Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Don't waste my money...

Which presidential candidate would be better for the economy?

The positives about a potential McCain presidency are his desire to "cut spending" and keep taxes low.  Who likes to pay taxes?  Nobody, especially those of us in the higher tax brackets.  McCain says he would like to cut spending on unnecesary social programs and entitlements in order to pay for the tax cuts.  On the surface that sounds great.  The problem I see with this scenario is that the largest single expense in our federal budget is the military and John McCain has never mentioned any intention of decreasing our war financing.  On the contrary, he seems intent on staying in Iraq indefinitely and even has sung songs about bombing Iran.

As a physician I see many young people without health insurance.  By most estimates, up to one-fifth of the population is without insurance at any given time, and that number is sure to rise as the economy falters.  These people still need medical care and we all still pay for it eventually, whether McCain has this as a line item in his budget or not.  Without timely care, the costs are usually higher than they would be normally since delays in seeking care often lead to more expense.

As the baby boomers age, the payouts for Medicare and Social Security will continue to rise, so McCain's dream of decreasing entitlements seems unreasonable, especially with the new Republican-sponsored Medicare Part D drug benefit that is hitting high gear.

On these issues, Obama is not without his faults.  He really has no better plan for insuring the uninsured and he will likely expand welfare type health insurance (SCHIP) for the middle class which will reimburse health care workers 18 cents on the dollar.  One positive is that at least these kids will have insurance and such care is cost-effective in the long run.  Obama does not call for a mandate for citizens who can afford it to purcahse health insurance, and thus the invincible young adult population will continue to forgo such coverage until it's necessary.

Conclusion: McCain is delusional if he thinks that he can wage endless war and reduce taxes and balance the budget all at the same time.  Deficits would increase under such governance and our foreign policy would become increasingly tenuous.  Obama would save a ton just by getting us out of Iraq and keeping us out of other needless wars.  Furthermore, Obama seems to be surrounding himself with an elite economic brain trust which includes Paul Volcker, Robert Rubin, Lawrence Summers, Eric SchmidtWarren Buffett and his official campaign adviser, the University of Chicago conservative, Austin Goolsbee.   McCain's bench is laughable by comparison, and McCain has admitted that economics is not his strong suit.

Bottom line: Obama 

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