Thursday, February 14, 2008

Senator Obama's fiscal plans and stump speech

Here's WaPo on the speech at a GM SUV (!) plant in Janesville, Wisconsin. Among other comments, WaPo says tax loopholes are not the sole reason for companies moving abroad. Actually, I don't think Senator Obama is trying to prevent companies from shifting jobs overseas - rather, by closing tax loopholes which benefit such companies, he could level that inequity, and generate additional revenue to fund his job proposals.
As for the other source of revenue - ending the Iraq war - the WaPo points out (correctly) that war funding is temporary. Well, if the US Federal budget is going into deficit, might as well use those deficits to generate jobs in the US and thus boost the economy... which could reduce those deficits!?

At RealClearPolitics, Daniel Henninger of the Wall Street Journal says Senator Obama's stump speech is "getting hard to listen to... it's a downer. ...depressing message..." That's because Senator Obama speaks about the difficulties facing poor Americans, which Henninger says is what John Edwards or Dennis Kucinich - admitted populists - preach.
I think a fair assessment is that the WSJ is not receptive to Democrats! But more important than this ad-hominem attack, Henninger is missing the point of the speech (and perhaps has listened to it once too often, unlike the target audience; even the best speech can get tiring if one listens to it too often). Senator Obama says "We are who we are waiting for!" In other words - ordinary citizens have to help themselves. Obama lays out the ground realities, which can sound depressing, but they are realities nevertheless. But, people suffering under such conditions cannot depend on the federal government to bail them out; they have to help themselves. That should be music to true fiscal conservatives, even those at the WSJ! And the overall message - that these are the depressing realities, but "we can overcome" - is essentially hopeful and optimistic.

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