Thursday, November 20, 2008

International Reaction

I was asked last week if I knew what the reaction of the international community has been to the election of Barack Obama. Since I haven't been following international papers too closely, I thought it was a good time to take a look. The Huffington Post compiled a short list of reactions here. From the looks of things, I'm not surprised to see the general reaction from more socially liberal countries like England and Australia as a positive change in American politics. What strikes me as a telling undertone is the impression that the new President will lead America in a new effort of global partnership with Europe. The only problem is the new administration is already talking about protecting American industry to jump-start our economy. Protectionism won't help the global economy. So that also tells me the other nations are not as concerned with their economic well-being as they are with protecting their ideological demagoguery.

As an aside, I just noticed this little aspect of Obama's plan.
A New American Jobs Tax Credit: Obama and Biden will provide a new temporary tax
credit to companies that add jobs here in the United States. During 2009 and
2010, existing businesses will receive a $3,000 refundable tax credit for each
additional full-time employee hired. For example, if a company that currently
has 10 U.S. employees increases its domestic full time employment to 20
employees, this company would get a $30,000 tax credit -- enough to offset the
entire added payroll tax costs to the company for the first $50,000 of income
for the new employees. The tax credit will benefit all companies creating net
new jobs, even those struggling to make a profit.
Basically, what he's saying is that he'll relieve taxes on struggling businesses so that they will hire more people and put even more of a strain on their budgets. What? How does that make sense? A business will only hire more people if they are making enough money to cover the cost and need another person to do work that is getting over looked without enough employees.

However, there is at least one country somewhat concerned by the election's results: Israel. Israel's concern is probably well founded. While the Jewish state does not rely on the US for protection, it is certainly comforted by the knowledge that it has our support in its struggle against neighboring states who would like nothing more than the dissolution of Israel. The case for Israel's existence has been heated and the conflict is well documented. If the US is seen as supporting the enemies of Israel, then I'm afraid I assume the Israeli military will be fully prepared to do what it sees fit to defend the continued integrity of the county. Whether or not we might get dragged into it.

Overall, the international reaction reflects a belief that the US has shifted to a mindset more in line with European schools of thought. I believe that the answer to whether or not that sort of shift would be good for the people of the United States lies in an examination of the collective economies of the European Union. (The CIA has a pretty good run down in public domain.) I know that mere numbers and economic output cannot measure the well-being of a population, but it is a good indicator of the way of life and that has direct impact on well-being.

Edit to Add: Al-Quida has made their opinion clear. I'm not surprised, but I do wonder if they will try to push Obama's buttons more than they would have another leader's.

1 comment:

  1. Hi - glad you didn't have an puliminary embolus.- scary how rumors can filter through!
    Could you email me?