Thursday, April 17, 2008

Interview with Betsy Myers

Betsy Myers, Chief Operation Officer, Chair, Women for Obama, Obama for America kindly took time out of her busy schedule to answer some questions via email. There are many facets to the presidency so I focused on "mom-ish" issues, suburban mom-ish issues at that, and tried to ask questions that I hadn't, for the most part, seen elsewhere.

Jane, thanks for the opportunity to be with you in Pennsylvania. I am here currently in your beautiful state and have appreciated the conversations with voters about the many issues that matter to them and their families.

I want to begin by sharing a few of my personal insights about why I chose to work for this campaign for change. This was not an easy decision for two reasons. First, I am the mother of a small child and campaigns are long hours. Second, I worked for the President and Hillary Clinton in the White House as the Director of Women’s Initiatives and Outreach. Politics are about relationships and loyalty. I am about both. My time in the White House was a highlight of my career. It is an enormous privilege to serve a President. So, this was not a decision that I took lightly.

All of my life, I have been fascinated with leadership. Why is one leader more effective than another? Why do people respect and follow one leader and distrust another? My career includes several presidential campaigns as well as working as a senior official in the government. I have spent the last 7 years at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government studying and working on issues of leadership. Most recently, I was the executive director of the center for public leadership with my friend, David Gergen. At the Center for Leadership, we pursued new thinking about leadership. The latest thinking is about leaders who have the skills to collaborate and build coalitions of disparate voices. They listen to their teams because they respect their input and are open to different views. They have good judgment and the courage to speak the truth. They are authentic and comfortable in their own skin, never trying to be someone they aren’t.

In the context of this new leadership style, we began to study Barack Obama as an example of a new generational, transformational, collaborative leader. I began to explore his background and legislative history. I was taken with his lifelong passion to fight for the voiceless by listening and motivating others to join his cause. His personal experience and legislative record shows his unique ability to work across the aisle with Republicans and Democrats, and to build coalitions for change on difficult challenges. They included ethics reform, racial profiling, health care, welfare reform, and standing up for working families. His dedication to stand up for the voiceless and to bring about change for ordinary Americans is part of his story and who he is.

Why is this important for our future president? Simply, a President is only as good as the legislation that he/she can get passed. There is only so much that can be done by bully pulpit or executive order. The looming problems for our next president begin with an enormous budget deficit and include issues such as the economy, Iraq, an energy crisis, education and health reform, to name a few. These difficult issues will be tackled and solved by working with Congress to get legislation passed, and that takes getting beyond the division and distraction in Washington.

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have similar policy proposals but very different leadership skills. It is a defining moment for our country. We must choose the candidate that has the leadership ability and judgment to make progress on the difficult issues facing our country. Barack Obama is the only candidate that can get the work done. It is not every day or every decade or even every century that a leader like Barack Obama comes onto the world stage.

As the COO of this campaign, I have also observed Barack’s leadership abilities up close. He challenged us from day one to build a campaign that is run like a business. Most people don’t realize that presidential campaigns are $200 million start-up operations. He also inspired us to run our campaign with a customer service attitude. He wanted to ensure that his campaign treated staff, volunteers, donors and most importantly, the American voters with respect. This is not something you hear every day in the world of politics. Campaigns are chaotic by their very nature. This campaign has been run like a tight ship, with no drama (Barack’s insistence) and no staff shake-ups.

Many times when we see a leader up close, we end up having less respect for them. Over the past 16 months, I can truthfully say that my respect for Barack has grown. You really learn about someone when the chips are down. Barack has always been calm and steady. He takes personal responsibility for our disappointments and is willing to learn from our mistakes. He challenges us to support each other. He reminds us of why this campaign is so important. We are working for the American people, and for change they can believe in. We are all part of something so much bigger than ourselves.

It has truly been a privilege to be part of this historic campaign. This grass roots movement for change has been life changing. As I travel throughout the country I have come to understand – by hundreds of conversations — that the dreams and hopes of the American people are not different in New Hampshire or California than they are in Pennsylvania. As a mother of a 5 year old daughter, I am even more excited to think we actually have a chance to improve the lives of so many Americans with the leadership of President Barack Obama.

The senator has lived in a number of household types: married parents, single mother, stepfather, grandparents, and now as a father in his own married parents with children setting. Has this diversity affected his policy decisions and if so how?

