Monday, October 13, 2008

Obama Tax Plan Saves Money For 95% Of Americans; More Notes From the Presidential Campaign Trail

This past Sunday's Parade Magazine published an easy-to-understand analysis of Barack Obama and John McCain's tax plans. "If your salary is less than $112,000, you'd pay less in taxes under Obama's plan," according to Parade; "if your salary is higher, McCain would cut your taxes more." Under the Obama plan, everyone earning less than $227,000 a year would receive a tax cut, everyone earning more would see a tax increase. On the other hand, McCain continues his dogged adherence to Bush's failed economic policies: his tax cuts primarily benefit the rich but do virtually nothing for the middle class.

It's a free country. People can vote for whomever they like. But can't we all just agree, once and for all, that this "supply-side" economic mumbo-jumbo doesn't work? Haven't we learned anything?

> Obama is expanding his lead over McCain

There are 21 days to go in the election, and all the political trend lines are favoring Obama right now. Even the ultra-conservative Wall Street Journal was forced to concede their own polling shows "independent voters are starting to swing behind Barack Obama and Joe Biden, who continue to benefit from economic turmoil and the public response to their debate performances..."

The WSJ does offer one caution for Obama: racism could be a factor. They reported on focus group participants who said "...they knew people who wouldn't support Obama because he is black." If nothing else, this election will say a lot about how far we've progressed as a nation.

> More encouraging news: Obama's poll numbers might be even better than we realize

A recent report from the nonpartisan Pew Research Center demonstrates a statistical difference in attitudes among people with landline telephones and people with only cell phones. Why is this noteworthy? Because most of the polls we're seeing in the news could be underestimating how much support Obama really has.

According to the Pew report, "Obama's lead was 2 or 3 percentage points smaller when cell users were omitted." The study also found "young cell users preferred Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama over Republican nominee John McCain by 35 percentage points. For young landline users, it was a smaller 13-point Obama edge."

> Why is McCain struggling? Look no farther than the White House

According to USA Today, "a Gallup Poll taken Friday through Sunday finds only 25% of Americans approve of the way Bush is handling the job of president; 70% disapprove. That's the lowest approval and the highest disapproval of his eight years in office. His approval rating has dropped eight percentage points in a month." USA Today also published a cool, interactive chart that tracks Bush's approval ratings over the course of his presidency, which you can see here.

Others are chiming in about how President Bush is causing significant harm not only to McCain, but also to the Republican Party. reports "former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) said the Wall Street bailout plan pushed by President Bush signaled the 'final collapse' of the current administration... 'It is a tragic and very expensive legacy,' Gingrich said. 'No conservative and no Republican should doubt how much it has hurt our cause and our party.'”

> Last, but not least, are a couple more items that caught my eye...

- The Seattle Times recently published a concise overview of the "Keating 5" scandal where John McCain was found guilty of using "poor judgement" in his effort to get federal regulators to back off investigations into the "questionable lending practices and investments" of a savings and loan bank run by Charles Keating, a major McCain benefactor. The ultimate failure of Keating's savings and loan helped trigger a major federal bailout of the entire industry, at taxpayer expense. Sound familiar?

- Finally, I couldn't help but chuckle when I read this report in the Seattle P-I: "US Weekly is reporting that John McCain paid $5,583 to TV makeup artist Tifanie White, who has worked on American Idol. The expense is included in Big Mac's Federal Election Commission filing... [E]ven by John Edwards' standards, a $5,583 makeup job is a lot of cash - especially for the candidate who claims not to be the 'celebrity' in the race." There's nothing more I can add.

-- Dennis

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