Thursday, September 30, 2010

Political Nonsense

Billy Bragg is a hero of mine and at least half his facebook posts are enlightening comments on issues of the day. I've enjoyed some spirited political conversations with people whose views are on either side of mine lately. So, you know, this occurred to me:

I am beginning to think that a person who has the following characteristics:

1. Doesn't spend more money than he has and has largely avoided credit card debt and overdraft fees
2. Has obtained health insurance and makes some effort to stay well
3. Cares for his children and likes to see them more in summer and take them on vacations
4. Believes gay marriage is a basic civil right
5. Is not a major corporation and/or bank that the free market has left an abject failure
6. Favors lower taxes, including property taxes and estate taxes
7. Is against more death in unwinnable wars

has no further reason to support Barack Obama. Longer school years? RUFing kidding me? More Afghanistan? Throw another bad idea out there. Forget it. I am unsubscribing from your twitter feed and facebook page. I am barfing up the kool-aid.

The longer school years was just the last straw:
"That (extra) month makes a difference," the president said. "It means that kids are losing a lot of what they learn during the school year during the summer. It's especially severe for poorer kids who may not see as many books in the house during the summers, aren't getting as many educational opportunities." (full article)

Is there not already summer school for the kids to whom this applies? Schools and teachers are already under enough stress. I am young enough to remember school in June and how pointless and empty it seemed by then. I can't imagine what it would be like in July. What useless facts I lost over the summer I more than gained in relaxation, social interaction, and vacations. I can't believe I'm siding with Kansans:

"It's been tried," (Kansas state education commissioner Diane DeBacker) said, describing one instance of a Topeka-area elementary school that scrapped year-round schooling after just one year. "The community was just not ready for kids to be in school all summer long. Kids wanted to go swimming. Their families wanted to go on vacation." (ibid.)

Duh! I thought I was too cynical to be bitterly disappointed. Turns out I was wrong. FAIL! DISAPPROVE!

Still, I'll probably vote for Obama in 2012 just because the Republican option will be so incredibly much more totally repulsive. Palin? As if. Pawlenty? Ick. Minnesotans know firsthand the damage he would do to cops, schools, homeowners, cities, bridges, etc.

The sad thing is, I think Obama is trying and I share many of his goals. However, as with any ideologue, there are too many unintended consequences to everything he's trying to legislate.

If you limit the fees banks can charge to delinquent customers, banks do not just say, "Aw, shucks. I guess we'll make less money now." They start charging fees and higher interest rates to responsible customers. News flash: I worked at a bank. Banks are not your rich friend who loves you and wants to help you out. Banks are an entirely profit-driven business who encourage their employees to project the illusion of caring. Especially when it means getting more of your money. If this were a speech I would say, "Let me repeat that" and repeat the sentence before that last one, so read it again.

Like banks, health insurers will also not simply shrug their shoulders and accept their new, more charitable and less profitable role as envisioned by Obama. I have paid thousands for (mostly) private health insurance over the years and have barely broken even on the gamble and then only because my appendix burst. Correct me if I'm wrong, but when Obama's ideological health care bill kicks in I'm betting my premiums will eventually go up without any corresponding increase in coverage. I get the sense from reading the articles that I will be financing the care of those less fortunate and those who do not take particularly good care of themselves to an even larger degree than I already have been.

I hate the hundreds of trillions of dollars in bailouts for failing companies and their overpaid CEOs. Like the wars, they began with Bush and I had hoped Obama would end them. Fuck! How cynical do I have to become about government and politicians before I am never again disappointed? Answer: Extremely. No. Extremely was not enough. Answer: Completely. Tell me why I'm wrong. Please. Someone. Anyone.