Researched Articles

Does the Obama Administration Have a Case Against the AP?

Below is an article that I originally wrote for the site Independent Voter News.

As of late the Obama administration has come under increasing pressure from journalists to justify its handling of national security leaks.  Alongside these concerns is a broader debate on whether or not press leaks endanger national security, and if so, how can it be proven?

The Obama administration has indicted more whistle-blowers than any other presidency in history – six to be exact.  Recently, there has been significant press coverage of the AP leaks scandal; many opinions have been stated in the past few weeks, but there are some things to keep in mind before diving into any conclusions.  First, allow me to give a brief overview of what exactly happened.

On May 7, 2012, the Associated Press (AP) released a story that the CIA had broken up a plot to bomb a US-bound airliner in Yemen about one week prior.  The AP had known about the operation around the same time that it had occurred, but was asked by government officials to hold the release of the story until the plot was officially undermined.

Once seizure of the bomb and the suspect had occurred, the AP released the story without regard to the Obama administration’s requests to publish the story a day later once the White House had made an official announcement.

Later in the day on May 7, John Brennan (who at the time was the White House counter-terrorism adviser) conducted a conference with the press.  In that conference he had stated that the plot was never dangerously close to being carried out and that the U.S. government had “inside control” within the plot.

Once Brennan had given the conference, speculation among the media led to the conclusion that there was an inside informant within the ranks of an al Qaeda branch in the Arabian Peninsula.  This speculation eventually led to the exposure of almost the entire CIA operation and made the future use of the informant impossible.

In reaction to all of this, the Justice Department has seized phone records from 20 lines at multiple AP offices.  Now the question that must be answered is did this story released by the AP damage national security?

In order to answer this question, one must understand the great complexities of the matter and realize that measuring the impact of a news leak is an imperfect science that is bound to be stretched and manipulated by each party to prove ones point.  In the case of the Associated Press, the U.S. government made their case much weaker when John Brennan announced that there was “inside control,” and on top of that there is no available proof that the informant was giving security officials any additional leads regarding al Qaeda leadership.

As it will be difficult for the government to prove the Associated Press damaged national security, it is unlikely this will hold up in court.  In order to prove this, they would more than likely have to give up current clandestine operations in order to verify that they were damaged by the report.

The Obama administration went through the District of Columbia’s federal court to obtain the subpoena for the AP case, a court that has a history of being rather hard on leak cases.  Even though this may be the case, I believe that the AP will still come out on top of the administration if they decide to go along and press charges against the Associated Press.

The AP will argue that they did not report that there was a CIA source within the al Qaeda branch and that it was Brennan who broke that news.  The administration will claim that they had Brennan come forth with this information because they knew their cover would be blown by the press regardless if he did or not.  When it comes down to it, the speculation on the part of the Obama team is not definite and will not hold up in any court.

I don’t see any surprise evidence being brought forth by prosecutors and by weighing all the evidence in the case, there is simply not enough to convict anybody in the AP for this case.

So as of right now, I would have to come to the conclusion that the AP did not damage national security for reasons of it being immeasurable with the current information provided to the public.  Unless the government can bring brand new claims against them, there is no base to further prosecute anyone involved.

US Immigration Reform – Can the Gang of 8 Push it Through?

A group of eight senators – four Republicans and four Democrats – has submitted proposed immigration legislation that would overhaul the US immigration system in ways unseen in almost three decades.  The aptly dubbed “Gang of 8” is pushing hard for action on the bill as soon as possible, but challenges remain.  This article details two of the highlights of the proposed immigration reform and examines the changing landscape of support for such reform.

What’s Being Proposed?

The pending immigration legislation would, most controversially, provide for a path to permanent residency and even citizenship for the 11 million-plus persons presently residing illegally in the United States.  Under the bill, such persons would have to pay a fine, undergo background checks and wait in a long line before being apply to apply for a US green card – it would be 13 years from passage of the bill before these people would be eligible for a green card.  The rationale for this move is that it would bring people out of the shadows and possibly lead to more tax revenues.  Plus, advocates say, it simply is not feasible to deport 11 million people.  Critics claim that this provision amounts to “amnesty,” and say it will only encourage future law-breaking – people will come illegally to the US, knowing that they will likely eventually be pardoned by a future change to the immigration laws.

