wpe50.jpg (1913 bytes)      TigerSoft News Service     2/20/2008    www.tigersoft.com    

Wall Street Likes The Idea of A President Obama: 

                 While He May Raise Taxes, He Favors Incentives, Rather Than Mandates.

                     Bush's Job Approval in Handling The Economy Is Now 14%                           .  

                                                           by William Schmidt, Ph.D. 

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          Wall Street Likes The Idea of A President Obama: 

        While He May Raise Taxes, He Favors Incentives, Rather Than Mandates.

                   Obama says voters wanted a new vision: “It’s a spirit that says we are looking for something different
— we want something new
.”   That sounds like what all politicians say.  When we look at his words and short record
we get a bit better idea.  Many are concerned that he has too little experience, seems too cocky on the stump (We
don't want another arrogant President.  That model's flaws are all too apparent after George ("I'm not a nation-builder")
Bush's Presidency.)  

                 Obama seeks to avoid use of word "mandate" or "require" in Health Care, Pollution
and Emissions and fuel efficiency of cars
  Instead, he seeks to manipulate the market with incentives and
allowing polluters to bid for the right to pollute.

                His health care plan has two major weaknesses: it is neither universal, nor cheap.  It would cover only half of the number Clinton's plan would cover and it would cost $4,400 per newly insured person compared to $2,700 in Clinton's plan.

                  I wonder how many of his Green supporters know that Obama seems to consider nuclear energy a
clean energy source
, a view which I personally consider abhorrent.  But then all the other candidates also would
give power companies incentives to build more nuclear plants to reduce green-houses gases... (I used to write
about economic, social and environmental topics for a New Mexico weekly.  There I
studied closely the
dangers of low-level ionizing radiation.  The Federal Government, for example, and The Bureau of Mines
would not release epidemiological data showing how deadly uranium mining was to uranium miners in Grants, New Mexico and those down-wind, as far away as Albuquerque.    Now the truth is coming

          out.  See http://www.ratical.org/radiation/CNR/RIC/NEJM.html    .    

                  At the center of Obama's message foe change are his claims that he is free of special lobbyist influence.
To the extent that his contributions are smaller and come from internet appeals, he is being truthful.  But he also gets
big campaign contributions from special  interests.  "In fact, he's received so much funding, an estimated $30 million per month, that his campaign appears to be backpedaling on a November pledge where he said if he was the Democratic nominee, he would aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee to preserve a publicly financed general election. A February 3, article by "The New York Times" reported that Exelon Corp, the nation's largest nuclear plant operator is one of Obama's largest campaign donors. According to the article, Exelon's support of Obama far exceeds money given to the other candidates.  The "Times" pointed out that Exelon chairman John W. Rowe has been an Obama donor and is also chairman of the Nuclear Energy Institute, the nuclear power industry's largest lobbying group.

The article did not mention that Rowe, like several other powerful energy power players also sits on the influential, right wing and neo-conservative American Enterprise Institute's Board. 
                  ( http://www.politicalcortex.com/story/2008/2/19/135659/423 )...

wpe4F.jpg (17351 bytes)                 Trading One Devil for Another.

In the effort to curb green-house gases from coal fired plants, McCain and Liberman have proposed legislation to subsidize the building of huge nuclear power plants.

The nuclear power industry in the U.S. has been at a virtual standstill because of high construction costs, regulatory uncertainties and public apprehension after a 1979 accident at Pennsylvania’s Three Mile Island.

A number of plants ordered before the accident went into operation. But many more were canceled after one of the Three Mile Island reactors suffered a partial meltdown and small amounts of radiation were released into the atmosphere.

                   I liked what Obama said about stopping America's march backwards towards the Social Darwinism of the
late 19th century, where the poor and weak were considered tools, canon fodder and utterly expendable.  The
Social Darwinist would say "The poor are weak and Nature must be allowed to weed them out".  Compare this
with the 19th century Calvinists, who would say, "Their poverty proves they do not have God's favor, while
the wealthy, by their good fortune, show that they are blessed with God's providence.   Either way, from what
I can see, the poor do not have to be poor.  It is a choice that political and economic leaders make for them.

