07 November 2008

My 2008 Election Selection Part 3

As I promised in my earlier post, here are my Presidential selections for this election season. I decided to wait to allow the very few readers I actually get a chance to read my selections for the California Propositions, preventing people from immediately jumping to what most people want to know: who I chose. Well, for many people who don't talk to me outside of the Internet (or frequent my Facebook and MySpace profiles), it was readily apparent thanks to previous post on Twitter, but I'll go into my decision in a little more detail here.
My 2008 Presidential Election choice was Democratic candidate Barack Obama. Now, if you were (and possibly still are) a John McCain supporter, you may be wondering why, and possibly even assuming that my choice was because I hoped he would be a better candidate (making my decision based on the campaign's slogan). Well, in part, this is true, but it goes much deeper than that.
For a long time I have always been a proponent of somewhat drastic changes - changes that I reason would benefit a large percentage of people as a whole. During this election, the major hot-button issue was the economy, and rightly so, with thousands losing their jobs and even more facing such disastrous effects like losing their home or not even being able to buy the bare necessities to live for their families. Since the beginning of the 2008, Wall Street has seen a steady decline, finding themselves with an even sharper decline beginning in October (please see this Google Finance graph of the DOW, S&P 500, and Nasdaq trends). Although many people have different reasons to blame other groups of people, perpetuating resentment of those groups (for example, there are some people that incorrectly attribute the economic decline to the relitively recent influx of immigrants), the truth of the matter is that the whole reason the stock market has declined is because the greediness of the Wall Street investors had finally caught up to them, and the continuance of fear by the news agencies of a recession (fear begets fear, which in this case, the mere idea that there may be a recession actually caused the recession).
Another reason for the decline could be attributed to the greed of big businesses themselves, creating multi-million, even multi-billion, dollar mergers. The last few years have been comically called "The Age of the Merger," and its true that mergers have become more rampant now than anytime in the nation's history. Though mergers help companies grow and expand their footprint, there are serious detrimental byproducts. Not only do mergers lead to the destruction of a free market where consumers have fewer choices on who they go with for whatever product or service they seek, effectively limiting their selections, but for the employees of those businesses themselves they will find that their job is no longer stable - if it was to begin with. Inevitably, when a company merges, the cost of the company that they merge with is so great that a corporate restructuring must take place to minimize operational cost to recoup the loss. This restructuring is also necessary since the corporate structure of the two companies must combine in some functional way, and mashing the two of them together just doesn't work. As a result, some individuals are marked "redundant" or "too costly" and thus are told that their job will be eliminated, therefore they will be eliminated as well.
Now, what does this have to do with the Presidential candidates, you may ask. Well, it is quite simple: my selection was based on the aspect of which the candidate wishes to solve the problem. McCain proposed giving breaks to businesses, whereas Obama wished to help the citizens themselves by making things a little easier for them. Where is the benefit from each? Well, for McCain, the proposed benefit to businesses would be increased business savings, allowing the business to grow in financial power. This initially seems like a good idea, however backfires because of the problems already listed above: recently, businesses that gain financial power will try to eliminate competition so that their profits will continue to grow, meaning that they will, as mentioned before, use their financial power to merge with the other company or even completely buy them out (the "Microsoft Effect"). Obama, on the other hand, wishes to prevent this business-eat-business and instead channel the huge profits of large businesses who are capable of buying other businesses out or merging to social systems that desperately need the help, like Social Security for the large number of Baby Boomers who are retired or about to retire. Unfortunately, too, Obama's plan has a downside - as businesses are taxed, the cost of doing business goes up, resulting in some layoffs or even their prices going up. This though is not as detremental of a problem when weighed with the other options because layoffs tend to be smaller in number and costs usually will go up in smaller increments, thereby making it still affordable to consumers.
As you can see, the economy is currently a very sticky situation, with potentially major problems on every side and with every solution. However, I felt that the Republican stance on solving issues has a higher risk of not actually helping citizens, where the Democratic view addresses the individual problems right now versus the "trickle-down effect" that may take years to see in the Republican view.
Now, please note that my political alignment is with the Democratic party, but Barack Obama was initially not my pick for President. I just chose him because my political views were echoed by the agendas his party represented. I focus on the populace and the immediate needs of the populace - betting on the future is not something I do and thus I can't trust that the effects of the "trickle-down effect" will actually make it to the people where it was intended. After all, a company that makes more money tends to try to maximize profits, of which the top investors and highest-ranking members usually take the majority of.
There are other reasons why I chose the Democratic party's candidate, but the economic one is the most important to me, as I face the challenges daily and see other people close to me suffer as a result. But also, in an illogical aspect to things, McCain is too old for the job anyway, regardless of what "experience" he might claim to have (sorry, but experience running a business is not experience running a country - the rules and requirements are much different).

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