The proposed immigration legislation would also change the way USA green cards and immigrant visas (which lead to a green card) are distributed among family-based immigration and business- or investment-based immigration.  The changes would favor the latter to the detriment of the former.  This represents a major shift – US immigration law has long had as its top priority “family unification,” which bodes toward favoring family relationships over business and investment interests.  The proposed changes are especially geared to attract science, technology, engineering and math experts to the United States, along with investors and job-creators.  Proponents of family-based immigration of course take issue with this proposal; they argue that having one’s family around is vital to healthy families, which is in turn vital to having a healthy and prosperous society.

The Climate Appears to be Ripe for Reform – What’s Changed?

Something similar was proposed in 2007 but ultimately failed, while the bill (or one like it) looks primed to pass this time around.  Many credit the bill’s better chances to changing demographics.  In addition to there simply being more Latinos and other minorities in the country now than there were a few years ago, who put pressure on the Obama administration and on Congress, electoral politics are huge – Obama won some 70% of the Latino vote in 2012, waking up many Republicans to the reality that they must get behind immigration reform (which is important to many Latino voters) to have a chance at political success in the future.  Due largely to this, it looks likely that major immigration changes will happen in 2013.  Most Democrats are on board with the legislation, as are many Republicans.  More conservative members of Congress, especially those of the Tea Party ilk, tend to be against comprehensive immigration reform.

About the Author
By Brad Menzer – Brad blogs regularly for Heartland Immigration, which specializes in helping clients get an I-601 waiver. You can contact him at: info@heartlandimmigration.com
Check out the firm’s Google+ page for immigration info and updates.

Will Further Taxing Guns And Ammo Help Curb Violence?

There are few issues that divide Americans more than the subject of gun control. Recent incidents like the Newtown massacre have shined an even brighter light on what many people consider to be a debate of epic proportion: Would stricter gun laws help keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people? While there are no definitive answers to that question, the government is still brainstorming on methods for curbing gun violence, leaving many people to wonder if increased taxes can do the job.

Cook County leading the way. In April of 2013, Cook County began imposing a $25 tax on all gun purchases. It is estimated that this gun tax will raise approximately $600,000 over the course of a year for Cook County alone; it is worth noting that the tax only applies to guns purchased in the Chicago suburbs–not in the city of Chicago. In light of the success of Cook County’s gun tax program, and more than six other American states are now considering similar gun and ammunition taxes as a way of shifting the consequences of gun use to those who use guns.

The logic behind the tax. Gun use costs the public a lot of money. For example, approximately 30 percent of all of Cook County’s Stroger Hospital patients are gunshot wound victims. Each of the patients costs an average of about $52,000 in initial treatments, and further. treatment, on a case by case basis, may cost tens of thousands of dollars more than that. The financial burden of gunshot wound hospitalizations falls on the taxpayers, many of which are opposed to gun use. Therefore, gun and ammo taxing programs are a way of making those who use guns more responsible for the consequences of gun use.

The lawsuit. Of course, this new tax has gun activists up in arms, so to speak. Just recently, a group of gun owners and gun/ammo sellers banded together to file suit against a tax that they feel violates their 2nd Amendment right to bear arms. Lawrence Keane, a representative of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, argues that these taxes “burden and frustrate the exercise of a constitutional right.” However, the Cook County Circuit Court asserts that there is no proof that the tax threatens the 2nd Amendment right in question.

How many other localities will follow Cook County’s lead and instate gun and ammo tax laws? Only time will tell, but it seems most logical to think that those states waiting on the sidelines with tax proposals in hand are waiting to see the ultimate ramifications of Cook County’s gun tax before taking any definitive sides.

About the Author: Milton Dolan scrutinized his income tax form this year to ensure he wasn’t paying anything unfair. He is opposed to further taxes on guns and ammunition and believes in the right to bear arms.

As a Democrat, I Would Vote for Chris Christie

The more that is reported about Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, the more I find myself admiring his leadership style.  Christie initially gained my attention when he praised President Obama for his help with Hurricane Sandy relief just prior to the Presidential election.  So, I looked more deeply at his record in an attempt to find a major trait that I dislike.  It hasn’t happened yet.

