We’ve heard from the McCain / Palin campaign that Barack Hussien Obama is a socialist, a tax and spend liberal, inexperienced, an unknown, and a Chicago politician. Here’s the major claims from McCain’s speech today, from his web site. I’ve got $5 that says he’s full of &(*%$, and that his dire predictions are neither true now nor good predictors of the future. If ANY of McCain’s predictions about Obama are true, you’ve got my $5. NONE come true? I get your $5. Anyone wanna bet me? I’ll take the first 10 players, just put a comment up here.
Here are Senator McCain’s specific claims about Senator Obama:
1) “Obama will raise taxes on small businesses” (my condensation of the first two paragraphs below) – this begs the question what is small business and what is raise taxes, lets call it the MEDIAN (not Average) small business, the one bigger than 49.999% of the others and smaller than 49.999% of the others, whatever that is, by definition of the Small Business Administration or whatever its called now. This would be an interesting number to know in any event. And raising taxes is an increase in the percentage of income tax on profits.
2) “He believes in redistributing wealth, not in policies to create jobs and opportunities. He promises to cut taxes for 95% of Americans even though more than 40% pay no income taxes. Barack Obama’s plan to raise taxes on some in order to give checks to others is not a tax cut; it’s just another government giveaway.” – this is very specific: McCain says Obama will raise takes on some to give money to others- (and, by implication, horrors, the people being taxed will be wealthy and the people being sent money will be poor!) Since much of Federal taxation IS redistributive – I pay a higher percentage (at least marginally) if I make more, how can we tell if McCain’s prediction that Obama will make a difference is true? Even McCain supports progressive taxation… Is this the frequently heard “interpretation” that “cutting taxes for people who don’t pay taxes means you must be giving them money!”? Ok, so dire prediction #2 is that an Obama administration will send checks to people who don’t pay income taxes now. Straight Robin Hood steal from the rich and give to the poor. This will be easy to recognize if it happens.
And dire prediction #3 is that Obama’s policies will not create jobs or opportunities. That’s easier. Shall we compare the job creation rate in 4 years of Obama’s presidency with job creation / loss in 4 or 8 years of Bush? Compare Obama’s first year with Bush’s last? This will be one to discuss- Obama’s job creation rate-to-date compared to Bush’s overall average rate? Or month by month, rate for the 1st March of each term, first April, second October, etc? The bigger the picture, the better view of the effect of policy should be, so maybe it should be a comparison of job creation rate per year of term. For each of the 4 years, there are Bush’s 1st and 2nd term data and there will be Obama’s 1st term data.
4) “I won’t spend nearly a trillion dollars more of your money. Sen. Obama will. And he can’t do that without raising your taxes or digging us further into debt.” An easy one- did an Obama administration spend nearly a trillion dollars more than McCain claimed his administration would, sourced from raising your taxes or added borrowing? This must be a total Federal budget figure and be either over a 1 year or 4 year term. Both campaigns have made predictions for future budgets, we’ll compare McCain’s predictions of McCain’s expendatures and tax revenues vs Obama actuals. They sticky part is how to define “raising your taxes”. Is “you” the average or median taxpayer? The one that Obama claims he’ll give a break to? (this is a good claim/counter claim…) Since 40% of earners/taxpayers are said to pay no federal income tax, and the presumption is that this is because they are poor (not always though…) it seems a bit foregone to put a cut-off at average- 50% of all earners, since 80% of them pay no income tax. So lets make this a sporting proposition. Only 60% of earners are said to pay income tax- let’s let “raising your taxes” be the taxes of the average of people who *pay* income tax- roughly the 70% level among earners. And added borrowing means increasing the deficit BEYOND the rate we’ve seen under Bush.
5) “Sen. Obama will force millions of families into a new huge government-run health care program.” – another crisp prediction. Were millions of families (two partners or a parent and at least one child define a family) forced into a new huge government run health care program? – This might seem like a slam-dunk for McCain- with 40 million or more citizens having NO health insurance of any kind. If Obama sets up a Federal back-stop, anyone without another plan will be in the new one. But Senator McCain says “Forced”, as in “against their will”. So the question is not have the uninsured been covered, but have millions of families been torn from the bosom of their private healthcare and forced, without choice, into a government run system. This should be easy enough to spot if it happens.
6) “I won’t make it harder to sell our goods overseas…” Do exports rise, fall or stay the same?
7) “…and kill more jobs. Sen. Obama will.” Do export related jobs rise, fall or stay the same?
8) “Sen. Obama wants to raise taxes and restrict trade “- We’ve covered the tax part at #4 above, and exports under at #6, so this must be imports. Do imports rise or fall under Obama? Senator McCain doesn’t note whether he includes oil, so we should do this both with and without oil included in imports (and although we’re a net importer of oil, we DO sell it too…)
9) “Sen. Obama will delay drilling for more oil and gas,…” – “delay” may make this an argument, but the answer should be pretty clear to reasonable people.
