Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Congratulations President Obama

Many congratulations to our new President. May his time in office be successful!
Yesterday's inauguration was indeed historic, because for the first time, a black man became President of the United States of America. Yet for me, apart from the history of that event, President Obama's skin color has no bearing on his work as President. It would appear I am not alone in that view. Juan Williams has expressed similar thoughts (of course, much better than I could!). In all, I think that his thoughts and mine are also summed up in those famous words of Martin Luther King Jr. about a man being judged by the content of his character not the color of his skin - truly great words.
I am sure I am not always going to agree with President Obama, but when I do disagree, I hope that I can do so within the guidelines set forth in this article by Andy Levy. If I can do that, I will not only be doing good things to advance political dialog in the US, but will also be showing myself to be more mature than those who have suffered from BDS these last eight years. A worthy goal, I think!
So, here is my first area of disagreement (didn't take long, did it - but that is the beauty of the US - I am FREE to disagree with anyone!). Instead of a bunch of stimulus spending that is inevitably going to be earmarked, wasted and go to feed political and other types of corruption, why not simply suspend the payroll (FICA) taxes for one year. Everyone who earns pays a little more than 7% of their wages in FICA taxes on the first $100K or so of their earnings. The company that employs them (or they themselves, if they are self employed) matches this payment. To not pay it for one year would reduce government income by $625 billion (see this report). This is less than the $850 billion (and climbing) currently proposed in this (first) stimulus package. Plus, this puts one's faith in the ability and collective wisdom (or lack thereof) of the American people, as opposed to the ability and collective wisdom (or lack thereof) of a bunch of politicians in Washington DC. How about it President Obama?

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