The Remaining Four Candidates on Energy and Environment

20 02 2008

Here’s part three– we’ve covered Autism and Economy. So here’s the last of the three things that matter the most to me in this Presidential Election.  Since I live in Ohio and have the luxury of an open primary all candidates– regardless of Party are in the running for my vote. Ok– Here we go: Energy (which really goes with environment…) 

 Obama



From thedailygreen.com
10.25.2007 12:00 AM
Sen. Barack Obama
Green The Vote 2008
By Dan Shapley
Barack Obama
The Plan: Obama would enact a $150 billion, 10-year plan to slash greenhouse gas emissions by 80% and invest in renewable and alternative energy technology, including biofuels and clean coal.
How He’d Pay for It: An auction of carbon credits from a cap-and-trade greenhouse gas pollution regulation.
What Sets Him Apart: Creation of an independent, private Clean Technologies Deployment Venture Capital Fund, funded with $10 billion for five years, to invest in technology development.
“The truth is, our energy problem has become an energy crisis because no matter how well-intentioned the promise — no matter how bold the proposal — they all fall victim to the same Washington politics that has only become more divided and dishonest; more timid and calculating; more beholden to the powerful interests that have the biggest stake in the status quo…. We cannot afford more of the same timid politics when the future of our planet is at stake. Global warming is not a someday problem, it is now.”—Barack Obama, Oct. 8, 2007
Sen. Barack Obama has made an aggressive carbon cap-and-trade program the centerpiece of his energy and environmental agenda. He intends to raise $150 billion over 10 years from the auctioning of carbon pollution credits, and using the money to fund a variety of initiatives to boost energy efficiency, new alternative energy sources and fuels, and the revolutionizing of the American auto industry.

Obama earned the endorsement of the League of Conservation Voters in his bid for the Senate.

Between 1995 and 1996, his scores on the LCV Scorecard was 95. The Scorecard rates politicians on a scale of 0 to 100 based on their votes on environmental issues on which LCV has taken a position. He scored 95 and 100 in his two terms in the Senate.

The 2008 Obama campaign has taken $94,278 from the oil and gas industry, ranking him 6th of 15 candidates and 3rd of seven Democrats, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Barack Obama’s Energy and Environmental Platform at a Glance

These points are derived from Barack Obama’s speeches, public comments and the energy and environmental policies outlined on his campaign Website.

CLIMATE

Cut carbon dioxide emissions 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. Employ a cap-and-trade system whereby companies would have to restrict pollution to within a national cap, and those that pollute less could sell credits to those who pollute more. Auction all credits.

  • Create the Global Energy Forum — modeled on the G8+5, which included all G-8 members plus Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa — to focus on global energy and environmental issues, including first global warming. Ultimately merge efforts with the United Nations on climate change.
  • Develop domestic and international incentives for forest conservation.

ENERGY

  • Spend $150 billion over 10 years on biofuels and biofuel infrastructure, plug-in hybrid, renewable energy, low-emission coal plants and a digital electric grid.
  • Create an independent, private Clean Technologies Deployment Venture Capital Fund, with $10 billion for five years, to fund technology development. This fund will partner with existing investment funds and our national laboratories to finance new energy technologies.
  • Double, to $6 billion, clean energy research and development.
  • Expand the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program’s weatherization grants, and establish a new dedicated fund to assist low-income Americans afford the higher energy bills that will come with a transition to new energy sources.
  • Invest unspecified amount in workforce training and transition to jobs in the renewable and alternative energy sector, including a program directed at low-income youth.
  • Use nuclear after looking into future solutions to “four key issues: public right-to-know, security of nuclear fuel and waste, waste storage, and proliferation.”
  • 25% renewable energy portfolio by 2025, and 30% of federal government by 2020.
  • Order Department of Energy to update appliance efficiency standards.
  • Mandate that all new federal buildings built after 2025 will be zero emission buildings. Make all new federal buildings 40% more efficient in five years, and make existing building 25% more efficient in five years.
  • Set goal that all new buildings — federal or not — are zero emissions by 2030, and that the efficiency of existing buildings be boosted by 25%, and new buildings by 50%, in 10 years.
  • Create a competitive grant program to fund local energy efficiency projects.
  • Provide grants and other incentives to encourage states to change the way energy companies earn profits, so that reducing energy demand has as much economic value as supplying increased demand.
  • End the use of incandescent bulbs by 2014.

AUTOMOBILES

  • Increase use of corn ethanol to 60 billion gallons by 2030, invest in cellulosic ethanol and biodiesel, and support the building of locally owned ethanol refineries.
  • Buy all flex-fuel federal vehicles that can run on E85, a blend of 15% gasoline and 85% ethanol, and mandate that all new cars made in America be flex-fuel by 2013.
  • Double fuel economy of U.S. vehicles in 18 years by raising mileage requirements 4%, or about 1 mpg, per year. Offer “generous” tax incentives to automakers to modernize plants, and make standards vary by vehicle class.
  • Establish a low-carbon fuel standard to reduce carbon 1% a year from 2010 to 2020.
  • Expand tax incentives for car buyers who want to buy hybrids and other fuel-efficient vehicles by lifting the 60,000-per-manufacturer cap on buyer tax credits.

OTHER

  • Reform transportation funding and to make states consider energy efficiency in all transportation decisions, to encourage so-called “smart growth” transit-oriented developments that discourage suburban sprawl by building in existing cities and town centers, where there is less need to drive a car because home, work, recreation and school are nearby.
  • Reform employer tax credits to “level playing field” for mass transit, which currently gets half the credit as a parking space.
  • Reverse many Bush Administration executive orders and regulations related to the environment, including “$2 billion in cuts to conservation programs.”
  • Increase conservation measures for the Great Lakes
  • Renew industry tax that had paid for toxic waste site cleanups when the polluter can not be identified or cannot afford the cleanup.
  • Increase funding for National Parks and Wildlife Refuges
  • Tighten regulations on factory farms
  • Oppose energy exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

  

Clinton




From thedailygreen.com
10.25.2007 12:00 AM
Sen. Hillary Clinton
Green The Vote 2008 Dan Shapley
Sen. Hillary Clinton
The Plan: A $50 Billion Strategic Energy Fund, modeled on the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency, that would pay for research, development and deployment of renewable energy, energy efficiency, clean coal technology, ethanol and other ‘homegrown biofuels,’ with the goal of slashing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% and creating 5 million ‘clean energy’ jobs in a decade.
How She’d Pay for It: Royalties from drilling on public land ($10 billion), elimination of oil company subsidies ($20 billion) and the enactment of a requirement that energy companies either pay into the fund or finance their own research and development projects ($20 billion).
What Sets Her Apart: A ‘Connie Mae’ program to help low-income and middle-income families make investments in energy efficiency at home.

She was endorsed by several environmental groups in her campaigns to represent New York in the U.S. Senate.

Between 2001 and present, her scores on the LCV Scorecard, which rates politicians on a scale of 0 to 100 based on their votes on environmental issues on which LCV has taken a position, was 90. Her score each session ranged from 71 to 100.

The 2008 Clinton campaign has taken $211,043 from the oil and gas industry, ranking her 3rd of 15 candidates and first of seven Democrats, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Hillary Clinton’s Energy and Environmental Platform at a Glance

Hillary Clinton released her energy plan Nov. 6, and had previously discussed energy and environmental policies in several speeches and interviews.

CLIMATE

  • Cut carbon dioxide emissions 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. Employ a cap-and-trade system whereby companies would have to restrict pollution to within a national cap, and those that pollute less could sell credits to those who pollute more. Auction all credits.
  • Pledge to “personally act to restore American leadership in international discussions about global warming.”
  • Require all publicly traded companies to disclose financial risks due to climate change.

ENERGY

  • Start a $50 Billion Strategic Energy Fund, modeled on the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency, that would pay for research, development and deployment of renewable energy, energy efficiency, clean coal technology, ethanol and other “homegrown biofuels.” The money would come from royalties from drilling on public land ($10 billion) eliminating oil company subsidies ($20 billion) and requiring energy companies to either pay into the fund or finance their own research and development projects ($20 billion).
  • Enact a renewable energy portfolio requiring utilities to produce 25% of energy from renewable sources like wind, solar and hydro power by 2025 or 2030.
  • Make all new federal buildings designed after January 2009 carbon neutral.
  • Funnel $1 billion annually into a Green Building Fund to help states and local governments and schools improve the energy efficiency of public buildings.
  • Set goal of creating 5 million jobs in a new “clean energy” sector in a decade.
  • Start 10 “Smart Grid City” partnerships to “prove the advanced capabilities of smart grid and other advanced demand-reduction technologies.”
  • Create program to renovate 20 million low-income homes with energy efficiency improvements.
  • Develop a new “Connie Mae” program to help low-income and middle-income families make investments in energy efficiency at home.
  • Is “agnostic” about nuclear power, given that it meets local opposition and that there’s no solid plan to deal with radioactive waste.

