Change I'd Like To See

I’ve got my Obama t-shirt on today and my song of the day is celebrating the change that is going to come. I am eager to watch Obama speak tonight. I’ve watched (mostly after the fact via web video) many of the speeches in Denver this week. Frankly, I’ve not been particularly inspired. Although Bill Clinton’s speech last night reminded me why I was such a big supporter of him in his time.

I am hoping that Obama can inspire me and the nation tonight. He’s talked so much about change, but I think he needs to be really clear about what tangible change he wants to bring and how he’s going to do it. Change as a slogan doesn’t inspire me. A short list of top priorities would. You can’t do anything if you try to do everything. But if you focus on a few big things, you can change a lot.

Here’s my list of the five things I’d want to change if I was in his shoes:

1) Rid politics of the stench of money and corruption. I used to think we should have public financing of campaigns but I’ve come around to the point of view that giving money is a form of free speech. We should allow our citizens to give money to fund campaigns but all gifts should be anonymous. If you can’t and won’t get "credit" for your contributions (as is the largely case with the $10 to $100 gifts given over the Internet), then we’ll have a much cleaner political system.

2) Get us out of Iraq. Regardless of whether this was a good war to fight or a bad war to fight, we’ve achieved most, if not all, of what we can and will achieve there. It’s cost us about $600 billion so far and the cost is going up by about $12 billion per month. And most of that money is not going to our troops and our military operations. It’s going to pay for private companies and bribes to keep the Iraqis from killing each other. It’s ridiculous. I heard this week from someone’s speech in Denver that the Iraqis have built up a surplus of close to $100bn from oil profits. It’s time for them to be financing their own security and it’s time for us to go. Their own leadership agrees with this view. We should have a firm timetable to leave and we should have the Iraqis start paying us $12bn per month for as long as we stay.

3) Cut the deficit. We’ve got an annual budget deficit of roughly $600bn per year. After leaving Iraq, we’ll still be in the red by $450bn. I’d just roll back the Bush tax cuts and go back to the tax rates in place under Clinton when the economy and the rich were doing just fine. That would raise at least $200bn per year and probably more. Those two moves alone would cut the deficit in half. I’d go further and get the budget back in the black but that would not be in my to top 5 list of priorities.

4) Invest in alternative energy. I’ve heard Vinod Khosla say that we could turn the upper plains states into the next middle east with significant federal commitment and private investment in biofuels. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but we need a John Kennedy "go to the moon style" national commitment to eliminate our country’s reliance on carbon energy in the next 10 years. In the process, we can create millions of new jobs, and maybe we can turn Sioux Falls into the next Dubai as well.

5) Change the healthcare paradigm. We need a market based solution that covers every citizen’s health care. I don’t care whether it’s Obama’s plan, Hillary’s plan, or some other plan. But it should be market based, create incentives to continue to invest in and find innovative new treatments, and it should cover everyone. Plenty of countries have done it. It’s time for the US to do it too.

I know that several of these are on Obama’s list and that’s why I am supporting him. I don’t want more tax cuts for the rich, bigger deficits, a continued reliance on oil energy, more wars, less diplomacy, and a continuation of the existing health care approach. I want change. I hope Obama can convince the rest of the country tonight.

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Comments (Archived):

  1. Michael J.

    Why the heck make contributions anonymous??? People should own up to who they’re funding – this is the public commons, not a private investment.

    1. ryan

      It’s not about owning up, it’s about allowing a politician to receive money and not be obligated for a favor. This way people can give to who they like, but the corruption would be cut down. In theory.

      1. Michael J.

        Well, I see that you mean anonymously to the recipient (as opposed to the public), which I didn’t grok originally. But I just don’t see why corruption would be cut due to that anonymity.

        1. ryan

          If you don’t know that I gave you money, how do you know that I want a favor?

          1. Michael J.

            You’re going to sit in my office and tell me, “Son, I gave $10,000 to your PAC, and our industry needs this change to the law to keep the jobs here in America.” You will have gotten the appt because you’re the top dog at something in my district (company, trade group, etc).

          2. johnmccarthy

            After the 6th person tells an elected politician they gave his campaign $10K anonymously, and the politician knows he only raised $50K, even the dimmest of politicians will start to ask some questions. And the gaming will be over or greatly minimized. I really like this idea.

          3. andyswan

            That’s why everyone would start donating in amounts like “$9,241.89″….

          4. Tom Lorek

            The problem with anonymity is enforcement. How do you prevent someone from telling Senator X that he made a $20k donation? If anything there may be more cronyism because now Senator X has to take into consideration whether the lobbyist is lying or not and assess that probablitiy versus the chance of losing that funding for the next election cycle if he does nothing. I’m a big fan of the Oliver Wendell Holmes solution: “Sunshine is the best disinfectant.” If money is speech, then there should be no dollar maximums. However, all donations should be individual only (there is no reason a business should be able to use shareholder dollars for political donations and likewise a union should not be able to extort money for members) and those amounts should be published by the FEC so that, whenever Senator X acts in a way that seems shady we can immediately see the source of his funding. Hell, you’d even see opposing interest groups start to gameplan which politicians to fund based on past donations of their adversaries, essentially nullifying each other. Oh, and to top it all off, yeah, we need term limits. Robert Byrd and Ted Stevens are symptoms of the failure of (little r) republican principles.

          5. IsaacF

            “…and those amounts should be published by the FEC so that, whenever Senator X acts in a way that seems shady we can immediately see the source of his funding.”I’m not from the US, but isn’t that sort of stuff made fairly public already without any reduction in dodgy behaviour? Senators almost openly push projects to favour those funding them and no one’s able to do anything significant to oppose it from a grassroots level.

          6. Tom Lorek

            Isaac, not really, because any group can make a donation and it is not limited to Individuals. So, for instance, I can create a group called “Citizens for the Environment” that is funded by advocates of forest clear-cutting and paper companies and then give a donation to Senator X without you having any idea what the position of Citizens for the Environment really is. Now, if the CEO of a large paper company gave a large donation to say a Senator from Idaho, you’d be pretty certain of what his agenda was, or at the very least you’d have the ability to research his public statements or those of his company. Donations may be public, but they are still in a very real sense anonymous now. And, to be clear, I think McCain Feingold has made that problem even more prevalent.

  2. tweetip

    Not that Sioux Falls wants to be the next Dubai

  3. ryan

    I think your top 5 is in line with Obama’s, and good for the country. Yes, I am a Obama supporter and I would like to hear him address that tonight. I think he will, in part because this is the place for it. And until now the media has been focusing on everything else except the issues and where he stands. There has been too much talk about if Hilary supporters will get behind him or why he didn’t wear a lapel pin etc. Now that he’s the nominee and Biden is his running mate, I think the media will have to focus on the issues and what he stands for. At least I hope so.

  4. Gopi

    I dont think Obama is going to raise taxes to reduce deficit but its to bring wealth equality. He is a socialist and he will be more concerned with slicing the pie fairly than in growing it.

    1. Guest

      We will see

  5. SF

    Is there an example of a country that has a “…market based solution that covers every citizen’s health care…But it should be market based, create incentives to continue to invest in and find innovative new treatments, and it should cover everyone. Plenty of countries have done it.”I know of countries that have universal health care, countries with market-based health care, and countries with innovative treatments, but all 3 – not sure what countries would qualify.

