The 1st Presidential Debate is under way between President Obama (D) and ex-Governor Romney (R) in Colorado. Barred from the debates and commenting via alternative means is Governor Gary Johnson (L).
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Or we could just let Iran bomb itself >
I just heard President Obama advise that Social Security is structurally sound. I disagree with him, as it's not the case.
America! I could teach you, but I'd have to charge.
Not that Romney disagreed with him about it.
All government money is fungible...and a "marketable" treasury still requires the government to, you know, have the money to pay off the bill at the end of the day. Functionally there's no real difference, it's a matter of accounting - either the government is willing to put up the money to pay for the program, or it's not. If you're worried about the money not being there at some point, the quickest way to get there is to elect a Republican president. Just sayin'...
I think in the end it's unsustainable
Self-fulfilling prophecy. As it's set up right now, SS collects enough to pay out about 70% of benefits, give or take. That's if the "trust fund" is assumed to not exist - just scratch out all those IOUs and forget about them. If nothing is done to fix SS, that's what happens - in 2030 or whenever, they just have to start cutting checks for 3/4 of what they're supposed to be. Obviously not cool if you were counting on getting the whole thing, but it's not like the payroll tax funding structure is just going to disappear. If you up the retirement age or eliminate the payroll tax cap (or some combo) you can fix it pretty easily.
Also - just how safe do you feel your money is in that 401k? Period of strong inflation comes along, and suddenly it doesn't look so good (unless you're heavily in stocks - and of course, if you're heavily in stocks, 2007 comes again and suddenly THAT doesn't look so good...). Lot of people who had been putting money away their entire lives had their retirements wiped out both in the dot com crash and in the '07 crash - it's nice to have some kind of backstop to make sure you're not starving on the street, isn't it?
You may find this enlightening.
Turns out that Maestro Greenspan adjusted for increasing lifespan long ago. You know what he didn't account for? The basis of the current shortfall is the loss of revenue due to skyrocketing wage inequity. Who could have predicted?
You think he threw it? I had that feeling.
Obama was playing "prevent defence", as far as I could tell. And sure enough, not enough has changed in the daily polls since Romney's "victory" to be truly game-changing. If you like Obama, it was frustrating watching his debate performance (just don't make any huge mistakes or scare anyone with "angry black man" images), but it looks like that strategy can actually work.
Another way to view it was that Obama's "prevent" was designed to "put 'em to sleep": stick with boring policy-wonk crap and try to keep Romney responding with endless boring details that will have people reaching for their channel-changers. Who cares who "wins" debates like THAT? Almost like not having debates at all, which Obama probably would have liked even better.
everyone I know had that reaction. and fjnally my friend remarked what you remarked in the second paragraph there
I HAD HAD SEX WITH HUNTER S THOMPSON. HE CAME IN MY MOUTH AND I SWALLOWED IT. I SHOULD HAVE HAD HIS BABY. WE WOULD BE BALLIN' LIKE KOBE'S SON!!
I think Obama just paid the price for the last 4 years of dealing with a media that genuflects before him. He's obviously much more comfortable dealing with the pimp with a limp. He seemed to be channeling '08 MCCain for the first hour with his rambling answers. He improved in the last 30 minutes and made a fight of it, but I imainge the Romney camp has to be absolutely estatic about this debate. Other than Obama thanking the Reverand Wright and Tony Rezko for being such great influences on him, its hard to imagine that this debate could have gone better for Romney.
Ultimately, it won't really matter as their are three debates and a political eternity until the election but Romney has to feel the momentum is back in his corner at this point.
4 years? I'd call it a decade and three elections.
There was a debate, but no debate about who won.
Romney - 1
Obama - 0
Pundits wondered why Obama didn't use the 47% thing. I think it's smart that he's holding onto it until it's really needed - ideally the last debate.
Great news, Republicans! Romney won the debate! I'm sure this will be great news for you, since:
In 2008, McCain won 2/3 debates, and Palin "tied" (and therefore won) hers.
