There's a joke that goes something like "A democrat is a republican before his first paycheck." In all it simplifaction and derisiveness it's obviously a republican joke predicated on the idea that democrats are naive liberals full of lofty ideals about the government until they see how much of their hard-earned dollars is taken out of their income every month and sent to the treasury. When I first heard it, I immediately reacted that apart from reducing everything to money, the statement is simply untrue because republicans have shown themselves to be anything but fiscally conservative. However, the statement keeps coming back to me as I watch the debates and hear some of the democratic rhetoric on economic issues. Case in point: taxes for oil companies - good thing or bad thing? Sounds good enough - these companies are, after all, making money from selling an environmentally damaging and unsustainable source of energy which typically originates in some dictatorship in the Middle East. Why not take some of those profits and use them for, say, healthcare or education? Makes sense, except one little problem: oil companies are publically traded companies which are, quite literally, owned by the public. See the ad in this video:
So what do I feel when I hear Joe Biden accuse John McCain of supporting tax breaks for oil companies? Anywhere between cognitive dissonance and nausea. I want Obama/Biden to win this election and I consider myself a democrat for many reasons. But some of their statements on economic issues make me want to hold my ears and scream. Another funny example from the same debate: Biden warning that McCain's $5,000 tax credit to help families buy health insurance "will go straight to the insurance company" as if that meant the insurance company CEO will take that money and go buy a yacht with it. Except, duh, if you're buying healh insurance with the money, it obviously goes to the insurance company to, um, insure you.
Fine, I can accept that Democrats need to do some populist pandering if it helps counter similar tactics from the other side. I just pray that when confronted by a more formidable debate opponent - not Palin - the democratic ticket can defend these non-sensical views. Perhaps, during the Tuesday debate? Until then, I will hold my ears and scream.