Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Political Confusion

I am at sea about the upcoming election.

John Kennedy was my only childhood hero (aside from perhaps The Cisco Kid or Hopalong Cassidy).

I am a liberal democrat who came of age in the sixties. At Columbia, many of the SDS members were classmates and, even though I did not occupy a building in 1968, my sympathies were more with than against those who did.

My first two jobs after law school were representing the labor movement.

If someone said that we could provide health care to all Americans if I paid $1,000 more in taxes, I would gladly do so.

I was raised by parents who lived through the Depression and who did not have credit cards. Following their example, I saved, paid off my credit cards every month, made reasonable investments, never bought a house that I could not afford to carry and generally acted as a financially responsible citizen.

Here's the dilemma.

I cannot vote for John McCain for lots of reasons that I'm not going to detail.

With some trepidation (similar to that with which I supported Jimmy Carter) I want to vote for Obama. However, I have reached that stage of life at which my retirement funds have to last for perhaps thirty or more years (my parents are 94 and 95 and pretty darned healthy). Obama's position on raising the capital gains tax seems to be that it would be "fair" to do so, his example being "the top 50 hedge fund managers made $29 billion last year--$29 billion for 50 individuals". I'm no hedge fund manager, and doubling the tax puts a substantial crimp in my plans.

I have always voted for the person who, I felt, was best for the country.

When, if ever, is it appropriate (if that's the right word) to vote my self-interest? Do I abstain when I go into the booth this year?

I guess I have five months to figure it out.

-Michael Schnipper
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