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Monday, February 04, 2008

Why I Prefer Obama to Clinton: Policy Differences

Foreign Policy

This is one area where I very, very strongly prefer Obama.

I am opposed to the Bush Doctrine of unilateralism and preemptive war. I feel the Bush administration's foreign policy mistakes have cost us goodwill around the world, stifled international cooperation, damaged our nation's image as a moral global leader. I believe these policies have made our country less safe from terrorism, the very opposite of the goal they were supposedly intended to accomplish.

I believe the only way the next president can to even begin to repair the damage done by the current administration will be to dedicate himself or herself publicly and firmly to a renewed focus on diplomacy and peaceful negotiation.

I know that Hillary Clinton would almost certainly craft a much more effective foreign policy plan than President Bush. But I believe Barack Obama's vision of foreign policy coincides much more perfectly with my personal opinions and ideals.

Barack Obama has stated repeatedly, in public, that, if elected president, he would be willing to speak personally with any other world leader without preconditions. On his website he states:

  • The Problem: The United States is trapped by the Bush-Cheney approach to diplomacy that refuses to talk to leaders we don't like. Not talking doesn't make us look tough – it makes us look arrogant, it denies us opportunities to make progress, and it makes it harder for America to rally international support for our leadership. On challenges ranging from terrorism to disease, nuclear weapons to climate change, we cannot make progress unless we can draw on strong international support.
  • Talk to our Foes and Friends: Obama is willing to meet with the leaders of all nations, friend and foe. He will do the careful preparation necessary, but will signal that America is ready to come to the table, and that he is willing to lead. And if America is willing to come to the table, the world will be more willing to rally behind American leadership to deal with challenges like terrorism, and Iran and North Korea's nuclear programs.
I agree entirely with this attitude.

We are not going to help solve the world's problems, or our own, by taking our ball and going home when someone else says something that upsets us.

I believe it takes much more courage to talk to your enemies than it does to snub them.

Hillary Clinton has come out publicly against Barack Obama's diplomacy plans. During the final Democratic Primary debate that aired recently on CNN, she said, "I don't think the president should put the prestige of the presidency on the line in the first year to have meetings without preconditions with five of the worst dictators in the world."

I don't honestly see how simply speaking with a dictator would put the "prestige of the presidency" on the line. Getting chummy with a dictator? Playing golf with him? Going out to the local country club for drinks?

Setting up lucrative oil deals with dictators while turning a blind eye to egregious human rights violations by the ruling regime?

Sure. That puts the prestige of the presidency on the line.

But, talking to a dictator? Looking him in the eye, and saying, "We don't agree with your policies, and if you want to trade with us, or cooperate with us on deals to boost access to energy supplies or fight terrorism, you'll have to stop doing these things we disagree with first." That doesn't sound to me like something that would put the prestige of the presidency on the line. That, to me, sounds like good leadership.

There is also, of course, the oft-discussed question of Hillary Clinton's vote to authorize the Iraq war, and her initial (however reluctant) support of the invasion.

In the same ten-day span in October 2002, Hillary Clinton gave this speech, while Barack Obama gave this one.

Obama has been consistently opposed to the war in Iraq since before it began. A majority of the nation now believes he was right.

Now, the fact is, Barack Obama was not in the United States Senate when the resolution giving President Bush the authority to go to war. We don't know how he would have voted on it, had he been there, in the same environment as Hillary Clinton. Maybe he would have been more influenced by party pressure, if he'd already been a national-level Senator. Maybe she had seen some (falsified) intelligence Obama hadn't. Maybe she had been offered some (false) assurances from the President that he didn't know about.

For those reasons, I would be willing to cut Senator Clinton some slack on this issue (as I did Senator John Edwards, before he left the race). For those reasons I would be willing to cut her some slack on this issue, if she had ever admitted, even once, in the years since that vote, that that vote was a mistake.

But not only has she not admitted that her vote to authorize the invasion of Iraq was a mistake, she has officially stated that she will never apologize for that vote, or admit it was a mistake.

