Different Positions of the Issues: Senator Peter Wirth - October 9, 2012

"Please study the issues and qualifications of the candidates yourself"

Some people say this year's Presidential election could be the most important of our lifetime. Others, who we submit are ill-informed, say they are not going to vote because the two parties are similar and it doesn’t make a difference who wins. We can’t imagine why people who have the opportunity to vote can let that privilege pass, when so many have made the ultimate sacrifice for its preservation.

The last day to register to vote is October 9. Election day is November 6. Please study the issues and qualifications of the candidates yourself. Don’t rely on some radio or tv personality or some blog on the Internet for accurate information. Ignore ads, especially on tv. There is so much misinformation being spread about all the candidates, that we wanted to present for our readers two impassioned editorials from two esteemed sources, Sen. Peter Wirth on the onehand and Gregg Bemis on the other. Read on!

My Vote for President Obama

The contrast between the candidates for president this year is extreme. Here is how I would frame the choice we face in the voting booth.

Do we want a country based on fairness and equality, a country that invests in science, education and health care, a country that gives everyone a chance to succeed? Or, do we want a country that dramatically shrinks the role of government, cuts taxes for those people and entities that need it least and takes away key regulatory protections? 

The answer for me is clear. On November 6, I will enthusiastically vote for President Barack Obama. I agree with his approach to stimulate economic growth and reduce the deficit. He is right on health care. He is right to let women make decisions about their own bodies. And, he is right to treat people equally regardless of who they love and who they marry.

As a New Mexican, the Ryan/Romney approach to government spending scares me to death. Like it or not, we are a state that depends heavily on federal dollars, for Sandia and Los Alamos Labs, for Medicaid, for public education. As Senator Bingaman points out in his speeches to the state Legislature, New Mexico receives $3.34 dollars from the federal government for every dollar New Mexicans pay in taxes. Given this, the loss of jobs in our state from downsizing under Ryan/Romney would have devastating economic consequences.

In contrast, President Obama’s approach to targeted government spending designed to stimulate the economy makes far more sense. Asking those who make more than $250,000 each year to pay increased taxes is only fair. Yes, our tax code is a mess and needs to be fixed. The President is right to focus on ending corporate giveaways, especially for companies that ship jobs overseas. He is also right not to eliminate the mortgage deduction and the deduction for charitable giving.

Turning Medicare into a voucher system, privatizing Social Security and drastically cutting Medicaid will have an enormous negative impact on the constituencies who rely so heavily on these programs. Yet, this is the Romney/Ryan vision. 

And, this outcry over “Obamacare?” Really? How is it a bad thing for more Americans to have health care coverage? I have always said we already have a system of universal health care. You get sick enough, and the hospital will treat you regardless of your ability to pay. Those of us with health insurance pick up the bill. Under the new health care law, insurance company profits are capped and the pool of covered individuals increased. This means rates for everyone go down.

For anyone still on the fence, here is the final reason you should vote for Barack Obama. The President understands that the democratic process only works when both sides compromise. 

Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan’s decision to sign Grover Norquist’s pledge that they will never, under any circumstances, raise taxes, makes them unfit to lead in fiscal times like these. They have taken tools off the table which almost certainly will be needed to achieve the compromises and solutions our democracy requires. 

President Reagan came into office “outraged” that a millionaire would use tax loopholes to pay no tax but a bus driver was paying 10% of his salary in taxes. Hard to imagine Romney or Ryan sharing that outrage today.

Yes, President Reagan cut taxes during his eight years in office. He also signed eleven tax increases. This balanced approach to fiscal policy is what any President has to bring to the table. In this election, only Barack Obama meets this test.

Read Gregg Bemis's viewpoint here.

Senator Peter Wirth was elected to his first term as State Senator in 2008 and represents most of Santa Fe, Tesuque and Eldorado. He previously represented House District 47 in the House of Representatives from 2004 through 2008. Senator Wirth serves as Vice-Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee and serves on the Senate Rules Committee. During the interim, he is the Co-Chair of the Courts Corrections Committee and is an advisory member on the Water and Natural Resources Committee. When he is not working at the Legislature, Senator Wirth is a lawyer and mediator at Sawtell, Wirth & Biedscheid.

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