AUTOMOBILES

  • Expand use of biofuels to 60 billion gallons by 2030.
  • Extend tax credits for biofuel production
  • Require that 50% of U.S. gas stations stock E85 ethanol fuel by 2012.
  • Require automakers to make all vehicles flex-fuel by 2015.
  • Invest in freight rail for transporting biofuels.
  • Invest $2 billion in research and development of cellulosic ethanol, and provide loan guarantees.
  • Create new incentives for farmers that grow biofuel crops.
  • Set goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions of new biofuels to 20% of current fuel supply.
  • Develop new research incentives for improving agricultural production related to biofuels.
  • Enact new tax credits for energy-efficient vehicles and other vehicle research and development via the Strategic Energy Fund.
  • Would increase fuel economy to 55 mpg by 2030.
  • Would create $20 billion in “Green Vehicle Bonds” to help U.S. automakers finance the transition to cleaner vehicles.
  • Supports liquid coal development only if it the fuel emits 20% less carbon dioxide than traditional fuels.
  • Set a goal of cutting oil imports in 66%.

SCIENCE

  • Ensure scientific advice is unfiltered by politics by increasing whistle blower protections, elevating scientific advisers in the administration and taking other steps to prevent political operatives from altering scientific conclusions.
  • Invest “dramatically” in basic and applied research at the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, universities and elsewhere.
  • Pursue an “ambitious agenda” in space exploration and earth sciences, including a fully funded NASA earth sciences program and new climate science satellites.
  • Invest unspecified amounts in math and science education, expanding fellowships for graduate study and scientific research, creating new National Science Foundation fellowships to encourage high-level teaching in under-privileged high schools and encouraging more women and minorities to choose careers in science and engineering.

OTHER

  • Require chemical companies to prove the safety of chemicals before putting them on the market, set more stringent exposure standards for children, create a “priority list” of existing chemicals that need more testing to prove safety, and create an “environmental health tracking network” that ties together information about pollution and chronic diseases.
  • Include environmental protections in international trade agreements
  • Reverse many Bush Administration executive orders and regulations related to the environment.
  • Oppose drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
  • Update 1872 mining laws so companies pay more royalties for mining public lands and do more to restore the land after completing projects.
  • Restore or increase funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund and National Parks.
  • Renew industry tax that had paid for toxic waste site cleanups when the polluter can not be identified or cannot afford the cleanup.

 

Huckabee 




From thedailygreen.com
10.25.2007 12:00 AM
Gov. Mike Huckabee
Green Your Vote 2008
By Dan Shapley
 Gov. Mike Huckabee
The Plan: Like most of his fellow Republican candidates, Huckabee has not outlined a detailed energy plan.
What He Supports: Nuclear power, fossil fuel exploration, renewable energy like biofuels and wind power, new coal technology and hydrogen.
What Sets Him Apart: He and Sen. John McCain are the only Republican candidates to endorse the idea of a cap-and-trade regulation to reduce greenhouse gas pollution. He also wants to abolish the income tax, which he says would cut down on consumption by taxing sales instead.
“We have to explore, we have to conserve, and we have to pursue all avenues of alternative energy: nuclear, wind, solar, hydrogen, clean coal, biodiesel, and biomass. Some will come from our farms and some will come from our laboratories…. None of us would write a check to Osama bin Laden, slip it in a Hallmark card and send it off to him. But that’s what we’re doing every time we pull into a gas station.” —Mike Huckabee, 2007
Mike Huckabee has pledged to make the nation energy independent by the end of his second term as president, and has said the question of whether or not global warming is caused by humans is irrelevant since “It’s the old boy scout rule: you leave your campsite in as good or better shape than how you found it.”

Huckabee’s voting record hasn’t been scored by the League of Conservation voters because the group doesn’t rate governors.

The 2008 Huckabee campaign has taken $16,950 from the oil and gas industry, ranking him 11th of 15 candidates and 6th of eight Republicans, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Mike Huckabee’s Energy and Environmental Platform at a Glance

Mike Huckabee talks about energy policy primarily in economic and national security terms, discussing renewable energy, for instance, as a way to increase the market for farm products. He has not published a detailed energy plan, but has some priorities outlined on his Website, and he has discussed some of his positions publicly.

CLIMATE

  • Has been quoted as saying he supports a cap-and-trade system for controlling greenhouse gas emissions, but has not spelled out specific goals and regulations, or made it a prominent part of his campaign’s energy policy.

ENERGY

  • Supports nuclear power, and creating economic incentives for communities that store radioactive waste.
  • Supports fossil fuel exploration and extraction in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
  • Supports various renewable energies, including wind, solar and biofuels like ethanol made from corn and other crops and waste products.
  • Supports government research and development into new energy sources, if matched by private companies.
  • Sees an end to property and income taxes, in favor of a consumption tax, as a way to boost ingenuity in the development of new energy sources.
  • Supports coal when used with new “clean coal” technology.
  • Supports development of hydrogen as a fuel source.

AUTOMOBILES

  • Favors increasing fuel economy standards but has not set goals for how fast or how much he would increase them.

FOOD AND FARMS

  • Discusses domestic food availability as a component of national security.
  • Supports farm subsidies.
  • Supports a national crop insurance program

McCain 

Why The Republicans for Environmental Protection Endorsed McCain
By Jim DiPeso

The political wise guys say that John McCain has little chance of securing the Republican nomination for president. Too old, too little money, too much yesterday’s man, etc., etc.

So, why did my organization, Republicans for Environmental Protection, endorse McCain for president?

Why not Rudy Giuliani, who’s ahead in the polls and promises no-nonsense leadership?

What about Mitt Romney, whose business success, chiseled visage, and family pedigree are the stuff of Republican dreams?

Or Fred Thompson, who has a baritone voice and … and … a baritone voice.

The simple truth, as we see it, is that no other Republican candidate understands as well as McCain that energy is a convergence of security, economic, and climate risks requiring action today. No other GOP candidate has given the interrelated web of energy and climate issues the kind of thoughtful consideration or offered the legislative solutions that he has.

McCain championed greenhouse gas emissions reductions before it was cool and well before it was popular.

The Pack Catches Up to McCain

Let’s focus on climate for a minute. Today, climate change is the topic of the hour. Republicans are climbing aboard the bandwagon. Even Fred Thompson, who last April ridiculed the issue with allusions to global warming on Pluto, is now saying that climate change is real.

Just last week, a bipartisan group of senators, led by John Warner (R-VA), a GOP stalwart, and Joe Lieberman (Kinda Sorta D-CT), introduced a cap-and-trade bill, America’s Climate Security Act, to cut greenhouse gas emissions nearly two-thirds by 2050.

One of the co-sponsors is Elizabeth Dole (R-NC), not the first name that the green set would list as a congressional environmental champion.

The same day that Warner and Lieberman dropped their bill, Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) put out a press release calling for a sector-by-sector approach, rather than an economy-wide cap.

That’s a good sign. Congress is debating how, not whether. Let the reactionary bloggers, radio gasbags, and self-important TV pundits blather on that climate change is a leftwing plot to bring down capitalism. Business leaders, states, cities, conservationists, academics, and ordinary citizens have accepted the science, moved on, and are ready to discuss practical solutions.

But it wasn’t so long ago that McCain’s was a lonely voice in the GOP calling on his colleagues to take climate change seriously.

A Republican Answer to Global Warming

His evolution as a climate change leader dates to the 2000 presidential campaign. In February of that year, a few of our REP leaders managed to wangle a meeting with McCain at the Phoenix airport. As McCain and his entourage entered the Sky Harbor conference room, the very first words out of his mouth were, “What do I tell them about global warming? Everywhere I go, people are asking me about global warming. I need a good Republican answer! Can you help me?”

The REP leaders looked at each other, gulped, and said, Senator, we’ll write you a policy paper on the topic. So we did.

Shortly thereafter, the McCain campaign ended in the bottomlands of South Carolina.

Now, we can’t take all the credit for what happened after McCain returned to the Senate, but we like to think that we helped plant an idea in his head. Beginning in 2001, he started looking into the climate issue. He held hearings, questioned scientists, and turned the topic over in his mind.

He led expeditions to the ends of the earth — Alaska, Antarctica, and Greenland — to educate his Senate colleagues. He and Lieberman sponsored legislation, the Climate Stewardship Act, similar to the bill introduced last week.

And, most importantly for Republicans, he has framed the issue in conservative terms. In an energy policy speech last April, he dismissed critics who say the effects of climate change are too uncertain or too distant in time to warrant action.

“I’m a proud conservative, and I reject that kind of live-for-today, ‘me-generation’ attitude,” he said. “It is unworthy of us and incompatible with our reputation as visionaries and problem-solvers. Americans have never feared change. We make change work for us.”

Nearly a century ago, Theodore Roosevelt said, “Conservation is a great moral issue, for it involves the patriotic duty of ensuring the safety and continuance of the nation.” TR’s insight about stewardship is as timely today as it was then. REP is convinced that John McCain gets that, and that’s why we endorsed him for president.

From His Website:

John McCain’s Speech On Energy Policy

April 23, 2007

Remarks as prepared for delivery:

Thank you. I appreciate the invitation to talk with you about a great and urgent challenge – breaking our nation’s critical dependence on foreign sources of oil, and making America safer, stronger and more prosperous by modernizing the way we generate and employ energy.