One characteristic that sets Christie apart from the GOP establishment is his belief that climate change is real and is man made.  In 2011 he was quoted as saying “When you have over 90 percent of the world’s scientists who study this stating that climate change is occurring and humans play a contributing role, it’s time to defer to the experts.”  His emphasis in the existence of global warming isn’t just a punchy statement, it is mirrored in his energy policy.

The Governor is a staunch supporter of renewable energy and spent much emphasis on expanding New Jersey’s clean energy capacity in his first term in office.  In 2011 he finalized his energy master plan which outlines all of his energy goals and proposals.  The plan contains a large portion dedicated to outlining renewable energy goals such as making renewable energy sources 22.5% of New Jersey’s overall power supply by 2021 through mandating the private electricity suppliers of the state.  If the electricity companies fail to meet the plan’s obligation then they are subject to state fines varying in cost depending on how far they fell short of the mandate.  The plan also states that the building of new coal power plants in the state of New Jersey is prohibited and the state will also work to shut down existing high polluting coal plants. His energy master plan is widely regarded as one of the most aggressive in the United States but also believed to be attainable.  His plan’s definition of renewable energy is broad, which allows energy companies to creatively craft an efficient and cost effective strategy of balancing all sources invested by the company.  With the renewable energy market being essentially untapped, Christie states this plan will open pathways for electric companies to bring cheaper energy to their customers and at the same time explore affordable ways to bring renewable energy into the power grid.

When it comes to gun control, Christie again tries to find a middle ground between both parties.  As governor, Christie has supported New Jersey’s assault weapons ban and also stresses the expansion of the gun control conversation into violence control.  His approach to the issue is much more dynamic than either party.  In a climate where Democrats are only willing to talk gun control and Republicans have classified the entire gun control conversation as taboo, it’s nice to see a politician lead the way on the conversation.  He breaks through both party lines and emerges as the true leader in the gun control debate when both sides are dug in too deep.

On the topic of same-sex marriage, Christie again finds some middle ground.  In a 2011 interview with Piers Morgan, he proclaimed that “I’ve always believed that people are born with the predisposition to be homosexual,” a statement  that not only comes  at odds with many Republicans but also with his religion’s beliefs on homosexuality.

One common ground that he finds with most Republicans is the fact that he does not believe in the allowance of same-sex marriage.  He reasons that marriage should be between a man and woman for the purpose of procreation but is also a very strong supporter of civil unions for same-sex couples.  He believes that same-sex couples should be viewed equally in the eyes of the law and given the same legal benefits that opposite-sex partners enjoy.

What I see in Governor Christie is a breath of fresh air that hasn’t been matched in the American political climate for quite sometime.  His record as Governor of New Jersey is nothing less than impressive, especially with a 74 percent approval rating according to the latest Quinnipiac University poll.  And his strategy is quite simple, which is combine common sense politics with core family and religious values.

But the thing that is most impressive about him is his ability to break from the Republican party as he feels necessary.  He brings realism to the GOP ,which hasn’t been seen in some time. This characteristic will prove to benefit him in a possible 2016 run as he will appeal to moderate Democrats, minority groups, and Independents that strayed away from the Republican party.  Hopefully the example that Christie sets is a trend that the GOP can follow, as in recent years his party has moved so far away from  common sense and has sped toward a delusional counter-intuitive ideology.

How Do Developmental Leaderships and Coalitions Emerge?

  The United Nations, the Peace Corps, and the Developmental Leadership Program can promote coalitions to bring about social changes in developing countries. They can support education, better housing, clean water, and improved medical care. Developing countries may not have the social agencies needed to address the problems for their citizens. As the global markets move toward a higher technological level, the less developed countries may face living and working conditions that are not the best. These same countries have the advantage of offering a lower wage to their workers which makes the product prices lower. They can compete with the other countries where the average wage is much higher so as to accommodate the higher cost of living. And while the developing countries are establishing coalitions to promote better health care, the more developed countries are creating coalitions to put tariffs on the imported products from the developing countries. In the United States, the automobile manufacturing workers have unions to protect their wages which can be more than $25.00 per hour plus benefits. The unions and the workers protect their jobs and level of income.