Senator Obama’s two books, Dreams from My Father and Audacity of Hope, and the perspective he shares in many of his speeches, illustrate the great impact his upbringing had on his outlook and the choices he has made throughout his life.

On the campaign trail, he has said, “For most of my youth and childhood . . . my mother was working at the same time, she was going to school at the same time, she was trying to raise us. And it was tough. There were a couple of times when she had to go on food stamps. . . . She was constantly trying to patch things together - scholarships, loans, grants. It took her a long time to complete her education…Part of the reason I got into public services was because I saw people's lives could be tough, and they often didn't have a lot of help. My mother's experience is duplicated all across the country each and every day."

Senator Obama has also discussed the struggles he and his wife Michelle have faced as they balance work and caring for their two young girls – and how that has helped him to appreciate how tough life is for so many working families. He recognizes that, “The burden on ordinary families has never been higher,” and has admonished that, “The burdens of juggling family, and work and medical leave, etc., are everybody's responsibility. The burden should be placed on the entire family, the entire community", including government.

Senator Obama has detailed the ways in which he believes the government should lighten the burdens on families, including: reforming health care so that it is accessible and affordable for all Americans; cutting taxes on working families; expanding the Child and Dependent Care Tax credit so that it gives more relief to families that struggle to afford child care; expanding and improving early childhood education; bringing our K-12 system up to world-class standards; expanding high-quality after-school opportunities; requiring employers to provide paid sick day; expanding the Family and Medical Leave Act; encouraging states to adopt paid leave; prohibiting discrimination against workers with care giving responsibilities; and making college more affordable.

He has specifically outlined proposals to strengthen fatherhood, including removing some of the government penalties on married families, cracking down on men avoiding child support payments, ensuring that support payments go to families instead of state bureaucracies, funding support services for fathers and their families, and supporting domestic violence prevention efforts.

It is sometimes said that men become involved in politics through business, women through their children. Would you agree? How can we persuade more women to become politically active?

My experience is that many men and women today get involved in politics to make the world a better a place for their children. It is also interesting that in this campaign many younger voters and first time voters have been so energized by Barack Obama and his message that they are bringing their parents into the effort.

In his own life, Barack Obama turned down high-paying Wall Street jobs, and decided to become a community organizer, working in the shadow of shuttered steel plants. As an organizer, civil rights lawyer and law professor, Senator Obama learned that change comes from families and communities – and he was able to win a Senate seat and build a powerful grassroots movement based on that insight. His work in the community also gave him a real sense of how working people have been left behind in parts of America. He has said that, “Part of the reason I got into public services was because I saw people's lives could be tough, and they often didn't have a lot of help.”

Senator Obama’s own example may inspire others who are involved in community service to seek a life in public service. Some of our most talented and dedicated staff and volunteers, many of them women, are people who have been involved in their communities and neighborhoods, but are engaging in national politics for the first time, because they see someone who knows, like they do, how to make real change happen: from the bottom up.

But I also believe that both men and women can get involved in politics through business. I served as the Director of the Office of Women's Business Ownership at the SBA and know that the number of women-owned small businesses is growing as is the number of women at all levels of business.

I also know women to be creative in the ways they influence public policy discussions, and to benefit from the flexibility the internet affords in influencing public policy discussions. Your initiative in creating this blog is the kind of leadership women are showing – and benefitting from – in growing numbers.

In order to get more women involved in politics, we need to make it easier for women to take on even more leadership roles in general and we need to take their experiences – whether in the boardroom or in the community -- seriously. In addition, we need to change politics so that more people feel it is worthwhile: we have to reduce the influence of special interests and the need to constantly raise money, we have to increase citizen participation so that it is easier to pass good laws and we have to restore civility and respect for each other so that we can come together to meet our common challenges.

On the “Women for Obama” site, it states under healthcare “More than 19 million women are uninsured in this country, and women are more likely than men to delay or not get medical care because of high costs. Barack Obama is committed to ensuring that all Americans have health care coverage by the end of his first term in office.” Is that possible? Surely it would take four years to just to get the paperwork going.

Senator Obama has said that making sure that every American has health insurance is his top domestic priority. His plan begins by offering affordable, comprehensive coverage to every American. If you already have health insurance, the only thing that will change for you under this plan is the amount of money you will spend on premiums. That will be $2500 less per family per year. If you are one of the 45 million Americans who don't have health insurance, you will have it after this plan becomes law. No one will be turned away because of a preexisting condition or illness. Parents will be required to cover their children.