In 2004, Kerry won all the debates vs. Bush, and Edwards hung in vs. Cheney.
In 2000, Gore won all the debates vs. Bush, and Lieberman did quite well against Cheney.
Dole performed well in his 1996 debates, GHW Bush (aside from that awesome watch photo) did OK against Clinton and Perot, Dukakis made some salient points against GHW, and hell, even Mondale had the decency to smile when Reagan made a joke about being mentally incompetent.
So, yeah. GREAT JOB MITT! You totally proved you were worthy of winning a primary against Rick Perry and Herman Cain and Michelle Bachmann! You also convinced North Carolina to maybe go back in the GOP column.
Question: how many months will the impeachment trial take in Obama's second term, and after the Senate rejects impeachment 71-29, how many states do you think the Kristen Gillibrand/Sherrod Brown ticket will win in 2016? I'm guessing 38, including Texas.
No offense, man, but you're really starting to sound like me supporting Fred in the 2008 primaries -- and we all know how well that turned out.
McCain won 2 debates in 2008, the Holocaust never happened, the Cubs won the world Series in 2003. Revisionist history is fun!
McCain won 2 debates in 2008
He did. Senator McCain is worthy of respect, and he availed himself well as a debate opponent against a superior politician.
Hey, here's a fun quote!
Look, I -- I want to be very clear about what I said. Nobody called for the invasion of Pakistan. Sen. McCain continues to repeat this.
What I said was the same thing that the audience here today heard me say, which is, if Pakistan is unable or unwilling to hunt down bin Laden and take him out, then we should.
Now, that I think has to be our policy, because they are threatening to kill more Americans.
Now, Sen. McCain suggests that somehow, you know, I'm green behind the ears and, you know, I'm just spouting off, and he's somber and responsible.
Your Cubs and Holocaust jokes were cute. I don't see how they relate to a negation of so called revisionist reality. Lesbians are allowed to order food at Burger King, and get married in certain states. Who are you gonna shoot in the face because of this? NO ONE. Enjoy your new reality pussbag, and please do try not to riot at your next NFL game, or shoot a Taco Bell employee because your dick is tiny. XOXO.
I'd counter that my scorn for Romney's politics and my assumption that he won't be elected president isn't equivalent in any way to supporting Obama.
Through a combination of deft manipulation of facts, outright lies and an overtly obnoxious tone towards that untermensch Jim Lehrer, yours truly managed to emerge the outright smackdown victor in this match of wits (me being fully armed and the Kenyan half armed).
It must have been the charbroiled manatee steaks I downed with the tankard of caviar drenched in high fructose corn syrup that accounted for my performance. Anne is going to pay heavily for my elevated spirits.
Sic Usquequaque Pro Spurcus Uber
Ya know a lot of that Chinese shoe spam that creeps into the Diary section is funnier than your stuff. Get better material or take your hand out of the sock puppet's ass, mmmkay?
[I'm not that guy.]
Do you think I'm here to amuse you? Non, non mon frere, I'm here to inform you. Although I rather enjoy the occasional joke to break the doom and gloom which seems to have beset this nation since my opponent was sworn in, I can assure you sir that I am deadly serious when I'm posting here. Because these are serious times and only serious people should engage in public debate. Now then, what exactly did I post? That I beat my Kenyan-born opponent and I've been feeling mighty good about it, yes indeedy do.
I'll admit I did fib when I gave credit to my diet for my performance. Actually, I'll let you know why and how I beat Obama like a cheap Persian rug -- I had notes at the ready which I snuck on stage and flipped up on the podium. If that lout Lehrer hadn't been so preoccupied figuring how he was going to sabotage my performance he might have caught onto my shenanigans but no, there he was with eyes sparkling at Commissar Obama rather than what I pulled out of my right pocket. All the Lefties have been howling "cheat" and my spokespersons were told to claim that was handkerchief but, really, do you think I could have had command of all those facts, figures and zingers if I hadn't had them written down for me? Holy Maroni, I can hardly remember how to make it from the bed to the bathroom to tinkle in the middle of the night unless someone drew a map and put it on the nightstand for me.
