Wednesday, October 15, 2008

John McCain And His "Jobs for America"

After doing my duty looking into Barack Obama's economic plan for the good old US of A, I decided I needed to be "fair and balanced" and look into McCain's as well. The good news is that McCain's plan cannot possibly be worse than Obama's. The bad news is that I won't be throwing any parades in honor of John McCain based on his plan for the country, either. But I guess we already knew that. 

Let's start with McCain's idea for meddling in the workplace, titled "Workplace Flexibility in a Changing Economy." Here, John McCain is said to understand that today's changing economy is making it harder for parents to balance the demands of family life and their jobs. This irritates me, and I'll tell you why. (I'm sure you were sooooo afraid that I wouldn't.) We had our first child back in 1997 and at that time made the decision that I would stay home with our kids. My husband has a college degree in English, and was (at that time) working in credit card collections. As you may already know, people who work in credit card collections are making their entire living off commission - yes, that's right. 100% commission on how much you're able to collect from people who don't pay. Needless to say, we had some exceedingly lean times on that income. 

From there, we moved across the country and my husband got a job in a different industry making 30K per year. It wasn't easy to live on that - we did without many things that others may consider to be necessities. But we had food, diapers, and as much clothing as we needed - and I was home with our son, which was what really mattered to us. It wasn't easy, just important. 

McCain is also said to understand that our "changing economy forces many families to deal with the disruptions that come with a job change." Because of this understanding, I guess, he believes that workers should be able to "choose new training that fits their personal situation so that they can build new skills as their careers change." Are you serious?? Is there some goober somewhere telling people what training they can and cannot experience? Or does McCain believe that I should be paying for their training? 

He also believes that "as our workforce ages, many older Americans want to continue to stay in jobs." He thinks that more flexible arrangements would enable these folks to continue their careers. Well, fine... start a company and implement that, then. But coming up with the "Wish I Were Retired Act of 2010" isn't probably a good idea.

To sum up, here are the things McCain finds important to mess with in the workplace:
Modernizing labor laws to allow for more flexible scheduling arrangements.
Ensuring labor laws don't get in the way of working at home.
Promoting telework.
Making health care more portable.
Ensuring that workers can "choose retirement plans" that suite their needs.
Providing workers job training assistance.

In health care, McCain is offering the following:
Cheaper drugs.
An emphasis on prevention, early intervention, healthy habits, etc...
Coordinated care, collaborating providers.
Government walk-in clinics in retail outlets.
Reform Medicaid and Medicare.
Smoking cessation programs.
Tort reform.

McCain's tax plan is "Taxes: Simpler, Fair, Pro-Growth and Competitive." He wants to keep tax rates low. Top tax rate of 35 percent, maintain the 15 percent rates on dividends and capital gains, and phase out the AMT. He wants to cut the corporate tax rate from 35% to 25%, saying that keeping the corporate tax rate low is essential to keeping good jobs in the United States.

He wishes to ban internet taxes and cell phone taxes.

McCain is also promising "Immediate Relief for American Families." According to his site, "John McCain will help Americans hurting from high gasoline and food costs." He'll act immediately to reduce the "pain of high gas prices." How will he do this? He's going to send a strong message to world markets. Yes, he's going to be "telling oil producing countries and oil speculators that our dependence on foreign oil will come to an end - and the impact will be lower prices at the pump." Uh-huh. Now why didn't anybody else think of that?? We should have told them that a long time ago!! Sheesh.

Also, John McCain is going to "increase the value of the dollar and thus reduce the price of oil." Somehow, we're supposed to believe that by the mere existence of John McCain in the White House, Americans "will have a stronger economy, a stronger dollar and greater purchasing power for oil, gas and food." C'mon, dude. I'm a Republican... and I really want to be on your side here... but I'm going to need a little more to go on than that

He also says he wants to begin a summer gas tax holiday. But John, I'm not thinking you're going to have much success in getting something like that to pass in the House and Senate. Sorry.

McCain wishes to "keep well-meaning, deserving home owners who are facing foreclosure in their homes." Yes, there must be some folks out there who are not paying their mortgages who still deserve to keep their home. O-kay. Here is his approach:

No bailouts for investors or speculators. Only homeowners.
Holders of a sub-prime mortgage taken after 2005 on their primary residence who 1, can prove creditworthiness at the time of the original loan, 2, are either delinquent or can demonstrate that they will be delinquent, and 3, can meet the terms of a new 30 year fixed-rate mortgage will be eligible. All they have to do is pick up a form at any post office or download the form over the internet to apply. The FHA certifies that the individual is qualified and contacts the individual's mortgage servicer. The FHA replaces the existing mortgage with a new one. I have to be honest with you and tell you that I don't get this. Not that I don't understand what he's trying to do -- but I don't understand why it's a good idea. Why cut it off at 2005? Why would you have people apply who are still making good on their current mortgage payments? Why would you bail some people out of their bad decisions and not the others? How is this right?

McCain is also dedicated to "Reforming Washington to Regain the Trust of Taxpayers." I have two words for this idea: TOO LATE. Seriously, he does go into some reforms he would like to see -- they're on his website if you want to know what they are. Call me jaded, but I just don't believe it for even a minute.

That being said, I still think that McCain is less scary than Obama. He's still scary, but much less so. So here's how I feel about this whole mess... I don't much like horror films. I'm just not into the scare-me-silly-by-showing-me-a-slaughter thing. (Call me crazy.) And if somebody told me that they were going to take me for a night out and I had to choose between two films, one of them being petrifying and the other being less scary, I would opt out of the entire night out. Unfortunately, there will not be a place on the ballot for scrapping it all and starting over, so I'm probably stuck with the less scary film choice here. I'm in for a night out that I didn't ask for - and I'm not going to like it either way. 

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