Senator Obama has said that affordable health insurance can be funded in part by saving $75 billion per year through having more people use regular doctor checkups instead of more expensive emergency room visits, improving treatment of chronic illnesses and relying more on technology to reduce paperwork. He said medical records can be put onto a digital chip that can be carried around on a key chain, for instance. Obama also would support rolling back the Bush tax cuts on the wealthiest Americans.

Senator Obama is the candidate best able to get the job done not only because of his commitment to the issue but because he succeeded in expanding health insurance to 150,000 kids and parents in Illinois and because he will change the culture of Washington that allows special interests to prevent reform that is in the best interest of the nation and ordinary American families. He has said that under his administration the drug companies and the insurance companies can have a seat at the table, but they will not get to buy every seat at the table. He will insist on transparency and invite the American people into the process of debating health care so that special interests cannot cut deals behind closed doors.

Reform will not come easy but by bringing the American people together and standing up to special interests, Barack Obama will get it done.

What guidelines does the senator use in deciding the line between personal responsibility and public obligation to offer opportunities? (Examples would be educational assistance, job training, and related areas)

Senator Obama has said that government has an obligation to give people the basic tools they need and to set the rules of the road. Government must make affordable health care available to all Americas; help make college affordable for every American; set rules so that we chart a course to a clean energy future; end tax breaks for the biggest corporations and the wealthiest few who don't need them and instead address the issues of the struggling middle class and those who are stuck in poverty. But Senator Obama also believes that Americans need to do their part. They need to study and work hard, take responsibility for their children and participate in our democracy so that it reflects all of us rather than the interests of a powerful few.

Senator Obama has spoken often about the responsibility of parents to be more involved with their children, imparting the values they will need to compete in a global economy. Senator Obama recently told an audience that parents should “turn off the television, turn off the video games. Buy a little desk or put that child at the kitchen table. Watch them do their homework. If they don’t know how to do it, give them help. If you don’t know how to do it, call the teacher. Make them go to bed at a reasonable time. Keep them off the streets. Give them some breakfast...”

Senator Obama expressed these complementary responsibilities in Texas a few weeks ago when he said:

Americans know that government cannot solve all of our problems, and they don't expect it to. Americans know that we have to work harder and study more to compete in a global economy. We know that we need to take responsibility for ourselves and our children - which we need to spend more time with them, and teach them well, and put a book in their hands instead of a video game once in awhile. We know this.

But we also believe that there is a larger responsibility we have to one another as Americans.

We believe that we rise or fall as one nation - as one people. That we are our brother's keeper. That we are our sister's keeper.

We believe that a child born tonight should have the same chances whether she arrives in the barrios of San Antonio or the suburbs of St. Louis; on the streets of Chicago or the hills of Appalachia.

We believe that when she goes to school for the first time, it should be in a place where the rats don't outnumber the computers; that when she applies to college, cost is no barrier to a degree that will allow her to compete with children in China or India for the jobs of the twenty-first century.

We believe that these jobs should provide wages that can raise her family, health care for when she gets sick and a pension for when she retires.

We believe that when she tucks her own children into bed, she should feel safe knowing that they are protected from the threats we face by the bravest, best-equipped, military in the world, led by a Commander-in-Chief who has the judgment to know when to send them into battle and which battlefield to fight on.

On p. 61 of Audacity of Hope the senator talks about the coarsening of culture. What recommendations would he have to keep this from going further or perhaps decrease it?

Senator Obama believes that the openness of the new media world should be seen as an opportunity as much as some see it as a threat. We live in the most information-abundant age in history and the people who develop the skills to utilize its benefits are the people who will succeed in the 21st century. But Senator Obama also recognizes that there are darker corners of the media world: from Internet predators to hateful messages to graphic violence and sex. In addition, our children spend too much time passively watching TV --an average of three hours a day - for African-American children, its four hours – while two out of every three households have the TV on during meals.