    1. slowblogger

      I am curious too. I think there are countries with both national and private insurances. Which means you have choices, but you are not left uninsured. But Fred said market-based universal health insurance. What would that be?

  6. A

    Fred,You probably understand some economic theory better that I do. What do you say to the theory that increasing tax rates doesn’t increase tax revenue? ie, people will make less money to be taxed on, or find other ways to cheat and get out of paying taxes with fancy accounting, companies will move overseas ect. This is an argument I hear from my rep friends.Thanks!

    1. Morten Josefsen

      I am sure Fred’s economics is excellent. However, here is Krugman’s latest(?) post om the idea that lower taxes bring higher revenue, or the Laffer curve.http://krugman.blogs.nytime

    2. fredwilson

      it’s the supply side lie that has been told successfully by the republicans who want to keep more of their money for the past 30 years.reagan cut taxes and the deficit went through the roof, clinton raised them and we had a budget surplus, bush lowered them and the deficit went through the roof again.cutting taxes cuts revenues. raising them increases them.yes there are second order effects, but they are minor compared to the lost revenue, that all may not be true if rates get north of 50%.

      1. Brian

        I never realized Alexander Hamilton and JFK were republicans. Both supported supply side tax policies.Revenues are at all time high because of our tax structure. We are in a deficit because of spending. Congress (under both parties) is out of control. When talking about taxes stick to revenues which are what taxes are meant to raise not deficits. President’s have very little to do with deficits. Congress is in charge of spending the money.If Obama is elected President with a democratic congress, spending will balloon. If you are a deficit hawk, your best bet is McCain as President and a democratic congress. At least 2 years of blissful gridlock.

      2. Chase Barfield

        Fred – What is your stance on The Fair Tax?

        1. fredwilson

          What is the fair tax?

          1. Chase Barfield

            Sorry Fred – Disqus didn’t update me to your response. The Fair Tax is a consumption tax that eliminates income tax. I have consulted various tax professionals and have met with mixed results in their opinions. Listening to the audios and reading their site, it seems to be a valid response to today’s tax code. Some refer to it as a flat tax and that is incorrect. You can find out more here – I am anxious to hear your take.

  7. Michael Kreiger

    It is absolutely mind boggling that anyone who is smart believes that raising tax rates will raise tax revenue. Thats been proven SO many times its infuriating that anyone thinks this will do anything.Raise tax rates and the rich, who for some reason the democrats think are dumb, will fund other ways to avoid those additional taxes. How many times in history has this has to be proven before the democrats get it?The top 10% of wage earners pay 71% of all tax revenue. Thats not a fiar share?Capital Gains taxes affect the rich, but they affect MORE the garbage men, the grandmothers, the young couple saving for a house. Hey young couple, you saved for a house and earned $5,000 in gains. Woah – nope sorry – you are rich so I will double tax you and take an additional 15% of your gains.”Change” is all that will be left in anyones pocket once Obama is elected.

    1. Fed

      Your example of the young couple is completely inaccurate. They would not be affected by cap gains tax under the scenario your present.

    2. Parkite

      How about taxing carried interest as ordinary income? I know Fred is in favor.

    3. Gerry Corbett

      Michael….Well said…

    4. fredwilson

      i think all you need to look at is reagan through Bush II to see that raising rates does not lower revenues and lowering rates does not raise revenues.

        1. fredwilson

          This is great!I just reblogged it

          1. Michael Kreiger

            Here are the FACTS that illustrate that raising GDP is how you get more revenue in – not raising tax rates. AND you raise GDP by LOWERING tax rates.

          2. fredwilson

            I saw no proof of anything in that link and I read the whole thing andthought carefully about it

          3. Brian

            Fred,The slides proves my point. The DRASTIC cut in spending drove the elimination of the budget deficit in the 1990’s.Also, if tax rates are going down, how is it that taxes as a percentage of GDP went UP over the past 3 years. How is that possible?Let’s cut spending to 18.5% of GDP again. I have a feeling spending will be going up under an Obama presidency not down.

          4. fredwilson

            BrianThe drop in spending was as a % of GDP. Spending didn’t really go down thatmuch. It just was kept under control as GDP boomed in the 1990s, during aperiod when Clinton had raised taxes.Raising taxes does not slow the growth of GDP.The way to get to a budget surplus is to keep spending flat, grow theeconomy with good economic policies, and get taxes rates back to where theywere under ClintonThe only administration that has done this since the 1970s was the Clintonadministration, a democratic one.

          5. Brian

            Wrong.Spending did go down. A LOT. We had the peace dividend, welfare reform, etc.. The problem is we keep on adding to domestic spending (farm bill, highway bill, “economic stimulus package, etc.)If we spent 18.5% of GDP, the budget would be balanced this year. The problem is spending is out of control.I am not arguing that an economy cannot grow from higher taxes, but the 90’s had a series of events that I do not see being repeated anytime soon such as the end of the cold war, the massive increases in productivity, NAFTA and other free trade agreements, banks having more available capital to invest, capital gains tax cuts, etc.. Also, please note the economic growth did not really pick up until 1994.Obama wants to unionize the country, pull back on free trade, and raise capital gains and income taxes. I do not see the combination of those three as a recipe for raising GDP.

          6. fredwilson

            Obama does not want to unionize the country or pull back on free trade.And he only wants to raise taxes on the wealthy, he’s for lowering them onthe poor and middle class

      1. Guest

        Look, nobody likes taxes, HOWEVER, to say something like this:”It is absolutely mind boggling that anyone who is smart believes that raising tax rates will raise tax revenue. Thats been proven SO many times its infuriating that anyone thinks this will do anything” just gets my blood boiling.Proven by whom? Where is the data? The reason everyone hates republicans today is well exemplified by Mr. Kreiger. Just spew out ideological non-sense, and data facts and reality be damned.

        1. Michael Kreiger

          Here is the data:…Higher GDP = Higher Revenues… Lower tax rates = higher GDP. Its proven time and time again.And… “everyone” doesn’t hate republicans. If they did, then Mr. Obama would have a landslide on his hands. If he does manage a win, it will be a squeaker. Why? Because there are a lot of smart people that don’t yell as loud as the liberals who know what is right, and will vote common sense…

          1. Guest

            I am sorry, perhaps I did not make myself clear, so I have to do it again:The reason everyone hates republicans today is well exemplified by Mr. Kreiger. Just spew out ideological non-sense, and data facts and reality be damned.What kind of thick, brain-dead, ignoramus would offer as evidence data that contradicts his entire point and claim that it actually supports it? Answer: typical ignorant republican.Oh, and Obama WILL win in a landslide, watch and enjoy. Hopefully, with his education proposals your kids will be able to actually learn the meaning of data, math and graphs. For Mr. Kreiger, I am afraid it is too late…

          2. Brian

            Everyone hates republicans?Where is your evidence of that?Why is Obama in a dead heat with McCain when everyone hates republicans?It sounds like you are spewing out ideological non-sense.

