Saturday, September 6, 2008

Republican Contradictions

McCain praises himself as a maverick who bucks his party, the democrats, and the "Washington" establishment even though he has been a part of the Republican and Washington establishment for over two decades. While his Maverick title may have made sense in 2000, in the last eight years, McCain has not only been a loyal member of the Bush Republican party, but in many way he defined it. In his acceptance speech for his party nomination for president of the United States he spoke openly of his experiences during Vietnam to highlight how he realized how is maverick tendencies had got him in trouble. Yet this is the very quality he seeks to demonstrate to the American people as necessary to bring "real change" to Washington.

It appears that the the McCain strategy is that Americans should vote for him because we can trust him because he represents "real" change. He, a Washington insider for over 20 years, makes his platform on virtually all of the same policies that Republican's have run on for decades and claims that he and his party can reform Washington from the people who created a mess in Washington - which is those very same people and those very same policies.

For the past six months McCain's campaign has been harping on the lack of experience as the reason why Obama is unqualified to be president. Yet McCain decided to pick a running mate with little to no experience. His campaign has pointed out that Obama had no executive experience and highlighted the almost two years Palin has as a Governor. Some Republicans have even stated she has more executive experience than Biden as he has only served in the Senate, overlooking the fact that this would mean she also has more experience than McCain, who has also only held office in the Senate. According to Palin and the McCain campaign they are going to change Washington, yet she is unwilling or unable to participate in an interview and discuss exactly what her and McCain's plans are for the country beyond generic rhetoric.

The biggest contradiction, as it appeared to me during his speech, was John McCain's accusation of Democrats as the "me first, country second crowd". Yet at the same time he asks for more tax cuts, despite a large national debt and an overstrecthed military, among other economic issues (and the argument for tax cuts is not based on economics but on fairness). According to an analysis by the non-partisan Tax Policy Center, which analysed both Obama's and McCain's tax proposals, McCain's tax proposal leaves little relief for working class Americans in terms of after tax income compared to those in the highest marginal incomes.

A majority of the money that would be spent on the tax cuts (around 51%) would go to those in the $65,000 to $139,000 income range. However, the primary benefactors of after tax income increases will be the upper middle class and the upper class - the top one fifth would get the largest percentage increase in income at over 6% and the top one percent would get nearly a 10% increase, while those in the lowest income range would recieve a less than 1% increase in after tax income and the next two income brackets recieve around a 3% increase respectively. To put this in perpsective, according the U.S Census Bureau the current income quintiles (fifths) range as follows: Botttom 1/5th $0-$20,300, 2/5th $20,300-$39,100, 3/5 $39,100-$62,000, 4/5th $62,000-$100,000, top 5/5th $100,000 and over, top 5% (top 1/20th) $177,000 and over.

The Tax Policy Center fairly points out that neither candidates plan would create significant increases in economic growth without either spending cuts or, more suprisingly, tax increases (probably assuming greater government expenditures and a lower deficit level). What appears as a contradiction to me is the idea that those who benefit the most from our system of government and society would claim to put the country first, but then demand that they pay less for the benefits they have recieved (and a lowering of their tax burden corresponds to an increased tax burden on the lower and middle classes which are the backbone of both the workforce and the military).

Much of my criticism may be unfair and the result of personal bias, but if McCain and Palin would put out some specific and concete policy porposals rather than running on slogans and rhetoric intended to inflame passions (it inflames as much passion on the left as it does the right, so the benefit of their strategy may be dubious) it would be possible to make a fairer assesment of what a McCain-Palin administration would be like and their campaign would not seem so full of contradictions.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

One would think that with the failed economic policies of this administration, Republicans would embrace Obama's plan. Does being a conservative hinder moving toward such a place? It amazes me that those who think Bush failed miserably here, still support McCain/Palin. Are Wall Street's financial crises even on their radar?