As a constitutional lawyer, Senator Obama is a defender of the first amendment. But he also believes that “just because you can say something doesn’t mean you should say something. And … we have not talked enough about the harmful images and messages that are sent.” As a result, an Obama administration will give parents the tools and information they need to control what their children see on television and the Internet in ways fully consistent with the first amendment and will encourage the creation of Public Media 2.0., the next generation of public media that will create the Sesame Street of the Digital Age and other video and interactive programming that educates and informs. Obama will support the transition of existing public broadcasting entities and help renew their founding vision in the digital world.

Most successful public policy behavior modification campaigns have dealt with visible public behaviors by increasing punishment and social stigma (seat belt use and driving while intoxicated being examples). With behaviors that primarily occur in private and for which there is already severe punishment, such extreme domestic violence and spousal murder (studies have shown homicide to be a leading cause of death for pregnant women), trying to change behaviors is much harder. Can you point to a program that has been successful and that the campaign is using as a model?

Reducing violence against women will be a top priority of an Obama Administration. It will require an integrated approach that attacks the problem at all of its many sources, including: economic empowerment and anti-poverty initiatives; substance abuse prevention; robust protections and remedies that give women maximum access to legal remedies and enforcement. Often, women are unable to talk about domestic violence and do not have the economic means to escape from the abusive environment. Too often state law provides an inadequate remedy for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.

That is why Senator Obama supported the passage of the Illinois Gender Violence Act; This legislation provides survivors of gender-based violence a private right of action and is the most comprehensive remedy for gender-based violence in the country. Often a private right of action is necessary to empower women to pursue legal remedies on their own without having to convince enforcement authorities to pursue their case. This legislation was particularly important in light of the Supreme Courts misguided decision in US v Morrison.

In addition, in the Illinois State Senate, Barack Obama successfully passed legislation to increase penalties on certain domestic violence offenders. Obama was chief cosponsor of a bill providing that domestic battery or a violation of an order of protection is a Class 4 felony if the offender was previously convicted of certain offenses. Obama was also chief cosponsor of a law increasing penalties for committing battery against an individual in or near a domestic violence shelter. Obama cosponsored and helped pass a law that requires the government to be specific about restrictions placed on the recipient of an emergency order of protection so that perpetrators of domestic violence cannot claim ignorance of the law. As president, Obama will continue to work to ensure that offenders are appropriately punished and that women and children are not deterred from seeking treatment or shelter.

The senator “supports efforts to guarantee workers seven days of paid sick leave per year” to allow working parents to stay home with sick children. Previous employee rights mandates, such as overtime, the 5 day work week, family leave, etc., have come about with strong union support. With unions in decline, do you think there will be enough willpower in government to enforce a sick leave guarantee by law?

Barack Obama will be a President who will fight for working families every day that he is in the White House. Too many politicians have talked about family values, but haven’t passed policies that balanced work and family. Barack Obama will change that.

Labor unions have played a critical role in many of the major reforms that created the great American middle class, including establishing the 40-hour workweek and the minimum wage and the family and medical leave. Senator Obama is committed to strengthening the ability of workers to organize and will fight for passage of the Employee Free Choice Act, will ensure that his labor appointees support workers' rights and will work to ban the permanent replacement of striking workers. At the same time, he will work with unions to expand the support for other worker- and family-friendly reforms, including providing American workers seven sick days a year.

Today, in over 70 percent of families with children, both parents work or a single parent works for pay. Yet half of all private sector employees are without a single paid sick day for themselves or to care for a sick child. More and more families are forced to choose between work and their health, or the health of their family.

Too often, Washington has ignored the needs of families struggling to do their best on the job and as parents, but a coalition of over 100 organizations has come together to support the Healthy Families Act which was introduced in the Senate by Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Ted Kennedy and in the House by Representative Rosa DeLauro. The efforts of a similarly broad coalition were critical to passage of the Family Medical Leave Act. Senator Obama has lent his support to this effort, cosponsoring the Healthy Families Act, and as President he would call on Congress to pass this minimum standard so essential to working families.

A number of the issues listed on the Women for Obama page, such as enforcing child support payments, domestic violence, preventing unwanted pregnancy, are a result of people not living up to familial responsibilities or not taking steps to avoid having familial responsibilities. How can government encourage healthy families?

Senator Obama understands the struggles of low income Americans. As the son of a single mother who had to go on food stamps, he knows the financial struggles families encounter. He believes deeply that the government is for the people and by the people. He has spent his entire life working on behalf of the voiceless and improving the lives of the less fortunate. An Obama administration would work tirelessly on behalf of American families. This is truly why he is running for president.