Oil is often called the lifeblood of our economy-the indispensable commodity that keeps commerce humming and America on the move. But, in today’s world, our dependency on foreign oil and the way we use hydrocarbons is a major strategic vulnerability, a serious threat to our security, our economy and the well being of our planet.

Fortunately, there are times in a nation’s history when great challenges coalesce with great moments of opportunity. We are at such a moment today. We have the urgent need and the opportunity to build a safer and thriving future with more diverse, reliable, and cleaner energy. But it will take another indispensable commodity to make it happen -American leadership. I’m running for President to help provide that leadership. And I want to talk a little today about the direction I want to lead us and why.

Oil is a vital resource and we will always need it. But we account for 25% of global demand and possess less than 3% of proven reserves. Most of the world’s known reserves are in the Persian Gulf, in the hands of dictators or nationalized oil companies. Its availability and price are manipulated by a cartel of countries where our values aren’t typically shared and our interests aren’t their first priority.

By mid-century there will be three-and-a-half billion cars worldwide-over four times the number today. Most of the growth will take place in the developing world, in India and China, but the increase in fuel prices, pollution, and climate impacts will be felt worldwide. As world demand for oil soars, higher prices, severe economic volatility, and heightened international tensions follow. These unpredictable forces could seriously circumscribe our future if we let them. Great nations don’t leave the “lifeblood” of their economy in the hands of foreign cartels or bet their future on a commodity located in countries where authoritarians repress their people and terrorists find their main support. Terrorists understand the seriousness of our vulnerability. Al Qaeda plans for attacks on oil facilities in the Middle East to destroy the American economy. A little over a year ago, a suicide attack at a major Saudi Arabian oil refinery came close to disabling its target. Had it succeeded, it would have driven the world price of oil above $150 dollars a barrel -and kept it there for a year.

We’re one successful attack away from an economic crisis. The flow of oil has many chokepoints – pipelines, refineries, transit routes, and terminals; most of them outside our jurisdiction and control. Our enemies understand the effects on America of a significant disruption in supply – a crippled transportation system, gasoline too expensive for many Americans to purchase, businesses closed.

Al Qaeda must revel in the irony that America is effectively helping to fund both sides of the war they caused. As we sacrifice blood and treasure, some of our gas dollars flow to the fanatics who build the bombs, hatch the plots, and carry out attacks on our soldiers and citizens. Iran made over $45 billion from oil sales in 2005, and it is the number one state sponsor of terrorism.

The transfer of American wealth to the Middle East helps sustain the conditions on which terrorists prey. Some of the most oil-rich nations are the most stagnant societies on earth. As long as petro-dollars flow freely to them those regimes have little incentive to open their politics and economies so that all their people may benefit from their countries’ natural wealth. The Middle East’s example is spreading to our own hemisphere. Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez is using his country’s oil revenues to establish a dictatorship, bully his neighbors and succeed Castro as Latin America’s leading antagonist of the United States. The politics of oil impede the global progress of our values, and restrains governments from acting on the most basic impulses of human decency. There is only one reason China has opposed sanctions to pressure Sudan to stop the killing in Darfur: China needs Sudan’s oil.

The burning of oil and other fossil fuels is contributing to the dangerous accumulation of greenhouse gases in the earth’s atmosphere, altering our climate with the potential for major social, economic and political upheaval. The world is already feeling the powerful effects of global warming, and far more dire consequences are predicted if we let the growing deluge of greenhouse gas emissions continue, and wreak havoc with God’s creation. A group of senior retired military officers recently warned about the potential upheaval caused by conflicts over water, arable land and other natural resources under strain from a warming planet. The problem isn’t a Hollywood invention nor is doing something about it a vanity of Cassandra like hysterics. It is a serious and urgent economic, environmental and national security challenge.

National security depends on energy security, which we cannot achieve if we remain dependent on imported oil from Middle Eastern governments who support or foment by their own inattention and inequities the rise of terrorists or on swaggering demagogues and would be dictators in our hemisphere.

There’s no doubt it’s an enormous challenge. But is it too big a challenge for America to tackle; this great country that has never before confronted a problem it couldn’t solve? No, it is not. No people have ever been better innovators and problem solvers than Americans. It is in our national DNA to see challenges as opportunities; to conquer problems beyond the expectation of an admiring world. America, relying as always on the industry and imagination of a free people, and the power and innovation of free markets, is capable of overcoming any challenge from within and without our borders. Our enemies believe we’re too weak to overcome our dependence on foreign oil. Even some of our allies think we’re no longer the world’s most visionary, most capable country or committed to the advancement of mankind. I think we know better than that. I think we know who we are and what we can do. Now, let’s remind the world.

George Gershwin wrote that good music reflects its people and times. “My people are Americans,” he said. “My time is today.” That’s what made his music memorable. That’s what made all America’s best accomplishments memorable. We were capable and confident, we aspired to greatness and we understood our times. Our time is today, my friends, and the achievements of our storied past will shine no brighter than those we accomplish right now, in our time, if we meet our problems confidently and honestly; if we trust in the strength and ideals of free people; if we aspire to greatness.

As President, I’ll propose a national energy strategy that will amount to a declaration of independence from the fear bred by our reliance on oil sheiks and our vulnerability to the troubled politics of the lands they rule. When we reach the limits of military power and diplomacy to contain the dangers of that cauldron of burning resentments and extremism, energy security is our best defense. We won’t achieve it tomorrow, but we must achieve it in our time.

The strategy I propose won’t be another grab bag of handouts to this or that industry and a full employment act for lobbyists. It will promote the diversification and conservation of our energy sources that will in sufficient time break the dominance of oil in our transportation sector just as we diversified away from oil use in electric power generation thirty years ago; and substantially reduce the impact of our energy consumption on the planet. It will rely on the genius and technological prowess of American industry and science. Government must set achievable goals, but the markets should be free to produce the means. And those means are within our reach.

Energy efficiency by using improved technology and practicing sensible habits in our homes, businesses and automobiles is a big part of the answer, and is something we can achieve right now. And new advances will make conservation an ever more important part of the solution. Improved light bulbs can use much less energy; smart grid technology can help homeowners and businesses lower their energy use, and breakthroughs in high tech materials can greatly improve fuel efficiency in the transportation sector. We need to dispel the image of conservation that entails shivering in cold rooms, reading by candlelight, and lower productivity. Americans have it in their power today to contribute to our national security, prosperity and a cleaner environment. They understand the dangers we face, and are prepared to respond to appeals to patriotism that explain how we can free ourselves from them.

We need not wait for another age, in which science fiction becomes every day reality. Flexible-fuel vehicles aren’t futuristic pie in the sky. We can easily deploy such technology today for less than $100 per vehicle; and we must develop the infrastructure necessary to take full advantage. We were able to overcome the challenges of putting seatbelts, airbags, and computer technology in practically every car. We can provide fuel options and improve the fuel efficiency of our vehicle fleet by making them out of high tech materials that improve their strength and safety. We are doing that very thing right now to beat our foreign competitors in the aerospace industry.

Alcohol fuels made from corn, sugar, switch grass and many other sources, fuel cells, biodiesel derived from waste products, natural gas, and other technologies are all promising and available alternatives to oil. I won’t support subsidizing every alternative or tariffs that restrict the healthy competition that stimulates innovation and lower costs. But I’ll encourage the development of infrastructure and market growth necessary for these products to compete, and let consumers choose the winners. I’ve never known an American entrepreneur worthy of the name who wouldn’t rather compete for sales than subsidies.

America’s electricity production is for the most part petroleum free, and the existing electric power grid has the capacity to handle the added demand imposed by plug-in hybrid vehicles. We can add more capacity and improve its reliability in the years ahead. Nuclear energy, renewable power, and other emission free forms of power production can expand capacity, improve local air quality and address climate change. I’ll work to promote real partnerships between utilities and automakers to accelerate the deployment of plug-in hybrids.

With some of the savings from cutting subsidies for industries that can stand on their own, we can establish a national challenge to improve the cost, range, size, and weight of electric batteries for automobiles. Fifty percent of cars on the road are driven 25 miles a day or less. Affordable battery-powered vehicles that can meet average commuter needs could help us cut oil imports in half. The reward will be earned through merit by whomever accomplishes the task, whether a laboratory in the Department of Energy, a university, a corporation or an enterprising young inventor who works out of his family’s garage.

There is much we can do to increase our own oil production in ways that protect the environment using advanced technologies, including those that use and bury carbon dioxide, to recover the oil below the wells we have already drilled, and tap oil, natural gas, and shale economically with minimal environmental impact.

The United States has coal reserves more abundant than Saudi Arabia’s oil reserves. We found a way to cut down acid rain pollutants from burning coal, and we can find a way to use our coal resources without emitting excessive greenhouse gases.