          3. David B.

            Not everyone hates Republicans, to be sure, but the Laffer Curve has been abused as an idea and misunderstood since its inception. If you lower taxes to 5%, sure the percentage of tax revenue will increase, but who cares? We’ve been trying such “trickle-down” experiments and Sweden has been doing the opposite. Guess who’s winning in a landslide?No one’s saying we need to soak the rich, but we’ve been doing the opposite for too long. Warren Buffet paid a 17.7% tax rate on his $46 million of taxable income in 2006, and he had the moral courage to complain. Surely we can do better than this.

          4. fredwilson

            I’d like to complain along with Warren Buffet. I am outraged by how littletaxes I pay out of my total income compared to my brothers who barely scrapeby.

          5. Brian

            Fred,No one is stopping you from writing a bigger check to the IRS. If you think you should pay more, pay more.I am trying to save for retirement and my children’s education. I would appreciate you not raising my taxes just because you do not think you are paying your fair share.Brian

          6. fredwilson

            I can’t raise your taxesBut I can vote for someone who willOr maybe he will lower them if in fact you are struggling to save money forretirement and your children’s education

          7. Brian

            Nope.I am “rich”. I get no deductions. No tax credits. No “stimulus” checks.If I work hard and have a good year, I am punished with higher tax rates.25% of my income is more than enough for my federal income taxes.

          8. blakeborgeson

            Brian,With Fred talking about voting for Obama, your taxes are only going to go up if you’re making over 250k. You said:>I am trying to save for retirement and my children’s education. I would appreciate you not raising my taxes just because you do not think you are paying your fair share.Maybe you weren’t aware, but if you’re making less than 250k, under Obama’s plan, your taxes will go down. That’s according to Furman, Obama’s lead economic advisor, as related in the article in the NYTimes which Boris linked to above:…So I’m curious whether a) that’s news to you, or b) you actually have an income over 250k, but still feel like you’re scraping by.

          9. Brian

            Here is an example that is analogous to my situation.I work for a high growth company with a modest salary (let’s say 100k). My comp is highly variable since it is equity based.Year 1: 100k (No tax increase)Year 2: 100k (No tax increase)Year 3: 100k + Liquidity event ($400k) with a 10% surcharge on income above 250K.Why am I being punished for pay for performance? I am not against paying more dollars in taxes, but why should I have to pay a higher rate.Many of us who work for small companies depend on big years every five years or so to build wealth to pay for the leaner years. Being lowly thousand-aires we are not rich enough to figure out exotic ways to shelter our income.Obama’s tax code punishes savings and work and rewards being unproductive. I do not see that as a good thing.

          10. fredwilson

            BrianThis is a direct quote from last night’s speech:³I’ll eliminate capital gains taxes for the small businesses and start-upsthat will create the high wage, high tech jobs of tomorrow²If equity comp is your issue, then Barack is your manFred

          11. Brian

            No, for most companies options are treated as ordinary income. It is only for small startups that some equity comp is treated as a capital gain.

          12. Brian

            I also do not work in tech, so I doubt he would forgive me for building wealth.

          13. fredwilson

            Well maybe he’ll be up for changing that. He’s probably sympathetic to the idea that options should be treated the same way as founders stock

          14. Brian

            I have nothing to say. I just want this post to get over 150 comments.

          15. fredwilson

            It’s a mindset. It’s not punishmentAs my first boss told me, I love paying a lot of taxes. It means I had agreat year.

          16. johnmccarthy

            Brian, would you stop working hard if you paid 30% instead of 25%? At what point would you say “I am not going to work today?”

          17. Chris

            That just leaves more money to go to charitable causes that you believe in rather than letting the government decide how to spend your money. Or, you can pay extra taxes, you can pay mine, lol.

          18. Guest

            Brian,McCain is not an unorthodox Republican. He polls much better than his party. I know that over the last month or so he has inexplicably turned towards more mainstream republicanism, and the Dems rightfully smacked him down for that.There are two possible scenarios going forward: either McCain stays in the orthodoxy, in which case he will get blown out of the water November when the public catches up on his metamorphosis, or he again turns into the independent “maverick” in which case the election will be close.I think the early indications point to scenario 2, judging by how he chose Palin over that loathsome excuse of a human being, Mitt Romney. Still, next week will be most crucial in terms of defining John McCain.And just to make it clear: my comments are not about raising vs cutting taxes. That’s a legitimate policy question that Americans can and should discuss, and are expected to have differing opinions. I was commenting about this core Republican approach of peddling ideology and discarding data and facts. You can propose cutting taxes, that’s a very legitimate policy stance. What you cannot do is to propose cutting taxes AND claim that it will raise federal revenues as all legitimate economists and the data show that this is simply not the case. If Americans want to live with low taxes and low government revenues, so be it. Just don’t lie, don’t distort the science, don’t offer false arguments with chuptzah and straight face. That’s the republicanism of the last eight years that everyone hates. McCain used to be different, a more honest and straightforward person. What has happened to him the last month was very disturbing.

  8. Fed

    I’m lucky enough to be in the bracket which would see the highest increase in taxes under Obama’s tax plan. I want to support him, but I’d also like to know that he plans to cut spending (especially in Iraq and on useless military programs) and balance the budget.

    1. fredwilson

      Me too and I want to hear about that stuff too

  9. jasonkolb

    In general I agree with you, however universal health care would almost certainly negate any budget savings you’d get by cutting anything, including Iraq.

    1. evgen

      Only if we were particularly stupid about how we provide universal health care; lots of other countries manage to provide this without spending as much on health care per capita as we spend on medicare. On this issue the devil is in the details, but a lot of the “easy” fixes are expensive. If we are lucky an Obama administration will be able to pull off something similar to what Clinton did with welfare reform and provide a broad benefit while cutting some entrenched entitlements (e.g. means-testing and cost/benefit analysis on treatments.

  10. gards

    Fred – great post – I hope this type of thinking is infectious. Especially for those of us that are north of the 49 and just get to watch :O)

  11. BillSeitz

    I’ve come to the conclusion that TermLimits are the only solution to election-finance. If you only get 12yrs of power accumulation…

  12. gregorylent

    how much can an elected leader do? everything has to sift through lobbyists and legislators and civil servants on its way to the “people” who may or may not see a story about the change on nightline while they are switching to entertainment tonight.a few legislative changes will have about as much effect as rules on short-selling or fed decisions on banking or fannie and freddie .. i.e. not much because the disease is deeper.actual transformation comes from the ground up. leaders are not the cause of anything, they can do little but reflect the common denominator of the group mind of the think americans are ready for serious transformation? i don’t. not even close. the only change they want is more comfort, please.and all you need to know about the ridiculous state of american politics you can see with the people in funny hats mindlessly cheering and beating their appendages together to nominate a candidate. somehow i don’t think russia or china are much worried about america as a threat, except as an immature ruffian stumbling on the world stage. forget about changing domestic policies. cheap gas, lower taxes, as much for free as possible is all americans want.true transformation comes from sacrifice, from an intense desire to change your life. that desire is not present in america. not even close. hence, chaos will grow, because that is the only thing that will force people to change.enjoy, gregory lent

  13. S.t

    I read that Obama’s acceptance stage tonight was built by Britney Spears set designer — no joke.…Also, here’s a nice new ad from Camp McCain starring some topnotch Lefties…Tonight’s speech is also an anniversary of sorts — it was 40yrs ago today that William Ayers (domestic terrorist, Obama fund partner) was arrested at the 1968 DNC.