Senator Obama recognizes the heavy burden on ordinary families and has outlined proposals that would reduce the strain on families. He is committed to passing universal health care legislation by the end of his first term that ensures all American’s have access to high quality, affordable healthcare. His plan would save a typical American family up to $2,500 every year on medical expenditures. Obama has also outlined plans to cut taxes on working families and expand the Child and Dependent Care Tax credit. Government can also do more to increase the quality of education. Obama is committed to bringing our K-12 system up to world-class standards, expanding after school opportunities, and making college more affordable.

Obama has outlined specific plans that would help working parents balance work and family responsibilities, including: requiring employers to provide paid sick days, expanding the Family Medical Leave Act, encouraging states to adopt paid leave, expanding opportunities for flexible work schedules,

Obama has also outlined plans to encourage fathers to meet their responsibilities to their families. He has re-introduced the Responsible Fatherhood and Healthy Families Act to crack down on men avoiding child support payments, and reverse some of the government penalties on married families. Obama has said he will sign this bill into law and continue to pursue innovative measures to bolster parents and strengthen families.

Governmental support of daycare is often used to pit two parent families who have chosen to reduce their income by having one parent stay home against single parent families or families where both parents work, either by choice or necessity. How can a policy be enacted on this subject without inflaming the “mommy wars?”

One of the destructive consequences of the culture wars is that childcare has been used as a political football rather than treated as a common challenge that must be solved, the way it has been in most other developed countries. When in the overwhelming majority of families with children both parents – and a single parent – are working, our failure to help parents afford quality childcare hurts our nation’s children and families – and therefore hurts all of us.

Throughout his career, from community organizer to US Senator, Barack Obama has forged coalitions by encouraging people to look beyond differences to common interests. No one benefits when a child has inadequate care, or when a parent is overwhelmed or distracted at work.

Senator Obama would take childcare out of the culture war zone in three ways. First, he has a robust “zero to five” early education plan. This program would create early learning challenge grants to promote “zero to five” efforts and help states move toward universal pre-school. He would also quadruple Early Head Start and expand Head Start while improving quality in both.

Second, he would also expand the Child and Dependent Care tax credit to help low-income families with the high costs of childcare.

Third, Senator Obama would lighten the financial burden and help all families, whether they are paying for childcare or not. He has proposed a tax credit of $1,000 for working families, expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit and reforming healthcare to decrease the annual cost to a typical family by $2,500. He would also reform our K-12 public education system. And he would expand after-school and summer-learning programs.

Pay equity is easy to talk about but more difficult to enact, especially when trying to equate jobs that are usually occupied by one gender, such as office work (women) and construction work (men). Nursing seems to be one of the few areas where an increase in pay and opportunities has drawn men into a previously primarily female occupation. What are a few specifics that the senator favors in regards to pay equity?

Senator Obama has sponsored legislation to overturn the Supreme Court’s decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., which would curtail the ability of racial minorities and women to challenge their employers’ discriminatory pay decisions under Title VII. Senator Obama is also a cosponsor of Senator Tom Harkin’s Fair Pay Act. As president, Senator Obama will support legislation to promote paycheck equity – the right of women to receive equal compensation to that provided comparably qualified men. Senator Obama also joined Senator Edward Kennedy in introducing the Equal Remedies Act to do away with the caps on compensatory and punitive damages under Title VII that make it more difficult for victims of discrimination to recover the full amounts they are due. In addition, as President, Senator Obama would select a Solicitor General committed to vigorously enforcing the nation’s anti-discrimination laws.

Senator Obama also recognizes that women pay a disproportionate price when they need flexibility or time off to care for family members – in terms of hourly pay, pension, employer-provided health care and job security. He has called for updating the social contract to make it easier for women and men to care for family members without being punished in the workplace.

The Save More for Retirement Act (S.875 109th), which would flip our current “opt in” approach to corporate 401k programs to an “opt out” approach would, according to a study mentioned on your site, increase participation among low income workers from 12% to 79%. The bill was introduced in 2005 and didn’t make it out of committee. Are there plans to reintroduce it?