-Developmental Leaderships

The need to compete, or the need to provide more humane treatment, can bring about developmental leaderships. This can be generated from a focus group’s steering committee which has noticed that a country is less industrialized than the rest. The United Nations, and the Developmental Leadership Program, usually assist with the third world nations which tend to be more rural. And sometimes there are cultural barriers in a country which can restrict education and more modern manufacturing. That is when the issue of human rights can be challenged so that more modern health care, higher technology, and industrial development can be implemented. Programs for more sanitary living and working conditions can be supported from outside a country. The Teamsters Union does not support unsafe working conditions in any country. 

-Coalitions

When people notice a void, then actions can happen. There is void in the international policies regarding leaders and coalitions that is recognized by the Developmental Leadership Program. The countries with the higher standards of living can require higher wages. And many companies will send their operations to the lesser developed nations for production, and then export the products. Most of the these countries have not reached the level of development and education that will compete with the larger nations. Unions are coalitions that form to protect worker rights when bargaining for a contract with an employer. Coalitions can assemble to stop pollution, to encourage recycling, and to promote school breakfast and lunch programs.

-Emerging

While the countries continue to develop toward higher education, there will be more coalitions which form to address other problems. The competition for jobs has increased the level of education. Most of the management jobs require a college degree today. The coalitions are working for safer working conditions, better product safety, and more consumer information about product quality. And the developmental leaderships continue to support progressive, industrialized nations.  

Will writes for a number of businesses including DLPROG, based in Australlia. To learn more about their work, read their articles about Integrity In Leadership visit http://www.dlprog.org.

Grover Norquist: A Clandestine Agenda

Who is Grover Norquist?

Grover Norquist is the founder and president of the conservative tax advocacy group Americans for Tax Reform, a group that advocates for lower taxes and smaller government.  The son of a former Polaroid Corporation vice-president, Norquist lived a very comfortable life during his upbringing and received an excellent education in one of Massachusetts best public schools and a college education from Harvard University.  Once he graduated with his B.A. and M.B.A., he went on to become an executive director of the National Tax Payers Union.  From there he started Americans for Tax Reform group in 1985.  Since then he has become a major player in the modern conservative movement with his famous “Taxpayer Protection Pledge.”  In the pledge, signers promise to “oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses; and oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates.”

His connections

Why does a man who has never held public office in his life have so much influence on governmental affairs?  It just doesn’t seem to make sense to most as to why Norquist has such an influence over Republican tax policy.  Look no further than the people he is associated with for that answer.

Norquist is a member of one to the most powerful non-governmental organizations in the United States, the Council on Foreign Relations.  The CFR, as many call it, is a global affairs think tank that is dominated by the American upper class.  The CFR is the bridge between the nation’s wealthiest individuals and its politicians, bringing them together under one organization to essentially craft the future of American foreign policy.  Membership to the organization is not for everyone; one must be invited by an existing member of the organization for one to even be considered by the Board of Directors.

It is through this channel that many CFR members receive government appointments to a variety of positions within the government.  Norquist surely uses an organization such as the CFR to create connections for funding and political support from conservatives.

The CFR just tops the list of organizations that he is involved with; he is also a board member of the National Rifle Association and the American Conservative Union.

The Future of the pledge and Norquist

The last few days have not been promising for pledge supporters, as of yesterday John Boehner admitted that tax increases on wealthy Americans is inevitable and will be a part of a future fiscal cliff deal.  Suddenly the future does not seem very bright for Norquist and his anti-tax pledge, but what will become of him next?

Unfortunately for his critics, Norquist and his pledge aren’t going away any time soon.  His connections are far too deep within the Republican Party for him to disappear completely.  Norquist is a behind the scenes leader, a product of the American upper class, who has almost limitless connections to politicians and those with power and wealth.  Even though many Republican politicians have publicly denounced his pledge, that doesn’t mean that they have broken ties with Mr. Norquist entirely.  His exclusive influence and ideas will still lead the way for the Republican Party into the 2014 and 2016 elections whether we are aware of it or not.