I understand why a powerful woman seeking the highest political office in the nation, an office which has never been held by a woman before, would be reluctant to say she had made a mistake. Trust me. I am a woman. I pay attention to things. I know how a powerful professional woman's every move is constantly being scrutinized by hateful people just waiting for the perfect moment to tear her down. So I think I understand why Senator Clinton made this decision.

But I disagree with it.

I think one of the highest hallmarks of integrity in leadership is the ability of a leader to admit he or she has made a mistake.

And, frankly, I have spent the last seven years living under an administration chock full of leaders who habitually refuse to admit mistakes. And I am sick of it. Sick, sick, sick of it.

This isn't the sort of little mistake you can just let slide, either.

This mistake helped to start a war that has lasted for more than five years. This mistake has cost billions of dollars, thousands of American lives, and tens of thousands of Iraqi lives, some of them innocent. This mistake has helped to ruin the economy of one country, and has left another in chaos and bloody civil war.*

This was not a minor mistake.

*Now, before any conservative friends jump down my throat, of COURSE I think Saddam Hussein was an evil dictator and of COURSE I think the world is better off without men like him in power. And of course I support our troops. And of course I am a patriot. I still think this was the wrong war at the wrong time. I think we should have finished the job in Afghanistan and then focused on capturing Bin Laden. And THEN we could have thought about doing something about Iraq, but ONLY with international cooperation, because it is frankly not our business to go forcing our idea of democracy on other countries that haven't even attacked us without international consensus and support. You're not gonna change my mind on this, so let's just agree to disagree, okay?


Health Care

Frankly I am concerned that neither one of the Democratic frontrunners has proposed a truly workable health care solution.

In my opinion, neither one of them has actually proposed universal health care as part of their platform. The only truly "universal" healthcare system, in my view, would be a single-payer , tax-supported system that covered everyone in the nation and offered every single participant the exact same options and the exact same standard of care.

This is not what Barack Obama is proposing. This is not what Hillary Clinton is proposing, either.

What both Democratic candidates are proposing (and this is what John Edwards proposed, too, before he left the race) is a sort of cobbled-together Frankenstein system that, yes, will probably give a lot more people access to health insurance, but also does a great deal to protect the interests of existing for-profit health insurance corporations.

The sort of system both Clinton and Obama propose is actually very similar to the system that Governor Mitt Romney helped to implement in Massachusetts in 2006.

Yes, that's right: the two Democratic presidential contenders are putting forth a plan that is pretty much based on a plan implemented by a Republican Governor who is now also running for President. Who has sort of changed his tune on health care since he joined the presidential race.

(This is one of the reasons there are some Republicans out there saying Mitt Romney is not a true conservative. This is also one of the reasons there are Democrats out there saying Clinton and Obama aren't true liberals. I suspect it's probably closer to the truth to say that a lot of Republicans out there do want serious health care reform, but they are afraid to run on it.)

In the Massachusetts plan, the state offers residents without health insurance the ability to buy into a state-subsidized insurance plan. Residents who meet certain income qualifications can receive free or reduced-cost health insurance under the plan. People who already have health insurance through their employers get to keep it. And the new law put a lot more pressure on employers to provide their employees with health insurance.

But health insurance, even the state-subsidized insurance, is still mostly provided under for-profit, private health insurance companies. The same health insurance companies that have been roundly criticized for decades for balking on covering needed health services, and reneging on payment of legitimate claims. The same companies that have been stiffing both doctors and patients for decades in the name of almighty dollar.

And, state residents who don't buy into the program, either because they don't want to join it, or because they feel they can't afford it and yet still can't qualify for sufficient subsidies, have to pay a stiff fine for refusing to join. In many cases, the fine they residents are forced to pay is almost equal to what it would have cost them to purchase subsidized insurance.

Now, many people have praised the Massachusetts health care program as a brave and good first step toward solving a problem the federal government has refused to address on the state level. And I agree that it's good that some states are starting to take real action in trying to sort out the health care mess.