                    He will try to change things that have caused so much out-souring of jobs, obscenely high executive
pay and unsafe imports.  He will try to, he says, move America away from unbridled selfishness at the top. "Instead of thinking about what's good for America or what's good for business, a mentality has crept into certain corners of
Washington and the business world that says, 'What's good enough for me is good enough,' ". Obama gives the subprime-mortgage crisis sweeping the country as a "prime" example.  "If we are honest, I think we must admit that
those who have benefited from the new global marketplace - and that includes almost everyone in this room - have not always concerned themselves with the losers in this new economy." 

               In the words of one of his consultants,  "Business would have a seat at the table, but business wouldn't be able to buy all the chairs."  Obama sponsored a bill to give shareholders a non-bonding proxy vote on executive pay. (My
complaint with Obama is that such limits on excessive CEO pay should be absolutely binding).   Obama voted for a free-trade pact with Peru that contained provisos to protect the Peruvian environment and Peruvian labor.  From
what I have read about Newmont Mining and Peru, I would say this is far-sighted and just!

              Obama seems open.  With banker, Rober Wolf, CEO of UBS Americas, he has exchanged views about the Senate-passed economic stimulus package and the role of the G-7 economic summit.  In between rallies on the campaign trail, Obama has also consulted on the economy with billionaire Warren Buffett.  Obama frequently cites Buffett's
support for rolling back the Bush tax.  Most surprising, Obama has also been in touch with Republican and former
Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, who has endorsed him.  "When I sat down with him, I found him to be
unbelievably refreshing and smart and thoughtful," says Wolf.  The UBS chief has gone on to raise more than $1 million (690,000 euros) for the Obama campaign.

                More details will have to be set out about his plan for a voluntary health care plan.  It is a disgrace that
every other industrialized nation on the planet has a universal and comprehensive health care system of insurance.. 
How is this to be paid for?   I suppose anything is better than nothing.   But this sounds like only a half step to me.
Paul Krugman in the New York Times agrees with me: "The difference between the plans could well be the difference between achieving universal health coverage — a key progressive goal — and falling far short... New estimates say
that a plan resembling Mrs. Clinton’s would cover almost twice as many of those now uninsured as a plan resembling
Mr. Obama’s — at only slightly higher cost."

Obams's Health Care Plan Seems Much More Limited.

"Both plans require that private insurers offer policies to everyone, regardless of medical history. Both also allow people to buy into government-offered insurance instead.

"And both plans seek to make insurance affordable to lower-income Americans. The Clinton plan is, however, more explicit about affordability, promising to limit insurance costs as a percentage of family income. And it also seems to include more funds for subsidies.

"But the big difference is mandates: the Clinton plan requires that everyone have insurance; the Obama plan doesn’t.

"Mr. Obama claims that people will buy insurance if it becomes affordable. Unfortunately, the evidence says otherwise.

"After all, we already have programs that make health insurance free or very cheap to many low-income Americans, without requiring that they sign up. And many of those eligible fail, for whatever reason, to enroll.

"That doesn’t look like a trivial difference to me. One plan achieves more or less universal coverage; the other, although it costs more than 80 percent as much, covers only about half of those currently uninsured.


"An Obama-type plan would also face the problem of healthy people who decide to take their chances or don’t sign up until they develop medical problems, thereby raising premiums for everyone else. Mr. Obama, contradicting his earlier assertions that affordability is the only bar to coverage, is now talking about penalizing those who delay signing up — but it’s not clear how this would work.

"So the Obama plan would leave more people uninsured than the Clinton plan. How big is the difference?

"To answer this question you need to make a detailed analysis of health care decisions. That’s what Jonathan Gruber of M.I.T., one of America’s leading health care economists, does in a new paper.

"Mr. Gruber finds that a plan without mandates, broadly resembling the Obama plan, would cover 23 million of those currently uninsured, at a taxpayer cost of $102 billion per year.

"An otherwise identical plan with mandates would cover 45 million of the uninsured — essentially everyone — at a taxpayer cost of $124 billion. Over all, the Obama-type plan would cost $4,400 per newly insured person, the Clinton-type plan only $2,700.

                 Obama voted against the Bush tax cuts on capital gains and dividends and against repealing Estate
Tax cuts.  He called it  “billions of dollars to billionaire heirs and heiresses.”  Certainly, these cuts have made the rich
very rich, indeed.  But Wall Street will not like this.  And will probably show its displeasure and power by promptly
starting a bear market if Obama becomes President.