We have in use today a zero emission energy that could provide electricity for millions more homes and businesses than it currently does. Yet it has been over twenty-five years since a nuclear power plant has been constructed. The barriers to nuclear energy are political not technological. We’ve let the fears of thirty years ago, and an endless political squabble over the storage of nuclear spent fuel make it virtually impossible to build a single new plant that produces a form of energy that is safe and non-polluting. If France can produce 80% of its electricity with nuclear power, why can’t we? Is France a more secure, advanced and innovative country than we are? Are France’s scientists and entrepreneurs more capable than we are? I need no answer to that rhetorical question. I know my country well enough to know otherwise.

Let’s provide for safe storage of spent nuclear fuel, and give host states or localities a proprietary interest so when advanced recycling technologies turn used fuel into a valuable commodity, the public will share in its economic benefits.

I want to improve and make permanent the research and development tax credit. I want to spend less money on government bureaucracies, and, where the private sector isn’t moving out of regulatory fear, to form the partnerships necessary to build demonstration models of promising new technologies such as advanced nuclear power plants, coal gasification, carbon capture and storage, and renewable power so we can take maximum advantage of our most abundant resources. And I’ll make it a national mission to develop a catalyst capable of breaking down carbon dioxide into useful chemical building blocks, and rendering it a new source of revenue and opportunity.

America competes in a global economy where innovation and entrepreneurship are the pillars of prosperity. The competition is stiff and the stakes are high. We have the opportunity to apply America’s technological supremacy to capture the export markets for advanced energy technologies, reaping the capital investment and good jobs it will provide. Our innovators, scientists, entrepreneurs and workers have the knowledge, resources, and drive to lead the way on energy security, as we have in so many other world-changing advancements. The race has always been to the swift, and America must be first to market with innovations that meet mankind’s growing energy and environmental needs. Again, government should set the standards, and leave it to the marketplace to win the race.

I have proposed a bipartisan plan to address the problem of climate change and stimulate the development and use of advanced technologies. It is a market-based approach that would set reasonable caps on carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions, and provide industries with tradable credits. By reducing its emissions, a utility or industrial plant can generate credits it may trade on the open market for a profit, offering a powerful incentive to drive the deployment of new and better energy sources and technologies; for automakers to develop new ways to lower pollution and increase mileage; for utilities to generate cleaner electricity and capture carbon; for appliance manufacturers to make more efficient products, and for the nation to use energy with maximum efficiency-building conservation into the economy in a manner that produces financial and environmental benefits. Dupont Corporation has reaped $2 billion dollars in energy savings and reduced its carbon emissions by 72% since 1990.As it always does, the profit motive will attract the transformational power of venture capital, and unleash the market to move clean alternative fuels and advanced energy technologies from the margins into the mainstream.Some urge we do nothing because we can’t be certain how bad the problem might become or they presume the worst effects are most likely to occur in our grandchildren’s lifetime. I’m a proud conservative, and I reject that kind of live-for-today, “me generation,” attitude. It is unworthy of us and incompatible with our reputation as visionaries and problem solvers. Americans have never feared change. We make change work for us.In the coming months, other proposals will be offered to establish a national climate policy. I welcome this. But let’s not let urgency breed rashness and irresponsibility. I claim no monopoly on the best answers. Let the marketplace of ideas flourish. But as there is great reward in the responsible policy, there’s also enormous risk in the wrong way forward. The policy must include mechanisms to control costs and protect the economy. Just as there is danger in doing too little, there is peril in going too far, too fast, in a way that imposes unsustainable costs on the economy. I believe “cap and trade” is the best way to manage cost and maximize benefits, but we must look at other market-based means to give added assurance that our policies are an instrument of job creation, economic progress, and environmental problem solving.Climate change is a global problem that requires a global solution. But we know America has both an obligation and a compelling national interest in fulfilling our historic leadership role. China’s carbon emissions will soon exceed ours. As President, I will invite a collaborative relationship with China to make coal use cleaner and climate friendly. But, we should address the problem on our terms, and bring others into the fold of a common sense effort to solve it, while we sell to the world the technologies needed to do it.Answering great challenges is nothing new to America. It’s what we do. We built the rockets that took us to the moon not because it was easy but because it was hard. We’ve sent space probes into the distant reaches of the universe. We harnessed nuclear energy, mapped the human genome, created the Internet and pioneered integrated circuits that possess the computing power of Apollo spacecraft on a single silicon chip you can barely see. In twenty years we’ve gone from using this cell phone, a $4000 toy for the wealthy, to this cell phone, an inexpensive and virtually universal means of communication. We can solve our oil dependence. You can’t sell me on hopelessness. You can’t convince me the problem is insurmountable. I know my country. I know what we’re capable of. We’re capable of unimaginable progress, unmatched prosperity, and vision that sees around the corner of history. We’ve always understood our times, accepted our challenges and made from our opportunities, another better world. My people are Americans. Our time is today. That is the country I ask to lead. My evaluation: Well, Clinton and Obama, again aren’t that different from eachother. The big difference is how they would pay for the programs. Obama; Carbon Credits– while Clinton would use royalties from drilling on public land. Yikes… I thought we were supposed to be heading towards energy independence– green fuel… humm. So, I guess Obama wins out in this round. I do have some concerns about the increased use of corn. Making fuel from corn really does take a lot of energy– it causes issues with farm-land and forest being devoted to growing corn for fuel and not for food– Ask Brasil how this is working out for their environment.As far as the Republicans: Huckabee is saying that we can be energy independent by the end of his second term in the Oval Office but, I don’t see specifics.  I like Huckabee– wouldn’t it be fun to have our President stopping by Colbert on a regular basis…?! I’d really like to like his policies but I’m not seeing the detail I need to go his direction. And, McCain… well… he didn’t do so poorly in this round but, doesn’t WAR really hurt the environment and waste fossil fuel? So, I’m thinkin’ that what he’s talking about is a lot of lip service and I couldn’t vote for him even if her were the best in all three of my categories.

The Scores:
Obama 1 (.5 Autism, 1.5 Economy) Total: 3
Clinton 1 (1.5 Autism, 1.5 Economy) Total: 4
Huckabee .25 (0 Autism, 1 Economy) Total: 1.25
McCain .50 (.25 Autism, 0 Economy) Total: .75

So, I guess now I need to weigh the less objective– do I trust the candidate? Do I trust the Party the candidate belongs to? Do other things they have said negate what they are promising on these issues that matter the most to me? What is their record and is it consistent with what they are saying now? Have they managed to do their jobs while campaigning– we are paying their salaries afterall… And, sadly, how do thier spouses rate? ( I know that we are electing the candidate but does the Bill factor matter or not?)
I doubt I’ll disclose where I end up.





The Remaining Four Candidates on Economy

19 02 2008

In part two of the issues that matter to me and what the remaining four candidates have to say about it, today I’ll look at the Economy. To recap– Autism, Economy and Energy are my three hot topics. Yesterday, I researched Autism.  

Economy

Obama:

Obama offers $210 billion economic plan that creates construction, environmental jobs

(From International Herald Tribune)
Democrat Barack Obama said Wednesday that as president he would spend $210 billion (€143.97 billion) to create jobs in construction and environmental industries, as he tried to win over economically struggling voters.

Obama’s investment would be over 10 years as part of two programs. The larger is $150 billion (€102.84 billion) to create 5 million so-called “green collar” jobs to develop more environmentally friendly energy sources.

Sixty billion would go to a National Infrastructure Reinvestment Bank to rebuild highways, bridges, airports and other public projects. Obama estimated that could generate nearly 2 million jobs, many of them in the construction industry that has been hit by the housing crisis.

“This agenda is paid for,” Obama said as the Republican National Committee promoted an “Obama Spend-O-Meter” online to track his proposals and portray him as a tax-and-spend liberal. Obama explained that the money for his spending proposals will come from ending the Iraq war, cutting tax breaks for corporations, taxing carbon pollution and raising taxes on high income earners.

Neera Tanden, Hillary Rodham Clinton’s policy director, said Obama was offering ideas Clinton proposed months ago. “Voters may ask themselves that if Senator Obama cannot produce his own ideas on the campaign trail, how will he solve new problems as president?” Tanden said in a memo e-mailed to reporters.

Obama, who has faced criticism that he does not have enough policy specifics, asked autoworkers at the General Motors plant in Wisconsin, to “bear with me” as his began a policy speech that he said would be unlike his typical rousing addresses to rallies. He read from a TelePrompTer in a cavernous training room, flanked by sparkling new vehicles and a large American flag.

“Today I want to take it down a notch,” Obama said. “This is going to be a speech that’s a little more detailed. It’s going to be a little bit longer, not as many applause lines.”

Obama pointedly did not include one of his biggest applause lines, that he would require vehicle manufacturers to raise fuel economy standards. Obama often points out that he delivered that message straight to the automakers during a speech last year in Detroit.

But he did not mention it on the plant visit that came a day after GM reported the largest annual loss ever for an American automaker — $38.7 billion (€26.53 billion) in 2007.

“I know that General Motors received some bad news yesterday,” Obama said. “I also know how much progress you’ve made, how many hybrids and fuel-efficient vehicles you’re churning out. And I believe that if our government is there to support you, and give you the assistance you need to retool and make this transition, that this plant will be here for another hundred years.”

