An Open Letter to Undecided American Voters

fishingboatproceeds:

fishingboatproceeds:

Somewhere around two percent of voters are ostensibly still undecided about who they’ll be voting for in the Presidential election. These people are often ridiculed, because it’s easy to make fun of a small minority, but many voters (including myself) are balancing competing interests and also trying to make conclusions about a candidate’s true intentions, which are always masked by a degree of political doublespeak.

In general, I’m disappointed by the tone of the political conversation this year, which is too rarely about policy and too often mean-spirited. Nobody running for President wants to destroy America. Nobody is evil.

The policy positions aren’t even that different: In the end, the purportedly “pro-rich” Romney wants the top marginal tax rate to be 28%; the purportedly “anti-rich” Obama wants it to be 39%. That may seem like a huge difference, but it really isn’t: In 1962, the top marginal income tax rate was 90%. In 1986, it was 50%. 

I’m not going to give you a quiz that will tell you who to vote for; these already exist. Instead, I’m going to share what matters to me, and how I decided to vote to re-elect President Obama. This is a partisan attempt to convince you to vote for my guy, and I’m not going to pretend otherwise, but it comes from a true independent who has voted for many Republicans for state and national offices in the past (and will vote for a couple this year).

Here are the issues that matter to me:

1. The Economy: The Deficit. We can’t continue to take on debt without risking the long term financial health of the United States, but it’s really important to note that almost all of our current debt is extremely cheap, because interest rates are on T-Bills and the like are very low. So our current debt poses no risk to the American economy. (Here’s a further explanation.) But debt could become more expensive in the future, which could be a big problem. Both candidates for President have plans to reduce the deficit: Romney wants to cut spending and end some tax credits and deductions while also cutting overall income tax rates by 20%; Obama wants to cut spending and raise taxes, primarily by rolling back the Bush-era tax cuts on income over $250,000 a year. (Obama also wants to raise the capital gains tax modestly, from 15% to 20%, but this will never happen with a Republican congress.)

It’s not clear whose plan would cut the deficit more, because Romney hasn’t said which deductions he’d eliminate, and neither has really outlined what kind of spending they would cut, except for rhetorical stuff that isn’t very expensive (like federal funding for public broadcasting).

But to me, Obama’s plan is a lot more balanced and measured. It also incorporates a lot of Republican ideas, especially in restructuring Medicare costs to make them more sustainable, and if Obama is re-elected, the Grand Bargain that will need to be struck on deficit reduction will probably focus on spending cuts while also rolling back the Bush-era tax cuts on income over $250,000. I think Romney’s plan is just disingenuous; you don’t cut deficits by cutting taxes. You may spur economic growth (as we saw in the Reagan years), but you’ll never see surpluses that will allow us to better manage our debt (as we saw in the Clinton years). I think the current economic climate calls for a Clinton-esque response rather than a Reagan-esque response.

Some will say that President Obama shouldn’t be trusted with the deficit after growing it so much the past four years. But deficits are supposed to grow during recessions, and even during recoveries. (Indeed, that’s one of the reasons our debt is currently so cheap.) The deficit should shrink during times of economic expansion, which I expect the next four years will be no matter who is President.

2. The Economy: Jobs. Here’s my honest opinion: Presidents don’t create many private-sector jobs. It’s true that regulation stymies some growth that might lead to more employment, but it’s equally true that inadequate regulation can hurt the job market in the long run (as we saw with the banking collapse of 2008). I share a lot of Romney’s pro-business worldview, but most facilitating of private-sector job creation happens in local government, not on the federal side. (If Romney were running for governor of Indiana against Obama, I’d have a harder time making up my mind.)

3. The Supreme Court. The next presidential term will likely see one or two Supreme Court appointments, and while all the ink will be spilled about abortion rights and marriage (both very important issues), the biggest question facing the court to me is about the role that corporations play in our country and whether they should be treated as people under the law. Romney has implied he is likely to look to conservative justices who believe in corporate personhood; Obama has shown that he is likely to appoint judges (whom to me seem centrist but to conservatives seem liberal) who argue against corporate personhood. This is a defining issue of our time, and I don’t think corporations should have the same set of rights as individuals, so this is a big push toward Obama for me.

4. Foreign policy. This is pretty simple: Governor Romney wants to increase defense spending at a time when I don’t think it needs to be increased. I think the Afghan War has been poorly managed under Obama, but it was also poorly managed before. Vitally, he brought an end to the Iraq War (although again, we were put on that road by the Bush administration). 

My biggest foreign policy concern is that Governor Romney has advocated for more intervention in Syria and Iran. I don’t think the US should act unilaterally anymore on the world stage. I also don’t want to see us return to the aggressive and hawkish rhetoric of the Bush era. We can’t afford it, and it doesn’t make us stronger.

5. Social issues. I believe in marriage equality and abortion rights, which line up with the President’s positions better than Governor Romney’s. 

So that’s how I decided. A lot of people are going to choose differently, and that’s okay. I think President Obama is a better choice at this historical moment, but I don’t think Governor Romney is evil or even that he’d be a bad President. In short, I don’t blame you for being undecided. Thanks for reading.

