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A New Direction For America…Backwards

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Today, after months of waiting, the Democrats have come up with an agenda for 2006. First, some noticeably missing items.

Iraq. For as much as the Democrats continue to criticize the President's mishandling of the war, the peace, or whatever you want to call it, their direction does not highlight any meaningful alternative. How do they believe a free and secure Iraq should be created? Well, if Murtha has his way, apparently by surrendering to Al Qaeda.

National security. Apparently terrorism is not a problem because the polar ice caps are melting. Perhaps we were mistaken, it wasn't planes that flew into the World Trade Center on 9/11, it was chunks of ice from the North Pole. So while they are ignoring national security, they're stumping for Gore's movie.

Immigration. Millions of immigrants took to the streets in protest in recent months. Millions more legal residents have also made their views known. No matter where you stand, this is one of the most charged and important issues on the minds of the people, and on this issue the Democrats are silent.

Moving on to some of the core items of the Democrats' platform from items that simply haven't been on the public radar to making current problems worse…

Raising minimum wage. Despite the fact that every time the minimum wage has been raised unemployment has gone up, they believe that having no job is better than being paid less than some arbitrary number. There are more intelligent ways to get people earning enough to provide for their families, but raising the minimum wage isn't one of them. There is a finite amount of money in circulation; those wage increases need to be paid for somehow. It ends up being either layoffs, benefit cuts, higher prices (and cost of living), or a combination of all three.

Price gouging. Who isn't against price gouging? However, for as much as that legal term has been thrown around, there has not been any evidence provided to support that it is happening. After about two years of hearing that companies are breaking the law to stick it to Joe Consumer, I'd expect that someone would be able to prove it to nail their ass to the wall for it. However, after two years of complaining they haven't found any evidence, it is doubtful that giving them a majority will accomplish anything except more hearings with legislators bloviating on TV so it looks like they are "doing something."

Fiscal responsibility. One of the most appealing parts of the platform is restoring fiscal responsibility, however, the likely way of doing this will be to increase income to the treasury, not reducing spending. One of the key items to pay attention is that they specifically reference the fiscal discipline of the 90s… i.e. when Congress was run by Republicans. Cutting taxes is one thing, you have to cut spending along with it. At least on this point the Democrats are intellectually honest. They'll at least raise taxes to pay for their spending. If we want to talk about fiscal responsibility, let's start with earmark reform.

Slash student loan costs. This is pandering at its worst because student loans are almost essentially free. I know, because I have them. My wife's student loans are consolidated for an APR of 1.65%. In other words, I could take the money, put it in a savings account, and use the interest to pay off the loan and still turn a profit on the loan. I know students who take student loans for the express purpose of using that money and investing it earning 8%+. Student loans are an incredible deal. Inflation is about 3%, which makes those loans essentially trivial interest. The only thing that could be done to make those loans cheaper would be to pay students interest for taking them out.

Stop tax giveaways for outsourcing. If by tax-giveaways you mean that other countries don't tax the crap out of companies like we do, than you're right. However, how exactly are you going to start taxing companies that aren't in the US? Tariffs? Bring the entire world under the United States tax structure? No one is paying businesses to leave the US and outsource, it's simply far cheaper to hire labor overseas in some industries.

Stop wasteful subsidies, Support stem-cell research. These two items are directly at odds. If there are wasteful subsidies, by all means eliminate them. However, funding stem-cell research (particularly embryonic which is what they are talking about) is in itself a wasteful subsidy. Adult stem cell research is curing people, it works. Private money is coming in hand over fist for adult stem cell research. Embryonic stem cell research does not work, which is why they have no investors and need a handout. While it might give the Democrats yet another chance to kill millions more babies and start treating people less as human beings and more as crops to be cultivated for parts, it remains that this science doesn't work.

The Democratic platform here doesn't address most of the issues important to Americans. The three top issues are Iraq, gas prices, and immigration for Congress. Health care is low on the list. Social security is absent. Stem cell research is absent. The minimum wage is absent.

Once again, we're faced with a party unwilling to tackle the big issues that Americans care about. It would be nice in 2006 to have a real choice between candidates, and it looks like the Democratic party has deprived us once again.

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About John Bambenek

John Bambenek is a political activist and computer security expert. He has his own company Bambenek Consulting in Champaign, IL that specializes in digital forensics and computer security investigations.
  • RogerMDillon

    “Who isn’t against price gouging?”

    John Stossel.

    It would be nice if you showed some fiscal responsibilty and paid your wife’s student loan back. Trying walking the walk.

    Embryonic stem cell research doesn’t kill babies, so spare the theatrics. It exposes what little you know about the subject.

    “The three top issues are Iraq, gas prices, and immigration for Congress.”

    That would explain the Republicans focus on gay marriage, flag burning and the estate tax. When can we expect to see your article taking them to task? Should I hold my breath?

  • http://jcb.pentex-net.com John Bambenek

    I am paying the loan back… one payment at a time.

    Embryonic stem cell research doesn’t. Any cure developed from it will… Where precisely will all those embryos come from?

    Oh yeah… poor black women.

    In unrelated news, none of those are necessarily priorities for the GOP, they are just issues you cherry-picked that they are dealing with to try to say they are dealing with no other issues, which is a false dichtomy.

