Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Stephen Harper and Barack Obama couldn’t be more black from white

Lest you think a racial distinction is being made here, it is not. Rather, Stephen Harper is the agent of darkness and Barrack Obama is the agent of light.

The dichotomy is between Stephen Harper's politics of divisiveness for personal gain and the Barrack Obama politics of inclusion for society’s gain.

A night and day distinction between the tired old politics of Stephen Harper’s attempts to have us all deny reality and Barrack Obama’s welcomed acknowledgment of reality as the means to move society forward. A diametrical distinction between a politician who professes to know all, when in fact this only serves to prove he knows less that the politician who claims he doesn’t have all the answers.

Having said that, Barrack Obama has a very extensive policy platform indeed from which to begin his personal march to the White House, American voters be willing.

A number of the issues facing America have parallels to our own country. Take for example the issues of lobbying and the financial security of seniors and an aging population nearing retirement. In the case of Harper these two issues are inextricably linked, as he willingly sold off seniors to curry favour with the likes of Gwyn Morgan and Paul Desmarais Jr. He claims that it was a "difficult" decision to renege on his solemn election promise and to actually institute a policy that could have been so easily and equitably crafted so as not to “raid seniors nest eggs”. It would have simply involved a concept known as "grandfathering". How appropriate. How very absent. How utterly delinquent.

Indeed, who were these nameless lobbyists that the Globe wrote about on November 2, 2006, when they reported that:

“High-profile directors and CEOs, meanwhile, had approached Mr. Flaherty personally to express their concerns: Many felt they were being pressed into trusts because of their duty to maximize shareholder value, despite their misgivings about the structure. Paul Desmarais Jr., the well-connected chairman of Power Corp. of Canada, even railed against trusts in a conversation with Prime Minister Stephen Harper during a trip to Mexico, and told him he should act quickly to stop the raft of conversions, according to sources.”

I guess we’ll never know, since that other widely touted election promise of 2006 , namely the Accountability Act has proven itself to be stillborn after a two year gestation period of utter inaction. Stephen Harper now thinks that lobbyists should in essence be self regulated , as his Ministers are too busy to keep records of their contacts with lobbyists. Apparently Stephen Harper doesn’t think there is the same “value for money” in maintaining such a system as there is in spending $31 million a year in serial polling of the impressionable masses.

Here’s Barack Obama’s position on lobbyists:

“I am in this race to tell the corporate lobbyists that their days of setting the agenda in Washington are over. I have done more than any other candidate in this race to take on lobbyists – and won. They have not funded my campaign,
they will not get a job in my White House, and they will not drown out the voices of the American people when I am president.” -- Barack Obama, Speech in Des Moines, IA, November 10, 2007

When do you suppose that Stephen Harper will be making that speech to Ken Boessenkool ?

Having willingly succumbed to the temptations and the siren call of the lobbyist crowd on the impending need to raid seniors nest eggs, lest Paul Desmarais Jr. have a difficult time selling more of his life annuities in the ongoing presence of income trusts or be curtailed in his abilities to make non-accretive acquisitions like Power Corporations purchase as a corporation of down in the dumps Putnam Investments, Stephen Harper thought he could assuage aggrieved seniors by offering the burnt offering known as Income Splitting. As only Stephen Harper could parse the matter, income splitting was more an exercise in word splitting since it only benefits 14% of seniors, and in all probability those seniors least likely to own income trusts, since all the members of the lucky 14% are members of defined benefits pensions plans who are free from retirement worry in a protrcated low interet rate environment. You know, the defined benefits pension plans that Jim Flaherty and Stephen Harper are proud and deserving members of. Some form of compensatory amelioration.

Meanwhile here’s Barack Obama’s idea of fair and equitable tax relief for seniors. Do you want to tell Steve, or should I? It’s all here in black and white :

The Problem

Insecure Retirement Savings: Retirement savings are near a historic low and 75 million working Americans lack employer-based retirement plans. Too many companies have dumped their pension obligations, leaving workers in the cold.

Income Security: With skyrocketing health care, energy and housing costs, and the risk of being defrauded by insurance companies, too many seniors do not have the resources to live comfortably.

Eliminate Income Taxes for Seniors Making Less Than $50,000: Obama will eliminate all income taxation of seniors making less than $50,000 per year. This will provide an immediate tax cut averaging $1,400 to 7 million seniors and relieve millions from the burden of filing tax returns.

1 comment:

Dr Mike said...

Stephen Harper is decisive!!!!!!

Whoopteedo--we are screwed but he is decisive--that certainly makes the income trust mess alright--it gives me a warm & fuzzy feeing all-over--my glass is half full instead of half empty.

Stephen Harper has as much chance of being your best friend as the Leafs have of winning the Stanley cup this year--can we say "ZILCH".

This guy is nothing more than a right wind dinosaur that fails to grasp the fact that the population in this country is aging & that if seniors cannot afford to look after themselves then it will fall onto the government to do so for them.

Removing the ability of seniors to invest & make a decent return will eventually put a huge burden on the rest of society--there will have to be tax increases , a decrease in the size of government , loss of programs just to mention a few.

It appears that the US may have a leg up on us this time--they are about to trade in old Mr Decisive George Bush for the "new vision' Barrak Obama--about time too.

Australia has cleaned house --the US is about to--can Canada be far behind.

I hope not!!!!

Dr Mike.