But the Massachusetts program has also garnered a lot of criticism since its inception, and most of that criticism has been leveled at the fines some citizens are being charged for not joining the plan. These fines have been disproportionately affecting lower-middle income families, many of whom say they still can't afford insurance even under the subsidized plan, and independent contractors-- people such as artists, musicians, writers, carpenters, plumbers, independent childcare workers, etc.-- who may earn enough income on paper to disqualify them for subsidies, but can't find affordable individual insurance, and aren't protected by an employer plan.

Because of the disproportionate effects of this fine on contractors, lower-middle-class workers and families, Barack Obama has stated that his health care plan will not mandate that all adults MUST purchase coverage. He has specifically cited the problems in Massachusetts, saying he does not want to punish working people for not being able to afford insurance, but instead wants to focus first on making insurance affordable to everyone. He has also said, however, that he will mandate that all children are covered.

Hillary Clinton has attacked this aspect of Barack Obama's plan, stating that his refusal to force everyone to participate will leave many Americans still not covered, and will interfere with his ability to negotiate with the insurance companies to drive down costs.

This is the most major difference between their two health plans.

I can see both sides of this argument, and to tell you the truth, I'm really not sure who is right. I'm not satisfied with either plan.

I know a lot of conservatives are wary of the idea of a health plan totally controlled by the government, and I think that some of their fears are justified. People DO wait longer for non-emergency diagnostic tests and surgery in Canada. Our government DOES have a history of mucking up its responsibilities to its citizens with piles of bureaucratic red tape. I still personally prefer the idea of a single-payer not-for-profit government health insurance system, though, primarily because our government is fundamentally accountable to its constituents.

The goal of a government plan would always, at least theoretically, be to provide the most people with the best health care at the lowest cost.

The fundamental goal of a privately run, for-profit insurance plan will ALWAYS be to make the insurance corporation and its shareholders money.

I respect both Senators for trying hard to come up with a good first-step solution to the health care crisis. But I do fear that we may end up with a worst-of-both-worlds scenario, having to slog through government bureaucracy AND corporate greed just to get to the doctor's office. I hope it doesn't happen that way. But it could.

So I don't really see a clear winner here. I think they both have the best of intentions, but they're working in the context of a system that is already so royally screwed up it will be very hard to fix.

Technology and the Internet

Barack Obama has stated, both in public and on his website, that he will appoint the nation's first Chief Technology Officer to oversee new developments in science, technology, and the internet. The Technology section on his website has 4,917 words.

The comparable Innovation section on Hillary Clinton's website has 1,624 words.

They both have some good ideas on this subject, but Barack Obama has presented a much more comprehensive picture on how he plans to deal with the internet and emerging technologies, and, as a blogger and a person who is very active on the internet, I appreciate the seriousness with which he has treated this subject during his campaign.

Help for Working Families

Both Clinton and Obama have proposed strengthening the Family and Medical Leave act
in similar ways. Both plan to help working parents by mandating that every worker in the nation have access to seven paid sick days. Both want to expand the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit. Both want to encourage employers to provide workers with flexible scheduling options that allow them to spend more time with their families. Both want to expand early childhood education programs and make childcare more affordable.

They're both pretty awesome on this front. I'd take the happily take the policies of either (or both, on the oft mentioned "Democratic Dream Ticket") in this area.


Conclusion

I'm strongly pro-Obama on Foreign policy. A little disappointed in general on health care. I'm pro-Obama on technology policy, and pro-both candidates on programs to help working families.

So, from a policy standpoint, Obama is the clear winner for me. This is not to say I don't think Clinton also has some great policy plans. But when I look at it objectively, Obama is the candidate more aligned with my goals.

16 comments:

Dana said...

Romney's healthcare plan is flawed, one of the things on which I disagree with him.

Last night I interviewed one of his sons and point-blank asked if voters could depend on an across-the-board conservative governing of the country. The answer was yes. Romney "hucked" up by not towing party line in the beginning; however his record since winning the gubernatorial race IS conservative. So that helped my decision.

