Thursday, October 14, 2004

how is this a domestic policy debate?

2005: watching the two candidates attempt to make policy statements around a question regarding the lack of flu shots in this country is tremendously upsetting, in a i am watching a train wreck sort of way. Bushie goes into malpractice litigation, and Kerry has decided to attack health insurance. "This President has turned his back on the wellness of America!"

we started out with a discussion of 'homeland' security that immediately devolved into iraq, war, screening cargo in ports and docks...'I have a plan!' -well, Senator Kerry, we'd like to HEAR what your 'plan' IS! oooh, Bushie is going after him now for talking about some mythical plan and here's the kicker: accuses Kerry of doing a 'bait-and-switch'! something that Bushie should well be aware of, seeing that he is a great proponent of it.

2018: it sounds like Bushie's been reading the Sunday New York Times Magazine -was that a lame attempt at a joke? (because the Times ran an article about how the 'funniest man in this year's race is Al Gore', worrying that both Bush and Kerry are Not Funny.) 'You pay, and he goes ahead and spends it'?

2020: is it me, or do both candidates seem rather slow to warm up today -Bushie's sounding rather awkward (esp post-flu-shot question), Kerry's being rather hestitant -ums and ers and awhs-. yikes! a Kerry joke!

2022: 'is it fair to blame the Adminstration entirely for the loss of jobs?' i'm not sure whose trade/economic policy i prefer -sigh- i'm unhappy with the notion of fair playing field or fair trade policy, or rather with the implications thereof. it's a fact that outsourcing happens mostly because labour here is expensive; labour elsewhere is cheaper; labour is a humongous chunk of a firm's cost. granted a change in the tax scheme might change some cost structures. but i don't think it's going to be as big a deal as cheap labour in China vs. expensive labour in Michigan.

2026: you know, i really can't keep up with these numbers streaming by me. how do they tell me anything about any positions? here we go: homosexuality and gay marriage: i'm seeing this whole ideology debate thing that Silberman was talking about playing out before my very eyes. here's a question for you: what are the big issues in this election, other than war in Iraq and associated war on terror? so far, we've talked about flu shots, job losses, and whether homosexuality is a choice. (2030: stem-cell research and a woman's right to choose.)

i can see that most of these issues are not going to directly affect most of the people in this country. job loss will not be trivial, but neither will it affect the vast majority of Americans. the fear of losing your job, however, does affect the vast majority of manufacturing and certain service industry personnel. the right to abortions for women -the number of women who actually have an abortion might be small, even trivial, in comparison with the number of women in the country. but that doesn't mean it doesn't affect them -i might never have an abortion, but i sure would like to think that i have the CHOICE -assuming i know and bear responsibility for the consequences.

Kerry, in response to 'is homosexuality a choice': 'we're all God's children' -what the hell? my jaw hasn't even undropped from prior comments. then Kerry informs me, at least, that Dick Cheney's daughter is a lesbian. i'm trying to see how he is distinguishing his position from Bushie's. not being clear here. sometimes nuance is a bad thing. Kerry is now quoting the Bible (inaccurately, i suspect, but that can wait to be checked)

2035: ah, here's a big one: healthcare costs and medical insurance. medical liability reform, malpractice reform, no consumer input? pushing generic drugs to the market faster. (something i used to be a big fan of, and i am still a big fan of the generic drugs in the pharmacy. but i have to say that high costs of prescription drugs pays for the research that produces the next big drug. the faster we erode pharmaceutical companies's profit margins, the faster we erode their incentive to put money into drug research.)

2040: i'm feeling Kerry's gravitas more than Bushie's -ok so perhaps i am biased against Bushie, though Kerry is rapidly eroding my support for him with every passing minute, but Bushie seems uncomfortable, fidgety almost. testy. chomping at the bit. Kerry's looking less like a horse, for that matter, and Bushie is looking rather less like a monkey. i think it's the clone-suit-and-tie outfits they are wearing. Kerry's figured out where the cameras are!

ah! here we go -here's the debate between ideologies: federal healthcare vs. private healthcare. here's a debate between the roles of government in society. 'our healthcare is the envy of the world' -what crack is Bushie on? on the other hand, i have to say that healthcare is a losing battle for most governments. nationalised healthcare has costs that spin out of control; private healthcare means that some people are not going to be able to afford it, especially as costs continue to rise year on year, with inflation and other increasing costs. federal pension vs. personal retirement accounts. 'we're going to protect Social Security!', Kerry says. we will not cut benefits, Kerry claims. but it looks like America is running smack into the problem that we ran into with pension schemes vs. CPF in Singapore -we picked the CPF, which means we pay for our own retirement with our own money, not taxpayer money. switching from one system to another, however, as Kerry points out, incurs a transitional cost which in the US could well be huge.

what's really going on is both candidates are admitting they don't know how to save Social Security.

2051: agh, i hate this whole trickle-down effect of tax cuts that Bushie's economic advisors seem to endorse. it seems to me that it's more effective as a political tool than an economic one. i'm also unhappy that the size of the tax cut means the deficit is big and getting bigger. to me it promotes the idea that the deficit isn't a problem for us to deal with now -well, no one is going to let the biggest and most important nation in the world go bankrupt, now are they- it doesn't promote fiscal responsibility to not understand that taking money out of stream of income while simultaneously allowing more money out is not a good thing.

2057: alex suggests the solution to the immigration problem is to make this a totalitarian state. that way no one will want to move here.

ahhh, minimum wage raise! -throws hands in air- seven bucks an hour, Kerry wants, up from 5.15 an hour. well, frankly, i'm not a fan. (ok, equal pay, i'm happy to listen to. but i'm a woman before i'm an economist.) i think minimum wages distort the labour market and mess up my wonderful market-clearing-information-carrying prices. Bushie, on the other hand, says 'the No Child Left Behind Act is really a jobs act' rather than an education act. the whole idea being well, get a good education, and you WON'T BE EARNING MINUMUM WAGE.

2103: i think these candidates need to come to the U of C and teach us how to get from the topic being discussed to the topic you WANT to talk about without anyone really understanding you got there. how did we get to after-school programs from Roe vs. Wade and constitutional rights and litmus tests for judges?

2105: how is Kerry going to find the people to add to the military? everyone knows that the military is already scraping the bottom of the barrel where personnel recruitment is concerned. this reminds me also of European effort to influence the election -they claim they may come in in Iraq if America were under a different president.

2109: how did we get back to foreign policy?

2116: ‘what part does your faith play on your policy decisions?’ aiyee! ‘the native americans, who gave me a blessing the other day…’ one way to work support groups into your stump speeches…

2125: last question: 'we are each married to strong women. we each have two daughters. what have you learned from these strong women?' asks the moderator. 'to listen to 'em! to stand up straight and not scowl', Bushie shoots back. oh god, Bushie's cracking a joke! a JOKE! and Kerry responds! '...we've all married up, some of us more so than others' they're being FUNNY. that's a great way to end the debate. wow.

the full transcript will be up at some point, and i'm sure there will be more comments on the debate over time. but this is it from me for now -time to go do some work and charge the iBook. over and out!

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