Reblogging because tomorrow is election day.

He is, in essence, a very arrogant, very successful businessman [who] believes in unreined free enterprise. He doesn’t have a clue what 99 per cent of the people are going through. He’s never lived on that level. He’s never had to compete for a job or face eviction or struggle to get a college loan. He’s a guy that the old phrase applies to: ‘he was born on third base and thought he hit a triple… They say this kind of rhetoric that I’m doing right now is advocating class warfare, but that’s nonsense. There is no class warfare; the war ended a long time ago and the poor lost very badly.

If Mitt Romney and his vice-presidential running mate, Representative Paul Ryan, were to win next month’s election, the harm to women’s reproductive rights would extend far beyond the borders of the United States.

In this country, they would support the recriminalization of abortion with the overturning of Roe v. Wade, and they would limit access to contraception and other services. But they have also promised to promote policies abroad that would affect millions of women in the world’s poorest countries, where lack of access to contraception, prenatal care and competent help at childbirth often results in serious illness and thousands of deaths yearly. And the wreckage would begin on Day 1 of a Romney administration.

The New York Times: “A World of Harm for Women” (via barackobama)

quigonejinn:

bowiecadmium:

ipsadixit:

guineverethecat:

Some ladies are far more articulate than I can be…

since “You go, girl” doesn’t seem appropriate, “You go, Justice Bader Ginsburg”!!!

Bitches get shit done

True Story: Ginsburg and her husband attended law school together.  After their first kid was born, her husband was diagnosed with testicular cancer, and Ginsburg attended class for both of them and took notes.  With a sick husband and a newborn baby, she still made law review.  
True fact: Ginsburg’s opinion in the VMI case is 50 tons of smoking-hot judicial “fuck you, if the standard is equality of opportunity, VMI, you can’t put three adjunct professors in a classroom next to a jungle gym, tell them to teach the ladeez, and then claim that you’re offering female students the same opportunity that you offer male students”.  
True fact: Ginsburg’s beef with Roe v. Wade is that it was insufficiently clear that the decision of whether or not to give birth to a kid is all about the goddamn person who has to give birth.   
True fact: Ginsburg is saucy as fuck, calling Scalia straight-out on his bullshit on the health care law by quoting his very own words back to him. 
True fact:  Ginsburg is a tough old bird who didn’t miss a day on the bench while she was getting chemo for colon cancer, but she is only human, and what Romney will appoint to replace her if he wins the presidency does. not. bear. thinking about. 

quigonejinn:

bowiecadmium:

ipsadixit:

guineverethecat:

Some ladies are far more articulate than I can be…

since “You go, girl” doesn’t seem appropriate, “You go, Justice Bader Ginsburg”!!!

Bitches get shit done

True Story: Ginsburg and her husband attended law school together.  After their first kid was born, her husband was diagnosed with testicular cancer, and Ginsburg attended class for both of them and took notes.  With a sick husband and a newborn baby, she still made law review.  

True fact: Ginsburg’s opinion in the VMI case is 50 tons of smoking-hot judicial “fuck you, if the standard is equality of opportunity, VMI, you can’t put three adjunct professors in a classroom next to a jungle gym, tell them to teach the ladeez, and then claim that you’re offering female students the same opportunity that you offer male students”.  

True fact: Ginsburg’s beef with Roe v. Wade is that it was insufficiently clear that the decision of whether or not to give birth to a kid is all about the goddamn person who has to give birth.   

True fact: Ginsburg is saucy as fuck, calling Scalia straight-out on his bullshit on the health care law by quoting his very own words back to him

True fact:  Ginsburg is a tough old bird who didn’t miss a day on the bench while she was getting chemo for colon cancer, but she is only human, and what Romney will appoint to replace her if he wins the presidency does. not. bear. thinking about. 

Mr. Romney has called for overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court ruling that recognized a woman’s constitutional right to make her own childbearing decisions and to legalized abortion nationwide. He has said that the issue should be thrown back to state legislatures. The actual impact of that radical rights rollback is worth considering.

It would not take much to overturn the Roe decision. With four of the nine members of the Supreme Court over 70 years old, the next occupant of the White House could have the opportunity to appoint one or more new justices. If say, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the oldest member, retired and Mr. Romney named a replacement hostile to abortion rights, the basic right to abortion might well not survive.

The New York Times: “If Roe v. Wade Goes” (via barackobama)

I am personally outraged that any serious contender for the White House would target as part of his campaign the children of America in this fashion.

Reading Rainbow host and intergalactic explorer LeVar Burton responds to Mitt Romney’s promise to defund PBS/eat Big Bird. 

-Mike Riggs

(via election)

(Source: gov)

itscandidlycara:

Not to mention the complete disdain he has for something that should be of NATIONAL PRIDE, much in the way that the BBC is for England. PBS is part of our national culture.

itscandidlycara:

Not to mention the complete disdain he has for something that should be of NATIONAL PRIDE, much in the way that the BBC is for England. PBS is part of our national culture.

(Source: cartoonpolitics)