    In unrelated news, exactly what are they doing about flag burning again?

    They do have a plan for immigration, they do have a plan for Iraq, and they do have an economic policy. Apparently the Democrats 2006 agenda doesn’t. Nice try. Play again.

  • JR

    John Bambenenk: Where precisely will all those embryos come from?

    Oh yeah… poor black women.

    Ooh, playing the race card! I think you’re wrong, I think those embryos will come from rich couples who use in vitro fertilization, but I’ll play your silly game anyway.

    If those poor black women are forced to carry to term, they’ll be even poorer and they will perpetuate their community’s impoverished economic status. The number of black people thus condemned to difficult, brutish lives and premature death will ultimately exceed the number of embryos not brought to term.

    That’s fucking cruel.

  • http://jpsgoddamnblog.blogspot.com JP

    OK, John –

    You ask about Iraq “How do they believe a free and secure Iraq should be created?” My question is why is it up to us? Shouldn’t the Iraqi people be the ones responsible for their own governance?

    Also – “One of the key items to pay attention is that they specifically reference the fiscal discipline of the 90s… i.e. when Congress was run by Republicans.” Isn’t Congress CURRENTLY run by Republicans, or was there a Democratic landslide that I missed somewhere? Shouldn’t the fact that the Executive and the Legislative are both Republican-controlled mean that the Republicans are in the position to reign in spending? And, last I checked, THEY’VE FAILED.

  • http://jcb.pentex-net.com John Bambenek

    JR-

    You are familiar that abortion was pretty much pushed by eugenicists trying to, among other things, thin out the numbers of blacks?

    The reality is, not that many people get IVR. Sure, that’ll be some of it, but they’ll have to find other sources, and that’ll be poor women they pay off to give up their eggs.

    However, you make an interesting point. That black people’s “difficult, brutish lives and premature death” and their “impoverished economic status” makes them not worth being alive. Your position is that its better for black people never to be born. I’ve never met someone who believes in that racist eugenic crap that the value of a black life is not worth letting them live. But hey, at least you can admit you’re about killing off black people.

    JP-

    Ummm, let’s see. It might just be our responsibility because we invading and took out Saddam. Now, we didn’t outright create the new government, the people did. But we do have a responsibility to do what we can so that the governement will succeed. And on that issue, the biggest one to the voters, the Democrats have no plan.

    And perhaps you failed to read the part in this post where I say that very thing, that the Republicans failed to cut spending… That the Republicans failed to deliver on what they were put in office to do? You’re attacking me with a point I come out in make in this very post.

  • Arch Conservative

    E

    One thing that is certain is that the Dems will not fair as well as they’d wish to in 2006 and 2008 if they all they can offer is the same ole same old Dem rhetoric “Bush and the GOP suck, vote for us.” That ain’t cuttin it……..If the Dems want to be taken seriously and gain control of congress or the white house in 2008 they must offer solutions to this nation’s problems that are not onyl different from the GOP but are reasonable and appeal to a large part of the American voting population. This hasn’t happened yet and seems to be an impossible task for the current dem leadership. They just haven’t gotten it through their heads that yelling about the other guy while not offering anything yourself doesn’t work. You think by now they would have.

    Oh well.

  • JR

    John Bambenek: You are familiar that abortion was pretty much pushed by eugenicists trying to, among other things, thin out the numbers of blacks?

    You are aware that Adolph Hitler was anti-abortion?

    However, you make an interesting point. That black people’s “difficult, brutish lives and premature death” and their “impoverished economic status” makes them not worth being alive. Your position is that its better for black people never to be born. I’ve never met someone who believes in that racist eugenic crap that the value of a black life is not worth letting them live. But hey, at least you can admit you’re about killing off black people.

    Not all black women, not even all poor black women (not all black people are poor, if you didn’t already know that), will choose to get abortions. Since I leave the choice up to them, black people will be in no danger of dying off.

    You’re really determined to accuse people who disagree with you of being racist, aren’t you?

  • http://jcb.pentex-net.com John Bambenek

    You were the one suggesting it was better for poor black kids to have never been born, not me.

  • JR

    Did I say it would be any different for poor white kids?

    Who brought up race in the first place? Mind you, I’m not saying you are a racist; I rather doubt that you are. But you are willing to paint other people as racist. Is that any way to carry on a debate?

  • Arch Conservative

    You’re really determined to accuse people who disagree with you of being racist, aren’t you?

    That’s play number one in the leftists guide to political and social discourse JR.

    Haven’t you learned that yet?

  • http://jpsgoddamnblog.blogspot.com JP

    JR – Sorry, I did read you wrong, you mentioned how you missed the financial discipline of the 90s. At that point there was one party in charge of the Executive and the other in charge of the Legislative–I think we need to get back to that situation again in 2006. Checks and balances lead to better governance.

  • http://jcb.pentex-net.com John Bambenek

    Bush has shown willingness to increase spending. Dems do nothing but increase spending. I’m not sure a split government will reduce spending, they’ll just fight over the beneficiaries, and if the current environment plays out like it has been, it means each party will demands that their people get pork and both will get some.

    Nothing unites the parties these days like spending tax dollars.