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  • Vote for Obama. Here's why.

    Vote for Obama. Here's why.

    My role at iTulip is primarily to provide leadership to our community. John Kenneth Galbraith once said that the essence of leadership is “the willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time.” I cannot on this election day shy from that obligation.

    As a group we are socially liberal but fiscally conservative, and so have misgivings about both candidates. As contrarians we are not joiners but skeptics, so we do not readily join popular campaigns.

    We are keenly aware that without the profit motive and strong enforcement of property rights the world would not now be enjoying many of the great inventions that US inventors and entrepreneurs have bestowed upon the world over the past century. Millions come to America to engage our culture of risk taking, tolerance for failure in the attempt to create a better life and to achieve wealth, with few guarantees but the promise of simple justice and minimal interference from government.

    We are also aware that we stand at the precipice of economic catastrophe, if indeed we have not already fallen off it. Decades of politically convenient yet fallacious utopian economic theory executed by institutions corrupted by money, conferred on them by unfettered credit creation, laid the foundation this ongoing debacle. Both political parties engaged in it, to our great sorrow. There is no avoiding a period of expanded government spending to get America through its transition to an economy based on saving and investment versus borrowing and consumption, but we must choose our programs wisely; in this new world we have little money to waste on ad hoc fiscal stimulus.

    Not only America’s but economies across Asia and Europe are in or are entering recession as I write, from China to Greece to Brazil, as fallout from a financial crisis that started in the USA in 2007 circles the globe.

    Every nation will soon be coping with the political strife that arises from economic hardship. Demands for solutions at home cause nations to withdraw from the international sphere in times of economic crisis, complicating and frustrating diplomacy and thwarting cooperation among nations to address the global crisis, potentially accelerating the downturn.

    We are in debt to ourselves and to other nations, and from this unfortunate starting position we face the necessity of expanded government spending to prevent the US and world economy from devolving into a global depression in a series of self-reinforcing feedback loops of declining demand, output, income, savings, investment, and trade as occurred in the 1930s.

    We have not faced a more dangerous economic and political period since the 1930s. Wars have started with far less pretext.

    The imperfections in the positions of Barack Obama and John McCain are vastly amplified by these grave circumstances. However, there is little doubt which of the two candidates is the best prepared with the education, emotional intelligence, judgment, and leadership skills to bring us through this period.

    All this most of you know; I have not yet faced the major anxiety of our people in our time but few express: race. I will do so by quoting a posting we received today by a new member who has not participated on our forums before. It is intelligently argued and I suspect shared by more people than care to express it. I believe the sentiment he expresses is 100% wrong, but I appreciate his willingness to share it and give me this opportunity to address it. He said:
    In 1994, 70% of [white South African voters] drank the white liberal kool aid and voted themselves into the political minority on the promise that if they would just stop being racists, the future would be all about merit and equality and reconciliation. Instead they now find themselves under siege, legally discriminated against in jobs, prohibited from owning more than 49% of their own family businesses (they have to find a black person to give 51% to), the victims of rampant crime, rape, and murder (with a 2-3% rate of solving the murders). The famous white South Africa liberal writers whose writings contributed to ending apartheid are moving away to Australia and Europe. They have seen firsthand what they did to their own people and now they are running away. Nice for them, not so nice for the people who can't afford to leave.

    But you never hear about South Africa anymore. White western liberals prefer not to think about what has happened there in the wake of the adoption of their reform program. Or in Zimbabwe. There is a slow-motion anti-white genocide unfolding there, but it doesn't fit the liberal script so it's not discussed.

    So we are in an era where young white people have been indoctrinated for the last several decades in their schools and in the mass media that the history of whites is shameful and that they must never think in terms of race - while blacks, Latinos, and others openly identify with their own ethnic groups and interests, openly speak of themselves as a people based solely on race, openly push for special considerations based solely on race rather than merit. So we are going to have to go through the fire here, until young white people reach an age where they are trying to raise a family in safety with decent schools and without racial discrimination against whites.