Obama heads into Tuesday’s Wisconsin primary as the favorite in the state and the front-runner for the nomination. His victories this week in eight contests have put him ahead of rival Hillary Rodham Clinton in the delegate chase.

But Obama did not pursue the front-runner strategy of ignoring rivals. He repeatedly criticized Clinton in an effort to beat back the challenge she still poses to him.

He tied her to likely Republican presidential nominee John McCain for their shared vote to authorize the war in Iraq. He lumped her with President George W. Bush for offering an economic recovery plan that did not include immediate relief, without mentioning that both the president and Clinton quickly adopted tax rebates.

Obama’s appearance in Janesville was part of a strategy to reach out to voters who might be struggling in the economy and who have supported Clinton in most contests so far. Combining exit polls from 19 states that had competitive Democratic primaries before Tuesday, Clinton had a 49 percent to 46 percent edge over Obama with voters who named the economy as the No. 1 problem.

But Obama seemed to be turning that around in his most recent victories Tuesday. In Virginia and Maryland, Obama dominated among the one-half of Democratic voters who named the economy as their chief concern. In both states, about six in 10 Democrats who cited the economy voted for Obama.

Hale “Bonddad” Stewart (Blogger with the Huffington Post)  Obama’s Economic Plan is Unworkable Posted February 14, 2008 | 07:19 AM (EST)

Democrat Barack Obama said Wednesday that as president he would spend $210 billion to create jobs in construction and environmental industries, as he tried to win over economically struggling voters.
Obama’s investment would be over 10 years as part of two programs. The larger is $150 billion to create 5 million so-called “green collar” jobs to develop more environmentally friendly energy sources.
Sixty-billion dollars would go to a National Infrastructure Reinvestment Bank to rebuild highways, bridges, airports and other public projects. Obama estimated that could generate nearly 2 million jobs, many of them in the construction industry that’s been hit by the housing crisis.

“This agenda is paid for,” Obama said as the Republican National Committee promoted an “Obama Spend-O-Meter” online to track his proposals and portray him as a tax-and-spend liberal. Obama explained that the money for his spending proposals will come from ending the Iraq war, cutting tax breaks for corporations, taxing carbon pollution and raising taxes on high income earners.

I would love to tell everyone that this is possible; that the US has the money to spend and that we can use major federal initiatives to minimize the impact to the housing mess.

But we don’t.

And this is not a problem only faced by Obama — it’s faced by every major candidate. After 7 years of Republican dominated politics the US just doesn’t have the money to spend. The damage has already been done.

Let’s start with the fiscal history of the last 7 years. This information is from the Treasury Department and it shows the total federal debt outstanding at the end of the federal government’s fiscal year.

09/30/2007 $9,007,653,372,262.48
09/30/2006 $8,506,973,899,215.23
09/30/2005 $7,932,709,661,723.50
09/30/2004 $7,379,052,696,330.32
09/30/2003 $6,783,231,062,743.62
09/30/2002 $6,228,235,965,597.16
09/30/2001 $5,807,463,412,200.06
09/30/2000 $5,674,178,209,886.86

Currently, the total debt outstanding is $9,250,932,577,938.04.

To put that in perspective, debt as a percentage of GDP has increased from 57.29% in 2001 to 64.47% in 2007. That’s a solid and steady increase.

Now — the Republicans have created a meter on their website to track the increases in government spending. You guys ran the government for 6 years. You had complete control. YOU GOT US INTO THIS MESS IN THE FIRST PLACE. SHUT THE HELL UP.

And no — this is not some ephemeral concept that means nothing the real world. Take a look at a chart of the US dollar:

The dollar has been dropping for the better part of the last 6 years. Over the last few years we’ve seen competition from the euro start to knock the dollar out of it once dominate reserve status — which has helped to continue the dollar’s downward spiral. If we don’t start seriously dealing with the deficit soon, we can expect further declines in the dollar which will seriously hurt us in the long run.

No candidate will run on a cleaning up the deficit platform. It’s not an economic winner — especially during a period of economic problems. In addition, the way to clean-up the mess — raising taxes and asking people who benefited from the last 7 years to now pay their fair share of that growth — is a politically dicey proposition at best. So what is actually in the interest of the country in the long-run just isn’t going to work politically.

And some of Obama’s plan is really good — especially the green-collar jobs idea. That makes great sense, especially in the long-run.

But the money just ain’t there.

Clinton:

1/11/2008 Press Release from her Campaign Web Site

Clinton Unveils Aggressive Plan to Jumpstart U.S. Economy

Plan Would Help Hundreds Of Thousands Of Families Stay In Their Homes; More Than 37 Million Would Receive Energy Assistance

Hillary Clinton is unveiling an aggressive $70 billion stimulus package today that would boost the U.S. economy and help families who have been hit hardest by the economic downturn across America.

Clinton will detail her five-part stimulus plan in a speech at the IBEW Hall in City of Commerce, CA. Her plan would specifically help homeowners who have been hurt by the housing foreclosure crisis, provide immediate relief to families who are facing skyrocketing energy bills, support workers who have lost their jobs, and make immediate investments in “green collar jobs” which will not only stimulate the economy, but improve the environment.

More than 37 million Americans would receive energy assistance under Clinton’s plan, and hundreds of thousands of families would get help to avoid foreclosure and stay in their homes. “Economists and politicians are finally waking up to what many of America’s families already know: that we might be sliding into a recession,” Clinton said.

“But when the bills are stacking up, and you’re just one pink slip away from losing everything you’ve got, the last thing you need is more talk. In the face of rising global competition, our children’s future is at stake. So we don’t need more rhetoric, we need action. We need an immediate strategy to get our economy back on track. I would work with leaders from both parties to pass an aggressive, fast-acting stimulus package to create good new jobs and revitalize our economy.”

Senator Clinton believes we need to jumpstart the economy without negatively affecting America’s long-term fiscal position. In addition, her plan targets assistance toward hardworking families which are most likely to spend new resources, which will ensure that we give the economy an immediate boost.

Clinton also called on Congress to stand ready to provide an additional $40 billion in direct tax rebates to working and middle class families if the economy continues to worsen.

Hillary’s Economic Stimulus Plan would:

  • Establish a $30 Billion Emergency Housing Crisis Fund to assist states and cities mitigate the effects of mounting foreclosures
  • Take bold action to stem tide of foreclosure, including a 90-day moratorium on subprime foreclosures and an automatic rate freeze on subprime mortgages of at least five years
  • Provide $25 billion in emergency energy assistance for families facing skyrocketing heating bills
  • Accelerating $5 billion in energy efficiency and alternative energy investments to jumpstart green collar job growth:
  • Invest $10 billion in extending and broadening unemployment insurance for those who are struggling to find work:

HILLARY CLINTON’S PLAN TO JUMPSTART OUR AILING ECONOMY

Today, Senator Clinton outlined an economic stimulus plan to help hard hit families and give our economy a much needed boost. Over a month ago, in a speech to Wall Street, Senator Clinton called on the Bush Administration to begin considering economic stimulus. In the month since, while the Administration has failed to act, we have seen growing signs that our economy is faltering. Tens of thousands of families have already been forced out of their homes. Recently, oil hit $100 a barrel, and last Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the economy lost jobs in the private sector in December for the first time in over four years. According to RealtyTrac, more than 201,000 foreclosure filings were reported in November alone, up 68 percent from the year before.

Hillary believes we need real action now. While economists may still be debating whether we’ve met the technical definition of a recession, for hard-hit middle class families that question has already been answered.

That is why today Senator Clinton called on the President and Congressional leaders from both parties to enact an aggressive, fast-acting stimulus package based on common-sense economic principles. Unlike 2001, when President Bush used stimulus as an excuse to force through long-term tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans – which ran up our debt to foreign governments while utterly failing to reignite job growth – Senator Clinton believes we need a strong immediate stimulus to jumpstart the economy without negatively affecting our long-term fiscal position. In addition, stimulus measures should be targeted toward hardworking families that are most likely to spend new resources, which will ensure that we give our economy an immediate boost. As President, Hillary would enact a five-part stimulus package that is consistent with these principles. This package includes:

