Friday, October 03, 2008

The Debate

Watched the debate last night at a bar right next to the Obama headquarters. They had a room set up upstairs with the debate on a big screen and a packed room. It was like watching a sporting event (which John and I never do) with the cheering, laughing, groaning, and excited commentary. I thought Biden was fantastic. I thought a couple of times that he looked a bit like he wanted to shove a pencil through his eye, but who could blame him? However, he remained calm, cool, poised, and eloquent through the whole thing. Even when he felt the need to retaliate at the implication that he didn't understand what it was like to wonder whether or not a child would "make it" in recovering from a life-threatening medical situation, he held it together and it didn't come off like a grasp for sympathy. It was simply an 'ok, you went there and I am going to make a brief but pointed response and move on'.

I thought AriannaH. comments summed it up well...
"Watching Biden and Palin on the same stage was like watching a tennis champion walk onto Centre Court at Wimbledon only to find himself facing an over-eager amateur from the local high school."

And this quote from Sam Stein was pretty much right on target "...while Sarah Palin exceeded the exceedingly low expectations set for her, Joe Biden won the night." I think I used a bit more forcefull language though.

Did you see her blow a kiss to the crowd as she walked out? Yeah, very vice presidential. And the winking? Good lord woman! That's what we need, charm and flirting! Who needs to sit down and talk and talk through complex issues with world leaders? Just blow 'em a kiss and wink!

And did you yell "what the hell???" along with us when they were talking about foreign policy and the wars and she suddenly switched to talking about energy?

Ok - enough about Palin. I could go on for quite a while.

I loved how despite her sprinting in the opposite direction of half of the questions asked, when the camera turned to Biden, he would promptly and precisely answer the original question (without having to re-ask what the question was) and go on to also address whatever tanget she had gone off on, all well within his allotted 2 minutes.

I thought this post by Leah McElrath Renna was spot on. It's short - take a minute to read it. Joe's Tears: the Political Power of Paternal Love Yeah, he got choked up. But it was real, and he wouldn't have gone there had Palen not dragged him there. I think most of the room teared up with him.

So which issue fired me up? Well, many did, but I think the health care issue is one of the most important to me and I get frustrated that it is never covered in more depth.

I cannot understand how anyone thinks a $5,000 tax credit for health care is any sort of solution.

The average cost for a family health care plan per year is $12,000. Most who can afford that already have coverage through their job. Those that don't have coverage are lucky if they make $30,000 a year. They probably don't. Most of them could not afford to spend $12,000 a year on a house much less adding health care on top of that. And that is if they could even GET coverage in the first place. When you get coverage through an employer, the insurance company HAS to cover you and your family, pre-existing conditions and all. When John and I first moved, there were a few months before we got jobs that we weren't covered. I tried to go and get basic coverage (you know, for major health issues/accidents, etc) and we got DENIED. We were 29 and 31 and VERY healthy at the time. Why did we get denied? Because I had pulled a muscle in my neck while packing for the move and made the mistake of getting some muscle relaxants from my Dr. - therefore, I had a "pre-existing condition" so they wouldn't cover us. Despite the fact that the muscle pull was all better the next week.

Back to the $5,000 credit. Remeber - coverage cost is $12,000/year IF YOU CAN GET IT and this means you have to pay the other $7,000 out of pocket. Oh, and by the way, the premiums would no longer be tax deductable. See, right now, even though my employer covers most of the cost of my insurance, that cost is not factored into my salary, and therefore, I don't pay any taxes on that portion of my "income". If I had to pay taxes on an additional $12,000 a year that would be roughly $3,600 (including medicare and social security and state income taxes)so bottom line I would pay an additional $12,000 out of pocket and net $1,400 less in tax payments. Yup. Biden called it - the McCain/Palin health care plan is a "bridge to nowhere."

Great. So with McCain, my taxable income just went up 20%. I make around $60,000 a year. Not bad, but definitely a mid to lower middle class income. Pretty much the low side of average. So here's some further food for thought currently I "pay" 20% of my "income" in health care. It just doesn't come to me first and I don't have to pay taxes on it. Any yet we balk at the thought of our taxes going up to cover the cost of health care? People, individually, those of us with coverage are ALREADY PAYING MORE THAN WE WOULD if we had national health care coverage for everyone. Let's just do it already ok? It will ultimately cost less and EVERYONE gets covered.

And talk about trying to support the creation of more small businesses? Well let me tell you, a HUGE reason more people don't start their own business is they either can't get, or could not afford health insurance on their own. And even if they could afford their own, they usually cannot offer it for their employees.

Ok - enough about that...

People, if this country elects McCain/Palin not only are we in serious trouble, the rest of the world is going to write us off. Most of the world was already incredulous that we elected GW the first time, and flabergasted (along with the rest of us democrats) that he actually got re-elected. Now we have a ticket with McSame and Cariboo Barbie? (I can't take credit for those names but I have wholeheartedly adopted them) Our reputation with the rest of the world is hanging by a thread - if they get elected I can pretty much guarantee that thread is going to SNAP!!!

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