    They say a conservative is a liberal who's been mugged. There's a whole generation of young whites who have a lot of muggings coming their way. Right now they are in the full flush of youthful passion and idealism, scornful of older people (i.e. people with significant life experience) and sure that they have discovered new amazing truths that old fools can't see.

    The easy conclusion is that there will probably never be a more disillusioned generation of people in American history than the generation of young whites who are voting for Obama. By the time they are in their middle age they will shake their heads sadly that they could have been so wrong.
    My response:

    America is not South Africa.

    South Africa cannot divorce itself from the infection of corruption that dominates the institutions of so many African nations that lack American's heritage and history, and our legal system and culture. American ideals, not always fulfilled, blotted with ugly exceptions and imperfections, are always there as a measure of the nation's goals. With no abiding legal or institutional framework to achieve them, and a history of domination by foreign powers, in Africa hopes for freedom and prosperity are confined to the people's hearts.

    In the USA our corruption problem is not race based, although race is a feature of some of our institutional failures. Our overriding corruption problem centers on flaws in our money, banking, and financial systems, and the way these influence and are influenced by our political system. Our polity is systemically corrupt, whereas Africa's is venally corrupt. While Obama is not 100% independent from the influence of financial groups, he is the most independent of the two candidates.

    Barack Obama represents the American ideal, an expression of the best of American culture and simultaneously a rejection of the dying culture of dependency and self-defeatism that kept many blacks in America behind other races that came to America and flourished over the centuries. That self-destructive culture was an echo of slavery, rebounding off America like a cry of pain and anger that reinforced division, prejudice, and failure with despondency and fear. Little noticed to many, that culture has been fading out for 20 years as the latest generation of Americans, more race-blind than their parents, focus on more important matters in a globally competitive world: education, skills, cooperation, teamwork.

    Rather than ushering in an era of race-based corruption as the writer fears, the very opposite will occur if Obama is elected. The last vestiges of the culture of self-defeatism can at last own failures and deal with prejudice as other races, creeds and nationalities have in America, by adopting the American culture of hard work and sacrifice and joining the ranks of the achieved where no one cares what color you are.

    A final note to address the other great anxiety among our readers, that Barack Obama intends to “redistribute wealth.” I admit that as an entrepreneur I find some of Obama's rhetoric disturbing. But I do not believe that he intends to kill the goose that laid the golden egg: the motivation of American entrepreneurs to take enormous risks, work absurd hours, and sacrifice all other aspects of life to build innovative businesses and wealth. I have faith that he can distinguish between taxation of financial versus productive risk. The former takes from society by extracting rents, the latter gives to society by increasing productivity. Even if he does not, raising taxes on productive risk is an error that can be corrected, either in real-time or after the fact.

    Here is the heart of the matter. The election of Obama can finish off the last remains of a cursed period in American's past. Obama may be more likely to tax wealth, but he is less likely than McCain–with his limited grasp of economics and tendency to surround himself with less than highly qualified counsel–to engage in war to relieve our economic suffering. With the world’s greatest military behind him that temptation will be powerful for our next president.

    Misguided taxation is a recoverable error, a new war at this stage in America’s history will be fatal.

    One piece of advice for Obama should he win the election and read this: begin to set very low expectations well before you get into office. You will not be able to turn the economy around in your first year no matter what you do, so buy yourself another by leveling with the American people straight away:

    We’re in for a long, tough transition to a new economy. Good luck.

    p.s. My preference was for Andrew Jackson, but he wasn't on the ballot.
    "Gentlemen, I have had men watching you for a long time and I am convinced that you have used the funds of the bank to speculate in the breadstuffs of the country. When you won, you divided the profits amongst you, and when you lost, you charged it to the bank. You tell me that if I take the deposits from the bank and annul its charter, I shall ruin ten thousand families. That may be true, gentlemen, but that is your sin! Should I let you go on, you will ruin fifty thousand families, and that would be my sin! You are a den of vipers and thieves." - Andrew Jackson
    Last edited by EJ; 11-04-08, 10:07 PM.

