My Grammie always warned me about guys who
talk a good game, often sounding too good to be true. “A
smooth-talking guy will say whatever he has to in order to get my
goodies,” she often lectured. After watching the presidential
debates the other night, Grammie’s sweet words came to mind.
John Kerry will say just about anything, feasible or not, just to
get my vote.

Jasmine Clair

As much as it pains me to admit, Kerry won the debates. A
polished debater, Kerry gracefully rambled off numbers,
catchphrases and policy details, convincing me that Bill Gates
installed a Microsoft chip into Kerry’s cranium. Out-debating
Bush on almost every issue, the Democratic candidate unraveled the
weak and indecisive characterization that has plagued him
throughout the majority of his campaign.

Despite winning the debates and making the president look more
like a Michigan State dropout than a Yale man, Bush will reap the
greatest advantage from the debates. Bush struggled to give answers
to the questions actually asked, and often carried the look of a
nervous school boy, yet he made a key power move in exposing how
unrealistic Kerry’s promises and policies are.

Kerry’s fuzzy math just doesn’t add up. Presenting
outlandish proposals, Kerry fails to bridge the gap between what
the people want and what the country can realistically afford. With
intentions to fully fund No Child Left Behind, invest more money
into the troops and military equipment and a robust plan to fully
insure every American, he leaves many with good reason to ask
“with what money?” Despite criticizing the president
for financial discrepancies on a proposed social security plan,
Kerry failed to mention how he intended to finance his
forever-lasting list of promises, all to be fulfilled without
raising taxes on the nonrich.

His “pay as you go” response does not answer where
the money is going to come from. At best, this is a method that
responsible governments need to have in place in order to avoid
deficits. But now that we’re already in the red, Kerry needs
to be straightforward about how he intends to fulfill his promise
to reduce the deficit. With the majority of his promises consisting
of increasing funding to social programs, there must be some talk
on where the funds will come from to accomplish all of these
massive plans.

As Michiganders, we should be especially critical of Kerry
because Michigan is experiencing a very similar situation. John
Engler, the former Republican governor, left a sizeable deficit
that Gov.Jennifer Granholm pledged to overcome. In order to
accomplish this goal, an overwhelming number of cuts have been made
to reduce spending, and a variety of taxes, such as the regressive
cigarette tax, have come into being. Granholm’s efforts to
balance the budget have resulted in college tuition hikes all
across the state, including here at the University. This makes me
even more skeptical of Kerry and all of his promises.

With yet another promise, Kerry plans to alleviate outsourcing
by ending corporate loopholes that he claims reward companies for
outsourcing jobs. Most people do not like to see the rich get
richer simply because they are rich. Unfortunately, one of the
realities of society is that the rich have power and control over a
variety of entities, including jobs. As a business, most
corporations are concerned with profit and means of increasing it
and necessarily how many babies are being fed off of their
payrolls. Consequently, if a large company is not satisfied with
its profits, it turns to options such as job termination and
outsourcing, which result in American job loss.

From a practical perspective, closing corporate loopholes can
not logically solve the problem of outsourcing. Companies are
concerned with profit and oftentimes are not willing to jeopardize
their gains in order to alleviate societal problems such as a lack
of jobs. Closing down a plant resulting in the loss of thousands of
jobs, is simply business strategy for a company like Ford. But to
the thousands that lose their jobs, it means financial turmoil. For
this reason, corporate welfare exists. Unfortunately, the rich have
to have some incentive to keep factories open in the states, when
it is obviously more profitable to have more locations abroad.

Hence, corporate welfare. The voice of money can be heard all
around the world, but unfortunately the voice of a single worker
often goes unheard. This is the sad reality of capitalism, and if
this weren’t the case, there would be no need for labor
unions or tax incentives to coerce companies to maintain high
environmental standards or provide decent health care coverage to
their employees. This plan to end outsourcing is optimistic, yet it
will only make the foreign market look more appealing, jeopardizing
additional jobs.

Kerry’s going to win Michigan, but in order to win this
election he’s going to have to make his platform at least
appear feasible. If Kerry’s numbers don’t even work on
paper, I’d hate to see what’s going to happen when he
tries to get his agenda through a conservative Congress.

This smooth-talking senator from Massachusetts must be held to
the same standards as the president. Just as laughter fills the air
whenever the president stumbles over three-syllable words or
pretends that certain pertaining problems don’t exist, this
same criticism should be applied toward Kerry. Sure he sounds good
and can properly pronounce nuclear, but that in no way means he can
implement all if any of these policies. So beware, don’t let
Kerry simply talk you out of your goodies. Make him work for
it.

 

Clair can be reached at
“mailto:jclair@umich.edu”>jclair@umich.edu

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