What Obamacare Means for Business Owners

Employer-provided health insurance: how it began and where it’s headed 

 

Did you know that employer-provided health insurance, which many American workers see as a privilege, actually began as a way to circumvent wage regulations during WWII? Because companies were being told what they had to pay employees, they sought a loophole in the form of “fringe benefits” – which not only were tax deductions for the company, but also a before-tax cost to employees.

 

Sounds like a win-win, right? The problem is these tax-free perks do not extend to an individual buying healthcare on their own. They end up paying more for health insurance with after-tax money. So without a subsidized public option, American workers who lose their jobs also lose affordable health coverage.

 

As it pertains to this long-standing injustice, The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (also known as PPACA or “Obamacare”) is intended to (1) enforce accountability through widespread transparency, (2) issue mandates that keep costs down by driving competition, and (3) give individuals options in the expanded marketplace.

 

Transparency means accountability

 

Until now, there has been no government intervention to force companies to reveal how they pay for these health plans. In other words, without such transparency, not even the employees supposedly reaping these benefits know exactly how it’s paid for. Economists tend to agree that the contributions employers make toward fringe benefits come out of the employees’ take-home pay.

 

The healthcare ruling now forces companies to disclose to the IRS how much they pay for their employee’s health insurance and how much is paid for by employees. Likewise, insurance companies must now report exactly how much of their money goes toward coverage versus administration (80/20 rule).

 

This transparency extends beyond insurers and employers to the healthcare providers. Healthcare reform will attempt to usher in a new era in which costs are dictated by results rather than benchmarks. For example, The United States per capita healthcare cost ($7,000) is almost double that of countries like Japan or The United Kingdom. But both Japan and the U.K. have a higher average life-expectancy than the U.S.

 

Though it is no easy feat, the ultimate goal of transparency through healthcare reform is to offer everyone (patients, doctors, insurers, companies, hospitals) credible information about the cost and quality of care, leading to more informed consumers and providers.

 

Mandates: more options = more affordable

 

Perhaps the most controversial part of the Supreme Court’s decision was granting the Federal Government the ability to deliver mandates to both individuals and companies. The court ruled that the government could enforce an individual mandate by enforcing a “taxed” penalty to people who can afford health care, but choose not to buy it beginning in 2014.

 

 

Likewise, beginning in 2014, companies of over 50 employees are mandated to offer workers a competitively affordable health plan. There are a host of variables (including company size, and income) that affect this mandate, but in a broad sense, the government will use the health care reform tax credit and penalty to ensure individuals have affordable options.

 

 

Small businesses will be able to increase their healthcare buying power by participating in government-funded exchange programs. These programs encourage small business to take part by offering up to 50% tax credits on premiums.

 

What it all means:

 

Because the average employee sees health benefits as a bonus, he or she is less motivated to discover the value of the service being paid for. Public health experts nationwide agree that employer-provided healthcare was a rotten foundation to a now convoluted and overpriced healthcare system. However, it’s the only system American’s know and one that millions depend on for coverage. Therefore, the goal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is to create an equally strong public option to level the playing field, which requires participation from all Americans. Will it? We’ll see early next year.

 

Joseph Polito writes on behalf of Just CMS 1500 forms, a resource for affordable supplies for health care offices, including cms forms and other medical claim forms.

Are You a 1-Year Man or a 10-Year Man?

During the second presidential debate, President Obama repeatedly brought up the idea that you need to be looking ten years into the future for a strong energy policy. Contrarily, Romney believes that Obama has been putting the kibosh on domestic oil development, preventing America from becoming energy independent, a pipe dream according to the Scientific American blog. So when you’re at the polls, you’ve got to ask yourself: are you a 10-year man, or a 1-year man? Here’s the breakdown.

 

THE 10-YEAR MAN

 

The 10-year man’s fundamental beliefs lie in the fact that renewable and environmentally friendly energy resources are the way of the future. Despite the fact that world oil reserves are continually growing, the 10-year man knows that oil is a finite resource. Plus, the adoption of free technologies worldwide paves the way for environmentally friendly living while also enjoying the amenities of a technologically and industrially rich planet. To the 10 year man, this is just good economics.