Senator Obama has proposed a plan to increase retirement security that would automatically enroll workers in a workplace pension plan. Under his plan, employers who do not currently offer a retirement plan, will be required to enroll their employees in a direct-deposit IRA account that is comparable to existing direct-deposit payroll systems. Employees may opt-out if they choose. Experts estimate that this program will increase the savings participation rate for low and middle-income workers from its current 15 percent level to around 80 percent. As President, Senator Obama would work to get this legislation passed.

On the Women for Obama site, early childhood education is listed as a goal and the Illinois program Preschool for All is given as a model. (See lengthy pdf Preschool for All report). One theme apparent throughout the report was that all parties were at the table from the beginning, parents and early childhood teachers and care givers, as well as policy makers and legislators. How does that kind of cooperation get started? It has been my experience that while a chamber of commerce office holder can get phone calls returned, a PTA official might not.

Senator Obama has proposed a comprehensive “Zero to Five” plan to provide critical supports to young children and their parents. The cornerstone of this plan is the creation of Early Learning Challenge Grants that will foster exactly the kind of cooperation you mention. In addition, Senator Obama has said he will create a Presidential Early Learning Council to increase collaboration among the different players in early childhood education, as well as coordinate across different levels of government.

The issue you raise is a critical one throughout government. All too often the special interests have access while families do not. This is why Senator Obama is committed to campaign finance and ethics reform – to lessen the influence of special interests and their lobbyists – but also to transparency and bringing the American people into the policymaking process. If he is going to change this country so that we can meet the challenges of the 21st Century, we will need to change the way Washington works.

In the web site section on improving schools the senator mentions programs for school leaders, teachers and teachers’ unions. Nothing is said about the third leg of the stool – parental involvement. Why? Students seldom achieve without support and guidance at home and good schools usually have a strong level of involvement from parents.

Senator Obama believes that we need both school reform and increased parental involvement. Because education begins at home, parents must set high standards and inspirational examples for their children. As a father, Senator Obama believes we need to find the time and the energy to help motivate our kids to love learning. Parents can read to their children, discuss what they read, and make time for this by turning off the TV.

All social programs cost money and even the cost savings of ending the war in Iraq would probably not cover increasing financial aid and offering preschool to all and job training programs, etc. What programs would the senator have in mind to cut to fund all of the programs he wants?

Senator Obama is committed to restoring fiscal discipline. Under President Bush, the federal debt has increased from $5.7 trillion to $8.8 trillion, an increase of more than 50 percent. President Bush's policies of giving tax breaks for the wealthy will cost the nation over $2.3 trillion by the time they expire in 2009. Obama would take the following steps:

Reinstate PAYGO Rules: Obama believes that a critical step in restoring fiscal discipline is enforcing pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) budgeting rules which require new spending commitments or tax changes to be paid for by cuts to other programs or new revenue.

Reverse Bush Tax Cuts for the Wealthy: Obama will protect tax cuts for poor and middle class families, but he will reverse most of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest taxpayers.

Cut Pork Barrel Spending: Obama introduced and passed bipartisan legislation that would require more disclosure and transparency for special-interest earmarks. Obama believes that spending that cannot withstand public scrutiny cannot be justified. Obama will slash earmarks to no greater than year 2001 levels and ensure all spending decisions are open to the public.

Make Government Spending More Accountable and Efficient: Obama will ensure that federal contracts over $25,000 are competitively bid. Obama will also increase the efficiency of government programs through better use of technology, stronger management that demands accountability and by leveraging the government's high-volume purchasing power to get lower prices.

End Wasteful Government Spending: Obama will stop funding wasteful, obsolete federal government programs that make no financial sense. Obama has called for an end to subsidies for oil and gas companies that are enjoying record profits, as well as the elimination of subsidies to the private student loan industry which has repeatedly used unethical business practices. Obama will also tackle wasteful spending in the Medicare program.

End Tax Haven Abuse: Building on his bipartisan work in the Senate, Obama will give the Treasury Department the tools it needs to stop the abuse of tax shelters and offshore tax havens and help close the $350 billion tax gap between taxes owed and taxes paid.

Close Special Interest Corporate Loopholes: Obama will level the playing field for all businesses by eliminating special-interest loopholes and deductions, such as those for the oil and gas industry.

His record on this issue is clear:
PAYGO: Obama voted in 2005, 2006, and 2007 to reinstate pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) federal budget rules.

No-Bid Contracts: Obama has introduced and helped pass bipartisan legislation to limit the abuse of no-bid federal contracts.