  • #2
    Re: Vote for Obama. Here's why.

    I hope Obama lives up to his potential, as opposed to living down to his donors.

    But I fear from a risk management standpoint, both upside and downside of Obama being President will be magnified due to the Congressional majority his party will hold.

    Any room for substantive debate is likely to be lost - and thus we will be left with no alternative but hoping for the best.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Vote for Obama. Here's why.

      Congratulations EJ,
      Very nicely expressed.

      I am sure that Senator Obama appreciates your endorsement. If you should choose to endorse a candidate in the future, you might want to consider endorsing a little earlier than half way through the day of the election.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Vote for Obama. Here's why.

        Originally posted by we_are_toast View Post
        Congratulations EJ,
        Very nicely expressed.

        I am sure that Senator Obama appreciates your endorsement. If you should choose to endorse a candidate in the future, you might want to consider endorsing a little earlier than half way through the day of the election.
        Fair criticism but we've been a tad busy: Janszen on NPR Marketplace Nov. 4 at 6:30PM ET
        Ed.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Vote for Obama. Here's why.

          Obama isn't a good choice. He's the less crappy of many other bad choices.

          It's like a condemned man exulting in his fortune when he learns he'll be shot instead of drawn and quartered.

          I'm more interested to learn about a forthcoming VAT, tax increases, more SS taxes, and of course massive keynsian efforts planned by people who've never had a real job.

          As for reindustrialization, who's going to pay for that? Maybe get some of Stanely O'neal and Paulson's plunder... oh, wait, they gave Obama money.

          whoops.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Vote for Obama. Here's why.

            Obama and McCain are two wings of the same party. Until more people are willing to "throw away their vote" by voting for a third party candidate who represents them, the majority of voters will "throw away their vote" by voting the lessor of two evils.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Vote for Obama. Here's why.

              Originally posted by c1ue View Post
              But I fear from a risk management standpoint, both upside and downside of Obama being President will be magnified due to the Congressional majority his party will hold.
              Too true. He better be good, because he's going to get most or all of what he wants.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Vote for Obama. Here's why.

                Well, taxes are going up, and more useless solar farms will get built.

                We can finally start trading pig farts for coal CO2, too!

                yay!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Vote for Obama. Here's why.

                  well, I completely disagree. Cast your vote by not voting. There is no real choice. As Justin Raimondo says, it's two candidates each from the War Party.

                  There are no limits to what Washington can do with either party. No constitution. Screw that.

                  Stay home and cast your vote against the Machine.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Vote for Obama. Here's why.

                    As long as the Dems and Republicans receive preferential treatment under election law there will never be a viable third party candidate.

                    And you will always see one or both parties co-opt any electorally meaningful position adopted by a third party candidate.

                    The reason both parties are relatively similar is they're both fighting over the same 10-15% of the electorate that's truly independent. Stray too from the middle and you end up like the Democrats after the 1970s, or like the Republicans after... ummmm... today.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Vote for Obama. Here's why.

                      I'm surprised no one (that I've heard) has pointed out the distinction between wealth and income.

                      Senators have wealth (homes, munis, portfolios, gold etc.) Buffet has wealth...Soros wealth...Bush's...Clintons...you get the picture.

                      The "wealth" that Obama wants to redistribute away from those wealthy 250k/yr "rich people" is called income. I suspect no ituliper will confuse 250k/yr (maybe going lower everyday) with being "wealthy".

                      With that said, why not confiscate some of the true "wealth" (take a few ski homes and beach houses) of those evil capitalists and redistribute that? If you truly believe in redistribution, why not start at the top? I know why...you know why...just venting.

                      Also, why don't we insist that all our redistributionist pols start making voluntary "Patriotic Contributions". If they believe it's so beneficial, lead by example!

                      We have been set up...I can't see how this ends well.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Vote for Obama. Here's why.

