Meet the Press: Fiorina and McCaskill

I watched today’s Meet the Press debate between Republican National Committee Victory Chair and former CEO of Hewlett-Packard Carly Fiorina, and Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill, national co-chair of the Obama campaign (see the transcript).

Carly Fiorina is quite impressive. She has the voice of Lea Thompson and the intelligent, deliberative, soft-spoken demeanor of Dick Cheney and Pat Buchanan. Not to mention that she’s a successful woman executive who worked her way to the top. At first, I thought she’d make a good running mate for John McCain, but, alas, she’s pro-choice. Or at least she falsely told some pro-choicers that McCain doesn’t want to overturn Roe v. Wade (see Why We Need Obama: Carly Fiorina Lies About McCain Abortion Position). But, then again, who says her statement was false? The guy talks on both sides of his mouth (see McCain Makes Conflicting Statements on Abortion).

I liked what host Tom Brokaw said about Obama: “Senator McCaskill, independent analysts who have looked at Senator Obama’s plan for the next eight years, as he extends it out, say, ‘The problem … is that the Democrats have been very critical of President Bush for spending hundreds of billions of dollars on the war without paying for it and running up the deficit. But in effect what Obama is saying is, ‘I’m going to spend the same amount of money. I’m just going to spend it on something else.” Other analysts have said, when they look at his plan, his revenues are about half of what he is going to need, because he’s not going to be able to pay for all the things that he’s promised the American people.”

That’s my problem with the Democratic Party. It wants to create all these permanent programs that cost billions of dollars. I’ll admit that this Bush deficit is not good, for our children will have to pay off the debt that we’ve accumulated from our war on terror. But at least the wars are supposed to be temporary. They’re not standing government programs, the type that the Democrats always propose.

McCaskill claims that Obama only wants to raise taxes on people making over $250,000 a year, while he supports tax cuts for everyone else. Democrats always say that! Bill Clinton promised to limit his tax increases to people making over $200,000 a year. Then, as President, he dropped the bar to $150,000. Something else he dropped as President was his commitment to middle class tax cuts, for he denied that they were a major theme in his 1992 campaign (see Clinton now Says: The ‘Big Things’ Never Included his Tax-cut Vow). But, to his credit, at least Bill supported cutting capital gains taxes, as Charlie Gibson pointed out in that debate between Hillary and Obama (see Charlie Gibson’s Startling Confession). But Obama’s against even that!

That brings us to the issue of small businesses, which capital gains tax cuts happen to help. Fiorina said that the number of small business jobs has increased this year. And, according to the Automatic Data Processing National Employment Report, small businesses added 61,000 jobs in May (see here). People lament the decline of American manufacturing jobs, as if those are the sole basis for our national economy. They’re not, for small businesses are a major source of employment as well.

And the increase in small business jobs shows that America’s not heading into a second great depression. And that brings us to Phil Gramm. I’ll admit that Phil Gramm needs to get out more. In the non-wealthy economist world, high gas prices are not an easy burden to bear. And they drive up other prices for consumers. But Gramm’s right to point out that the American economy is doing rather well. It’s still growing. And we have record exports (see Trade deficit ebbs as exports rise to record high), which shows that we’re producing. Of course, one reason for the exports is the decline of the American dollar, so I wonder if there’s a way for us to have our cake and eat it too. But I don’t think that the sky is falling. The economy is not a reason to abandon a policy of tax cuts for a Democratic agenda of tax and spend.

Not that Republicans are perfect on the spending issue. As Senator McCaskill said about John McCain’s comments on a Medicare bill: “The part that he didn’t like was a modest hit on private insurance companies that made $15 billion last year on the backs of taxpayers. I mean, if you cannot stand up for a modest hit–they made 15 billion last year, taxpayer subsidized.”

The deal was this: the Democrats had a bill that would hinder the Republicans from cutting Medicare payments to doctors. But their bill also cut government payments to certain insurance companies, and the Republicans didn’t like that part. And so both sides seem to dislike spending cuts–it just depends on which group gets them. Neither one can claim the mantle of libertarianism (not that they’d want to).