  • Establishing a $30 Billion Emergency Housing Crisis Fund to assist states and cities mitigate the effects of mounting foreclosures.With our economy facing the prospect of substantial contraction as hundreds of thousands of subprime mortgages reset and housing values erode further, Senator Clinton believes that any effective stimulus package must take aggressive action to mitigate this contraction and help as many families as possible remain in their homes. Her $30 billion fund would provide immediate, time-limited resources to states, cities and community organizations to help prevent unnecessary foreclosures. States and communities could also use the funds to offset the costs associated with vacant properties by supporting efforts like community-level anti-blight programs and helping local housing authorities buy up vacant properties and rent them to working families. When families lose their homes, surrounding property values and local tax revenues decline and the cost of policing and maintaining vacant properties rise. This reduction in revenues and rise in costs can lead cities and states to cutback services, lay off teachers and other vital workers, raise college tuition, or even raise local taxes. The availability of $30 billion in federal assistance will ensure that states and cities have the resources they need to fight foreclosures, prevent a downward housing cycle impacting large numbers of homeowners and to weather the crisis without unnecessary fiscal contraction.
  • Taking bold action to end the housing crisis.Senator Clinton is the only candidate with a comprehensive plan to keep families in their homes and keep the housing crisis from dragging down the economy. More than 2 million foreclosure notices went out last year, devastating families and communities. The foreclosure crisis is also contributing to the decline in home prices which has already cost families an estimated $1.3 trillion. Many experts believe the worst is yet to come. To stem this crisis, Senator Clinton has called for a 90-day moratorium on subprime foreclosures and an automatic rate freeze on subprime mortgages of at least five years or until servicers have converted the unworkable mortgages into loans families can afford. In addition, Senator Clinton proposed to temporarily empower state housing financing agencies to help families refinance unworkable mortgages and temporarily increasing the portfolio caps at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and enabling them to purchase larger loans in high-cost areas. These steps would immediately increase the availability of mortgages for responsible borrowers.
  • Providing $25 billion in emergency energy assistance for families facing skyrocketing heating bills: Rising home heating prices are imposing a serious and immediate financial burden on working families. Yet while more than 37 million American families are eligible for home energy assistance, only 5.6 million – or approximately 16% – are slated to receive any aid this winter. Even those who do receive assistance have seen the average grant decline from 36% of a typical family’s home heating bills in 2003 to only 23% in 2007. Meanwhile, the cost of heating a home is expected to soar as much as 20 – 25% this winter alone. Senator Clinton is calling for an immediate $25 billion investment in home heating assistance grants for all 37 million eligible families. The grants will return the purchasing power of energy assistance to where it was 5 years ago. And they will ensure that hardworking families and seniors on fixed incomes will not have to choose between heating their homes, putting food on the table or purchasing prescription drugs this winter.
  • Accelerating $5 billion in energy efficiency and alternative energy investments to jumpstart green collar job growth:Senator Clinton believes that by immediately implementing components of her comprehensive plan to transition to a green, clean economy, we can both jumpstart green collar jobs and jumpstart our long-term transition to energy independence as well. The immediate actions that could be part of a 2008 stimulus could include a crash weatherization program to cut home energy costs by up to 20% this winter; expanded tax credits to encourage families and businesses to accelerate purchases of hybrids and other low emission vehicles and to reduce energy costs by purchasing efficient appliances, new windows and other clean, efficient technologies, and acceleration of a Green Building Fund and Green Collar Job training program to put tens of thousands of people to work making schools and other public buildings energy efficient.
  • Investing $10 billion in extending and broadening unemployment insurance for those who are struggling to find work: Senator Clinton is calling for stepped up assistance for those who have lost their jobs and are searching for work while trying to provide for their families. By strengthening our unemployment insurance program and extending unemployment insurance for workers who are laid off for extended periods, these efforts will empower more Americans to reenter the labor market in good-paying jobs.
      Standing Ready for $40 Billion Rebate to Working Families: In addition to immediately adopting her 5-part plan, Senator Clinton called on Congress to stand ready to provide an additional $40 billion in direct tax-rebates to working and middle class families if economic circumstances continue to worsen. This additional $40 billion in tax relief should be designed to meet Senator Clinton’s principles for stimulus: it should be fast-acting to kick-start the economy; temporary to be fiscally responsible; and progressive so that it has a high bang-for-the-buck. This means that rebates should not be partially or completely denied to tens of millions of lower income taxpayers, as was the case with President Bush’s plan during the last economic contraction.

Hillary Lays Out Her Economic Plan

Capital Commerce by James Pethokoukis  October 09, 2007 02:31 PM ET

Hillary Clinton gave a lengthy economic policy speech Monday. A few things popped out at me when I gave it a read this morning:

1) As I have been saying in this blog, Clinton is not going to advocate repealing all the Bush tax cuts—as much as her GOP rivals would love her to—just the ones affecting wealthier Americans. “For middle-class Americans, I will extend the tax cuts including the child tax credit, the marriage penalty relief, and lower income tax rates than they currently pay,” she said. Interestingly, Clinton made no mention of capital-gains taxes—the lower rates brought about by the 2003 tax cuts are also due to expire at the end of 2010—even though she had ample opportunity and specifically mentioned her support for making hedge fund managers pay higher taxes.

2) Clinton made mention of “stagnant wages,” even though they’ve been growing at a brisk clip. Just one of many stats on the subject: Average hourly earnings are up 8.4 percent versus September 2005, the fastest pace of wage gains for any two-year period since 1990, according to First Trust Advisors. (Here’s more on the myth of stagnant wages.)

3) Clinton announced a three-point plan to deal with the mortgage mess. None of it was particularly revolutionary, but at least she had a plan to deal with a problem on the minds of many Americans. Her GOP rivals have been all but silent on the topic.

4) There is an old joke that says the most frightening sentence in the English language is, “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help you.” Well, read Clinton’s speech—full of references to trustbusting Teddy Roosevelt, the space program, and the G.I. Bill—and you’ll see that she’s attempting to convince Americans that government is good, helpful, and in need of smart expansion. “The strength of our economy and the rise of the middle class were products of both a free market and good public policy,” she said.

Republicans get their chance to respond at tonight’s GOP presidential debate in Dearborn, Mich. It’s hosted by CNBC and will focus—finally!—on economic policy.

Huckabee:

From his website:

  • I support the FairTax.
  • As Governor of Arkansas, I cut taxes and fees almost 100 times, saving the taxpayers almost $380 million. I left a surplus of nearly $850 million, which I urged should go back to the people.
  • Our massive deficit is not due to Americans’ being under-taxed, but to the government’s over-spending.
  • To control spending, I believe the President should have the line-item veto.
  • I believe in free trade, but it has to be fair trade.
  • Globalization, done right, done fairly, can be the equivalent of a big pay raise by allowing us to buy things more cheaply.
  • I support making the Bush tax cuts (set to expire in 2010) permanent.
  • Furthermore, I believe that we need to expand upon these cuts by further reducing marginal rates on individual and corporate income, instituting credits for tuition, and eliminating the “death tax.” 

I’d like you to join me at the best “Going Out of Business” sale I can imagine – one held by the Internal Revenue Service. Am I running for president to shut down the federal government? Not exactly. But I am running to completely eliminate all federal income and payroll taxes. And I do mean all – personal federal, corporate federal, gift, estate, capital gains, alternative minimum, Social Security, Medicare, self-employment. All our hours filling out forms, all our payments for help with those forms, all our shopping bags filled with disorganized receipts, all our headaches and heartburn from tax stress will vanish. Instead we will have the FairTax, a simple tax based on wealth. When the FairTax becomes law, it will be like waving a magic wand releasing us from pain and unfairness.

The FairTax will replace the Internal Revenue Code with a consumption tax, like the taxes on retail sales forty-five states and the District of Columbia have now. All of us will get a monthly rebate that will reimburse us for taxes on purchases up to the poverty line, so that we’re not taxed on necessities. That means people below the poverty line won’t be taxed at all. We’ll be taxed on what we decide to buy, not what we happen to earn. We won’t be taxed on what we choose to save or the interest those savings earn. The tax will apply only to new goods, so we can reduce our taxes further by buying a used car or computer.

Our current progressive tax system penalizes us for working harder and becoming more successful. As we climb the ladder, the government lurks on each rung, hungry for a bigger bite out of our earnings. The FairTax is also progressive, but it doesn’t punish the American dream of success, or the old-fashioned virtues of hard work and thrift, it rewards and encourages them. The FairTax isn’t intended to raise any more or less money for the federal government to spend – it is revenue neutral.

Expert analyses have shown that the FairTax lowers the lifetime tax burden of all of us: single or married; working or retired; rich, poor or middle class.

The FairTax will instantly make American products 12 to 25% more competitive because the cost of those goods will no longer be inflated by corporate taxes, costs of tax compliance, and Social Security matching payments. When we buy products now, those taxes are built into the cost, so all of us pay corporate taxes indirectly on top of the personal taxes we pay directly. Compliance costs are just make-work with no real added value, yet they consume as much as 3% of our gross domestic product annually. These costs are an especially heavy burden on small businesses, which generate most of our jobs.

If you buy a bottle of domestic wine, you’re paying the taxes/compliance/matching payments of all the folks who produced the grapes, the wine, the bottle, the cork, the label. If you buy a bottle of French wine, the producers had their Value Added Tax rebated to them when the wine was exported. So French consumers pay those taxes, but you don’t. Our current tax system puts our goods at a disadvantage both here and overseas. Other governments give their goods an advantage on the world market, an advantage estimated at 18% compared to American goods.

So no matter how hard Americans work, no matter how innovative and creative we are, no matter how superior our products are, we suffer from a built-in competitive disadvantage simply because of our tax system. A recent study by MIT found that our tax system deprives us of about $1 billion in exports annually. When you export over-priced goods as we have, you inevitably end up exporting jobs and industries as we now are. We are the square peg trying to fit into the round hole of international trade. The rest of the world isn’t going to change, it’s time that we do.

Under the FairTax, American companies are far less likely to move overseas and foreign companies are far more likely to come here, hiring Americans to build and work in their new plants. The FairTax encourages growth by promoting investment and capital formation.

