Both the fall of mortgage giants Fannie and Freddie, and the recent bail-out of AIG show how much trouble the economy is currently in. The credit crunch and housing crisis occurred because of the lack of regulation of investment banks, and the consequences of their risky behavior have been felt world-wide. Experts everywhere have been desperately attempting to figure out a way to fix this crisis, but so far no solution has been forthcoming.
The problems in that the economy is facing scares many Americans. 79% of Americans currently believe that the U.S. economy is getting worse. Both candidates have increased their campaigns focus on the economy in an attempt to convince voters that they will be able to fix it. By looking at their websites you can see that Obama and McCain have very different ideas on how best to fix the economy.
Obama advocates both an increase in regulation of credit and tax cuts for the middle class to encourage spending. Obama’s economic policy has a lot of popular appeal in that the make him look like a modern day robin hood who takes form the rich and gives from the poor. What his policies lack, however, is an explanation of how he intends to fund the vast reforms that he proposes. With Americas current debt already in the trillions the question of where the money to fund these reforms comes from doesn’t seem to have an answer. His ideas on how to stave off America’s rising debt are far fewer then his ideas on how to spend the governments money. While only time will tell if his ideas have any merit whatsoever, judging by the current facts it appears that the only thing Obama really knows about the economy is how to say what the crowd wants to hear. One can only hope that, if elected, he will temper these grand ideas of his in reality.
McCain’s economic standpoint is muddled at best. Although in the beginning of the campaign he said that he did not understand the economy, he has recently rethought that and decided that his experience serving on the senate commerce committee means he does in fact understand the economy.
Since most Americans are most likely clueless as to what the commerce committee actually does, and since McCain’s main strength in this race has been his experience, this is no doubt a good tactic to take. However, any voter with enough sense to research this statement (which admittedly is probably not a lot) can see that the senate commerce committee has absolutely nothing to do with anything involved with this current crisis. The committee’s website clearly states that its jurisdiction is over
“Regulation of consumer products and services, including testing related to toxic substances, other than pesticides, and except for credit, financial services, and housing.”
So for McCain’s experience to valid either A) McCain illegally worked outside of his jurisdiction or B) the current crisis is completely unrelated to housing, credit or financial services. Since both of these are most likely not true, it stands to reason that McCain really is clueless about the economy. As far as how he intends to deal with it, in looking at his website’s platform the short answer is; he doesn’t.
Despite the differences in the candidate’s goals for the economy, they have both responded to recent developments in a remarkably similar fashion.
Between this and the glaring holes in their platforms one can only assume that neither candidate is prepared to take on the crisis currently facing the country and this could spell trouble for our country in the near future. Although it would be asking a lot the American people would no doubt be better served if one of the candidates chose a middle ground somewhere between dreaming up grand unattainable fantasy’s and sticking your head in the sand hoping everything will just fix itself. While no one expects them to be able to do what come up with an easy answer; a little bit of realism would be welcome.