struggling to feed your family, keeping your job does come higher in your mind than worrying about war - and probably rightly so).

2. Abortion: apparently Obama has voted against banning partial birth abortion. Furthermore, he voted for some situation in which the end result was taxpayers funding abortions (I don't know the details on either of these - maybe you know what she's talking about?). She doesn't want her tax money paying for partial-birth abortions. She's also disturbed by this comment he apparently made about not wanting to "punish" his daughters with a baby (which I can't find in any reputable news sources but if you google that phrase, it's all over the conservative blogverse). Can anyone shed light on any of these tales? True, false, or what were the subtleties and details?

Thanks so much. I have hope! Yes, we can - get one more vote!


Unknown said...

Although I can not speak to the specifics on teh abortion claims I will post something I posted on Facebook to a friend.
"It shows why it has been difficult to decide who to vote for. McCain is very clearly pro-life, and Obama is very pro-choice. I am pro-life, so in this case McCain is closer to my own beliefs. However, like Bush's administration, his only stance that he offers to fight abortion is to put pro-life justices on the ... Read Moresupreme court (even though in the debate he said he would not appoint any justice using a "lithiums test"). The problem I have with this as the only approach is that it will change very little. I truly believe that our country will never overturn Roe vs Wade. The justices Bush appointed took no steps toward abolishing Roe vs Wade, and no one McCain appoints will either.
Although Obama's beliefs on abortion are wrong and even gross I believe his stance, which is in line with the Democratic Party's stance, that we need to attack the reasons women are having abortions to reduce them, is a very appropriate stance. Many reports have come out stating the reason the majority of women have abortions is because they do not think they can take care of a baby financially. Further, the reason for abortion and not adoption is because they do not have health care to help them through the pregnancy.
The Republican Party's notorious stance on this issue is nothing. They do not support programs to help those in need in any real way. They believe that if you give money to the top they will hire more people and pay their employees more, but this has been proven not to work. People are greedy. You give them more and they keep more. It is the nature of man. McCain has not mentioned once how he will help those caught without what they need to make it. He just attacks Obama's plans and gives very little specifics how his plans will work.
Further, I think there are many issues outside of abortion the church needs to be concerned about and, although I will not go into them here, I think Obama fits them more."

M.J. said...

The one thing that I appreciated about Obama in the Saddleback forum in comparison to McCain's very quickly stated, pro-life statement of life/human rights beginning at the point of conception (which I agree with on) was his recognition that where perhaps the focus needs to be placed is on reducing the number of abortions taking place annually. And while many would say he ditched responding to the question by stating that it was "above his paygrade" to decide those items, I would have to applaud him for recognizing that as a President he would be speaking/representing all individuals - even those whom he may personally disagree with.

I can't see Roe v. Wade being overturned so perhaps the focus needs to be on the issue Obama raises and also our commitment to sustain and enrich the lives of families who choose to go through a pregnancy. To make sure there is a way for them to finish their education, provide for medical care, early education for their children, safe and affordable housing, healthy/nutritious food for their stomachs. Wouldn't this really be "pro-life" in the fullest sense?

The other item related to taxes? I don't see how we as a nation can reduce down the trillion dollar plus deficeit without raising taxes for a period of time. I don't like the idea at all - but I would say that if we are tightening our belts as individuals the government may have to look at closing loopholes and possibly raising taxes in appropriate areas. If it (taxes) were going for something which substantially improved the quality of life I would survive, it it goes for spending more money on a broken system, funding prolonged conflict such as Iraq or lining the pockets of programs that don't benefit the lives of our people it's harder to swallow.

Wormwood's Doxy said...

On the abortion issue, check out this blog post by my friend Missy, who is a very active Roman Catholic:

Debunking the stories about Obama...

As for taxes--Taxes are our part of our responsibility as citizens (along with voting, jury duty, etc.). We all benefit from our military/police/firefighters/teachers, we all drive on our state/Federally funded roads, we all appreciate the clean water and safe food that our taxes give us. I get really tired of people acting as if those things are someone else's responsibility.