We disagree on a lot of issues and I'm just not into discussing it in comments, but Obama brings bigger government to the table over Hillary, that's an indisputable fact. With entitlement programs comes higher taxes, higher taxes in a volatile economy will drag us into a recession (Japan four years ago as reference). I have to be a part-time economist because our small business pays my bills.

On the plus side, he scares me less. K, I'm done.

Jaelithe said...

Dana, I know you disagree with me on a lot of these things and I really do respect your opinions. So feel free to express them here if you'd like. I won't take offense. I understand the principles behind most conservative arguments, and I really do think our country needs a balanced debate over issues like this.

Anonymous said...

Obama's speech (October, 2002):

Good afternoon. Let me begin by saying that although this has been billed as an anti-war rally, I stand before you as someone who is not opposed to war in all circumstances.

The Civil War was one of the bloodiest in history, and yet it was only through the crucible of the sword, the sacrifice of multitudes, that we could begin to perfect this union, and drive the scourge of slavery from our soil. I don't oppose all wars.

My grandfather signed up for a war the day after Pearl Harbor was bombed, fought in Patton's army. He saw the dead and dying across the fields of Europe; he heard the stories of fellow troops who first entered Auschwitz and Treblinka. He fought in the name of a larger freedom, part of that arsenal of democracy that triumphed over evil, and he did not fight in vain.

I don't oppose all wars.

After September 11th, after witnessing the carnage and destruction, the dust and the tears, I supported this Administration's pledge to hunt down and root out those who would slaughter innocents in the name of intolerance, and I would willingly take up arms myself to prevent such a tragedy from happening again.

I don't oppose all wars. And I know that in this crowd today, there is no shortage of patriots, or of patriotism. What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war. What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other arm-chair, weekend warriors in this Administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne.

What I am opposed to is the attempt by political hacks like Karl Rove to distract us from a rise in the uninsured, a rise in the poverty rate, a drop in the median income - to distract us from corporate scandals and a stock market that has just gone through the worst month since the Great Depression.

That's what I'm opposed to. A dumb war. A rash war. A war based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics.

Now let me be clear - I suffer no illusions about Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal man. A ruthless man. A man who butchers his own people to secure his own power. He has repeatedly defied UN resolutions, thwarted UN inspection teams, developed chemical and biological weapons, and coveted nuclear capacity.

He's a bad guy. The world, and the Iraqi people, would be better off without him.

But I also know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors, that the Iraqi economy is in shambles, that the Iraqi military a fraction of its former strength, and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history.

I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a US occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences. I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of al-Qaeda.

I am not opposed to all wars. I'm opposed to dumb wars.

So for those of us who seek a more just and secure world for our children, let us send a clear message to the president today. You want a fight, President Bush? Let's finish the fight with Bin Laden and al-Qaeda, through effective, coordinated intelligence, and a shutting down of the financial networks that support terrorism, and a homeland security program that involves more than color-coded warnings.

You want a fight, President Bush? Let's fight to make sure that the UN inspectors can do their work, and that we vigorously enforce a non-proliferation treaty, and that former enemies and current allies like Russia safeguard and ultimately eliminate their stores of nuclear material, and that nations like Pakistan and India never use the terrible weapons already in their possession, and that the arms merchants in our own country stop feeding the countless wars that rage across the globe.

You want a fight, President Bush? Let's fight to make sure our so-called allies in the Middle East, the Saudis and the Egyptians, stop oppressing their own people, and suppressing dissent, and tolerating corruption and inequality, and mismanaging their economies so that their youth grow up without education, without prospects, without hope, the ready recruits of terrorist cells.

You want a fight, President Bush? Let's fight to wean ourselves off Middle East oil, through an energy policy that doesn't simply serve the interests of Exxon and Mobil.

Those are the battles that we need to fight. Those are the battles that we willingly join. The battles against ignorance and intolerance. Corruption and greed. Poverty and despair.

