I’m not sure if Obama can get the focus of tonite’s debate on economic policy, given McCain’s intent to keep up an attack on the Democrat’s personality and character, but it is certainly the issue that ought to be discussed. I say that as I contemplate the almost $13,000 my retirement fund went down last quarter (I’m trying to get it moved to insured savings today) and figure I’m only one of millions of Americans who are realizing the mess we’re in.
After hearing McCain’s claims yesterday that Obama was “lying” when he called the Republican a Deregultor (the thing he built most of his political career on), I started researching the past 25 years and found enough evidence to pinpoint the real liar.
Arthur Blaustein wrote a long article in Truthdig yesterday on the problems with Republican economic theories. He summed up McCain as follows:
Claims of being a maverick aside, McCain has emerged as nothing more than a supply-sider in the mold of George W. and Reagan. Since George W. took office, corporate profits have soared, while workers’ wages and benefits have been flat. That shows just who is the object of Bush’s conservative compassion. The Bush administration, supported by Republicans on Capitol Hill, pushed through a sweeping tax cut in 2001, under which the wealthiest one percent of Americans reaped 43 percent of the gain. In less than a year and a half, the federal government’s 10-year projected budget surplus of $1.6 trillion had vanished. In 2000, we had a surplus of $236 billion. In 2004, we had a deficit of $413 billion. This dramatic reversal is the direct consequence of Bush’s tax cuts. Since then, the Bush/McCain answer for the nation’s economic woes has been deregulation and more tax cuts for wealthy individuals and corporations, who by no coincidence contribute heavily to the McCain campaign. It’s “trickle-down” economics with a vengeance.
The history of Democrats and Republicans as to who has had the most positive effect on the economy is pretty clear. As Blaustein notes:
Which president produced:
1. The highest growth in the gross domestic product?
2. The highest growth in jobs?
3. The biggest increase in personal disposable income after taxes?
4. The highest growth in industrial production?
5. The highest growth in hourly wages?
6. The lowest Misery Index (inflation plus unemployment)?
7. The lowest inflation?
8. The largest reduction in the deficit?
The answers: 1. Harry Truman, 2. Bill Clinton, 3. Lyndon Johnson, 4. John F. Kennedy, 5. Johnson, 6. Truman, 7. Truman, 8. Clinton. In the Economic Sweepstakes, Democratic presidents trounce Republicans eight times out of eight!
Pretty impressive! (And I didn’t notice the “great” Reagan anywhere in the list.)
So what should we think about the economy and what would happen to iy in a McCain administration? Blaustein once again:
Since the conventions, McCain and his surrogates have been pounding away at the Democrats, labeling them as the “tax and spend” party. Yet recent research has shown that more than 70% of our national debt was created by just three Republican presidents. There’s an old expression in Las Vegas: “Figures don’t lie and liars figure.” Moreover, according to research from professor Larry Bartels of Princeton, real middle-class wage growth is double when a Democrat is president, contrasted to a Republican president.
So, while McCain and Sarah Palin compose hymns to patriotism, rugged individualism, “trickle-down” economics, “staying the course” on Bush’s tax cuts and family values; they are also embracing the very economic policies that undermine both the middle class and subvert the security of American family life.
And that is why we are not likely to hear McCain address the economy in the debate. He has nowhere to go where he won’t be transparent to the public.
McCain will most likely bring up William Ayers, the former Weatherman who was NOT convicted and who serv es as a college professor now, by saying that, since they sat on the same Board of a non-profit they were “pals”. Yet it is not clear whether Obama will make the same kind of pont about McCain, who, in 1981 sat on the board of the US Council for World Freedom, an ultra right wing group founded chaired by Iran Contra figure Maj. General John K. Singlaub. As Paul Begala state on Meet the Press:
It was affiliated with the World Anti-Communist league, the parent organization, which ADL [Anti-Defamation League] said has increasingly become a gathering place, the forum, the point of contact for extremist racists and anti-Semites.
By McCain standards, he and Singlaub must have been “pals”.
Does any of the “personal attack” kind of politics do anything to give me confidence about my retirement account improving or employment rates increasing or getting us out of recession? Hardly. I only hope that the kind of questions the “Town Hall” style audience ask and the kind of answers the candidate’s give will show clearly how the future administration of the winner will bring us back into positive economic world we left when Bush became President.