And---at the risk of sounding really judgmental--I would question the "values" of someone who wants more war in order to keep their job. Somehow, I don't think Jesus would approve---and I would suggest finding a different line of work that didn't rely on killing people to put food on the table.


Matt said...

On the tax issue:

I own two small businesses, and will also be personally hit by Obama's tax increase. Do I like that? Not really. But you know what? Let's put country first if we're serious about putting country first. That means that those who can afford to pay more will just have to suck it up and pay more, whether it's "fair" or not. (Taxes aren't really about fair, of course.)

As for the idea that your husband's job is at risk because of a small raise in taxes on the most well-off Americans, well, that's simply not true.

Listen, to put it simply: the reason your bosses employ your husband is because they believe he adds more value to their business than they have to pay out to compensate him, pay the taxes on him, etc. I've got 30 or so developers working for me, and that's why I employ each and every single one of them.

If you accept that (and I hope you do, otherwise your husband's job is constantly at risk of your bosses discovering that he's losing them money, at which point he'll be fired), then the logic doesn't make sense. You can't lay someone who is productive for you off and magically increase profits by 90k. They'd just do that now if that was possible.

Here's why you should be scared for your husband's job: The economy is in the toilet and all signs point to it getting worse. What happens when the economy goes down? Demand for your company's products tends to decrease, which means that now you're producing more than the market for your products can consume, and you are forced to lay people off.

Please understand: The bad economy is why your husband's job is at risk.

So the question you should be asking yourself isn't (for crying out loud!) which candidate is more likely to start murdering people so that your husband will have a job, especially as what the Republicans have done to pay for the war in Iraq is literally mortgage the next generation's future. Starting another major war (something McCain, and especially Palin, is far more likely to do than Obama) is something that this country cannot afford in a very literal, financial way.

The question to ask is, who is more likely to behave economically responsible? The economy is incredibly, unbelievably complicated even compared to 20 years ago when Reagan was leaving office. The Republicans have shown that they simply don't understand the new, hyper-connected economy we find ourselves in. The evidence is all around us.

The party of McCain and Palin has been in power for 8 years, and has spent those 8 years deregulating except when Congress forced regulation (in response to, say, Bush's buddies at Enron committing massive financial fraud due to lack of regulation). Now we're in the worst financial crisis this company has seen since the Great Depression, and where we are at now is actually not that big of a deal compared to the Great Depression...yet. And frankly, I don't think Palin could even explain to you coherently what caused the economic crisis.

I don't know if Obama and, as importantly, his economic advisors (such as Warren Buffet, the richest man in the US, who has also pledged almost all of his wealth to charity) know what the solution is, but I tell you what: McCain was proudly proclaiming he's fundamentally a deregulator a mere 6 months ago, and that's -exactly- what got us into this mess we're in.

I don't know if Obama has the answer, but I'm sure McCain doesn't.

On the partial birth abortion - come on! You're killing me! You're willing to support our government starting wars and murdering civilians in mass numbers but one of your 'crux' issues is the form the abortion takes? We disagree about partial birth abortions, but I can see your point of view.

However, let's try to keep some perspective here. McCain has supported Bush consistently throughout the last 8 years, especially when it comes to starting wars. We have slaughtered tens of thousands of people and hundreds of thousands have died due to the situation we created. Sunnis and Shias are still blowing each other up. 15,000 Christians just had to flee the Iraqi city of Mosul because of fears that they'd be eradicated. Child upon child has suffered, women are now repressed like they are in more fundamentalist Arab countries, and the infrastructure (which does things like keep the power on in hospitals where the babies you're concerned about are being born) will take a decade and more to get functioning again, if we're lucky.

Even if you believe that partial birth abortions are the equivalent of killing someone, starting wars is much, much worse, not to mention much worse for our country (again, thanks ruining our economy, Bush).

It's really simple. Voting for McCain and Palin is voting for eight more years of the same incompetency we've seen from the modern day Republicans.

You want your husband to keep his job? Pray that Obama gets elected, because that's your best chance.

--matt, a former Republican (who even interned for his Republican Congressman).

JTB said...

due to prompting from another friend I have posted some thoughts on abortion over at my blog.