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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

EDITORIAL: Why I Am Not Voting For Barack Obama

I am a rare and endangered species in America - I am Black, and I am not voting for Obama.

The racial undertones of this 2008 Presidential Election cannot be ignored…well, not by persons like myself. Although most Americans have done everything they can to stay away from the racial issues, the fact of the matter is that most Black people in America are voting for Obama simply because he is Black. As long as he doesn’t admit to worshipping the devil or being a serial killer, they will support his candidacy as the fulfillment of the dream that fostered the Civil Rights Movement and every struggle for justice that Black Americans have endured in this country. I get it; really, I do. I would hope that non-Black Americans are at least able to sympathize with that position, considering the circumstances. Such a unilateral and uncontested, even blind support of a candidate is charged almost purely by emotion, but in this case it is at least emotionally justifiable.

Nevertheless, I wouldn’t vote for Barack Obama if you paid me to, which ironically enough, is exactly what he is doing.

Barack Obama’s economic policies often offend me. He has re-branded all out socialism as “Change” and “Hope”, or as MadTV so eloquently put it, “Chope”.

Among Obama's flawed economic policies are a “Windfall Profits Tax”, a “tax on excessive oil company profits to give American families an immediate $1,000 emergency energy rebate”, an indexed minimum wage increase that automatically rises with inflation, and a federal ban on the permanent replacement of striking workers. If you have a one-sided view of the economy, this sounds great; more money in your inelastic pocket. However, these kinds of anti-capitalist policies would actually contribute to the destruction of the balance that makes our economy strong in the best of times because it unfairly assures the underdog that he will never experience the worst of times. America cannot be the “Land of Opportunity” if those who take advantage of the opportunities are penalized as a result. Minimum-wage jobs are not designed to support families of 3 or more; that‘s what professional degrees, skilled trades, and even second jobs are for. Strikes are risky, and an employer has every right to fire employees who don’t show up for work, whether it makes him a cold-hearted miser or not. Unfair redistribution of wealth is socialism, pure and simple.

If you want to be a socialist, move to China.

On the other hand, while McCain is not as conservative as I would like, his economic policies are far more fair and balanced. For example, McCain's remedy for victims of the sub-prime mortgage lending bubble is to adjust their loans to reflect the current value of their homes as opposed to the former, inflated value. They still have to pay the debt they signed up for, but there is a compassionate act of good will on behalf of the government that demanded the banks begin lending to the sub-prime market in the first place. Instead of penalizing Americans who make over $250,000 a year (which is not rich, by the way), he wants to reduce prices on gas and food, which is fair to everyone. McCain also lists a number of economists who approve his economic plan on his website, which lends to it’s greater realistic soundness compared to Obama’s plan.

I enjoy my freedom too much to have my vote bought by someone who would rather see me live as a poor, minimum-wage earning worker for the rest of my life than help empower me to become a business owner who can afford to hire employees and make profits without being unfairly taxed. I can’t sell out to someone like that.

I don’t care if he’s Black or not.

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Monday, April 16, 2007

Tax Season Is Over, Thank Goodness

Got my taxes done, finally. I feel like someone has stolen 2-3 days of my life. A complete waste of the limited and precious time I have on this planet, as usual.

As a self-employed individual, I am thankful that the tax code is very entrepreneur-friendly, but this fact doesn't make up for the reality that for most of us, tax time is both unnecessarily stressful and very unproductive. Considering the fact that the United States is the most productive country in the world by a multitude of measures, I'm surprised that serious tax reform hasn't gained any political momentum. I blame the lobbyists!

In case you didn't know, the U.S. Tax Code is the most complicated body of law in the country. But can a guy get a tax deduction for paying child support? Nope! You can get a deduction for paying alimony, but not for paying child support, because child support payments "have no tax relevance." Basically, support payments are not tax deductible because the payments are voluntary. So if you do the right thing and make payments, the tax man doesn't care: he's not going to give you a break. This policy doesn't make sense to me, especially considering all the deadbeat dads out there. Bottom line: the government should adopt policies that encourage us to be good citizens, better citizens, which is what a child support deduction would do. Is that too much to ask, Uncle Sammy?

You Like Irony? How's This for Irony...

I ended up paying $150 to prepare and e-file my federal and state taxes using the online version of a very popular tax preparation software package. I paid an extra $30 for an "audit defense" package from a related company. The irony? I blame the tax lobby for blocking the efforts of reformists, yet, by paying a hefty fee to use third-party software to file my taxes, I'm supporting a company that will, in turn, pay lawyers to hang out in Washington and spend their time convincing lawmakers that tax reform isn't needed. Makes me a bit sick to my stomach to think about it.



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