                Energy independence?  Obama voted against drilling more off-shore drilling and in the Alaska wilderness.
He has opposed lifting a $0.54 per gallon tariff on Brazilian ethanol. “Ethanol imports are neither necessary nor a
practical response to current gasoline prices".

               Obama's approach to pollution controls is conservative and uses the market place. He would allow
industrial polluters, provided they pay for the right to pollute! 
The money raised in his way would be used to
help develop and deploy clean, green energy.  $150 billion should be invested in R&D for "renewable, biofuels, efficiency, "clean coal," and other clean tech.".  He would subsidize US automakers by having the "Federal Government
help cover the health-care costs of retired US autoworkers.in exchange for domestic auto companies investing at least 50 percent of the savings into production of more fuel-efficient vehicles."

                Obama voted against right-wing Supreme Court judges Alito and John Roberts. As I dislike their refusal
to allow the FDA the power to control the nicotine in cigarettes, I think Obama voted progressively.  Obama
said no to Patriot Act wiretap extensions.  I don't like Big Brother.  There are much better ways to deter another
terrorist attack on the US.  He collaborated in blocking John Bolton’s appointment to the United Nations. John Bolton
does not even believe in the United Nations.  He certainly should not be our representative there.  He earned a perfect 100 percent rating from NARAL Pro-Choice America.  As a man, I will leave this up to the women who bear
He opposed the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act. 


wpe4F.jpg (5146 bytes) Employees of Goldman, the world's biggest securities firm by market value, donated $120,250 to Obama, who addressed Goldman's annual partners' meeting in Chicago last year, and $113,750 to Romney, the filings show. Clinton got $64,400 from the firm's employees. Giuliani received $13,250.

"These are private decisions by individuals at the firm to contribute, and it would be inappropriate for Goldman Sachs to comment on it," said Peter Rose, a Goldman spokesman.

U.S. employees of Zurich-based UBS gave more than $140,000 to Obama, compared with $62,050 to Giuliani and $9,100 for Clinton. Romney raised $24,100 from UBS employees, and McCain took in $16,000.
( http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/17/AR2007041701688.html )

     General Election: McCain vs. Obama

Polling Data
Poll Date Sample McCain (R) Obama (D) Und Spread
RCP Average 01/29 - 02/16 - 43.5 47.6 7.5 Obama +4.1
Reuters/Zogby 02/13 - 02/16 928 LV 40 47 13 Obama +7.0
USA Today/Gallup 02/08 - 02/10 706 LV 46 50 4 Obama +4.0
AP-Ipsos 02/07 - 02/10 1,029 A 42 48 8 Obama +6.0
Time 02/01 - 02/04 958 LV 41 48 6 Obama +7.0
CNN 02/01 - 02/03 974 RV 44 52 4 Obama +8.0
Cook/RT Strategies 01/31 - 02/02 855 RV 43 45 9 Obama +2.0
ABC/Wash Post 01/30 - 02/01 1249 A 46 49 3 Obama +3.0
FOX News 01/30 - 01/31 900 RV 43 44 13 Obama +1.0
NPR 01/29 - 01/31 1000 LV 48 47 3 McCain +1.0
Rasmussen (Wed) 4 Day Tracking 1700 LV 42 46 12 Obama +4.0
Earlier McCain vs. Obama Polling Data


    Bush's Job Approval is now 19%     http://americanresearchgroup.com/economy/   

When it comes to rating their household financial situations, 59% of Americans give an excellent, very good, or good rating and 40% give a bad, very bad, or terrible rating.

Household financial situation


Very good



Very bad



Feb 2008 6% 17% 36% 22% 11% 7% 1%
Jan 2008 12% 13% 45% 15% 6% 8% 1%
Dec 2007 14% 16% 36% 12% 17% 4% 1%
Nov 2007 13% 14% 38% 27% 6% 1% 1%
Oct 2007 11% 22% 32% 27% 2% 5% 1%
Sep 2007 12% 17% 44% 18% 3% 5% 1%
Aug 2007 11% 19% 25% 33% 9% 2% 1%
Jul 2007 5% 24% 39% 15% 9% 7% 1%
Jun 2007 8% 19% 41% 22% 6% 3% 1%
May 2007 15% 9% 38% 19% 12% 6% 1%
Apr 2007 11% 16% 51% 17% 3% 1% 1%
Mar 2007 11% 16% 44% 24% 2% 2% 1%
Feb 2007 11% 19% 29% 28% 7% 4% 2

George W. Bush's overall job approval rating has dropped to a new low in American Research Group polling as 78% of Americans say that the national economy is getting worse according to the latest survey from the American Research Group.