We have to scrap a 20th century tax system that is holding us back and keeping us down in the 21st century. The FairTax is the path to greater prosperity and job security for us and for our children.

As Governor of Arkansas, I pushed through the Arkansas Legislature the first major, broad-based tax cuts in state history – a $90 million tax relief package for Arkansas families. I also doubled the standard deduction to $2,000 for single taxpayers and $4,000 for those who are married. Some taxes I eliminated entirely: the marriage penalty, bracket creep caused by inflation, income tax on poor families, and capital gains on home sales. To encourage investment, I cut capital gains for both individuals and businesses. To help people better themselves, I provided tax credits for employee training and education. In total, I cut taxes and fees nearly 100 times during my ten-and-a-half years as Governor, saving the people of Arkansas almost $380 million.

When I left office in early 2007, Arkansas had nearly $850 million in state surplus, which I urged should go back to the people in the form of either a tax rebate or tax cut.

I believe that our massive deficit is not due to Americans’ being under-taxed, but due to the federal government’s over-spending. Achieving and maintaining a balanced federal budget is an important and worthy goal necessary to our long-term economic well-being. To achieve a balanced federal budget, I believe the President should have the line-item veto.

I believe in free trade, but it has to be fair trade. We are losing jobs because of an unlevel, unfair trading arena that has to be fixed. Behind the statistics, there are real families and real lives and real pain. I’m running for President because I don’t want people who have worked loyally for a company for twenty or thirty years to walk in one morning and be handed a pink slip and be told, “I’m sorry, but everything you spent your life working for is no longer here.”

I believe that globalization, done right, done fairly, can be a blessing for our society. As the Industrial Revolution raised living standards by allowing ordinary people to buy mass-produced goods that previously only the rich could afford, so globalization gives all of us the equivalent of a big pay raise by letting us buy all kinds of things from clothing to computers to TVs much more inexpensively.

What is the Fair Tax?  http://www.fairtaxplan.org/

January 5, 2008  Boston GlobeWhat’s Foul About the FairTax, by Bruce Bartlett:

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee’s rise to the top tier of Republican presidential candidates is one of the major stories of this election cycle. Although his strong support among evangelical Christians is a factor in his rise, Huckabee has also benefited from the backing of a small but intense group of people favoring abolition of the federal tax system and its replacement by a 23% national retail sales tax known as the FairTax.

The states would be required to collect this new tax, thus allowing for abolition of the IRS. To prevent poor and middle-class people from being overly burdened, Americans would be sent monthly checks as a partial rebate of the tax.

Unfortunately, like all things in life that are too good to be true, so is this one. Here are a few problems with the FairTax.

  • True rate. …
  • Governments must also pay. …
  • Rebate problems. …
  • Prices will rise. …

The FairTax is unworkable. It is a fantasy to think otherwise.

McCain:

McCain’s economic plan takes long view   Associated Press / January 18, 2008
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Despite calls in Washington for short-term economic relief, Senator John McCain yesterday proposed a long-term economic plan that would lower the corporate income tax rate and provide a host of other tax breaks for business. “We will get through this rough patch, my friends,” McCain told supporters.

The Republican presidential candidate proposed cutting the corporate tax rate to 25 percent from 35 percent, saying it would expand the economy, creating jobs and opportunity. He said his plan was “progrowth, less taxes, and less spending.” He contrasted it with what he called the Democrats’ “tired ideas of tax and spend.”

McCain appeared to be resisting temporary economic relief for individuals, even as President Bush indicated support for a short-term boost and Ben Bernanke, Federal Reserve chairman, called explicitly for it. Bernanke urged the government to adopt a plan quickly and make it temporary, and he said “putting money into the hands of households and firms” would be more effective than measures such as making Bush’s tax cuts permanent.

McCain adviser Doug Holtz-Eakin suggested the Arizona senator does not favor temporary relief at this time.

“One of the reasons we have the difficulties we do is that spending went out of control,” McCain said yesterday, two days before the South Carolina’s crucial first-in-the-South primary.

McCain’s plan would also establish a permanent research and development tax credit and allow tax breaks for equipment and technology investment. Rudy Giuliani has also proposed cutting the corporate tax rate to 25 percent, while Mitt Romney has suggested eliminating taxes on income from interest, dividends, and capital gains for those earning less than $200,000 a year.

McCain, like the other leading Republicans, supports making permanent the tax cuts Congress approved in Bush’s first term.

Romney, however, said, “It makes sense for Congress to take immediate action” and he’d have his own plan soon, while Fred Thompson said it’s not time for the government to give the economy a jolt.

John McCain and the Economy – A Profile of the John McCain Economic Platform

By Kimberly Amadeo (Your Guide to the US Economy)

McCain’s Economic Stimulus Plan:

  • Cut the corporate tax rate to 25% from 35%. Fund the reductions with cuts in “pork-barrel spending”, such as the 10,000 local projects, totaling over $10 billion, in legislation recently signed by President Bush.
  • Allow expensing of businesss equipment and technology investment for the first year.
  • Establish a tax credit equal to 10% of wages spent on research and development.
McCain’s Long-term Economic Platform: McCain’s Economic Platform includes his short-term stimulus measures, and adds the following:

  • Repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) saving middle class families nearly $60 billion a year. This tax was originally designed to fall on the wealthiest but, thanks to inflation, each year it snags more middle-income taxpayers who claim a lot of deductions.
  • Extend expiring tax cuts from Bush’s first term.
  • Approve the President’s line item veto.
  • Add personal accounts to Social Security.
  • More trade agreements.
  • Increase troops in Iraq.
  • More nuclear energy.
  • Tax credit of $2,500 per person / $5,000 per family towards health care insurance.
  • Reduce wasteful government spending, control Medicare costs, reform unemployment training.

. (Source: JohnMcCain.com, On the Issues; IHT, McCain Proposes Economic Plan with Corporate Tax Relief, 1/17/08))

zSB(3,3)

Impact on the Economy: Extending the Bush tax cuts would have no effect on the economy until 2010, when they expire. Repealing the Alternative Minimum Tax is sorely needed, however the $60 million in revenue needs to be replaced. Providing tax cuts to businesses may spur business investment, but may not trickle down to prices which would help consumer spending.
Increasing troops in Iraq would raise the budget deficit. More nuclear energy would help relieve dependence on oil to some extent, however the U.S. has become dependent on Japanese engineers to build them.
More trade agreements would certainly help the economy. However, McCain doesn’t address the main impediment to any U.S. trade agreement, which is massive subsidies to agri-business. This one issue effectively halted the World Trade Organization Doha round. McCain’s general calls to reduce government spending are good, but he gives no detail as to how to accomplish this.Overall, the McCain economic platform would reduce budget revenues and raise costs, increasing the deficit and weakening the U.S. economy. More detail is needed on many of his proposals to effectively determine their impact.

My Take: Hummmm… Well, I don’t think Clinton and Obama are that far apart from each-other. McCain has said– and been reminded often– that he doesn’t know much about economics. Huckabee; I’m still having trouble getting my head around Fair Tax.

The idea of rebuilding our infrastructure as a means of stimulating the economy makes sense. I like the democrat’s idea of investing in “green jobs” and improving our environment in the process.
So, my ratings:
Obama: 1.5 (.5 for Autism Total: 2)
Clinton: 1.5 (1.5 for Autism Total: 3)
Huckabee: 1 (0 for Autism Total: 1)
McCain: 0 (.25 for Autism Total:.25)
Stay tuned for my research on Energy.




The Remaining Four Candidates on Autism

18 02 2008

I only have a few weeks until Ohio votes and am still undecided… The beauty of Ohio’s Primary system is that I can walk into the polling place and request whichever ballot I want– regardless of how I’m registered.

So, do I vote against McCain (by way of voting for Huckabee)? Or Pro one of the Democrats?

I’ve said before that the two issues that matter to me are Autism and the Economy.  I’ve also added Energy to the list. So, over the next few days I’m going to do my research and organize my thoughts by inflicting them on you…

A U T I S M

Obama:

From A-Champ: http://a-champ.org/Candidatequestionnaire2007/Obama/Fact%20Sheet%20Autism%20Spectrum%20Disorders%20FINAL%20IH.pdf

From his site: “Support Americans with Autism.More than one million Americans have autism, a complex neurobiological condition that has a range of impacts on thinking, feeling, language, and the ability to relate to others. As diagnostic criteria broaden and awareness increases, more cases of autism have been recognized across the country. Barack Obama believes that we can do more to help autistic Americans and their families understand and live with autism. He has been a strong supporter of more than $1 billion in federal funding for autism research on the root causes and treatments, and he believes that we should increase funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act to truly ensure that no child is left behind.

More than anything, autism remains a profound mystery with a broad spectrum of effects on autistic individuals, their families, loved ones, the community, and education and health care systems. Obama believes that the government and our communities should work together to provide a helping hand to autistic individuals and their families.”