The consequences of war are dire, the sacrifices immeasurable. We may have occasion in our lifetime to once again rise up in defense of our freedom, and pay the wages of war. But we ought not - we will not - travel down that hellish path blindly. Nor should we allow those who would march off and pay the ultimate sacrifice, who would prove the full measure of devotion with their blood, to make such an awful sacrifice in vain.



VOTE OBAMA FOR PRESIDENT!

Jaelithe said...

Um, Anonymous, I did link to that speech in the post, so your posting it is a bit redundant.

KBO said...

Sigh....so glad you said it much more articulately and passionately than I had time for. I really want Obama to be our next president, for all the reasons you outlined and more.

I want a change. I want a president who doesn't sound like an ass. I want a president who acknowledges the struggle of those outside of the status quo. I want a president who acknowledges the validity of other countries, cultures, and their perspectives.

I'm fine with Obama being big government, as long as it is big efficient government. Cut this war-mongering and pork barrels and use that ridiculous amount of money to help our people who need said help. I would much rather my tax money go to that than a half-baked war.

Finally, I'm for Obama because he has a much better chance to beat the Republican in the general election. People hate Hillary with the fire of a thousand suns (justly or not), and to many passionate conservatives I know, Obama is palatable.

You rock, lady.

Anonymous said...

I am also leaning into the Obama camp. I think that with the current Republican options, Clinton on the ticket could be the one thing that would unite them (someone to vote against). I agree that a single payer, not for profit healthcare system needs to be part of our future. I think it is much more of a government function to ensure that its citizens have access to affordable healthcare than deciding what gender combinations make up a married couple. Of course it would mean higher taxes, but I'm not convinced that cost reductions that would come about because of the not for profit aspect wouldn't go far in balancing that out. I do think that once Obama is in office, he may move a little right on his war stance. Whether or not going to Iraq was the right thing to do (I maintain it was not, on a major scale) we've destroyed their government and must bear the responsibility for that action.

Rebecca said...

I prefer Clinton to Obama; but there is so much you have written that I agree with. There are some other things you wrote that I don't agree with. Dana probably doesn't agree with most of what you wrote. But that's what I love about you, you're having the discussion. I love that you've done this.

Random Passerby said...

Obama may oppose the Iraq war, but he is not opposed to preemptive wars in general, nor U.S. occupation of the middle east.

Obama said he would redeploy troops to Iraq after an initial period of withdrawal in order to "protect our embassies and our civilian forces and we will engage in counter terrorism activities." He also expressed desires to occupy and set up military bases in places like Afghanistan and Kuwait. (source)

He also stated time and again he will not take military options against Iran off the the table. And he is pushing for a Pakistan invasion as well: ""If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won't act, we will." (source)

In addition, Obama has also claimed a problematic "unwavering support" of Israel. (source

Obama's foreign policy are not at all different from the Bush Doctrine. He supports the invasion (preemptive or otherwise) and occupation of middle eastern countries he deems "dangerous," and supports the State of Israel. These policies will endanger the U.S. and probably launch us into more wars. If he can commit himself to non-interventionism -- withdraw from the middle east completely, and stop the unpopular financial support of the state of israel -- if he calls for all of that, he may be your guy.

You're deluding yourself if you think Obama is some liberal anti-war hippie whose foreign policy will end wars and discourage terrorists.

Rebecca said...

Just to respond to passerby:

"Obama said he would redeploy troops to Iraq after an initial period of withdrawal in order to "protect our embassies and our civilian forces and we will engage in counter terrorism activities."

seriously, who could be against this, really? it's about protecting the american civillians, it's about having a presence in the world. that's quite different than being engaged in a war.

also, just because obama is not taking military options off the table does not mean war is his first option. that's what a commander in chief is supposed to do: realize the power s/he has, and use that power appropriately and respectfully.

i can't even respond to the Israel comment. i find it hard to be rational when people don't think the existance of Israel is important. that said, i think we get an unbalanced and often unfair portrayal of both sides of this conflict.

finally, and not to speak for Jaelithe. . . but I think she's quite aware that Obama is not hippie enough for her. She's simply making an educated decision with the two candidates we have. (If I have misrepresented your opinion, J, go ahead an correct me!) :)

Jaelithe said...