Among all Americans, 19% approve of the way Bush is handling his job as president and 77% disapprove. When it comes to Bush's handling of the economy, 14% approve and 79% disapprove.

Bush handling the economy Approve Disapprove Undecided
Feb 2008 14% 79% 7%
Jan 2008 29% 63% 8%
Dec 2007 28% 71% 1%
Nov 2007 32% 62% 6%
Oct 2007 23% 67% 10%
Sep 2007 33% 58% 9%
Aug 2007 29% 64% 7%
Jul 2007 23% 73% 4%
Jun 2007 29% 64% 7%
May 2007 31% 62% 7%
Apr 2007 33% 63% 4%
Mar 2007 32% 64% 4%
Feb 2007 40% 54% 6%


           Pro-Big Business McCain. Populist Obama and Ben Stein  

        Senator John McCain keeps affirming his  no-new-taxes pledge.  He has emphasized his plans to cut
corporate-taxes from 35 to 25 percent, and reiterated his pledge to keep the Bush tax cuts on
estates and on the wealthy  in place.  Several times on the campaign trail, McCain has mentioned Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer, Cisco’s John Chambers, and FedEx CEO Fred Smith as possible cabinet members.

       Contrast all this with Obama. This Sunday’s Washington Post editorial, “Trading Down — On economics, Mr. Obama goes populist,” and places stricter limits on free trade deals, like NAFTA - the North American Trade Pact  and with
China.  See NY Times story by John Broder and Jeff Zeleny Democrats Make Populist Appeals before Contests
Of course, the arch conservative National Review takes Clinton's and Obama's views as class warfare against the rich.
But most people would say, "fair is fair" and it's time the class warfare by the very rich on the middle class and working
families be ended.

         If There's Class Warfare in The US, It's The Very Rich That Have Won.

       Humorist and Republican Ben Stein quoted Waren Buffett  in the NY Times: "
There’s class warfare, all right,” Mr. Buffett said, “but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”  Stein wrote that this quote from Buffett kept coming to mind. 
I have been on one television panel after another, talking about how questionable it is that the country is                          enjoying what economists call full employment while we are still running a federal budget deficit
                      of roughly $434 billion for fiscal 2006 (not counting off-budget items like Social Security) and
                      economists forecast that it will grow to $567 billion in fiscal 2010.

       Stein answers conservative objections to the proposition that taxes should be raised on the very wealthy to close
the gaps. 

       "One argument was that the mere suggestion constituted class warfare. I think Mr. Buffett answered that one.

       "Another argument was that raising taxes actually lowers total revenue, and that only cutting taxes stimulates federal revenue. This is supposedly proved by the history of tax receipts since... George W. Bush became president.   ...The
federal government collected roughly $1.004 trillion in income taxes from individuals in fiscal 2000, the last full year of President Bill Clinton’s merry rule. It fell to a low of $794 billion in 2003 after Mr. Bush’s tax cuts....Only by the end of fiscal 2006 did income tax revenue surpass the $1 trillion level again. ..So much for tax cuts adding to revenue...

      "The third argument (against) tax cuts was this: “Don’t raise taxes. Cut spending.”   The sad fact is that spending
rises every year, no matter what people want or say they want. Every president and every member of Congress
promises to cut “needless” spending. But spending has risen every year since 1940 except for a few years after World War II and a brief period after the Korean War.   The imperatives for spending are built into the system, and now, with entitlements expanding rapidly, increased spending is locked in. Medicare, Social Security, interest on the debt —
all are growing like mad, and how they will ever be stopped or slowed is beyond imagining. Gross interest on Treasury
debt is approaching $350 billion  a year.
And none of this counts major deferred maintenance for the military.

       "The fourth argument in response to my suggestion was that “deficits don’t matter.”  There is something to              this. One would think that big deficits would be highly inflationary, according to Keynesian economics.   On the other hand, we have all that interest to pay, soon roughly $7 billion a week, a lot of it to overseas owners of our debt. This, to me, seems to matter."




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