From Obama’s Site: Plan to Empower Americans With Disabilities: http://my.barackobama.com/page/content/awdplan#

Clinton:

From MSNBC: Clinton’s Autism Plan: http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2007/11/25/479647.aspx

From USAA Weekly News regarding Clinton’s Autism Plan:

Clinton’s Autism Plan
Posted: Sunday, November 25, 2007 9:25 AM by Domenico Montanaro

From NBC/NJ’s Athena Jones
CLINTON WEEKEND CAMPAIGN NOTEBOOK

SIOUX CITY, IA — Hillary Clinton used the first stop on a two-day, post-Thanksgiving swing through Iowa on Saturday to lay out a $700 million a year plan to help people affected by autism. The money would be spent for research and provide support for families and teachers dealing with the disorder, as well as for autistic children and adults.

The senator said autism diagnoses had risen dramatically in the last 15 years to some 25,000 each year, affecting 1.5 million Americans and their families and costing the country at least $35 billion a annually. She talked about spending time with a child with autism while living in Little Rock and her work on behalf of children with disabilities over the years.

Clinton said not enough was known about what she called one of the most urgent and least understood challenges facing the nation and not enough services were available to deal with it.

“I think it’s time we had a government and a president who recognized the seriousness of autism and addressed it head on,” Clinton told the crowd at a local Boy’s Club. She said she was at the club because of the work the organization does to provide services for children with autism.

See the whole post: http://www.usautism.org/USAAA_Newsletter/usaaa_newsletter_112607.htm

Huckabee:

I searched high and low– there doesn’t seem to be any position from Huckabee regarding Autism… This was all I found:

McCain:

McCain has requested a hearing on Autism. I had trouble finding the details– like what are they doing to “hear” about Autism? It’s stuck in the approval process and I couldn’t find anything indicating if he’s working on getting it through. He has not responded to A-Champ’s questionnaire. (Actually, neither has Huckabee or Clinton– maybe they aren’t sold on A-Champ’s mission… neither am I but, they do have some good questions– see Obama’s answers above.)

My summary:

What?! Is Autism only a Democratic issue?!

The Democrats: Clinton and Obama have actually developed plans although, in my humble opinion, Clinton’s in more of a plan that Obama’s. I think Clinton actually gets it… Obama– not so much… He seems to lump Autism in with “Disabilities” in general rather than treating it as an epidemic.

As far as the Republican candidates– McCain at least has something to say… but, it seems that it’s more as a virtue of being a Congressman not because he has any passion (or compassion?) Huckabee is a disappointment in this regard.  He seems like a good guy– I’d love to have him over for dinner– but I’m not seeing much meat in any of his policies and, I’m not seeing any policy that relates to Autism.

So, I’m no closer between Clinton and Obama.  Thing is that I don’t like Clinton (and NO– it has nothing to do with her being a strong woman!) on the other hand, I’m not terribly impressed by Obama… I’m not buying into the new Camelot… and, I have concerns that Obama doesn’t flip flop but it looks like he breaks promises. It’s fine to change your mind, it’s great to be persuaded by better/more information– it’s not ok to make a promise and then back down.  Don’t make promises until you have all the information.

On Autism I give:
1.5 to Clinton
.5 to Obama
.25 to McCain
0 to Huckabee

I guess we’ll see how the other issues– Economy and Energy– pan out.





Edwards Drops Out of Presidential Race

30 01 2008

I first supported Richardson and he dropped out. Then I supported Edwards and now he’s gone. Maybe I should support the one I agree the least with and support him or her… with my track record that should get them out of the race.

So, where does this leave us?

On one side is the War-Mongering-Economic-Idiot McCain and the Very-Educated-But-Can’t-Keep-My-Story-Straight Romney.  On the other side is the Billary Dynasty and the Kid.  What choice is there?

McCain isn’t an option for me. He is strong on War and week on Economy. And, does he even know what “Autism” is?

Romney might be strong on Economy but he can’t remember what he just promised so we can’t expect him to keep any of his promises.

Let’s not forget Ron Paul… He’s the candidate of the lunatic fringe… sorry– you don’t have to agree with me. I believe in the Constitution. I like the idea of less taxation but, I can’t understand how our educational system and infrastructure could endure 4 years without support.

Hucklebee— I really don’t have much to say about him. He has no position on Autism. He wants to re-write the constitution.  On the other hand– the guy is really like-able! Have you seen him on the Colbert Report?

Billary: Enough already.  Bill may have been a pretty good President overall but, don’t we want change? We’ve had 8 years of the Clintons. We, the People, wasted a lot of money to find out who he was playing footsie with while he was supposed to be governing… And, really– if Hillary is the candidate (still not sure who’s running that show) she has no experience to speak of– a couple of terms in the Senate; so what? She was not the President and if she’s trying to claim the years she slept in the White House as experience then I should be Ambassador to Brasil since I grew up there! Come on!.. (Anybody remember NAFTA?)

Finally we have Obama…. Humm… He strikes me as lacking confidence. Have you noticed how he takes so long to answer a question? I understand that he has to be careful not to give Billary (and Jon Stewart) and fodder but, he isn’t thinking on his feet.  He’s got his stump speech down and is very charismatic, has some good quot-ables and decent policy but, watch him in the debate on Thursday… I really don’t think he’s got it.

I’ve threatened to do this before but, I think I’ll write in Stephen Colbert.

NOTE: I welcome your opinion and will post opinions that differ from mine but only if written in a polite manner. No insults will be posted.  Make your case for your candidate of choice but do so in a respectful manner. Thank you.





Undecided Voter? Take These Candidate Quizzes

29 01 2008

Mine always end up pretty close– the same two are my top matches (Edwards and Gravel) but they vary a little in the order they fall.

USA TODAY: http://www.usatoday.com/news/politics/election2008/candidate-match-game.htm

GLASS BOOTH: http://glassbooth.org/

VA JOE: http://www.vajoe.com/candidate_calculator.html

ABC NEWS: http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/Vote2008/page?id=3623346 (This one is so similar to the USA Today version– but it has little candidates jumping around inside the White House so it’s kind of fun!)

A WORD OF CAUTION:  While none of the above links do, some of the quizzes that are out there require you to give them your email address in order to find out who you match up with.  I don’t give that out to anyone I don’t know and/or trust. (After all, how many Viagra offers can a gal handle in a day?)





Ted “Chappaquiddick” Kennedy Endorses Obama

28 01 2008

Let’s think about who endorsed Obama today:

Ted Kennedy was expelled from Harvard for cheating on a Spanish Test in 1951 and it’s been downhill from there… Then when he joined the Army, signing up for a four-year stint, his Daddy made some phone calls and got it changed to a two-year stint… Anybody else remember Chappaquiddick?

From the Washington Post:

Ted Kennedy’s Chappaquiddick – 1969

On the evening of July 19, 1969, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts drove his Oldsmobile off a wooden bridge on Chappaquiddick Island, drowning his passenger, a young campaign worker named Mary Jo Kopechne. The senator left the scene of the accident, did not report it to the police for many hours, and according to some accounts considered concocting an alibi for himself in the interim.

At the time, Kennedy managed to escape severe legal and political consequences for his actions thanks to his family’s connections (which helped to contain the inquest and grand jury) and to a nationally televised “Checkers”-like speech broadcast a week after the accident. But virtually no journalist who has closely examined the evidence fully believes Kennedy’s story, and almost 30 years later, the tragedy still trails the senator, with aggressive press investigations revived in five-year anniversary intervals.

Probably more than any other single factor, Chappaquiddick – a frenzy without end – has ensured that Ted Kennedy would not follow his brother John to the White House.

Here is what Teddy had to say:

Address to the People of Massachusetts on Chappaquiddick

broadcast nationally from Joseph P. Kennedy’s home on 25 July 1969

Audio mp3 of Address

Do we operate under a system of equal justice under law?
Or is there one system for the average citizen and another for the high and mighty? ” ~
Senator Ted Kennedy, 1973 

His history of mistakes doesn’t end there… 

According to NNDB: “In a late-1980s media profile, Kennedy was succinctly described as someone who “grew to manhood without learning to be an adult”. He is rumored to have had several affairs while married to his first wife, and had often been seen in public while thoroughly tanked and/or behaving obnoxiously. In 1987 he was caught in flagrante delicto with an unidentified woman on the floor of a restaurant.”

Is this someone you’d want to endorse you?

I don’t pretend to understand how New England thinks but, here in middle America we aren’t impressed by the Kennedy family’s wealth and power… JFK was a good President for only 2 1/2 years (1961-1963) … He might have been a GREAT President but, truth is, we’ll never know what might have been if he hadn’t died by an assassin’s bullet.

Is this country in love with the memory, the dreams of what might have been or are we so disillusioned by our current set of politicos that we are turning our eyes toward “Camelot?”

We should not equate the endorsement of these family (Teddy, Caroline and Patrick)members as a JFK endorsement.





South Carolina Debate; Still No Mention of Autism

22 01 2008

Did I miss something? It was heated. Edwards, Clinton and Obama spent a lot of time on health-care and yet, they did not mention Autism. Statistically 1 in 150 children born today will be diagnosed with Autism and yet it again did not warrant mention in this lively debate.

Does the Autism community need to sponsor a debate in order to make it a national topic?