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Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Economy Humbles All

The economic debate used be so much simpler for each side. If you were Barack Obama you lamented the wage gap that favors the rich, blame the Bush tax cuts and promise tax cuts for 95% of the population. If you were John McCain you lamented the out of control spending of the last eight years and promise some fiscal responsibility. Each side could attack parts of the last eight year's economic deficiencies, with credibility, and offer an alternative. That was until the events of the last week.

Now, both sides are acting in a heap of confusion. First, it was John McCain's turn to utter the first gaffe when he proclaimed.

the fundamentals of the economy remain strong

He has been backpedaling ever since. The polls have been trending towards Obama ever since. Of course, I am of the opinion that will change soon enough. That's because as far as this economic crisis both sides are proving equally incompetent. Soon enough, the public will see what I see, neither one has a clue. Sure, the partisans will continue pretending. Liberal pundits have pointed out that McCain has been all over the place on this crisis.

McCain's first reaction to the climactic events of Sunday, Sept. 14, when
Lehman Brothers fell, Merrill Lynch was sold and AIG began to totter, was to
repeat his longstanding sound bite that "the fundamentals of the economy are
strong." When Obama predictably leapt on this clueless comment with a TV ad,
McCain quickly backtracked by saying that he was merely talking about the
strength of "the American worker" and anyone who disagreed obviously had a
problem understanding the importance of working people. He told the morning
shows that he was a Republican in the mold of Teddy Roosevelt, though his true
views on free-market economics are more in tune with Herbert Hoover.

They're right, McCain is all over the place, however at least he has an opinion. So far, Barack Obama has had zero opinions on the crisis.

Earlier this week, I suggested that, if he really is in possession of superior knowledge and a foolproof plan to pull America's financial system out of its current deepening hole, Barack Obama should put his money where his mouth is, show up in the U.S.
Senate (where he's currently being paid to be), and propose that plan in the form of legislation

Unsurprisingly, he didn't do that.

In fact, Obama didn't even keep his promise to lay out specifics of his financial plan at a Friday campaign stop, instead saying that this was "not the time to present specific details for how to fix the immediate problem" [Ed.- Excuse me? If this isn't "time to
present specific details" then when exactly will it be?]

Obama's refusal to even address the issue with any amount of specificity caused the freshman Senator to be the butt of late night talk show jokes, according to the LA Times:

Obama's inaction prompted Jay Leno in his opening monologue tonight on "The Tonight Show" to point out an essential presidential campaign unfairness, that Obama has criticized McCain's economic plan but the Republican can't respond
because "nobody knows" what Obama's is yet.

(It's ironic that Senator Obama has remained silent about what he would do in the face of this crisis since his biggest criticism of the Republican convention was that it lacked specifics...that's politics) Let's face it there is a lot for a mere politician to be confused about. It's easy to lament wage gaps, out of control spending, and "tax cuts for the rich". Those are statistics and slogans. Try wrapping your arms around concepts like Mortgage Backed Securities, Government Sponsored Entities, Credit Swaps and try and figure out how each of these fit into the financial crisis. Furthermore, try and present an economic plan that gets the country out of this mess.

Here is some non partisan observations. Neither side gets it. Neither side has a clue. Both sides are equally incompetent when it comes to dealing with this mess. Sure, we know a bunch of greedy bankers, brokers, and borrowers caused this. How to fix it is a totally different story. Besides demonizing greed, a lack of oversight, and of course their opponent, there isn't one specific solution that either side has produced (of course the Obama campaign hasn't produced a solution at all) that I see fixing this. That, neither side can explain. Considering the magnitude of the potential crisis that is scary and humbling.

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