    1. fredwilson

      i am happy to see you back here s.t.i knew this one would bring you back.i don’t buy your points of view, but at least you hold them dearly and consistently and I respect thatbut i’d love it if you left the smear stuff out

      1. S.t

        It’s gonna be pretty funny tonight if Obama tries to play up the MLK angleMLK was a RepublicanGetting back to your post, – ‘taking the money & corruption’ away from a Chicago politician? You gotta be kidding me.…Getting out of Iraq? We just built the biggest embassy in the world. We are staying.Cutting the deficit? I hear that countries that use their own oil resources for profit do pretty well financially — 95% of the world’s oil biz is ‘nationalized’ (controlled by the home county, — Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Iran, Nigeria, recently Russia, and soon Brazil).Alternative energy? Until someone can invent something that doesn’t involve burning food for fuel, I’d stick with Newt’s ‘Drill Here, Drill Now’.p.s. – ‘man-made’ global warming is the biggest crock of crap that the counter culture has ever tried to get over on the voting consumer. If the atmosphere were a six-mile run, ‘man-made’ Co2 would only be the last stride-&-a-half. It’s BS. Carbon credits are a scam, Ethanol is an atrocious idea: The Environmental Elite are the enemy of the Poor & Hungry.Healthcare? Who said ‘The rich stay healthy, but the sick stay poor’?That’s not my solution to the high cost of healthcare, but why are Americans paying so much for the best healthcare in the world when we come up with the best innovations?I notice that your Obama policy wish list does not include anything on national defense — smart move. It’s pretty stunning that during Obama’s Berlin rock concert speech, he said that the ‘world as one’ and The Wall fell? Only an idiot would say this in front of a large group of people.The bottom line is that Obama is not prepared to be president, his wife is a disgrace, and the thought of this guy winning the presidency makes me sick to my stomach. I don’t think I have to worry though. There hasn’t been a Dem to capture more than 50.1% of the popular since LBJ (a war-time prez from Texas that benefitted from JFK’s tax cuts)

        1. fredwilson

          I am doing my part to prove you wrong s.t.It would be nice if you are sick to your stomach for the next eight yearsthe way I’ve been for the past eight

          1. Blacknox

            Absolutely perfect response Fred!

        2. gregorylent

          after watching the speech, do you still have the same opinion of obama? yeah, probably. guess that is why we have elections. but a lot of your points are not party-based, they are common sense … you don’t need to pick a party to work for energy-wisdom or health-care wisdom

          1. fredwilson

            Same opinion, but I didn’t see or hear anything last night that moved memore or less in his directionMaybe he’s already close the sale with me but I didn’t think he closed thesale with america last night

    2. Guest

      S.t. your comment about Bill Ayers is highly appropriate for the A VC blog. Did you know that the head of Chase Franklin, a Venture Capital firm, was on the Board of the same foundation? How far-reaching are the tentacles of this domestic terrorist? Should we round up all VCs, just to make sure they don’t attack us?And let’s not forget John W. McCarter, Jr, the President of the Chicago Field Museum, who was on that same Board, too. We all know about the links of the Museum Mafia to domestic terrorism. This runs much deeper, S.t., I want you to go to the bottom of it.

  14. BillSeitz

    do you mean health insurance should make everyone’s doctor visits cost $20? or that a $10k health problem doesn’t bankrupt them? Because the whole “universal” thing is too fuzzy.

    1. fredwilson

      i think we need to cover catastrophic problems as a society through a shared risk approach so that must be universal.but the doctor’s visit should cost something. if they don’t, everyone will go to their doctors all the time.

      1. GeorgeBevis

        actually we have universal free doctor visits in the UK and it works OK. Lonely people and idiots waste doctors’ time a bit but are increasingly screened out by nurses first. Free visits encourage low wage workers to take care of themselves in the early stages of sickness rather than later on, so is overall more efficient.

      2. danielharan

        It doesn’t seem to be what happens in France (which I’m familiar with). Also, a lot of our health care costs could be lower if more people – especially men – would go see a doctor sooner.I believe the issue you bring up is referred to as ‘moral hazard’ by US conservatives. It’s an ideological argument, not based on any real evidence.

  15. Philippe Bradley

    total enforced anonymity has to entail restricting donations to various levels – or else information can be encoded in the bid itself (hey John – we were the ones that gave you $1,234,567,890 for your campaign!

    1. fredwilson

      good point. i was thinking that the individual donation amounts would never get reported to the campaign. they would be made through the government and aggregated.

  16. Gopi

    Fred, the current US tax system affect upper middle class professionals like doctors and small business people with earned income and thus pay income tax (35%) than the billionaires and super rich people like you who makes more in capital gains (15%) than ordinary income. This situation will be further worsened by Obama’s coming income tax and SS tax hikes (marginal rate’s will be more than 60% according to WSJ)In my opinion we must have a Same flat tax rate (like 20%) for individual income tax, corporate income tax and long term capital gain. We can make it progressive by deducting the first 75k and indexing it for inflation so that most families pay no tax.

    1. fredwilson

      i am for fixing any inequities that exist too. i just think we ought to take the rates back to where clinton had them

  17. bnkuhn

    #1 Anonymous contributions? Great idea, but impossible to implement. Big contributions would be brokered behind closed doors. The transfer would appear to be anonymous to everyone except those in the know…very bad idea. I would much rather know who’s bribing my politicians.

  18. aaron

    How about some change at home…Fred Wilson for mayor!People talk about following Bloomberg with a Dick Parsons or the guy who owns Gristedes…I’m not overly impressed by their innovation, managerial skills OR their ability to grow huge entities while maintaining a high standard.I’d rather see Fred, who loves the city, its business, its potential and constantly looks for smart people and smart ideas, running the show. I can see more accountable city government, and a more resident-friendly city, as well as more incentives for all types of businesses to grow here.Why not, Fred? I’m sure you can manage this place better than presumptive candidates Weiner, Quinn or Thompson. You already have a head-start on web presence!

    1. fredwilson

      my kids would laugh at this comment!

      1. jarid

        if you’re platform included bringing back kozmo, you’d win in a landslide. 😉

        1. fredwilson

          Funny. I am wearing my kozmo t-shirt today. Obama yesterday and kozmo today

  19. andyswan

    I don’t understand this line of thinking on taxes at all. If a company went from a profit to a loss, would you automatically blame the sales team? Or would you want to also see a breakdown of revenue growth and expenses growth?Since the 2003 “tax cuts for the rich” (who happen to pay a vast majority of the taxes anyway….)Those reductions have raised federal tax receipts by $785 billion, the largest four-year revenue increase in U.S. history. In fiscal 2007, which ended last month, the government took in 6.7% more tax revenues than in 2006.These increases in tax revenue have substantially reduced the federal budget deficits. In 2004 the deficit was $413 billion, or 3.5% of gross domestic product. It narrowed to $318 billion in 2005, $248 billion in 2006 and $163 billion in 2007. That last figure is just 1.2% of GDP, which is half of the average of the past 50 years.With this data…how is it even possible to blame the debt or deficit on tax cuts???