Thanks for getting my back, Rebecca. Maybe we can run together on our own Dream Ticket. Hehe.

You are correct in that I don't agree with everything either candidate says she or he plans to do. I feel more aligned with Obama than I do with Clinton on some major policy issues that are important to me, and that is the primary reason I'm backing him.

To respond to your comment, Passerby, I believe that Obama's comments on Pakistan have been misinterpreted and overblown. He has been asked about those comment repeatedly in debates and interviews since he made them, and he has made a point to clarify the fact that he would launch an independent surgical strike in Pakistan to take out Osama bin Laden ONLY after all reasonable avenues of cooperation with Pakistan had been explored. He has also said that if he did use this last resort option, he would make it clear that the attack was aimed at Bin Laden and not at Pakistan or the Pakistani government.

Here are some quotes from him on the subject from an MSNBC debate:

"But, Chris, if we have actionable intelligence on Al Qaida operatives, including bin Laden, and President Musharraf cannot act, then we should. Now, I think that’s just common sense."

"I did not say that we would immediately go in unilaterally. What I said was that we have to work with Musharraf, because the biggest threat to American security right now are in the northwest provinces of Pakistan. And that we should continue to give him military aid contingent on him doing something about that."

And in the ABC debate here:

http://abcnews.go.com/story?id=4092530

both Edwards and Clinton wind up saying they would do the same thing. So the Democratic voters don't really have a choice on this issue.

Also, find me a viable presidential candidate who doesn't pledge unwavering support to Israel, and I'll find you a flying pig.

Marriage-101 said...

Loved this! I didn't agree with everything, but most of it. The part about Hillary not admitting her vote was a mistake: I don't think her vote was the mistake. Had the information that was given to her been an accurate representation of what was happening, her decision wouldn't have been a mistake. I firmly believe that had she known the truth, she wouldn't have voted that way. And I'm pretty sure I've heard her say that. Still, very good post!

Jaelithe said...

I'd be fine if she said, "I made a mistake because someone else misled me." Or, "I'm sorry that this terrible thing happened because of something I did, even though it wasn't my intention." I think we have a serious problem in our culture with people passing the buck and refusing to take responsibility for things. A true leader takes responsibility even when something was not her fault.

The National Intelligence Estimate the Senate had access to in October 2002 said that Iraq "probably will have a nuclear weapon during this decade." It also said "Although we assess that Saddam does not yet have nuclear weapons or sufficient material to make any, he remains intent on acquiring them."

It did not say Iraq HAD nuclear weapons in 2002, or even that Saddam was on the brink of acquiring them. In fact, it said "Without such material from abroad, Iraq probably would not be able to make a weapon until 2007 to 2009, owing to inexperience in building and operating centrifuge facilities to produce highly enriched uranium and challenges in procuring the necessary equipment and expertise."

And this was the report issued by the MOST HAWKISH parts of the intelligence community. The Department of Energy actually issued a dissenting report at around the same time arguing that the materials Iraq had been acquiring were of a type commonly used in a nuclear energy program, or for building conventional rockets, but not in a nuclear weapons program.

Iraq also had no ballistic missiles capable of reaching the U.S.; it was therefore highly unlikely Iraq could successfully deliver a large-scale biological or chemical attack on U.S. soil.

Also, Saddam Hussein was a secular Muslim. Osama bin Laden is a very radical religious Muslim. Hussein was morally corrupt according to bin Laden's tenets. Bin Laden has publicly called Hussein an infidel. I seriously doubt they were ever chummy. I never believed the Bush administration's assertions that they were in league-- they never presented any credible evidence to prove those assertions, at least not to the public. The CIA knows bin Laden intimately, given the CIA trained him in military tactics when he worked for them as a guerrilla leader during the Cold War U.S./Soviet spat over Afghanistan.