                        Originally posted by EJ View Post
                        Obama may be more likely to tax wealth, but he is less likely than McCain–with his limited grasp of economics and tendency to surround himself with less than highly qualified counsel–to engage in war to relieve our economic suffering.
                        In my opinion, the present financial crisis is not the crisis, but the opener prior to the main event -- which is the demographic entitlement crisis. Senator McCain has at least spoken of the present system being unfair to the younger generations, has specifically spoken about the problem presented by the Trust Funds (which is to say that they are IOUs backed by future taxation rather than saved resources), and has said that "everything" needs to be on the table to address the problem. I don't believe that Senator Obama has addressed this issue with anything approaching that level of candor -- he has talked about raising taxes on high-earners to address Social Security funding shortfalls, but has not presented any sort of plan for how to pay for Medicare (the bigger problem) and, as far as I can tell, hasn't once mentioned the problem with the Trust Funds. Senator Obama has been resolute in promising seniors that their benefits will not be cut and the retirement age will not be increased, while suggesting that the only sacrifice which will be required is a tax increase on the top 3% of earners, and ignoring the pressure Trust Fund redemptions will put on discretionary spending. What kind of economic leadership is that?

                        I'm not saying that Senator McCain is good on economic issues, but I think it strains credulity to believe that Senator Obama has a realistic or constructive grasp of our economic problems, either (or the political courage required to address them, at any rate). I don't at all agree with EJ's assessment that a McCain Presidency would increase the likelihood of wider war (I see the US as constrained by manpower, money, and domestic public opinion at this point -- we're overextended, and Mr. "we need more troops" is therefore both unlikely and unable to spread us thinner). Frankly, I think if one is making the Republican vs. Democrat choice this year, it's all about differences in emphasis (which favored industries get fiscal stimulus) and cultural issues like EJ's point about race. Neither of these guys is terrible (relative to major party candidates in past elections), and neither of these guys is great (relative to the problems we face).

                        That's my $0.02 -- but, you know, I only get one vote.
                        Last edited by ASH; 11-04-08, 05:09 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Vote for Obama. Here's why.

                          Originally posted by phirang View Post
                          Obama isn't a good choice. He's the less crappy of many other bad choices.

                          It's like a condemned man exulting in his fortune when he learns he'll be shot instead of drawn and quartered.
                          Very well put.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Vote for Obama. Here's why.

                            Originally posted by chris49 View Post
                            I'm surprised no one (that I've heard) has pointed out the distinction between wealth and income.

                            Senators have wealth (homes, munis, portfolios, gold etc.) Buffet has wealth...Soros wealth...Bush's...Clintons...you get the picture.

                            The "wealth" that Obama wants to redistribute away from those wealthy 250k/yr "rich people" is called income. I suspect no ituliper will confuse 250k/yr (maybe going lower everyday) with being "wealthy".

                            With that said, why not confiscate some of the true "wealth" (take a few ski homes and beach houses) of those evil capitalists and redistribute that? If you truly believe in redistribution, why not start at the top? I know why...you know why...just venting.

                            Also, why don't we insist that all our redistributionist pols start making voluntary "Patriotic Contributions". If they believe it's so beneficial, lead by example!

                            We have been set up...I can't see how this ends well.
                            Dunno... maybe EJ is trying to suck up to the new Dear Leader to get bonus points or something.

                            What I DO know is that the Kennedy family is very pro-Obama, and considering that JFK had the cohones to take on the Fed, we do have some hope there. People rag on Ted Kennedy, but the Kennedy family is generally a patriotic, good family. Perhaps Obama will show his spine and make hard decisions. It's very difficult to know.

                            There's also hope before a firing squad, too....

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Vote for Obama. Here's why.

                              Frankly, a victorious war where we have the conquered finance our spending would not only solve short/medium terms stimulus issues but also allow the US to refinance and start anew.

                              I hate saying it, but the reason people support war is that is passes the credit risk from one group of worthless proles to another.

                              Comment

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