As far as those Chinese spammers you claim are funnier than I, how do you think they came to be in the first place. Back when I was in full stride as Bain's main henchman, I had two recommendations to restructure companies: fire a bunch of those useless eaters we had on the payroll and outsource a bunch of jobs to China. As a matter of fact, everytime I ordered a bunch of outsourcing to China, I would personally draft a user manual for use by the Chinese workers to use when they were involved in posting stuff on websites like TnT.
Well, have to cut this one short. I've suddenly worked up an awesome hunger for caviar drenched in you know what. Ta ta.
Obama thought Right-wing Republican Romney would show up to debate, when who actually showed up was Massachusetts Moderate Mitt.
Mitt's problem, coming out of this debate: what does he actually stand for? He was going to cut taxes -- but now he says he won't cut taxes in any meaningful way. If he doesn't cut taxes, how does he plan to stimulate "small business"? He was going to decrease regulation -- but now he approves of regulation, thinks it good and necessary, and only wants to tweak existing regulations. He was totally against Obamacare -- but now he just opposes FEDERAL health care reform, and wants to keep everything good about Obamacare, just without paying for any of it. He was going to cut spending dramatically -- but now he lists everything that he definitely won't touch, including education.
To me, he appeared as flip-flopper (on speed) par excellence, and you couldn't possibly tell which Romney you'd get if you elected him. And even if you think you'd get Massachusetts Moderate Mitt, he has his increasingly ultra-right party as his baggage. He might want to compromise with Democrats, but if he does he will hear about it from his own supporters.
Also, we heard nothing whatsoever about social issues yet, nothing at all about immigration, nothing at all about the $2 trillion he wants to spend beefing up America's military (for what, precisely?), and no real plan for anything he has proposed. He might get one week's traction out of his debate performance, but I wouldn't count on him holding onto any lead.
You should write for the Onion, they have an astute story about what you just said:
Following Wednesday's presidential debate, Mitt Romney's performance was hailed as "dominant" and "potentially game-changing" by a near unanimous consensus of political commentators who were still trying to figure out where exactly the Republican nominee stood on the issues and what specific policies, if any, he espoused. "Mitt Romney was very strong up there, and there's no doubt he made an effective, compelling case to the nation's undecided voters," said NBC News correspondent Chuck Todd, who was, if anything, more at a loss as to what health care, job creation, tax policy, education, deficit reduction, and financial regulation would look like under a Romney presidency after the debate than he was before it began. "Romney came across as very presidential tonight. If he can ride this momentum for the rest of the campaign, he has a real shot at taking the White House." Analyzing President Obama's performance, pundits agreed that the man who articulated a sober plan of measured steps and shared sacrifice to ensure the nation's future prosperity had a "tough road" ahead of him if he hoped to match Romney in the next debate.
Hey, the Onion is our finest serious news source, if you'll just listen...
So I didn't watch the debate. Based on everything I heard on the radio and my Facebook feed-- barring one friend who essentially kept screaming "PBS! Big Bird!"-- it sounds like Romney "won". But, as Acefantastik implies above, does "winning" the debate(s) really mean anything? Barring a display of absolute incompetence from one candidate, does it affect anybody's vote?
Are you the guy on my team who thought the game was Tuesday night? If so, I blame you for our loss.
Probably not, since I haven't actually had any soccer/football games scheduled since 1984 or so, but you could blame me anyway and I would be OK with that. After all, maybe I psychically influenced that guy.
He won only in one sense. If dubya taught us anything it's that the squishy middle responds to projected strength and certitude. Even from a retarded man-child.
I voted for Obama last time around. And even though his performance has been lackluster, I figured he'd get my vote this election too. But his performance last night was about as mediocre as his presidency. Meanwhile Mitt wasn't all that much better, but he was better.