Against Raising the Federal Debt Limit: In 2006, Obama voted against misguided Republican efforts to raise the statutory debt limit at the same time the Republicans were pushing through massive debt-financed tax cuts for the wealthy.

My thanks to Betsy for answering my questions. It is a sign of commitment to reaching individual voters for someone at this level of a national campaign to work with a state-level blog like mine. I hope my readers find this information interesting and useful.


Anonymous said...

WHO is behind the Barack Obama for President

........ GE ....and a gaggle of other corporate elitists.

Are a lot of working class Americans Bitter?

Well, they SHOULD be: Another GE candidate for President (SOLD to the public by the Corporate-Controlled "Mainstream MEDIA)...Ronald Reagan...began the MASSIVE Robbery of the American people that has continued to this day.

About every day the TV Talking heads say: "The Rich are getting richer and everybody else is getting poorer"

...& You'd Think...after nearly 30 years they would FINALLY ASK: (& Answer) WHY?

The answer is simple: Reagan cut the top tax rate down from the 70%'s to the low 30%'s.

(If you made $100 million & your tax rate was 70% you would pay $70 million to Uncle Sam & keep $30 million...earning interest, or dividends THE NEXT YEAR on that $30 million. If, instead, you paid $30 million in taxes and KEPT $70 million-You'd make a lot MORE money the next year on that $70 million)

Simple: tax the rich a lot less AND they damn sure WILL get a whole lot richer a whole lot faster. There was 2 PARTS to Reaganomics tho. The second part was: "The Two-Tier Wage Structure"

i.e. Pay the Top level "executives" a Whole LOT MORE; Pay everybody else a Whole LOT LESS. (Newspapers & TV in the early 80's had articles & coverage of the "Two-Tier Wage Structure" that CORPORATE America trotted out IN CONCERT with Reagan's election & tax cuts.)

IF its CORPORATE POLICY to PAY Everybody else a WHOLE LOT LESS-everybody else is going to get-a whole lot poorer...huh?

a. It was deliberate. b. Its been going on for nearly 30 years.

Next Question: Is Obama likely to fix it?
Answer: Hell No. Because THE SAME PEOPLE are running him for President - The SAME WAY they got Reagan/ Bush1 / Bush2 elected: MEDIA PROPAGANDA.

GE owns MSNBC & NBC. AOL Time Warner owns CNN. Westinghouse owns CBS. (GE is the 2nd largest corporation on the planet). They have interlocking directorships. THEY ARE the Corporate-Controllers of the Corporate-Controlled Media.

MSNBC/NBC have become the CHIEF propaganda mouthpieces of the Obama Pushers (BOPN-Barack Obama Propaganda Networks)-just like FOX has been the the Bush Propaganda Network all these years.

There are no more Journalists, no more NEWS People. They have all become court jesters & clowns doing their bit to please their corporate masters..Top Level..PAID A WHOLE LOT MORE---Media whores.

Here's a glimpse of ONE of the $Billions of Dollar TAXPAYER-RIPOFF-Reasons GE wants to "elect" Obama President: GE & Westinghouse are in the business of building nuclear power plants.

The Cheney Energy Bill passed in 2005 - made it possible for the nuclear industry to begin planning to build 29 new nuclear power plants (licensing hearings are already scheduled for the first few of them).

No new nuke plants were built for 30 years because the banks wouldn't loan the money - too risky. The Cheney Energy Bill solved that problem by Guaranteeing TAXPAYER PAYBACK of any of the nuke loans that default (The Congressional Budget Office rated the risk of default at 50% or greater)

Obama voted FOR the Cheney Energy Bill. Clinton voted against. Clinton says her Energy plan does not include nuclear & if they want to be considered they will have to FIRST Make it Cheaper and find a safe way to dispose of the nuke waste.

McCain, this week on the Campaign trail said...we just have to face it we need to start building new, "CLEAN", nuclear power plants. i.e. The Corporate Elitists are running OBAMA AND McCain for President.

("Getting off coal to go to nuclear is like giving up cigarettes to take up smoking crack".)

robi said...

i saw that you talk with Betsy will be posible that i can have her e-mail on my e-mail. i have a work about obama's campaign and i don't have any sources.
i would be thankefull it will be posible. Thank you very much!

AboveAvgJane said...


Sorry, the only email I had was associated with the campaign, and would be outdated now.