Friday, October 19, 2012

Romney and the Social Issues

Recently one of my Facebook friends made the following observation about the election.  She said, “Why are conservative bigoted white men wasting so much time and energy fighting homosexuality? It may take years, decades, who knows...but the LGBT community will eventually win the fight. They'll be able to marry, have rights with respect to their significant others, to be open without ridicule, etc. So why is the whole planet wasting SO much time dealing with this issue? Isn't it exhausting?”

So who are these conservative white men that she is referring to?  I consider myself a conservative who also happens to be white and male and here is where I am at on this issue.  If the citizens of a state, either through their elected officials or through direct referendum choose to expand the definition of marriage and confer these rights on same sex couples, I will respect the law and its citizens.  I feel that my position is shared by many thoughtful conservatives who like Bill Bennett, former secretary of education under Reagan who said on a Daily Show with John Stewart, “John, why do you keep harping on the gay rights agenda? you won! Its over.  Time to move on.”  This was in response to a brow beating that Stewart was giving Bennett on the subject even though it was neither brought up by Bennett nor did it have anything to do with the book Mr. Bennett was there to promote.

Most Conservatives/Republicans can identify with Bill Bennett.  The Gay/Lesbian agenda is a train that has left the station.  It is rolling and not worth fighting over, there are bigger issues to deal with.  For the most part, we simply want to avoid the question and avoid the inevitable beatings.  Its not as if we think that expanding the definition of marriage in this manner is a good idea (we don’t), we simply are resigned to the inevitable expansion/adoption of this right in our communities and have made a decision, it is not worth fighting for.

Not one major Republican leader actively promotes any policy that would suggest that they would interfere with a State’s right to determine its own laws when it comes to most social issues including the marriage issue.  Mitt Romney is a big state’s right guy and this issue would be way, way down on his agenda of items requiring action.  My evidence for this?  In neither of the two debates was the issue brought up.  I have not heard any major policy speech by either Romney or Ryan address this issue from a policy perspective.

Here is what I do hear from Mitt Romney: First, the economy is suffering, GDP has been growing more slowly for the last two years, jobs are down, people are suffering because they cannot find decent work at decent wages.  Secondly, our federal debt is over $16 trillion dollars.  Over the past 3 1/2 years the current administration has added to the debt by over $1 trillion annually.  Finally, we have an administration who is not leveling with the American people about our foreign policy as evidenced by the nearly two week time frame in which the situation in Benghazi was blamed on a you tube video by various administration officials including our Ambassador to the UN, when overwhelming evidence pointed to this being a terrorist attack.  Why would the administration mislead the American public on this issue for such a long period of time, even when their own investigators were saying otherwise?  Why would our State Department deny requests for additional security made by the Ambassador’s staff?

When I consider the issue of whether Frank can get married to Matt or Lisa can get married to Susie in the light of these three fundamental issues that lie at the core of what a federal government should be doing, the gay agenda does not hold a candle.  And I like Bill Bennett (and other thoughtful conservatives) are begging “ENOUGH ALREADY, YOU HAVE WON THE DEBATE ON THE ISSUE” lets move on to more important topics such as:
  • Economic Growth and Job Creation
  • Balancing the Federal Budget and returning our country to fiscal sanity
  • Operating with a realistic and honest foreign policy that respects our allies, condemns acts of terror, pursues foreign policies that are designed to keep this country and its citizens safe.
These are the critical issues.

There is no credible evidence that a Romney/Ryan administration would focus on much if anything beyond these three critical issues (with perhaps the exception of education).  Yes I know social values are one topic of 27 issues addressed on his website, but I would argue that there is nothing in his speeches nor his advocates talking points that suggest that this would be anything besides a low priority issue.  According to his own website, his top issues are: 5 Point Plan, jobs for Economic Growth, Foreign Policy, Smaller, Simpler, Smarter Government, Taxes.  So the Social Issues don’t make it into the top 5 and is relegated to three paragraphs as one of 27 overall issues.  The threat to the GLBT community is way, way, way overblown.

So your concern for the Gay Lesbian agenda is Straw Man.  Meant to point to something that fires up peoples concerns but at the end of the day has little meaningful substance.  Stop with the straw man already, YOU WON!!!!  Let’s focus on the most important issues, jobs and the economy, creating a plan to get the budget under control and a foreign policy that avoids the murder of Ambassadors and keeps American’s safe.

What say you?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Is it a truly Affordable Health Care?

I am continuing to ask others what is important in this election.  Recently I have been getting the Affordable Care Act as a main issue and reason to vote for Obama.  One gentleman noted that without Health Care Reform, he would not have insurance.

I responded with a personal dilemma that I hope helps put this into perspective and as a Senior I am wondering if I am not alone on this.

I want to share with you something that is being impacted by the upcoming election that affects me personally.  I am asking all of you who support Obama, especially those of you who consider the Affordable Care Act to be the main reason for supporting Obama to reflect on my situation and help me to understand why I should vote for Obama.

Many of you know that I have a form of cancer called indolent, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.  This requires aggressive treatment from time to time and I am looking at a possible bone marrow transplant over the next several months.  While I am not certain what the overall cost will be, I am certain it will be well in excess of $100,000. 

We have been blessed with a good job that has allowed me to purchase decent insurance at a rate that has been fairly affordable.  One way we have tried to manage our health care expenses and to more directly be responsible for our health care costs is that I chose a higher deductible (about;$7,000) and opted for a health savings account (HSA).  We have funded this HSA with the difference between the deductible and our anticipated out of pocket expenses.

Because of Obama's So Called Affordable Health Care plan, beginning in 2013, I will only be able to set aside $2,500 annually into my HSA.  This means that I will be "on the hook" without tax assistance for the difference between my deductible and $2,500.

This leaves me with a dilemma.  My choices would be keep the high deductible, take the 2,500 into the HSA account and pay out of pocket the nearly $5,000 of the difference between my deductable and the HSA without consideration against my after tax income.  This means that at my current tax bracket, I must earn $6,100 in order to have a net of $5,000 for my deductible.

My other option is pay nearly double my monthly premiums in order to get my deductible down to close to $2,500.  In either case, the so called Affordable Care Act makes my health care less affordable.

So when Obama tells you that he is not raising taxes on the middle class, I submit my situation as evidence piece number one that he is being less than honest on this matter.  I am confident that this is not the only situation in which this legislation has not fully represented the costs, especially to seniors who often need the most health care.

So you tell me, how is the Affordable Care Act helping me and why is it in my best interest to re-elect the President?  I'll be listening.