 

However, the 10-year man is bereft in the short term. Because he does not want to open up more, if not all, domestic oil reserves, the 10-year man cannot have a noteworthy impact on domestic oil prices. He is afraid of investing in more infrastructures that relies on an oil-rich planet, because one day the oil will run out, and then we’ll really be in trouble. So for the short-term, the 10-year man must deal with energy prices dictated by a global bull market, paying more for oil than he necessarily has to. He must also deal with the cumbersome transition from crude oil dependence towards renewable energies as technology catches up to an inconvenient oil market.

 

THE 1-YEAR MAN

 

The 1-year man believes that American oil prices can be brought down. (Some folks have stated that $2/gallon oil is a real possibility.) Our oil prices are at the mercy of a global market of supply and demand. Right now, demand is high and supply is throttled, so the 1 year man wants to do as much as he can in the short term to alleviate oil shortages and put America in control of it’s own domestic energy. This means that we drill and open up lands that are currently guarded under EPA regulations and build pipelines. The 1-year man knows that this will reduce oil prices and create jobs and we expand our oil production infrastructure. The 1-year man knows that this is great politics as well. People want oil prices down now.

 

But the 1-year man lacks foresight. It’s no secret that there’s a limited amount of oil on the planet. The 1 year man may very well be able to bring down oil prices and eliminate dependency on other countries, but what will the 1 year man do when he runs out of crude. As of 2011, there was just over 30 billion gallons of oil in domestic reserves. That year, America consumed 6.87 billion barrels of petroleum products and biofuels, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Without newer, more efficient, cheaper technologies, domestic oil will last us about 5 years. The 1-year man believes that energy independence is a possibility. He also believes that domestic production can put America on the oil-producing map.

 

So, are you a 1-year man or a 10-year man?

 

This post was provided by Chris Galis, web marketer for Drill Map, an oil mapping software company.

Debate Analysis

With the first Presidential Debate just wrapping up, I must say I was very surprised to see how well Mitt Romney did in the debate.  Not saying Obama did a terrible job but his debating skills certainly were challenged by Romney.

The entire Presidential campaign I have waited to see any sign of a backbone from Mitt Romney and tonight was the first time that I seen one from Romney.  Romney came out swinging at the President and was clearly the more prepared out of the two.  The debate covered topics such as taxes, the economy, education, the federal debt, and healthcare.  Here is what I took from the debate:

1. Taxes: Obama was quick to accuse Romney that his tax plan would benefit only rich Americans, in which Romney responded with a fiery rebuttal.  Romney pointed out that his proposed tax plan would cut taxes for all Americans, 20% cut across the board, not only for rich Americans but for all Americans.  The two seemed to agree upon cutting the corporate tax rate, Romney proposes a reduction of 10% and Obama proposes a 7% reduction.  When it came to taxes in the debate I will give Romney the win, not because his tax plan is a better tax plan but because Obama was completely unprepared to debate the issue of taxes.

2. The Economy: The President was of course on the defensive when the issue of the economy was brought up and rightfully so.  Romney criticized the unemployment rate and the continued failure of the economy to create jobs.  Obama countered by stating that the American auto industry is booming because of his auto bailout and that manufacturing is coming back to the United States (which is absolutely true).  Still the numbers are not there, unemployment is still above 8% and the economy is by no means recovering at the rate that any of us would like to see it.  When it comes to the topic of the economy in the debate I will not give either candidate a win because Romney’s economic plan is still vague and the Obama economic plan seems to be working but at a very slow pace.

3. Education: When it came to education it was clear to everyone that watched the debate, that neither candidate has a decent plan to better the education system in the country.  Romney at one point had the highly intelligent comment “I love great schools,”  of course you do Mitt, there isn’t a person in the country who doesn’t like great schools.  Doesn’t that statement itself speak for how much Romney knows about how to improve education?  Don’t get me wrong, Obama has not brought any ground breaking education reform to our schools either but does anyone expect Romney doing any better in the area of education?  I give a loss to both candidates when it comes to education.  Both showed incompetence when it came down to education and both seemed to lack any willingness to change the failing public school system.