The thing that scared me the most, though, was when they were talking about healthcare. Nevermind that Obamacare is, essentially, Romneycare. What really bugged me was when Obama was trashing Ryan's proposal to allow seniors to use a Medicare voucher to buy private insurance. Obama made the point that a private company could never provide care at as low a cost as the government because it needed to make a profit. Wha-what? It's almost like he never heard of 'efficiency'.
Then, two minutes later, he praises a private healthcare provider for lowering costs by... improving efficiency. Seriously, I'm really not sure Obama gets it. Maybe it's just politics. But does he really not understand how efficiencies and markets work? He sounds like a pot smoking college hippie with some of this stuff.
And if all that wasn't bad enough: Obamacare is buying insurance from private providers. So all the things he said about Ryan's plan apply to his plan. Did they not prepare this guy for his debate at all?
I'm honestly starting to waver a bit. Romney is not a good candidate. But at least he understands how businesses work. Obama has a very bad track record on that front and our economy is in the shitter.
From what I got out of the debate, there was a comparison between two different things, albeit both were "private" companies (I would debate as both hospitals and health insurance companies are subsidized heavily). Obama was saying that health insurance companies have higher administrative costs than the government (which I am not arguing is true, but that's what he said). Then he talked about the Cleveland Clinic, where by using 'best practices' the clinic was able to reduce costs. The Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit hospital. There is a vast difference.
The Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit hospital. There is a vast difference.
There is a difference, to be sure. I'm not sure it is so vast.
I had a friend that worked at a "non profit" health insurance provider. It was run pretty much like any other business. At the end of the year, any left over money was handed out in bonuses (tilted toward management, obviously) so they had no profit.
Of course, these non-profit providers are the same ones that you can give a Ryan voucher to. So Obama still made a pretty lame argument.
There's no vast difference between entities that want to make profit and those that don't. GOTCHA!
Where do you think "non-profit" companies' budgets come from?
Are saying that because an entity brings in revenue to meet expenses it must be a equated to a for-profit business?
The point of a non-profit organization is that the profit does not belong to an owner or group of owners.
And the difference between a for-profit health insurance vs a non-profit hospital is that a for-profit health insurance company's main goal is not necessarily efficiency in providing service, rather the goal is to take as much as possible in premiums and gives as little as possible back in service. The for-profit hospital's goal is to provide as much service as possible for least amount of cost. Completely different ways to looking at "conducting business."
...a for-profit health insurance company's main goal is not necessarily efficiency in providing service, rather the goal is to take as much as possible in premiums and gives as little as possible back in service
The problem is there is many restaurants you can take your business to, it's not the same with insurance companies.
There are six of these biggest health insurance companies: WellPoint, CIGNA, Aetna, Humana, United Healthcare and BlueCross BlueShield, although the latter works on a state-by-state basis.
The five biggest health insurance companies insure approximately half of the insured population, or well over 100 million people.
The five biggest health insurance companies insure approximately half of the insured population, or well over 100 million people.
While it is true that government intervention in the insurance market has limited competition (this situation will worsen under Obamacare, by the way), you're crazy if you don't think that those firms compete with each other for customers.
Verizon vs At&t looks like football compared to the golf health insurance companies play.
Yes, I agree that government regulation has had a worse effect on insurance than on telecom.
Interestingly, BlueCross used to be mostly non-profit. Now it is mostly for-profit. Kinda strange that a company can so easily morph into something completely different.
I don't know the background behind it. But it does seem to be the case....
I'm just trying to understand where you are coming from.
Do you think enough of the truly undecided or wavering public are perceptive enough to have picked up on those inconsistencies to make a difference?
I honestly don't know. I think the role of the media is to analyze the debates and maybe point these things out. But I don't have all that much faith in our media these days ;)
On the flip side, Romney basically lied about the impact of all of his on the record, stated plans (i.e. his tax plan, which literally cannot be implemented without either busting the deficit or raising taxes on the middle class). But he "sounds" presidential and "looks" presidential, so he's got that going for him, I guess...
Anyone who has had the opportunity to work in both business and government will tell you that this "private sector is more efficient" meme is simply not true.
