Monday, November 10, 2008
I may be wrong, but I think that Obama’s election will prove a disaster for the country, and the world. (One reason for the scene from The Towering Inferno.) As his term opens he faces several challenges, and I think he will make the wrong response to each of them.
Guantanamo bay. He has already pledged to close the prison. The prisoners, if housed in the US, will have the full panoply of judicial rights. Rather than proceeding to swift trial and sentencing arrangements, including execution, they will tie up the appellate courts for years. He should keep Guantanamo open, and the military system should process the prisoners as rapidly as possible.
Afghanistan. Apparently he intends to increase troop levels in Afghanistan. I’ve got no problem with that. He also wants to focus more on the hunt for bin Laden. That is a serious mistake. Finding and executing bin Laden is a largely symbolic gesture, nice, but not necessary. It’s a distraction from serious war, and a return to regarding terrorism as a police matter. It’s roughly analogous to saying we should concentrate on finding Yamamoto and Tojo after Pearl Harbor. What was necessary after Pearl Harbor was to drive the Japanese out of the Pacific, and to bring about an end to the war as rapidly as possible. That Yamamoto was shot down and that Tojo was hung were symbolic actions, but had nothing to do with ultimate victory.
Reductions in military spending. Barney Frank wants to reduce military spending by 25%. If Obama reduces spending, and pulls back troops it will leave us in a more vulnerable position when we may need to confront Russian adventurism in Europe, and Islamic Fascism at home. It will leave us more vulnerable to attacks at home and abroad.
Oil drilling. There is talk of not allowing oil drilling in Utah. Oil prices started falling when the much hated and maligned Bush said that offshore and other drilling would be permitted. Facts to remember:
- Russian deployment of Iskander missiles and jamming gear in the Kaliningrad region to counter our planned missile shield in Poland. His choices:
- Cave in and call off the deployment of the missile shield.
- Stand firm and deploy the shield.
- Given the chance to dismantle the shield, which I believe he has pledged to do, he will do so. This will be perceived as weakness and lead to further Russian adventurism in Europe and elsewhere. A report in The Telegraph indicates that he will choose option A.
Stem cells. Bush did not forbid embryonic stem cell research. He froze the number of lines that could be used, and said no federal funding for new stem cell lines. In point of fact embryonic stem cell research has proved fruitless. More success has been had with adult stem cells. Obama will probably rescind the Bush directive. There will be no benefits from embryonic stem cell research.
Bail out of the auto industry. His support derives from the unions. In order to preserve jobs he will consent to a bail out of the big three. There is some justification for this to the extent that they work on defense contracts. GM, for example, at one time had a subsidiary that did NASA contracting. Divisions involved in Defense/NASA contracting and manufacturing, should be spun off and become independent companies again. The auto manufacturing components should die. The components can be absorbed by Toyota, Mitsubishi, and so on. The current outlook is for a bailout to save the auto industry. This will mean support for bad union contracts, and for an industry that does not meet consumer demands.
Taxes. You cannot give a tax cut to 95% of the people when 40% pay no taxes. You might want to rephrase your promise so that it makes sense, and say that you’ll give a cut to 95% of the taxpayers. In any case, hiking taxes on anyone towards the start of a recession is a bad thing. It’s not the people on the low end who start businesses, but people in the upper middle and upper income brackets. Lets say that I come into a sum of money, and I decide to start a company that will go after contracts in bioinformatics. I invest some of that money in capital equipment, some in proposal writing, and some in hiring some programmers and support personnel. But come between me and the source of that money, whether through inheritance taxes, capital gains, or raising my tax bracket so that my savings and capital accumulation is impaired, and I will be less able to make the desired purchases and acquisitions. The effect is deleterious to me and to the economy. The new president, however, is committed to soaking those he considers rich. What he should do is reduce taxes, and reduce government spending by eliminating useless programs and departments.
Abortion. I wasn’t going to say anything about abortion because I wanted to confine myself to things that Obama would be the cause of. I really can’t think of any ground on which Roe v. Wade is defensible, however, I thought that some of my religious readers might wonder about why I omitted anything about abortion. Roe v. Wade was a disaster, not only because of its ethical, moral, and religious deficiencies, but also because it inserted the Supremes into what should have been a political and legislative process that took place at the state level.
- Except for Israel, we have no friends in the Middle East. The Saudis are not our friends, and the Iranians most definitely are not our friends.
- Iran’s budget is apparently pegged to an oil price of $80 per barrel. The lower the price of oil, and the longer the low price continues the worse for Iran, and the better for us and for Israel. Apparently a number of Iranian economists have blamed the head nutcase for the lousy Iranian economy. A continued bad economy might force a reallocation of resources away from the nuclear bomb project towards consumer items.
- Rising fuel prices will have deleterious effects on several industries, some travel related, and some not. When you are trying to start an economic recovery, this is a disaster.
Having said that, I want to focus on the political implications of an Obama presidency on abortion. Obama may well push through, or try to push through, a Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) that federalizes regulations, rules, and laws that govern abortion. This will abrogate to the Federal government things that should be decided at the state and local level. It will further exacerbate existing divisions, and will come back to haunt him and the Democrats in either 2012 or 2016.