4. The Federal Debt: When it comes to the Federal Debt, I will just come out and say it now, neither candidate has a stellar plan to solve the crisis.  Romney plan includes cutting taxes in a time when Federal tax receipts are at historic lows and the Federal Government is in over $16 trillion in debt but somehow expects to decrease the Federal Debt at the same time.  The Bush tax cuts are a very big reason why our federal debt is over $16 trillion and renewing and expanding the Bush tax cuts are not the answer to lower the debt.  Romney criticizes the President for not keeping his promise to cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term.  But let us be honest, did any of us believe that Obama would cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term in the midst of the greatest economic downturn since the Great Depression?  The answer is “no” and it is a promise the President knew he could not keep.  But when it comes to reducing the Federal Debt I believe the Obama plan has a better chance at success than the Romney plan.  Tax cuts are a great thing, especially during a time of economic hardship, but $16 trillion is a lot of money and the time to start trimming away at it is now.  I give President Obama the win when it comes to the debt because Romney’s plan to cut it does not add up.  He may claim that he will close certain tax loop holes to make up for some of the loss but it is very unlikely that the plan will work as smooth as Romney proposes.

5. Healthcare: One of the most hotly debated topics tonight was, no surprise, healthcare.  Romney immediately started out attacking Obamacare, of course.  Romney must underestimate the American peoples intellectual ability to think to themselves “Didn’t Mitt create universal healthcare as Governor of Massachusetts?”  The fact of the matter is that both plans are incredibly similar, the major difference being the Affordable Care Act is on a national level and not a state level.  How does Governor Romney justify his implementation of universal healthcare in Massachusetts?  States rights of course, this a recurring justification for the Republican Party’s agenda (another example for this excuse is gay rights).  Romney also continued on with his belief that the Medicare system should be a combination of both private and government insurance.  From my knowledge on this topic, it would be a disaster to the taxpayer funded Medicare system.  Not to mention it will NOT keep medical costs down.  Medicare on average pays doctors 40% less than private insurance does.  Romney has no good explanation as to how this system would affect healthcare costs, so I will in a very simple way, costs will increase.  When it comes to healthcare I will give the President the win easily over Mitt Romney.

President Obama has much to prove going into the next debate, which I foresee him doing much better in.  Obama was very ill-prepared for this debate and Romney capitalized off of this.  Romney showed much passion and had a good debate style, often citing facts which is crucial for a candidate to do.  Romney had a great knowledge of the issues but he simply does not have good plans to address the issues that face this country.  Who do you feel won the debate and why?  Post your opinion below and let’s start a debate.

The Republican Party’s Real Problem

As GOP leaders focus all of their attention on defeating President Obama and the Democrats in the November elections the real problem lies years ahead.  When was the last time you talked to a African-American or Hispanic Republican?  I’m sure you have to think pretty hard to recall one, if you can.  The support for the Republican party is overwhelmingly white and this will pose a huge problem for the party in the years to come.

Sometime around the year 2050 the minority population in the United States will surpass the white population, which is the overwhelming majority of registered Republicans.  In the 2004 presidential election President Bush got 11% of the black vote and in the 2008 race Senator McCain only received 5%.  Blacks are not the only minority to swing left, Hispanics are mostly left leaning.  The gap is huge, 65% of Hispanic and 86% of African-American voters are registered Democrats.

On top of not appealing to the minorities of the country, the GOP also doesn’t appeal to the younger generation like the Democrats do.  In 2008 the largest percentage of support the GOP received was from the 60 and older demographic, meanwhile the lowest support came from the 18-29 age group.  There are many examples showing that the Republican base is dwindling simply because most of its supporters are dying.  These are two demographics that can really hurt the GOP in the long-run if they do not change the direction the party is going in.

White America is a thing of the past and it is something that Republican leaders must adapt to if they want to save the future of their party.  They must find ways to appeal not only the white population but minorities as well.  They should do so by changing their stances on affirmative action, adopting a more lenient immigration stance, and by nominating more minorities to public office.  This is not something that is impossible to accomplish, it can be done, but with the right leaders and a vision that goes beyond appealing to just white America.