Friday, February 27, 2009

Obama's Budget Plan Shows He and Harper Really are Ideological Twins

Because a "pronounced move to redistribute wealth" is a Conservative idea right? Darryl Wolk - one of the few Conservatives that actually supported Obama before he was elected President - has tried to argue that Harper and Obama are so alike and that Canadians will see this and give Harper a majority as a result. Well I think if Canadians actually looked at the actions of these two governments they just might come to a different conclusion. Let's take a look at what Obama's $3.55 trillion Budget Plan proposes:
"Mr. Obama's proposal signals a radical change of course by redirecting enormous streams of deficit spending toward programs like health care, education and energy, and paying for some of it through taxes on the rich, pollution surcharges, and cuts in such inviolable programs as farm subsidies.... The Obama administration will attempt to close the large fiscal gap even while starting a major health-care initiative meant to substantially extend coverage; to do so, it foresees increasing taxes on the wealthiest Americans and using revenues from a new program: selling carbon credits (read: taxing carbon) to manufacturers as part of a cap-and-trade plan meant to slow climate change....The combined effect of the two revenue-raising proposals, on top of Mr. Obama's existing plan to roll back the Bush-era income tax reductions on households with income exceeding $250,000 a year, would be a pronounced move to redistribute wealth by reimposing a larger share of the tax burden on corporations and the most affluent taxpayers. "
Sounds just like what Harper ran on in the last election doesn't it? Carbon taxes (coupled with cutting taxes for the low and middle income earners as the Green Shift did), raising taxes on the rich and corporations, redistribution of wealth from rich to poor, true blue Conservative policies.

Oh wait those are the sorts of policies Harper said would destroy the economy!

To be honest I think some of Obama's proposed policies go even a bit too far for my tastes, I don't support increasing corporate tax rates for instance, but I'm interested to see how the Blogging Tories portray this budget as in sync with the budget they put forth here in Canada.

I think they'll have a pretty tough time.

On the environment Canadians saw a budget here in Canada that completely ignored the issue, whereas in the U.S. it's seen as one of the central issues to address.

On human rights Canadians see a government still defending the "process" at Guantanamo Bay, whereas in the U.S. the government is shutting it down and banning torture.

On poverty Canadians see a government here that can't even bring itself to mention the word, whereas in the U.S. the government is taking major efforts to help the most vulnerable.

On post-secondary education Canadians see a government that treats it as an after thought (it received ZERO mention in their last election platform), whereas Obama is placing making his country a world leader on this issue a top priority of his first term.

On partisan co-operation, Stephen Harper can’t help but constantly pick fights wtih the opposition, while across the border Obama reaches out to his rivals for consensus.

On transparency and accountability Canadians see a government that becomes more and more secretive versus one in the U.S. that is opening more windows on how government is operating by the day.

And I could go on. So Conservatives can try to latch themselves to Obama all they can, but their actions (or lack of actions) speak far louder than their words and I don't think Canadians will be fooled.

If Conservatives like Darryl wish we were actually taking the kinds of bold of approaches in Canada as Obama is, I'd strongly encourage them to join them to join the Liberal Party to help make that happen :).

(h/t CanPolitico for the NY Times link)
For more info on Obama's Budget Plan for the 2010 Fiscal Year see here and here.

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