Having worked in government, a not-for-profit corporation, and for-profit companies, I assure you from experience that the gradient from least to most efficient matches the order listed here. Private business is far, far from perfectly efficient, but an attitude of "if X isn't done on time, we don't get paid" concentrates the mind tremendously.
My employment by a governmental entity was limited to an 18 month contract IT job in the early aughts. But I will say that I saw more incompetence, bullshit, ass-covering, finger pointing, playground postering, and outright theft in that year and a half than I had seen in my prior 20 years of working for a mid-sized energy company.
as an outsider from Old Europe, I really have a problem wrapping my head around US politics. Maybe you guys can help me out.
I've read the numbers that more than 50% of white people and more of 50% of male people will probably vote for Romney, as opposed to e.g. Latinos of any gender, black people, women etc.
What I do not understand is why would anyone vote for Romney, if he doesn't have very much money?
This may sound condescending, it's not. I am simply an European, so the Democrats looks like right-wingers to me and the Republicans like fanatics. I've followed the election campaign closely, and not only do I not know a single person here who supports the GOP policys, I honestly have trouble understanding how anyone would.
But maybe my perspective is scewed from distance and media distortion, so let me sum up how my impression of American politics is.
The GOP seems to more or less been bought by millionairs, who poured over a billion dollars into electing them to make sure the tax cuts will be extended, which save them even more billions of dollars. Those guys I understand. Better spend 100 million on a politician than 250 millions on taxes, that's egoistical but understandable.
But why does anyone who does not have that many taxes to pay want to elect them?
They say they want to keep the taxes for the rich people low and increase military spending and decrease the dept, but have offered no explanation how, aside from generalities like "fight waste" and such, which are obviously empty. Does anyone really believe they will not increase the dept further?
Plus, Europeans as a whole tend to not agree that poor people should hunger to motivate them to work more, so that whole side of American political thought abhorrs us over here. Destitution is not a great motivator, and studies show that the dream of the poor person rising due to hard work is more and more just a dream. Chances to rise through the classes have evaporated more and more of the the last decades, the famous American Dream is becoming a fairy tale. Letting people hunger or die of sickness because of a fairy tale is inhuman to me. Since the GOP seems to represent exactly those thoughts, and at the same time claim to follow Christ, how do people not see that as illogical?
The GOP firmly opposes universal healthcare. The rest of the developed world has been looking down on the US for not having universal healthcare for decades (no exaggeration, when Germans talk about Americans, that usually comes up), so while Obamacare may not be the best possible solution, it is at least a step in the direction the rest of the developed world has done ages ago. Same goes with gay rights: Noone here gets the fierce opposition to it anymore, at least domestic partnerships almost on par with marriage are the norm in other developed countries. When it comes to taxes, no other developed country has such a small tax rate as the US has, so it is hard for someone from here to understand how people over there can follow the idea that even lower taxes for the rich will help the poor and middle class. That sound like a fairy tale to me.
Now, when it comes to Obama, I read a lot of disgust and hatred even on this site, which to me seems to be pretty democratic. I do not understand where that comes from. Sure, Obama may not have been the saviour some wished for, but seeing that he was faced with fierce opposition by the GOP (who openly declared crashing his presidency as their primary goal just afer he was elected), he has done a lot. He has not closed Guantanamo as he had promised, from what I can tell due to lack of support, but at least the US doesn't torture anymore, something that has horrified everyone outside of the US unspeakably. He has practically ended the involvement in the war in Iraq and works toward leaving Afghanistan, which could not have been done much quicker from what I can tell.
He has accomplished much on behalf of the gays, which I fully support, and his administration has done a good job of recreating the good name of the US internationally, from what my impression is, although that may be as much Hillary's accomplishment as his. If you haven't been abroad, you cannot comprehend how low the opinion of the US had sunken during the Bush reign.
Obama has spent even more money than Bush, which many hold against him, but I admit that I understand too little of economics to say if that was good or bad. The US seems to be recovering economically, which was the aim. Whether that could have been accomplished otherwise cheaper or whether these depts will have horrible consequences in the future I have to leave to peole how know more than me on such matters.
