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President Bush at Harley-Davidson

President Bush at Harley-Davidson

What the bleep?!

I’ve tried to avoid political innuendo’s or stump for candidates on this blog, but today is my one time post.

I could have jumped in and drove traffic up with that Jesse Jackson (off-air mic before Fox & Friends – re; Obama’s genitalia) or Whoopi Goldberg’s cultural language debate on the N-word, but obviously I didn’t. 

So, all this political correctness thrash got me thinking about who would be better for Harley-Davidson and the biker community if elected president?  We’ve certainly seen g’dubya Bush pontificate the benefits of free-trade as I’ve covered it in a previous post, but are there any patterns which might predict a direction?

One pattern that is clear is politicians love a “crisis.”  Heard about the “home crisis”, “mortgage crisis”, “financial crisis” or if not the crisis then have you heard about the “disaster”?  John McCain and Barack Obama both think that the government should bail out homeowners who can’t pay their mortgages. When they say the government should do this, they mean us the taxpayers, including those who are paying their mortgages. They also think the government should regulate the lending and investment industries further. 

Why?  Because “crisis” justifies making big government bigger.  I’m not sure about you, but I still see those Ditech commercials offering fixed-rate mortgages for 5.5% and my VISA seems to work just fine so, I don’t get the financial crisis.  But on to my point, which candidate is better…

John McCain

John McCain

McCain is a candidate of contradictions. He initially opposed President Bush’s tax cuts, but now supports making them permanent. He has crusaded against the influence of corporate lobbyists, yet has more K Street fixers raising money for his campaign than any other candidate. He says he’s a full-bore, free-enterprise capitalist even as he admits that he hasn’t understood economics as well as he should and is reading Alan Greenspan’s book!  He has been active on global warming, proposing a carbon trading system that was opposed by some in the oil and gas industries. He is also a supporter of increasing so-called CAFE standards for automobile emissions. He proposed sweeping anti-smoking legislation in the late 1990s that would have raised taxes on cigarettes, restricted the industry’s ability to advertise, and given the FDA broad new authority over tobacco companies. It’s estimated that it would cost the industry more than half a billion dollars over 25 years.  Looks like if McCain becomes President, Corporate America including Harley-Davidson’s choices aren’t very good.

Barack Obama

Barack Obama

In contrast, Obama takes time to consult on the economy with billionaire Warren Buffett, who also supports his rolling back the Bush tax cuts.  This would likely benefit many of the people running big American companies.  He is proposing to raise taxes on capital gains and dividends by two-thirds, moving the rate up 10 points to 25%.  This would potentially curtail investment.  Obama would also let the Bush tax cuts expire allowing the top individual income tax rate to return to 39.6%.  Obama’s record in the Senate is rather thin, but he has sponsored bills from union labor to alternative fuel to the earned income tax credit.  In one move that was unpopular among business executives, Obama sponsored a bill to give shareholders a nonbinding proxy vote on executive pay. Obama voted for a free-trade pact with Peru that contained provisos to protect the Peruvian environment and Peruvian labor. That would be hard to take if you’re a U.S. business owner who wants costs to stay low in your new Peru operation. Obama also states  he would look to amend the NAFTA trade agreement to add similar protections to the Clinton-era pact.  This may well hurt Harley.

This isn’t exhaustive research on the candidates and both will likely have Corporate America sipping arsenic over their direction while wishing for alternative choices!  The future is never certain, but these “dudes” will continue to deliver their lines predictably.

I guess while we’re fantasizing about “alternative” choices, what we really need is a motorcycle that runs on politician lies.  Talk about mileage!

Bush photo courtesy Yorkblog.  Candidates photo’s courtesy of campain websites.

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