10) “…close coal-fired electricity generation…”, – this is very clear: do megawatts from coal decrease, increase or stay the same?
11) “…and oppose building nuclear power plants.” – Another place where reason will be needed to judge “opppose”, but reasonable people will get this right too.
So there are 11 predictions McCain makes about Obama. To repeat the bet, my $5 says NONE of these 11 things happens. I’ll bet with the first 10 takers, and we’ll have to work out a time to pick the result- After 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, 4 years?
It’ll be interesting to keep score too!
I’m “Italic BOLDING” McCain’s predictions and contrasts with himself so we know what we’re talking about. I just copied this from “http://blogs.usatoday.com/oped/2008/11/why-you-should.html” and its only as good as what I found there.
“Why you should vote for me
What has been called the longest presidential campaign in history will be decided today. Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama make their closing arguments.
By John McCain
These are tough times for many Americans. They are worried about keeping a job or finding a new one. Some are struggling to put food on the table and stay in their home. Sarah Palin and I will run a government that stands by your side through these troubled times. And we will do it by supporting the American dream to own a small business that will create new jobs. Those small businesses employ 84% of Americans.
We need to support small businesses, not tax them. As Fred Thompson said so well, “Now, our opponents tell us not to worry about their tax increases. They tell you they’re not going to tax your family. No, they’re just going to tax ‘businesses.’ So, unless you buy something from a business, like groceries or clothes or gasoline or unless you get a paycheck from a business, a big business or a small business, don’t worry, it’s not going to affect you!”
The McCain-Palin tax cut will double the child deduction for every family. We will cut the capital gains tax. And we will support new job growth by cutting business taxes to keep American businesses in America.
A direct question from a gentleman now known as “Joe the plumber” revealed Sen. Obama’s economic goal: “Spread the wealth around.” He believes in redistributing wealth, not in policies to create jobs and opportunities. He promises to cut taxes for 95% of Americans even though more than 40% pay no income taxes. Barack Obama’s plan to raise taxes on some in order to give checks to others is not a tax cut; it’s just another government giveaway.
If I’m elected president, I won’t spend nearly a trillion dollars more of your money. Sen. Obama will. And he can’t do that without raising your taxes or digging us further into debt. I will freeze government spending on all but the most important programs like defense, veterans care, Social Security and health care until we scrub every single government program and get rid of the ones that aren’t working for the American people.
If I’m elected president, I will not impose “one size fits all” health care coverage on families and small businesses through expensive mandates and fines. Sen. Obama will force millions of families into a new huge government-run health care program. I will bring down the skyrocketing cost of health care with competition and choice to lower your premiums, and make it available to more Americans. I’ll make sure you can keep the same health plan if you change jobs or leave a job to stay home. I will reform the tax code to be more fair and give a $5,000 refundable tax credit for every family regardless of their income and source of insurance.
And, I’m not going to spend $700 billion of your money bailing out Wall Street bankers and brokers. I’m going to make sure we take care of the people who were devastated by the excesses of Wall Street and Washington. I have a plan to protect the value of your home and get it rising again by buying up bad mortgages and refinancing them so if your neighbor defaults, he doesn’t bring down the value of your house with him. I have a plan to let retirees and people nearing retirement keep their money in their retirement accounts longer so they can rebuild their savings.
If I’m elected president, I won’t make it harder to sell our goods overseas and kill more jobs. Sen. Obama will. I will open new markets to goods made in America and make sure our trade is free and fair. And I’ll make sure we help workers who’ve lost a job that won’t come back find a new one that won’t go away. Sen. Obama wants to raise taxes and restrict trade. The last time America did that in a bad economy, it led to the Great Depression.
If I’m elected president, we’re going to stop sending $700 billion to countries that don’t like us very much. Sen. Obama will delay drilling for more oil and gas, close coal-fired electricity generation, and oppose building nuclear power plants. As president, I will start new drilling now. We will invest in all energy alternatives nuclear, wind, solar and tide. We will encourage the manufacture of hybrid, flex fuel and electric automobiles. We will invest in clean coal technology. We will lower the cost of energy, and more important, create millions of new jobs.
I ask you: Will we continue to lead the world’s economies or will we be overtaken? Will the world become safer or more dangerous? Will our military remain the strongest in the world? Will our children and grandchildren’s future be brighter than ours?
My answer to you is yes. Yes, we will lead. Yes, we will prosper. Yes, we will be safer. Yes, we will pass on to our children a stronger, better country. But we must be prepared to act swiftly, boldly, with courage and wisdom. We cannot spend the next four years as we have spent much of the last eight: waiting for our luck to change. We have to act immediately. We have to fight for it”
Of course, not all of us have been waiting for our luck to change, some have been out making better luck!