Let's just say the case was NOT a "slam dunk."

I don't really buy the idea that the administration made an overwhelmingly convincing case on Iraq that all of these Senators just threw caution to the wind and forgot all of their knowledge of world affairs.

But then again, I don't know what they saw that I didn't see.

no_slappz said...

You claimed the US should look dictators in the eye and tell them how to behave if they want to trade with the US.

Trade is a big issue. But you really need a course in Economics before making statements like you made about trade.

What you don't realize is how much your approach to trade would raise prices for everything.

It's interesting that you believe the US holds so much trace power that it can unilaterally dictate terms on any deal.

We live in a global economy. That means if a big player creates a logjam in the process, a lot of people suffer as a result. That includes Americans.

Meanwhile, you don't seem to understand that to evade import and export rules, goods from one country are shipped to intermediate countries and re-shipped to their final destinations.

If Obama were elected -- and there is not a chance it will happen -- he would learn the painful lesson that trade is a two-way street.

These days, with the dollar low relative to other currencies, the US is exporting a lot of goods. We are already paying more for imported goods without any help from Washington.

Washington can only worsen the problems if it adds new rules and restrictions.

As for healthcare, if enacted the proposals from Clinton and Obama would raise costs a lot more than anyone has imagined.

Jaelithe said...

Excuse me, No Slapps:

Do YOU have a degree in economics?

If so, can you tell me what level? Bachelors? PhD? And I'd LOVE to hear what university you attended, and who your favorite economics professor was, and what economics journals you like to read.

As you are claiming to be an engineer in another comment, I'd be impressed to find you had degrees in both disciplines.

My post wasn't about trade. I mentioned trade only in passing, because I am NOT an economist.

But to tell you the truth, I would happily pay higher prices for material goods to promote national security. I would happily pay higher prices to enforce an embargo on a government committing genocide, or to boycott a company using child slave labor.

My grandmother planted a Victory Garden during World War II. She drew lines on her nylon stockings with a marker, to make them look like seamed silk, and she never complained about the silk shortage, because she knew my grandfather needed that silk for his parachute.

I'd gladly make the same sacrifices for the sake of our country.

no_slappz said...

jaelithe, you wrote:

"But, talking to a dictator? Looking him in the eye, and saying, "We don't agree with your policies, and if you want to trade with us, or cooperate with us on deals to boost access to energy supplies or fight terrorism, you'll have to stop doing these things we disagree with first.""

The US does this every day. But unfortunately this fact is news to many. Check into General Agreements on Tariffs and Trade -- GATT.

Meanwhile, it's very generous of you to offer to pay higher prices for everything. But there are probably 200 million Americans who would rather pay less for everything. Thus, you've got a big job ahead to convince all of them they should pay more for everything.

Paying more for everything includes paying more for healthcare.

Moreover, you seem to have the usual liberal notion that if you prevent a clothing maker from employing children you are doing good. You want US companies to enforce a moral code on foreign manufacturers.

However, the choice of work in many countries that permit sweat shops usually means children work in terrible conditions, or they don't work.

You should realize it is the governments of these countries that are the problem. The GAP does not set labor laws in Pakistan, India, Bengladesh, Sri Lanka or any other countries that permit children to work in sweat shops.

YOu should also realize the leaders of these countries are not altruists. They're mostly busy ripping off the country, usually exploiting the uneducated masses and carting off the cash to foreign banks.

India is one of the few that is going in the right direction. The impact of British rule. India has a good school system, though it is far from educating the billion + Indians. The country is practicing capitalism, which has led to a huge improvement in the well being of Indians.

If there's a model in that part of the world, India is it.

Jaelithe said...

You didn't answer my question about the economics degree, No Slappz. What credentials do you have in that discipline?

And if you think that child slave labor is justifiable, then, do you think slavery was justifiable here in the United States?