    1. S.t


      1. fredwilson

        He sure does. And I mean that. I love the guy and would really enjoy a nighton the back deck with a cigar arguing politics with him.

        1. andyswan

          You bring the cigars, I bring the bourbon. Sept.

          1. fredwilson

            If you are in NYC, I’ll provide the back deck

    2. fredwilson

      Andythe cuts didn’t raise the revenue, the growth of the economy and tax base didclinton raised rates and the economy grew faster under his presidency than it did under Bush’s.Fred

      1. andyswan

        You are right…it is difficult to isolate one variable such as taxes…but I would argue that it is at least strongly correlated that the major tax cuts have led to record tax revenue imcreases and economy growth every time. Kennedy, Reagan, bush2.Curious what percentage of income you think the “rich” should have to pay?I’m personally very concerned about cap gains rates being pushes by both of these guys. At 30% I see a big dropoff in startups and investment.

        1. fredwilson

          I’d do startup investing if the cap gains rate was the same as ordinaryincomeIt’s more fun that working for a living

          1. andyswan

            I’ll defer to one of my mentors on this one:”Entrepreneurs and investors who risk their capital in an attempt to createnew businesses that employ people, make our lives better, our businessesmore efficient, etc should be rewarded for doing so. I don’t think a longterm risky investment that pays off should be taxed the same way thatinterest on a corporate bond is. We need a tax code that creates someincentives to take risk or wealthy people will be less inclined to do so.This is a competitiveness issue…”…;)

          2. fredwilson

            Using my words against me?Well this blog is one reason I’ll never go into politics!But andy, you can have preferential treatment of cap gains and not have capgains taxed at 1/3 the rate of regular income.Our tax code is really unfair to the people who work hard but don’t make alot of moneyIt’s rigged to benefit rich guys like me and youAnd I think that’s not right

  20. Ed

    This:”Change as a slogan doesn’t inspire me. A short list of top priorities would. You can’t do anything if you try to do everything. But if you focus on a few big things, you can change a lot.” ,makes me agree, and want to believe your desired change; what you’ve summed upin your last paragraph, has a chance.But with the EASY context this current “administration” has provided him,Obama HAS to get past this perfect attraction marketing, and say something concrete, and therefore convincing. I want to hear him explain coherent, achievable, actionable goals.I want to see this nation healthy.He needs to go from redundant sound bites,to how we can change directions, and thus display WHYit is indeed him who can lead it.

  21. mark

    Eliminating the carbon based energy in 10 years is crazy. You want to cut the deficit (which I agree), raise taxes and I could live with that if we first made a concerted effort to identify and eliminate wasteful spending across the entire Federal budget (i.e a constitutional ammendment outlawing earmarks) and see where that takes us.Eliminating carbon based energy in 10 years would be such a drag on the economy that it make all of that pointless. How do you pay to replace every power plant and car in 10 years? Where does that money come from?…and what do you replace the carbon based energy source with? Nothing in the alternative world is even remotely viable for accomplishing that right now.Just because we went to the Moon in 10 years does not mean that every problem can be solved with a 10 year “Go to the Moon” effort.That being said, I think we need a plan to over the next 25 years to get us to complete energy independence. That would be a combination of today’s carbon based fuels along with bio fuel, wind, solar and whatever else we can create through additional R&D. My priority is energy independence because without it, we will be fighting World War 3 with Russia or China or someone at some point in the future over access to oil.

    1. fredwilson

      ok, if it can’t be done in 10 years, then 25 years is fine with me. but we gotta starting doing it and fast. we have to invest and we have to be united as a country around this mission.

  22. Don Jones

    Obama is certainly creating a “cult of personality.”

  23. byrneseyeview

    “If you can’t and won’t get “credit” for your contributions (as is the largely case with the $10 to $100 gifts given over the Internet), then we’ll have a much cleaner political system.”Eh. So I write a letter to my favorite politician: “Dear Mister Smith: I hope that when you go to Washington, you remember to think of me, especially when you think about subsidies and tax breaks for my industry. There are 527,602.13 reasons you should.Sincerely,Your Friends at BigCo.”The next day, Smith gets an anonymous donation for exactly $527,602.13! Who could have sent it? How can he get more? Obviously, anyone can just send a very specific amount of money, and claim it in advance. So it becomes harder to track down who is sending what, but it becomes very very easy to secretly donate a whole lot.There are ways around that problem. But there isn’t any way around the fact that enforced-anonymous free speech is not free speech. One of the best things about free speech is that a well-known well-respected person can take a disreputable position and make it more mainstream. There’s a difference between “Anon # 4321524515 says marijuana should be legal” and “The Surgeon General says marijuana should be legal,” and to the extent that the surgeon general can’t back ideas with his reputation, his ability to freely speak is impaired.I almost forgot to take issue with the idea that money has a ‘stench’. I find most political pandering pretty foul — someone who is just out to make a buck (and knows it and admits it) is being honest, and they can’t get ahead without making a deal both sides like. Politicians get ahead by taking as much as possible from the 49% and redistributing it to their friends in the 51%. It’s a disgrace.

    1. fredwilson

      i was thinking all contributions would be made to a third party entity that would anonymize them and aggregate them. the politician and the campaign would never know if a $527,602.13 contribution was in fact made

      1. byrneseyeview

        I think the big difference between natural conservatives and natural liberals is that you didn’t have that thought and then immediately, convulsively think “GOOD GOD did I just imagine putting a single government-controlled entity in charge of counting and doling out *all of the campaign donations* in the entire US political system?”You don’t worry that someone would slip up and give the wrong guy the wrong donation? That there would be some arbitrary minimum amount of support that made it effectively impossible for third-party candidates to use the system?Mandating a single point of failure is not good engineering.

        1. fredwilson

          Then let’s do it another way

      2. Jack Repenning

        So I walk into my newly elected senator’s office waving my canceled check for $527,602.13, made out to his magic anonymizing fund. How do we stop that?

  24. Sean Reilly

    If money is speech then doesn’t that mean the government has no right to restrict financial donations to al’ qaeda or other religious groups that commit terrorist acts?

    1. byrneseyeview

      Probably to the same extent that murder becomes legal if you shoot someone in a pattern that can be interpreted as Morse code.

  25. Dave Hendricks

    Fred – mostly agree especially about ‘change’ not being enough as a slogan/goal and that you can’t do *everything*.I think you missed one biggie: Infrastructure.I am sure on your recent trip the superior infrastructure around europe. There is just no way that this will be privately financed. It’s great that Verizon is putting FIOS in and that we are finally using up dark fiber. We need another Erie Canal, Interstate Highway System, National Railway, new air traffic control system and safe bridges and tunnels. Without these things – and energy efficient modes of transport – we will be even less able to afford $12b a month in unnecessary expense in Iraq.

    1. fredwilson

      i totally agree and i know this is a big part of obama’s economic plan. it’s probably number six on my list. maybe should have been top five.

