Mike Kueber's Blog

November 7, 2012

The Morning After

Filed under: Issues,Politics — Mike Kueber @ 9:22 am

I went to bed shortly after learning the Barack Obama had been re-elected (with Florida and Virginia undecided), and I slept like a baby.  Waking from what felt like a full night of restful sleep, I was shocked to see that my clock read only 1 a.m.  Oh well, feeling refreshed, I decided to memorialize how I felt the morning after the most important election in weeks.

But first, I checked the internet to see what had happened since I went to bed – Florida was still undecided, but Virginia had fallen and Obama had overtaken Romney in the popular-vote total.  And the New York Times bleated that Obama had won a mandate: 

  • President Obama’s dramatic re-election victory was not a sign that a fractured nation had finally come together on Election Day. But it was a strong endorsement of economic policies that stress job growth, health care reform, tax increases and balanced deficit reduction — and of moderate policies on immigration, abortion and same-sex marriage. It was a repudiation of Reagan-era bromides about tax-cutting and trickle-down economics, and of the politics of fear, intolerance and disinformation.

The Times’ assertion, however, is belied by the fact that the voters, while re-electing Obama with less significantly less support than he received in 2008, simultaneously re-elected essentially the same Republican-dominated U.S. House of Representatives that they had put into office in 2010.  Those Republicans can easily argue that their obstructionist agenda for the past two years has been ratified:

  • Immigration – no amnesty;
  • Taxing – taxed enough already;
  • Spending – balance the budget now;
  • ObamaCare – death by a thousand cuts;
  • Same-sex marriage – no way.

The NY Times might characterize its positions on immigration, abortion, and same-sex marriage as moderate, but that is simply not true.  These issues are so difficult because there really is no middle ground, no place to compromise. 

Personally, I am disposed to dig in and continue the fight because of my deep disappointment over Romney’s loss.  When a Facebook friend from the New York posted – “I just informed Brennan that he has four more years of wheat in his lunches,” I responded, “Don’t count on it; the wheat states of ND, SD, NE, KS, OK, and TX are thinking about going on strike, like the producers in Atlas Shrugged.”

My disappointment over Romney’s loss makes me want to go on strike.  Romney is, I believe, the most able person to run for president in my lifetime, yet the American voters declined to accept his services.  Maybe 2016?

From a policy perspective, however, I must concede that I agree with Democrats on three major policy disputes:

  • A tax increase for the wealthy.  Balancing the budget needs to be America’s #1 fiscal objective.  In addition to cutting expenditures, Democrats want to increase revenue by eliminating the Bush tax cuts for individuals who earn more than $200,000.  This would have the effect of increasing the top marginal tax rate from 35% to 39% for those who make more than $388,350.  To ameliorate the growing inequality of income, I would go further and create an even higher rate for those who make more than $1 million.  Forty-five percent sounds about right.  I would also increase the capital-gains rate so that people who make their money that way, like Romney, would not be able to get by with a 15% tax rate.    
  • A path to citizenship.  There should be a statute of limitations against deporting long-standing residents of this country.  If this country has permitted an individual to establish a life in this country (e.g., been here for 7-10 years), that person, regardless of age, should be provided a path to citizenship.  Simultaneously, the guest worker law should be expanded and the E-Verify process should be strengthened.
  • Same-sex marriage.  The acceptance of same-sex marriage is growing every day, with three states (ME, MD, and WA) approving it in this election.  Churches should be free to practice their beliefs in opposition to same-sex marriage (or contraception), but government should not let those religious beliefs intrude on civil marriage.

I hope the Republican Party continues to use its majority status in the House and its filibuster status in the Senate to move America towards a balanced budget and to prevent the Democrats from increasing the government footprint on the American economy. 

But I also hope they realize that trading $1 of tax increases for $9 of spending cuts is a good deal.

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