Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Why I'm Voting Against... Me

I'm an unemployed, married, 25-year old father of two beautiful little girls, ages 2-1/2 and 5 months. I'm also a registered Democrat, though that's somewhat misleading - while I've voted for far more Democrats than Republicans, I did cast my vote for George W. Bush in 2004, and tend to lean to the right on numerous issues. At the same time, it seems to be rather clear that my family would be substantially better off if Barack Obama were to become the next President of the United States - which is possibly a perfect example of why we should vote for John McCain.

Thank God, I'm a reasonably talented, able-bodied individual capable of performing most tasks. I'm certainly not a stupid person - as an easy example, I scored an 800 on the Math section of the SATs. However, at this point in my career, it makes more sense for me to stay home and watch my daughter while my wife works about 23 hours a week than to get a job. In fact, I'd have to make approximately $60,000 a year before taxes for it to be worth my while to get a job... and that's before factoring in the fact that I'd much rather sit at home and play with my daughters every day than sit in an office cubicle designing Excel templates (and I'm enough of a nerd that I enjoy that).

Barack Obama, if he wins, will be President of the United States with a strong Democratic majority in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. He will be able to pass nearly any policy he wishes to, and there is no reason to assume that he would not try to implement the change he has been promising to deliver all along. This change, which includes actual tax credits - money that the government gives to people below a certain threshold, formerly known as welfare - would make it so that over half the country would be taking more from the government than they pay into it. Tens of millions of people would be like me: Better off not working or working minimally, even if they could contribute greatly to American society, ingenuity, and overall production.

Currently, 32% of Americans - a far higher rate than ever before - have zero or negative income tax liability. This number would break 50% under a President Obama. That translates into less than half the country supporting the other half plus. For those people who are successful, the effective earnings rate for additional dollars earned would drop to under 40% after taxes (federal, state, local, SocSec, etc.). This means that for every ten dollars a person would earn, they would keep less than $4, while the government would take the other $6+ and give that money to others. In essence, less than half the country - those who are the most productive, who contribute the most to society - will be responsible for the upkeep of not only themselves and their families, but the US government, the majority of the country who will be under that threshold, Social Security payments, and health care for everyone. At what point will these people simply decide that they are better off either living elsewhere to keep some of their money or that it's not worthwhile to work as hard as they do for little extra gain?

Moreover, Senator Obama has suggested that to raise some of the $4.3 trillion [$1.0t deficit, $1.32t tax credits/seniors, $1.63t Medicaid expansion, $1.4t other programs] he needs to pay for his plans, he would close loopholes for corporations to pull in another $924.1 billion. While it is highly doubtful that this is possible (it requires an estimated 25% increase in corporate taxes simply by closing loopholes), the more important issue to note is that corporations are responsible for most of the products and jobs in this country. Corporations simply do not pay taxes - taxes are just another expense they factor in when determining how much they need to charge for products and how many workers it pays to have. Any increase in corporate taxes, dividends (Obama proposes to raise the 15% rate to as high as 28%), or the like will simply result in higher expenses for the rest of the country that consumes those products - people like us.

Today will be one of the most pivotal days in United States history. The outcome of today's election will determine how this country pursues the war on terror, who gets appointed to the Supreme Court in a time when issues such as gay marriage and partial-birth abortion may come before the Court, and what economic policies this country pursues. Will we switch to a more government-run health care system? Will we promote individual choice? Will we encourage people to work more or work less?

My wife and I are heading out to vote in a few minutes, and I'll be voting for John McCain. Should he lose... well, we can make do. Getting paid to play with my daughters isn't a bad deal - unless you're the one working to pay for it.