I read this New York Times article about doctors who don’t like the Medicare cuts (see Doctors Press Senate to Undo Medicare Cuts – NYTimes.com). One caption featured a doctor who, “Facing cuts in Medicare payments…closed his practice last week to all but emergency patients and those needing surgery.” And, of course, the insurance companies were complaining about the cuts that the Democrats were proposing. “We’ll go under!,” they exclaimed with panic (right!).

Look, I’m not an expert on health care, but I wonder how much of this is blackmail on the part of those who lap at the federal trough. They show they need our money by cutting back their services. Then, the government gives in to prevent a crisis. But suppose doctors had to respond directly to consumers–without the mediation of a third party (the federal government). Maybe then they’d actually charge us based on our ability to pay. And don’t tell me that they have to charge these high prices because of technology, or whatever. I’m sure there’s a lot of fat that they can cut out. Their huge salaries, for one. The problem is that they rarely have to make those kinds of hard choices. The government insulates them from that.

Neither party’s perfect, but I tend to go with the Republicans.

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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8 Responses to Meet the Press: Fiorina and McCaskill

  1. Monitor says:

    Hi, thanks for linking to my blog. One point about your mention of McCain’s position on abortion. Look at his website. It will undoubtedly please you to know that his official position is:

    “John McCain believes Roe v. Wade is a flawed decision that must be overturned, and as president he will nominate judges who understand that courts should not be in the business of legislating from the bench.”

    As a result, Carly Fiorina did indeed float a big steaming lie when she claimed that McCain hasn’t signed on to efforts to overturn Roe v. Wade

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  2. James Pate says:

    Hi Monitor. Thanks for your response.

    Yeah, I read your post, in which you quoted McCain’s web site. But I was just pointing out that McCain has spoken on both sides of his mouth on that. There have been times when he’s said that he doesn’t want to overturn it.

    But who knows? He has good pro-life votes. But, then again, he also supposedly spoke against Alito when he was up for confirmation. He supports stem cell research. I know Ann Coulter has said that McCain always tries to be conservative enough just to win in Arizona. So I’m taking a slight gamble voting for him.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    No matter which candidate wins, they are inheriting a huge deficit that is getting worse every day. Neither candidate has a sound financial plan to do anything for the economy.

    Billions for Freddie and Fannie, who knows how many more will have to be bailed out. War – Iran?

    Bush has spent like Democrats are accused of spending.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Which is exactly the reason I will not vote in this election. No viable candidate has a real solution, and if they appear to have one, it won’t last long after they are in. To those of us in the rapidly diminishing middle class, it is not going to make one whit of a difference. And people wonder why so many potential voters are apathethic…

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  5. James Pate says:

    I think that, overall, McCain’s record on spending is pretty decent. He’s stood against earmarks, which takes courage. So I may vote for him.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    James:

    I don’t want this to come across as harsh, but when you critique the “ostensible” spendthrift position of the democrats, it comes across as a bit disingenuous. Haven’t you been the one who’s benefited from federal and state programs? If everyone had to pay their fair share, have been able to contribute the median (or mode) of the federal and state taxes? You can even cut the budgets by half to see you you’d fare in a unsubsidized system. Do the math and this will become clear.

    Try not to point a finger at others policies when you benefit from their beneficence. Be careful not to deny others the government subsidies that you’ve been able to enjoy.

    I’m voting Democrat; otherwise I’d be a hypocrite and attempt to deny others the blessings I’ve received.

    -Jake–back from the grave! 🙂

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  7. James Pate says:

    Welcome back, Jake!

    What federal and state programs do you mean? Do you mean student loans? Sure, I’ve received them. You do what you can to survive. But that doesn’t mean I have to support the system as it’s set up right now, as if that’s the best system. The fact is that student loans encourage colleges and universities to increase their prices. Even your friend, Hillary, doesn’t like the system as it exists right now–it’s kind of a cooperation between government and business in which Sallie Mae gets rich.

    I’d go with the libertarians if they had a chance. And I kind of like Bob Barr, except for aspects of his lifestyle that I’ve read about (e.g., adultery, not disapproving of his wife’s abortion). But I’m not sure how close this election will be.

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  8. James Pate says:

    One other point: I’m not sure if I can call what I get from the government “subsidies.” I’ll have to pay it back–with interest.

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