  26. dgalliano

    Fred, you are my hero but on the issue of the Presidential election, you are on the wrong side of change. The change Obama speaks of is not going to come from him to affect you. It is going to come from you to affect all of us; it is going to come from me to affect you; it is going to come from us to affect the rest of us. And so on and so on.A successful Obama administration is not one in which government waives its magic policy wand to solve our problems. Instead it is one that provides us the inspiration, means and tools to save ourselves. This is all government was ever able to do in the first place. Surprisingly, Mitt Romney’s father, George, said it best in 1970 when he suggested that, “the most powerful force on earth is the spontaneous cooperation of a free people. Individualism makes cooperation worthwhile – but cooperation makes freedom possible.” The problem with that credo is that although we figured out how to be individualistic, we never figured out how to cooperate with each other.Since the time of Julius Caesar, divide and conquer has been the political, social and economic convention of choice. Why, because it works in the favor of the divider. Think about the recent example in Africa: a group of Belgian colonists come to Rwanda and give favors to Tutsi’s but not to Hutu’s. Tensions fester between the two that eventually leads to genocide. The only winners are Belgian companies that gain control of Rwandan exports, mainly coffee and tea. All that killing, just for a cheaper cup of joe. And this is not the only example. Divisions between Serbs, Croats and Bosnians can be traced to unequal treatment by Ustas’ and other forces wishing to destabilize parts of Eastern Europe. Divisions between Irish & British farmers can be traced back to dividing actions of Sir Oliver Cromwell. Divisions between blacks and whites in America can be traced back to the dividing actions of economic leaders in both business and politics. And it is still happening. Do you remember Alex Castellano’s “Hands” commercial in the 1990 Senate race between Jesse Helms and Harvey Grantt? The more recent example is occurring in Los Angeles today, splitting the political and economic power of minority communities by pitting Mexicans against Salvadorans against Blacks.With every seed of division, a spirit of hope, independence and self-determination is lost by each member of the divided groups; it eventually finds its way to the hands of the divider in the form of greater prestige, wealth and power. I call it the “Hobin Rood Effect,” take from the poor and give to the rich. For over 2,000 years, the rich have gotten richer and the poor have gotten poorer. The only reason we don’t notice it is because it is happening at a snails pace. Historically, there have been limits on the amounts that can be taken from a people. After all, we are all connected. But this is no longer true. With improvements in production, technology and communication, the relationship between the haves and the have-nots have been strained and some cases severed. Outsourcing creates a whole new pool of people to divide and the dividers feel no responsibility to clean up the mess they are leaving behind. The net effect is a hyper consolidation of power and wealth which benefits none but the top 1% of Americans.I laugh when I hear outrage over the sub-prime debacle. The reality is, sub-prime is not a new concept, especially in minority, poor white and immigrant communities. We called it predatory lending, bait and switch, fine print, whatever and it has been around since the dawn of the industrial revolution. A turning point occurred when the practice of stealing from the poor outstripped the borrowing capacity of those communities. But the practice did not stop, it could not. Instead, the greed of Wall Street was fed by bankers who set their sights on middle class whites and other “civilized” members of our society. In a sudden policy change, educated, hard working, fair-minded people were seduced with the promise of easy credit and they fell for it, lock stock and barrel. They, like predecessor communities, became addicted to the “high” of spending above their means and now everybody is crying fowl and everyone is finally outraged. LOL. LMFAO and shame on me. Shame on all of us.The outrage isn’t going to solve our problems. Only we can solve our problems. I sincerely believe the answer lies in George Romney’s call for cooperation. But to do so, we have to change the way we look at and deal with each other. White America doesn’t have a monopoly on solutions, neither does Black America or Women or Immigrants… Correspondingly, it makes little sense for whites to cooperate only with whites while blacks cooperate only with blacks, hispanics only with hispanics, immigrants only with immigrants, women only with women and so on and so on. The problems of our nation have outstripped the capacity of a divided system to solve them. In order to begin the journey of cooperation, we have to CHANGE the way we see each other, CHANGE the way we treat each other and CHANGE the way we help each other up and CHANGE the way we hold each other accountable. And Fred it begins with you.If there is one thing that we should borrow from the structure of terrorism, it is the de-centralization of authority. No one terrorist cell requires instructions from a hierarchy to act. This is why they are so efficient and this is also why terrorism will always be our greatest threat. But just as you have terrorist cells, I would like to see the emergence of leadership cells and mentorship cells and investment cells and motivational cells. That which can be used for evil can so easily be turned around and used for good. To me, this is the second leg of Obama’s call for CHANGE. I will be teaching financial literacy to the incoming freshman at my alma mater (Dartmouth) this fall and when I volunteered, four other people came together to say they would help. One person volunteered to drive to Hanover, another volunteered to house us while we are up there. Another volunteered to set up the venue. I describe the experience as an Electric Slide moment. I made the first move, which was the equivalent of starting the music, and everybody fell into place, doing their part. What a welcomed CHANGE.What I am doing with Dartmouth, you can do for people around you. You are doing it already and, as a result, are already off to a good start (remember, you are my hero). I follow your tweets and your blogs. Along the way, I learned a little about digital media, social media, entrepreneurship, etc… [This is an obvious place to plug an investment in my company but I will refrain.] USV makes early stage investments in tomorrow’s future; in funding the spirit of entrepreneurship, you are doing your part. I found the courage to start a company because you, David Rose, DFJ and many more who lit a spark in me. This is something of which we need more. This is the CHANGE believe in.Getting back to your post, the changes you call for are merely shifts in policy direction. I agree with most of them and they are all important but they don’t address the real issues everyday Americans face today. For all intents and purposes, policy shifts create windows of opportunity for only a small few over a short period of time. For example, the transition from mainframes to PCs created one mega-Entrepreneur (Bill Gates) and one thousand to two thousand entrepreneurs at the next level. The only thing that changed for average Americans was the person to whom we pay the toll. We used to pay IBM to use their mainframe terminals, now we pay Microsoft. What is missing is the notion of empowerment. Jobs are being outsourced, unemployment is increasing, working people are working longer hours; everybody is experiencing a slow death, nobody’s living. As a result, marriage rates are declining, fewer people are having fewer children, we don’t visit each other anymore, we’re losing faith in each other. For some people, the only connection they have to the outside world is via Facebook and Twitter. There has got to be a better way. So when you ask Senator Obama for CHANGE, you have got to ask for more than just a changing of the guards at the toll booths of life.Lucky for us, he can deliver much more. If he can CHANGE the way we view each other and CHANGE the way we deal with each other, then we can be inspired to work together in a spirit of cooperation. When we buy into the notion of cooperation, we start to address problems with solutions that benefit all of us, not just a small few. Only then will the outlook of everyday Americans begin to CHANGE. Only then will their lives, our lives, begin to IMPROVE and their faith in us and our faith in each other will begin to be RESTORED. The theme of the Olympics was One People, One World. Making that dream a reality, now that is a goal worth pursuing. Now that is CHANGE WE CAN BELIEVE IN.

    1. fredwilson

      good points

  27. paul k

    fred, where can i get the t-shirt? it’s great!

        1. fredwilson

          Yup. You’re the second person to mention it and thanks for the link. I ambuying it

  28. aarondelcohen

    Fred:I think a list of 5 is fine, but I worry about diluting the message. I think keeping it simple is critical. I think the campaign should focus on energy and healthcare, and a progressive tax structure. All of this is integrated into the economy. The week has been disappointing to me because 4 years ago the party failed to take on George W. Bush and we risk doing it again. This campaign should be a referendum on the Bush Administration and how disastrous it has been. Obama needs to speak truth to power with substance and substance needs to be simple, consistent and focused on the economy.

