Friday, March 14, 2008

Obama, Transparency, Earmarks

I have mixed feelings about Obama. While I loved him when I heard that he passed the Transparency Act of 2006, I was disappointed to find later that they'd basically taken and tossed a .gov at the end of it. They spruced it up a bit and made it more user-friendly, but I'm not sure that there was as much value-added as there could be. There was plenty of glory, however.

Yesterday Obama revealed his earmarks. I'm not real government-savvy (I've been exploring the government websites for about a year now, but they're still a maze to me), and I wonder why he even had to reveal them. Aren't they publicly-available? Apparently not -- or apparently it would be a major hassle to compile the data, as it's probably in text files. So it's $740 million, including a fishy $1 million for his wife's hospital. I'll give him credit for revealing it. Clinton has not revealed hers. I don't think he's completely pure, but he certainly has a better record for integrity than McCain (who was involved in the Keating case) or Clinton, who is just plain slimy.

I'd trust Obama and McCain more than Clinton when it comes to making smart economic policy, as well. While Obama has made a fuss about NAFTA, his book comes down more in favor of free trade:
A tariff on imported steel may give temporary relief to U.S. steel producers, but it will make every U.S. manufacturer who uses steel in its products less competitive on the world market.... U.S. Border Patrol agents can't interdict the services of a call center in India, or stop an electrical engineer in Prague from sending his work via email to a company in Dubuque. When it comes to trade, there are few borders left.

EDIT: Where is the press release of these revealed earmarks from Obama? The fact that it was revealed last Thursday (March 13), but there is no press release from Obama's website is disturbing, to say the least. It suggests that he's trying to downplay his earmark requests. However, the earmarks question is fairly prominently displayed (#2) in his AnswerCenter.


Anonymous said...

"While Obama has made a fuss about NATO, his book comes down more in favor of free trade."

Um, perhaps you meant NAFTA? I'm just asking, since they're completely different international agreements, and I doubt any of the presidential candidates has talked much about NATO's role in free trade.

undergroundman said...

Haha. Good catch.