So please, can someone explain to me why half of the male population of the US would rather vote for Romney? Those cannot all be gun-toting rednecks who do not follow politics. Why would an educated man vote for Romney? What was so bad about Obamas last four years? Please tell me your views.
It is puzzling to me.
As an aside, I understand that many would rather have a third better alternative. I understand that, but as the US is one of the few developed countries without at least a third serious party, please focus on the two choices practically available to you. It's either Obama or Romney who gets elected.
Same reason guys with small penises own Hummers.
But why does anyone who does not have that many taxes to pay want to elect them?
...Europeans as a whole tend to not agree that poor people should hunger to motivate them to work more...
...that whole side of American political thought abhorrs us over here...Letting people hunger or die of sickness because of a fairy tale is inhuman to me. Since the GOP seems to represent exactly those thoughts...
no other developed country has such a small tax rate as the US has
Based on this list, that's not true: Canada, Finland, Czech Republic, Poland and Mexico all have lower top marginal rates than the US, and many European countries are only slightly higher (35-40%).
Admittedly, the US doesn't have a VAT like most of these countries do, but the US does have state income & sales taxes that can be quite high in some places (California has a 9% sales tax and a 9%+ income tax rate, for instance) that makes the total tax burden quite similar to most European countries. Throw in some areas with high local taxes like NYC, and the wealthy are paying a marginal tax rate close to 50% on earned income which is on the high side.
Even for the non-wealthy - merely well to do - the total tax rake can be very high on the margin. I've posted the details a while ago, but my wife's income is subject to a marginal tax rate of over 45% and will be closer to 50% if the payroll tax cut and Bush tax cuts expire (my marginal income is subject to a somewhat lower rate despite being substantially higher due to the vagaries of the payroll tax in the US)
Canada, Finland, Czech Republic
Subtract the value of the benefits they receive and then get back to me
What point are you trying to make?
Mine was very simple - top marginal rates in the US are far from the lowest in the world (or even developed world) particularly when state income taxes are taken into account (though I suppose that is semi-avoidable by moving to Texas or Florida depending on your job).
The US tax system is actually extremely progressive on an international scale - the top marginal rates kick in at much higher incomes than in most countries and there is no (regressive, protectionist) VAT to rape the populace at the register which keeps the total tax-rake down as a fraction of GDP, but to claim that the top rates are abnormally low is just incorrect.
What point are you trying to make?
Really? They have health insurance, a define benefit pension, a guaranteed 2 weeks off per year-paid vacation, $500/week for 50 week maternity leave. Are they really paying more in the end? Not by any numbers I've seen.
I mean, feel free to compare apples and Porsche all day if you wish. Just don't expect anyone to take you seriously.
So, in other words, you are claiming that the US is a high tax jurisdiction? I'm the one bitching about paying over $50K in various income taxes each year and I don't know if I'd even go that far (I'd say the US is a low to moderate tax jurisdiction, depending on where you live), but, hey, lots of tea partiers will agree with you on that count
I have health insurance. So will pretty much everyone, soon, thanks to Obama.
a define benefit pension
European-style government directed defined benefit pensions are strikingly similar to social security (financed through payroll taxes, paid out on retirement) - they tend to pay a somewhat higher percentage of previous net salary, but Europeans earn somewhat lower salaries than Americans, particularly on a net basis. They aren't exactly gold plated pension plans paying out $100K Euros/year to everyone over 50.
a guaranteed 2 weeks off per year-paid vacation, $500/week for 50 week maternity leave
In what sense is that paid for by taxes? (other than lower RGDP per capita = lower real tax-rake, but that is an argument that will paint you into a position you really won't like, I promise)
...that is an argument that will paint you into a position you really won't like...
Like people who don't believe in paying for externalities?
Any of them. The excuse for not having government impose externalities on market actors is usually that doing so will be detrimental to the economy-- for suitably swing state-y industries and activities, that is.