  29. johnmccarthy

    One of the biggest challenges facing the US is the undoing of the damage the last 8 years has brought to our image and moral influence around the world. Whoever becomes our next president ( I am backing Barack) needs to make this a top priority.Some important steps:1. Shut down Guantanamo Bay and bring all prisoners held there onto US soil and into the US justice system. Bring transparency and openness to this situation.2. Make the Powell Doctrine (remember that) a key part of US military policy and rid the military and government of weak leaders who would advise against violating it’s tenets.3. Remember to listen more than you speak when engaging with your foreign counterparts. Make sure the State Department, DOD, military and others in the US government do the same.4. Remember that even with its faults, the US has, for most of its history been a beacon of ideas, hope and freedom for others. Resist any actions which do not truly live up to our stated ideals.5. Don’t ask another country to do something that you would not have the US do.

    1. fredwilson

      Do unto others as you would have them do unto youGreat advice and a great list of things we should be doing and are not

  30. Philippe Bradley

    I think the tacitness of western citizens to financially-driven special interest lobbying is truly obscene. We put governments in place for a number of reasons, but two main ones are, in my mind:1) to complement free market mechanisms where they fail or don’t belong2) to be a reasonably impartial arbiter in the relations between fellow members of a society – elected, so as to reflect (as well as possible) the prevailing mores and opinions of the majority as to those arbitrationsso for it to be possible to curry favour with the government by making a bigger donation than another component of society is obscene on both counts! it’s corruption, pure and simple, and here we are discussing the best way to handle it, rather than how to eradicate it! any proposals? free TV airtime, like in the UK, might be one. public funding would be another.might the US public be better off if the money saved from Iraq funded, amongst other things, political (rather than military!) campaigns, rather than universal healthcare?

    1. aarondelcohen

      Phillipe:Absolutely right. That said, I worry about the practicality. A new president has a finite amount of political capital. What’s the most important thing? Campaign Finance Reform, Iraq, Energy, or the absurd tax structure? Where should Obama (when he is elected) allocate this capital?

      1. Philippe Bradley

        if there’s one thing to hope (I’m a brit, I’m not the one doing the hoping! asides from no more master-and-dog escapades in the middle east…) it’s that this ‘change’ campaign gives him the extra political capital to do it.the flipside, of course, is that this extra leeway is just a much looser leash for a dangerous dog to wreak havoc! I guess how you see it depends on how much faith you have in the man and the team he will build around him

  31. Robert Hacker

    Suggest you work hard for 2 more years and then run for President in 2012. This platform would be endorsed by a wide majority of Americans and the country is ready for a non-politician President (like Dwight Eisenhower who also did a great job).

    1. fredwilson

      Sorry but that is not something I could remotely consider

  32. greg

    agree whole-heartedly on 2, 4 & 5. #1 is an idealistic guiding principle that is most likely unattainable in my lifetime. #3 is too complex for a’s another t-shirt for you …

    1. fredwilson

      Oh snapBarry dunking John Starks style over the GOPWhere do I get one of those?

  33. Geoff

    Sounds like you are campaigning Fred – Go for it! 🙂

  34. deb

    thank you for this post. i’m one of those hillary supporters they keep talking about. i supported her, and my perception of how she’s been treated since hasn’t exactly won me over. i was unbelievably inspired by her on tuesday night. (i also loved bill clinton’s speech.) ultimately, though, it’s a little past time to move on. what’s done is done and american’s now have two candidates to choose between for President. i agree, the focus of this convention seems to have been mostly focused on uniting the party. we haven’t heard much about policy. but the information is out there on obama’s policies, and i hope people do the research.more than that, i expect to be greatly inspired tonight. obama is one of the best orators of our time. but i hope he includes some policy in the the meantime, i like your five things.;-)all the best!deb

    1. fredwilson

      I voted for Hillary too but I was very torn between two great choicesI would have liked to see her on the ticket as the VP but it didn’t happen

      1. deb

        i actually didn’t want to see her as VP. (a VP spot means you have to support the policies of the President. i think she can do more good on the path she’s on, as Senator, for the country….and for women.)but they could have treated her with more respect during the process, or at least considered her. or at least counted all those votes for her (i still don’t understand how delegates placed all their votes for obama in states that hillary clearly won, but….it’s done now.)it’s also difficult, after supporting someone for so long and campaigning “against” another candidate… turn right around and support that candidate. but we’re coming around.;-)he had a great night tonight and it’s a great night in history.all the best!deb

  35. kidmercury

    lol. just remember that 9/11 was an inside job, and that nothing else matters.the dumbocrats were put in congress to end the war. they didn’t. anyone who tunes into the truth knows obama is a paid for puppet, the last guy who is going to bring you change. there is a book called “obama and the post modern coup” by webster tarpley. there is another book called “obamination” by jerome corsi. for those who seek the truth about obama, you will get plenty of it in those two books. if you’re expecting the truth from the nightly news on television… good for clinton….please. do a search for “arkancide.” and that’s just scratching the surface on the crimes of bill clinton. ask DEA agents like cele castillo about what clinton did as governor of arkansas to help the CIA ship drugs into this country. look into the telecommunications act of 1996 and how that has resulted in media consolidation and legalized NSA surveillance. if you want to know why america has no media, and why we are a nation of idiots brainwashed by fox, bill clinton’s decision to sign the telecommunications act of 1996 has a lot to do with that. oh, and once your done with that, look into the legislation that was passed after the OKC bombing, i forget the name of it but it is a milder version of the patriot act. meaning it is unconstitutional and an exploitation of people’s fears. and then look into the truth about the OKC bombing, and how our pal bill covered up the fbi’s involvement in that, just as bush helped cover up the truth about 9/11.we live in the post 9/11 reality. this is a reality characterized by unconstitutionality and price inflation. if you want it to end, then 9/11 truth is the answer. 9/11 truth is also what prevents another 9/11. the problem is the lie, the answer is the truth. a very simple and timeless equation.most importantly, remember that we live in a fair and just world. when you refuse the truth, you leave yourself no option but to accept the lie. watch where that takes you.of course, when you realize where that takes you and realize you don’t want to be there, the truth will be there waiting for you. all you have to do is accept it. and voila! problem solved.

    1. Derek Skaletsky

      Dear Mr. Mulder…the X-Files was just a tv show. And one of those old-fashioned “fiction” ones at that.

    2. Derek Skaletsky

      Dear Mr. Mulder…the X-Files was just a tv show. And one of those old-fashioned “fiction” ones at that.

      1. kidmercury

        yes, all you can do is make jokes, and ones that lack any discernible degree of wittiness at that. just remember this: the 9/11 truth movement consists of architects and engineers, victims family members, CIA agents, FBI agents, marines, air force, ex-cabinet members, former state governors and state senators, members of the 9/11 commission (think about that….members of the 9/11 commission tell you that the 9/11 investigation is a coverup…..just think about that) and pretty much anyone with a brain. you can view a great list at people who believe the official story about an almighty cave dweller are george bush and dick cheney. and you, apparently.congress as a 9% approval rating.wake up.

  36. bijan

    great post fred. totally agree.

