Archive for January, 2010

2010 State of the Union Response

January 28, 2010

As an independent and moderate with perhaps a more liberal view of politics and finance, I thought the president did pretty well. The president’s message has always involved reducing the gridlock and self serving negativity so real problems that actually mater can be addressed and fixed.

As a voter I want a financial oversight board which has the power to stop all of the nonsense in the financial industry. Lets face it Wall street might as well be a casino. If we are going to insist on regulating gambling, Wall street should be regulated as a gambling institution. As a voter I want the banks regulated enough to at least assure their stability.

As a voter I want the jobs problem fixed once and for all. That includes removing all tax credits for any company which primarily sells their products in the United States but does not maintain a US workforce which adds significant real value to said products. Marketing and management do not add value to anything. I would not be opposed to the government being an employer of last resort. As a voter I want the corruption in government to end, and the president’s ideas involving the dealings with lobbyist, seem immediately appropriate. If we need to pay public servants better so they don’t need to be part time lobbyist, then lets do it.

As a voter I expect the health care mess to get fixed without the special deals to get a vote here or there. I hold conservatives responsible for not contributing to a workable plan. As a whole, not one of the ideas republicans have proposed will significantly help solve this problem in any possible way. Each conservative proposal seems designed to fix things by making them eventually worse especially for the middle class. Remember the prescription drug plan which doubled the prices of prescriptions, and resulted in US Big Pharma being bought up by European firms who casually shifted production out of the US? Another legacy idea that got compromised into disaster by conservatives. We do not need any more of those. As for the idea of eliminating state control of insurance companies, the only beneficiaries of that scam would be investment bankers who are lucky enough to manage the consolidation frenzy. Any cost savings will be immediately destroyed by debt used by the winners of the bidding wars. Lets face it, people in the middle class and especially baby boomers are seen in the worst possible light by the conservatives. As large numbers of baby boomers approach retirement you can expect social security to become the target of a massive conservative assault if republicans regain control of the US government again. If the market bubbles since 1999 had not wrecked conservative plans, the current debate would be about eliminating all “new deal” financial controls and programs, including medicare and social security. If conservatives had their way, there would never be a debate about health care, as they are perhaps the primary beneficiaries of the current system.

As a voter I want something done about the student loan mess, as well as the cost of university. A first step in reducing future debt involves removing the tax on scholarships to cover housing while attending college. Current student loan debt will cripple any possibility of any housing recovery for at least the next fifteen, perhaps twenty five years, unless we have massive wage inflation, which is not possible in the current situation. The president’s proposals are a half step in dealing with this issue, which by the way is another one of those legacy issues, in that grants have been largely eliminated in favor of loans, and the tax on student housing grants has been around for a while.

Since most student loans are owned by the US government, I think people holding them should be given at least a tax credit for the amount paid straight off of their taxes. Those who paid for their education out right, or have paid off their student loans, should have the option of anonymously paying down student loan balances of at least one third party each year in return for a similar deduction or credit, with limits on the total amount of any such deduction or tax credit.