I don't see how government-mandated paid vacation covers an externality. (I know how some liberals try to show that it does, but the connection is exceedingly tenuous.)
I don't either. My comment was intended to point out that the "we'd all be better off if we were all collectively worse off" crowd was not limited to those seeking a European-style-- or the stereotype thereof-- economic system.
What I'm saying is comparing tax structures of countries with radically different benefits and economies is a fools game. Medical costs come out of my wallet here, %100, after taxes. And... It has the added benefit of being twice as expensive as theirs.
Then again, we do get one other thing they don't get from their tax dollars - Their tax dollars are overwhelmingly used toward the welfare of their citizenry while ours has rather a large portion invested in the cyclical destruction and rebuilding of cities full of brown people in the Middle East. And who could put a price on that?
I'm the one bitching about paying over $50K in various income taxes each year...
Get children, get a second home, get a business to write-off everything, get a better accountant.
Kids aren't happening, but we did buy a house (finally) a few weeks ago. Won't help much with 2012, but going forward it should save us a bundle in taxes.
And I'm not really sure how an accountant would help - unless you are hitting some pretty esoteric edge cases, don't they mostly just type your info into their speshul-sooper-sekrit version of Turbo Tax and then charge $500 for the experience?
Here's what a male Romney supporter may look like: video.
Assuming you are being sincere in your question, calm down, take a breath and I'll try.
First, say what you want about right wing and left wing in this country. In the primaries, the candidates move to each side. In reality, they really aren't very different. That's why last night's debate was so mind-numbing. See my comment above about healthcare, but the two were essentially criticizing each other for doing the sames things they themselves have done. Romney introduce socialized medicine long before Obama -- and Obama patterned his plan on Romney's. The two candidates are hardly black and white.
Second, it is true that Americans see the world different than Europeans. Maybe you guys are right, maybe we are. But the people that tend to be on the (fiscal) Right here tend to worry about our economy and the size of our debt and where that will lead us in the future. Some European countries are doing fine. But Greece and Spain are on the brink. And the Euro could get destroyed. That would be a fiasco. Nobody knows what the future holds, but I don't think Europeans should be too self-confident about their economic policies.
Arguably, Obama's economic policies are reminiscent of Japan -- the country that had a "lost decade". His "stimulus" plan was not nearly as effective as it could have been. That's no secret. Would Romney have done better? Maybe. At least he seems to understand business a bit.
Social issues are another story. Yes, Americans tend to be more socially conservative than Europeans. Though, you know, it's not like Gay Marriage is completely accepted in Europe either. A lot of people here take their religion seriously and have felt it being encroached upon. That's probably not going to change any time soon. I'm personally pro-choice. But those who are pro-life have a good reason -- they don't believe in killing innocents. They see themselves as enlightened about it as Europeans do about their disdain for the death penalty. So I don't think we are all that different.
I'm not sure this helps, but...
Oops, this was meant to be a reply to harzerkatze.
Thanks for the reply.
I get the "the major parties aren't all that different" here in Germany, but in the US? Romney may have constructed his Romneycare plan, but that was as Governor. As president, he aims at killing the Universal Healthcare. His party will try to outlaw gay marriage, reinstitute the Bush tax cuts, increase military spending and then probably cut spending on welfare and other programs aimed at poor people.
Sorry, that election is about as black and white as it gets (no pun intended).
Romney may have been sort of moderate when he was a governor of a moderate state, but now he is candidate of the GOP, and there is not a lot of moderation in todays GOP that I can see.
As I said, I do not claim to understand economics on a country level. What I can see is that cutting taxes for the rich has not had beneficial effect on the US economy when Bush did it, and I see no reason why it would now. I see no reason why the US should further expand their enormous military absent a serious opponent when they have no money anyway (isn't that what supposedly killed the UDSSR).
