- Politics and Social Issues
McCain, Economy Should Meet
"The issue of economics is not something I’ve understood as well as I should" - John McCain
By JAMES F. HENRY
Bull Moose Magazine Publisher
John McCain was hardly the front-runner for the Republican Party nomination in mid-November of 2007 when he was speaking before a group of people, in advance of the New Hampshire Primary. No one outside of Alaska had a clue who Sarah Palin was, and even if they did, they could hardly care, because who in his right mind would have expected that she would be the conservative de jour of the Republican Party less than a year later? So I guess you can excuse John McCain for having been brutally honest when speaking with voters he was hoping would invigorate his flagging campaign. Why not? He had nothing to lose!
The Boston Globe reported, on January 26, 2008, that he would seek a running mate who was well-versed in areas that he was not strong in. When pressed to elaborate, McCain conceded he would seek a Vice President who was "well grounded in ecomomics."
Donald Rumsfeld said that when you go to war, you go to war with the army you have, not the army you would like to have. Likewise, if McCain were being completely candid, he wouldn't pretend to have an original economic idea in his head. Instead he would admit, as he did in 2007 and early 2008 that he's not strong on the economy. He wouldn't play games that other politicians play with the media, claiming they were misquoted, or that the context of their comments was misreported. He who claims to be running the Straight Talk Express would just come clean and admit that he doesn't know how to fix the economy, and that he would defer to the happy band of neocons who still really believe in Reaganomics.
Of course, most Americans realize that Reaganomics didn't work in the first place because most Americans realize that after you give a nice big healthy tax cut to the rich, what's left for the masses by the time the trickling down has happened is not much. Most Americans realize that because that's exactly the same philosophy espoused by Boy George when he rammed through his historic tax cut for the wealthy a few years back.
That's one of many problems with Republicans these days. They don't have a philosophy except to cut taxes. As long as there is a tax on the books, these neocons will want to cut it, particularly if the tax cut will benefit the super rich.
Barack Obama's plan will give a tax cut to everyone who makes $250,000 or less, which I have to say at first glance is remarkably generous. Yet John McCain, who admits he does not understand economics as well as he should, says that Obama is going to raise taxes on the middle class. Come now John. We're smarter than that, and anyone who cares to read the language in the Democratic Platform on tax relief will know that McCain is just plain lying.
We should not be surprised that a man who has to check with his aides to know for sure how many homes he owns would not have a clue about the economy. So you can shake your head when McCain declares that the fundamentals of the economy are strong. Excuse me John? How can you say that? Every day I pick up the Journal Tribune newspaper here in Southern Maine, and I am amazed at the number of legal advertisements being printed for properties that are about to be foreclosed upon. Try to tell those people that the economy is strong.
Or look at the number of months in a row that the number of unemployed people has risen. To save you the effort, John, it's 8 months in a row (as of September). Try to tell those people who are having to supplement their food budget by driving around to all the food pantries in their area, just to be able to afford to heat your home that the economy is fundamentally strong.
Now John, we know you're not really one of us. I'm sorry John, because once upon a time you may have been an ordinary guy, but you've been in Washington too long to really know what's going on with ordinary folks. So I can't expect you to have a clue about things like this. I would hope, however, that you've noticed that Wall Street is sinking because of the collapse of Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch and AIG, not to mention Aunt Fannie and Uncle Freddie.
If you think it's going to level off in time for the election, John, I hope you're not hanging all your hopes on that happening, because the more homes these banks have to take through the foreclosure process the worse it's going to get. You see, John, maybe you understand that when a bank takes a home through foreclosure, their only goal is to recover their investment. So if John and Jane Doe owe $50,000 on their home that is valued at $250,000, is the bank going to sell it for what it's worth? No, of course not. They're going to sell it cheap, because banks are not supposed to be in the real estate business. So that home, previously valued at $250,000 sells for $50,000, what do you think the effect is on the home values in the whole neighborhood and community around it? Property values go down, but for sale signs keep going up and up and up. In fact, if the investor who bought Mr. and Mrs. Doe's home is smart, he's going to turn around and put the house on the market for $100,000. In a month's time he flips the house and doubles his money.
This process will leave municipalities scrambling for every tax dollar they can scrape up in order to provide services that actually make a difference in people's lives, which will be an impossibility because aide received from the state is dropping, as incomes drop, and the aid from the federal government is already off the chart because Republicans think that taxes=evil.
Do you get this scenario John, or is this too much for you to grasp? Don't answer that, because I don't want another sin on your conscience.
Instead, I'll turn now to the 7-10 percent of the voters who will decide this election and say, "Do you feel more secure economically after eight years of Republican economics than you did when Bill Clinton was President?"
If you answered no to that question, the choice for President is clear. Vote for Barack Obama.