As the presidential race shifts into high gear for its last lap, I can’t help but consider how the candidates now stand on the issues that matter most to me.
One of those issues is my pocketbook.
Something that should be crystal clear to everyone by now is the grim condition of our economy. Still, some choose to obfuscate the situation, or pinpoint the damage to Wall Street alone. The reality of the situation is that Wall Street is the beating heart of this country, and right now, it’s having a heart attack.
The current republican, “fiscally conservative” administration has neglected to regulate the banking industry, relying instead on last minute stop-gap measures, risking hundreds of billions of tax payer dollars, and calling for Congress to grant emergency powers. This is a familiar tactic from the Bush administration: too little, too late, at too great a cost to us all.
In a free market economy like the one we have in this country, certain checks and balances must be made to ensure the continued value of the dollar. Some favor as little government oversight as possible, but I think we can all see where that path has led us.
More so than a Democracy, this is a Capitalist country – almost a Corporatacracy. People need to understand that banking is the informal fourth-branch of government. In a global economy, a nation is only as strong as the value of its currency.
That being said, we can learn a lot about the candidates by evaluating their views on the current financial situation. So which would be a better steward of the country’s economy?
Republican “conservatives” like to point the finger at Obama and accuse him of being a big-government liberal or even a socialist. In fact, Obama is not advocating socialism by requesting stricter government oversight of financial institutions, he’s simply attempting to safeguard our financial security. The old maxim goes: “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” If you want to truly see socialism in action, just take a look at the $85 billion federal bailout of AIG, complete with a federally appointed replacement of management.
John McCain was originally against the AIG bailout, but reexamined his position after being told that if AIG’s assets were tried on the open market, and not merely self-evaluated, than it would force a lot of other companies to admit losses. In other words, McCain changed his anti-socialist stance in order to benefit big business.
So why exactly does McCain poll higher than Obama in regards to the economy? It can’t be entirely spin, can it?
It turns out that if McCain had his way, we would have already privatized Social Security, placing it in the hands of the same “greedy” Wall Street bankers that are being blamed for the current financial crisis. Where do you think our social security money would be now, had it been privatized?
Critics of Obama will say he’s going to raise taxes. That may be true, but keep it in perspective. He plans to raise the taxes of those who can afford it, in order to provide more civic services. More civic services and better federal management means a higher value for our dollar, and more of those dollars saved on services such as health care, energy and education.
My point in all this is not to be fooled by anti-Obama rhetoric that the economy will suffer, or that McCain would somehow be a safer bet. It’s going to take an awful lot of federal oversight to get us clear of this mess, regardless.
The question is: when or if this current crisis is resolved, would you rather have a president who will continue to advocate self-governance by the financial industry – hoping they learned their lesson – or a president who will attempt to avoid future troubles through regulation and oversight.
Would you rather have an ounce of protection, or do we need another pound of cure?