  37. Davealevine

    The Economy and the Deficit are the biggest issues facing the country right now. If we don’t address those two, fixing health care through public or private means, incentivizing (read: paying for) the development of alternative energy, and addressing our national security issues will all be increasingly challenging.The limited-release IOUSA, while somewhat sensationalist, does a great job at articulating the issues surrounding the deficit and is worth a closer look: terms of the economy, which you did not mention, i am optimistic if the government is careful with the regulatory reaction and bail outs that we will be able to right that ship ourselves.

  38. Stephen McKay

    Right On Fred!You said it all, and I second the motion!Steve

  39. rdeichert

    I agree we should raise taxes and reduce the deficit, but I think we need to go further. Get rid of the earmarks and wasteful government spending. Both the sides do it, they stuff bad deals and pork into the bills.We also need a hard scrub of the tax code, get rid of the distortions and fix AMT.

    1. fredwilson

      Amen brother

      1. rdeichert

        I am concerned though that neither Mccain or Obama can fix these issues. This is a culture issue much like a company culture that pervades government. Until we get rid of nimby issues and start on a pay as you go path we are in trouble.

  40. Derek Skaletsky

    wow, fred…good call. Did you get an advanced copy of the script?!?!I thought it was a great speech that not only laid out a clear set of achievable goals, but a lethal preemptive strike against next week’s convention. Worst job in the world right now…McCain’s speech writing. Ugh.

    1. fredwilson

      I did not think Obama hit it out of the park. I gave him a B+ on twitterthis morning…The one part I loved was where he dissected the wedge issues like gaymarriage and abortion. When he does that, he shows the way forward for allof us.

  41. VM

    While I do agree that Obama will be GOOD for the US, and possibly the whole world – something that is much needed, I find it hard to digest the whole tax notion that rasing taxes stimulates the economy and reduces deficit. What you are in essence endorsing is that the government knows best with what to do with the extra x% it is collecting from you as opposed to yourself ( the private sector).On the defecit note I ask – All things being equal, if it wasn’t for 9/11, and its consequences – afghanistan, iraq, homeland security etc – would we be in a defecit today? If you answer is NOT or Probably NOT, then why blame the Bush tax cuts for the defecit.

    1. evgen

      > What you are in essence endorsing is that the government knows best with what to do with the extra x% it is collecting from you as opposed to yourself ( the private sector).That is one way to look at it. Another way is to consider for a moment the fact that there are some problems and issues which are too big for individuals to deal with on their own and for which the market has failed to provide an adequate alternative. Infrastructure is one of those issues. While the private sector can sometimes step up and provide a good solution it seems to degenerate, all too often, into short-sighted rent-seeking behavior with this asset. The private sector can often handle the “easy” problems, but often fails miserably on those problems which the solution is difficult or where the profit from the enterprise is diffuse and difficult to capture. The invisible hand can take us quite far, but sometimes it needs a bit of help from a more centrally organized entity.

      1. fredwilson

        I agree with this evgen and the NY Times Mag piece last week on Obama [ ] explains that he’s a Univ of Chicago ³market economy²guy with the proviso that he also believes some issues are too complicatedfor markets to solve alone

    2. Guest

      Vish, this is a completely flawed representation. In this day and age taxes and spending are largely disconnected. G.W.Bush preferred to spend my children’s money instead of the money of the higher bracket individuals. The idea that he “knows best” how to spend a trillion dollars from the future generations’ assets to fund an unnecessary war is indeed ridiculous, and it has nothing to do with tax rates and tax revenue. All Fred and Obama are saying is that we need to plug-in this gigantic hole now. Sure, nobody likes taxes, but it is G.W.Bush fault that the public finances are a crater.And Fred is incorrect that the war cost $600B. That figure excludes long-term care and benefits for the 30,000 or so disabled veternas, nor does it include restocking the weaponry and munitions that were used, nor does it include the increased army recruitment expenses that have resulted from this disaster.So, yes Government spends money regardless of whether it collects taxes or not. Your vote will decide whether the money gets buried in the Gulf of Persia or it gets invested in the health, education, and energy infrastructure of this country and its people.

    3. fredwilson

      The bush tax cuts caused the current budget problems9/11 and our ridiculous reaction to it just made them worse

  42. gregorylent

    obama’s best line …. change doesn’t come from washington, change comes to washington … too bad americans are not ready

    1. Taylor Davidson

      No question. Obama’s depth of vision is difficult for most of America to grasp; Obama sets ideals out of scope for America to change to in near term… and that’s sad and unfortunate. Consider me a realistic idealist.

      1. gregorylent

        also noticed a cnn columnist confused by his combination of left-right ideas … lol, america thinks inside the box

  43. Seth Lieberman

    Fred- Iraq is not the only place with a strong US military presence, though clearly the largest. Check out this amazing interactive map that shows global us troop distroover time.

    1. gregorylent

      almost everything america does with their military seems like the action of a fearful and insecure culture.. so it seems from abroad, anyway …

  44. blakeborgeson

    Fred,Huge props for writing posts like this. In my experience, it’s really emotionally and mentally taxing to get into conversations like this, especially on a computer, and especially with several people at the same time. And my experience is limited to a small set of strong-willed friends. But you’re in a unique position with your following and the respect people have for you to make people think about important stuff. Thanks for stepping up.

  45. Elie Seidman

    great post! I’m shocked to see that McCain chose someone without any significant accomplishments to be a few, missed, heartbeats away from being the President of the United States. Its particularly shocking since Fiorina and Whitman, both really talented, experienced and accomplished women were interested in the position. It seems McCain assumes that the American public wants such a person to be waiting in the wings. I’m hoping that the American public will realize that having unqualified leaders – regardless of what they believe on an issue as loose and changing as the social mores of “family values” – is unacceptable for a democracy as accomplished as our own.Elie

  46. Gopi

    The reason your tax rate is less than your brother’s or bufett’s tax rate is less than his secretary is because of the unfair large difference between income and capital gain tax rates. The solution to this is not to rasie the tax as Obama suggest but to make both capgain and income tax the same flat rate and making it progressive by deducting the first $75k.

  47. Gopi

    >> if rates get north of 50%.With Obama’s income tax hike and plan to eliminate the cap for social security tax , the combined marginal income tax rate comes to more than 62% according to Wall street journal. How do you think this will be a incentive to a hard working small business owner??

    1. fredwilson

      I’d like to see how the wsj calculates that

  48. TheHistorian

    Michael-Just in case a little more documentation related to this subject would be helpful, see this link as well. Thanks for the reference.

  49. Gopi

    >> I’d like to see how the wsj calculates thatBasically uncapping the social security tax contributes to majority of the tax increase. Anyway here is the article from WSJ –

  50. Andy Jackson

    Re: healthcare – those “other countries” that have full health coverage for their citizens and illegal immigrants do so because the US pays for their protection. France and England couldn’t fight their way out of a wet paper bag today.I cannot understand why so many believe that health coverage should be a “right”. Do we all have a right to a Cadillac too?

    1. fredwilson

      Health is a bit different than a cadillac Andy

  51. fredwilson

    Yes, I would still raise taxes on the richI can afford a tax increase and so can others in my shoes

  52. jake

    your a fag