Monday, October 20, 2008

From Breath: Election Views

Life isn’t fair.

Simply put: the cold, hard truth. Most of us know it by now, and it’s a decidedly blatant fact even to those who don’t. We can rail about a certain something called the “economy,” for instance—and how it also happens to be crashing and burning this generation, courtesy of mistakes that began cropping two generations ago—but there is little that people can do to drastically change it. Things began snowballing decades ago. This is today. Not yesterday.

To get on to my actual point, the two candidates in the coming presidential election both show merits—one cannot deny that. Each candidate has his pros and his cons. The problem would be identifying them. It’s all a matter of perspective as to just what is a pro and what is a con. And to be perfectly honest, if one asked me which candidate I would prefer as president, I wouldn’t quite know for sure.

From what I’ve heard, Barack Obama has not disparaged his opponent—or, if he has, the amount is moderate to minimal. That speaks a lot about his morals. On the other hand, John McCain, Obama’s said opponent, has distorted truth before. On the campaign trail in Concord, North Carolina, McCain quoted Obama as saying that he wished to “spread the wealth around.” According to an article on the CNN website, this was, in fact, a misleading statement. McCain distorted Obama’s point and oversimplified a five-minute-long conversation. “Obama replied in great detail about his tax plan, and the ‘spread the wealth’ remark was one small part of the conversation.“ [1] This already speaks a bit about McCain’s person. He’s willing to distort the facts in order to throw doubt at his opponent? Well. There’s something.

But I digress.

“Obama explained his tax plan during the roughly five-minute exchange — telling Wurzelbacher that the tax rate on the portion of his income that was more than $250,000 would be increased from 36 percent to 39 percent. But he also mentioned that his plan includes a 50 percent small-business tax credit for health care and a proposal to eliminate the capital-gains tax for small businesses that increase in value. Obama said his tax plan, which he said focuses on bigger breaks for people making lower incomes, would be good for the economy. ‘If you've got a plumbing business, you're going to be better off if you've got a whole bunch of customers who can afford to hire you,’ he said. ‘Right now, everybody's so pinched that business is bad for everybody. And I think when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody.’” [1]

I do agree with and find advantages in Obama’s plan. While people making over $250,000 would be subjected to a tax increase, they also receive a benefit. Compensation, in a way—a means of balancing things so that the bad does not outweigh the good. In the quote, Obama said that his plan also “includes a 50 percent small-business tax credit for health care and a proposal to eliminate the capital-gains tax for small businesses that increase in value.” Additionally, it is likely that the amount of people who make less than $200,000 each year (and thus people who would benefit from the tax cuts in Obama’s plan) outnumber the amount of people who would receive fewer benefits. Often times, it is better to tend to the majority because the majority consists of more people—thus, more people would benefit. However, this is just a thought, not a “be all and end all” kind of thing.

On the other hand, take McCain’s plan. He plans to have no raising taxes and create more jobs. Which probably means giving money to larger businesses in some way so that they have the budget to create more jobs and thus hire more employees, which decreases the amount of jobless people. There’s merit in that, too. However, why is it that I can see people… oh, say, use that money improperly? It has happened before in the past. People have used money for the wrong purposes before. History repeats itself constantly, whether in minor or major ways. It happens. (See the word “corruption” if the dictionary if you need a better idea of what I’m getting at.)

My next point. Capitalism or socialism?

Whereas one gives equal opportunity, the other gives equal outcome.

They both have their flaws. I could probably nitpick at the negatives for hours if I felt like it. Both have pitfalls that people are bound to dislike.

Capitalism is what we have now—and also what brought us to the economy’s current state. Which is decidedly worsening, mind you. Equal opportunity, while nice, causes problems for the economy in general. You have those who can pay for things and those who cannot, each with circumstances behind why they don’t or do. Some people endured poor schooling as children. Can you really blame them for something they had no true part in? I don’t think so. Nonetheless, people, as kids, tend to be unable to choose the quality of their education. They generally deal with what they get, particularly if they aren’t so well off. However, this doesn’t change the point that, later on, this lack of decent education impacts their future lives. And this also throws a wedge into things. Because of a certain law, banks must give loans to anyone, not just people with good credit, background, and whatnot. When those people fail to pay back, the entire economy goes down. Pretty much everything in life is a cycle. Once one thing stops, everything else does. Or, at least, one thing affects another. A domino or ripple effect, if you will.

On the other hand: socialism. Hmm. Sounds familiar.

There are pitfalls in this, too. Equal outcome. Socialism “seeks to manage the economy through deliberate and collective social control.” [2] I place emphasis on the word, “control.” This sounds almost like a dictatorship of sorts, which means essentially throwing away democracy. Bummer. Additionally, “property and wealth are shared, and their distribution are subject to the control of the people, who exert equal control of the government.” Because everything is shared, this method sounds all the more easy to manipulate. And there’s also that point that “all can expect a fairly even distribution of wealth from what is produced, so all live at approximately the same income level.” [3] This reeks of unfairness. If you pour more effort in, you still end up with the same as another person. Well. Equivalence that isn’t quite equivalence at all.

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