The only people Romney can take money from when he aims at relieving the rich and expanding the military is either the middle class or the poor. Now, numbers show that the rich have gotten richer over the last decades, the poor have gotten poorer, and the road from b to a has become less and less likely. So I cannot see how now is a good time to take less from the rich and give less to the poor.
Romney was a successful business amn, but I do not believe his skillset is transferable to politics. He was a business predator, in essence, using ruthless tactics to maximize profits. That may be all well in business, but I do not see how that makes him better suited for the job as president. If at all, I would be rather afraid his background makes him prone to strongarm tactics (why does he want to increase military spending in a time of depts again?) and may lead to him starting a new war. The saying goes: If your best tool is a hammer, all problems start looking like nails.
Regarding social issues, I understand that it is literally a cultural thing, and understand wher the anti-abortion position is coming from. I still am surprised how much the people in the US allowed the religious to define the basics of the debate (from my perception from way over here, it seems that the religious were very successful in framing important parameters like "at what point is an embryo a human being and not a part of the body of the mother"), that is very different here. But I understand that cultures are different and that it is difficult to really "get" different cultures. When I talk to people from e.g. New York, it may seem that you are not so different a culture, but I understand that that is not representative for the country as a whole.
I get the "the major parties aren't all that different" here in Germany, but in the US?
During the primaries, the candidates tend to highlight their left/right credentials. And during debates they want to point out their differences. In reality, they are constrained by a lot of things (like Congress) and are really just a small force 'pulling' in one direction. At the end of the day, they aren't really all that different.
Romney may have constructed his Romneycare plan, but that was as Governor. As president, he aims at killing the Universal Healthcare.
He claims he wants to repeal Obamacare. But he also says he wants to replace it with something better. Universal healthcare is complicated in the US mostly due to the fact that we've had employer-paid insurance for so long. It is a huge structural change for us. Romney was pretty nebulous about it in the debate, but he seems to agree that some kind of universal coverage is required. So I guess we need to hear what his plan is.
His party will try to outlaw gay marriage...
We all know gat marriage is mostly in the hand of the courts (and the states). Obama, four years ago, ran on a platform that marriage is between a man and a woman. He has 'evolved' since then. But as it is he is not a huge gay marriage proponent either. What confuses me is this: Republicans generally support civill unions for gay couples, just not "marriage" per se. My understanding from wikipedia is that Germany (like Frane and the UK) also support civil unions but not gay marriage. So I'm not sure why you think this is a big deal.
reinstitute the Bush tax cuts
Obama wants to keep the Bush tax cuts too, for all but the top (IIRC) 2%. Romney says he wants to lower taxes for the "middle class".
increase military spending
That is a difference. Though the realities of our economy (and the world) mean that, in the end, the military won'y be that much different whether Obama or Romney is in the Whitehouse.
then probably cut spending on welfare and other programs aimed at poor people
Like which things will Romney cut? Most of the big social welfare programs are pretty much locked up. Or, I guess, what has Obama added for the poor that wasn't there under W? There won't be a huge difference (there will be some difference, probably) between the two on this, either.
One interesting sideline to last night's debate is the bloodthirsty rage against semi-retired moderator Jim Lehrer, whose placid performance is being widely blamed for Obama's failure. Apparently anything short of Jim's pulling out a flame-thrower and frying Romny is a betrayal of the cause. You know Lehrer is lost when even Breitbart.com praises him. Of course, the claim by some conservatives that last night was the night liberalism died overstates the case considerably.
It only pining for the fjords.
A number of theories for Obama's flaccid performance in the debate have arisen, such as he was distracted by worries over affairs of state, to suffering anoxia from Denver's high altitude. The latest twist is a claim that Romny cheated by bringing some sort of crib sheet to the lectern, in violation of the debate protocols. The usual suspects like DKos and Democratic Underground are in high anxiety over it. However, New York Magazine is debunking the whole thing.
This is a bit reminiscent of the claim during the 2004 debates that George W. Bush
was wearing a wire and was being coached by Karl Rove over Bluetooth.
He was wearing a wire, I saw it. I remember posting about it on Plastic and others had seen it too.
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