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United States Government The Almighty Buck Politics News

Discuss the US Presidential Election & the Economy 2369

A number of folks have been submitting topics that indicate that they want to have a serious discussion on the issues surrounding this election. Since we're under a week now, I've decided to run a series of discussion stories to give you guys a place to discuss the issue. So here's the first one: The Economy. It's the biggest topic these days, eclipsing even war as the most important issue to most Americans. But how will that affect your choice next week? And why?
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Discuss the US Presidential Election & the Economy

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @09:45AM (#25553795)

    I hadn't noticed

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @10:17AM (#25554347)

      I hadn't noticed

      Why do you hate America?

      • Ok..how about taxes? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @10:32AM (#25554623) Homepage Journal
        Well, right now I'm thinking about taxation.

        I'm against Obama's plan to give tax rebates to people that do not pay federal income taxes. I'm sorry, but, if you get a rebate for something you didn't pay for, that isn't a rebate, it is welfare and income redistribution.

        I don't like how Obama is planning to turn Social Security into a progressive pay system like income taxes. This is a major retooling of the system. He wants lower income people to start paying less of a percentage (possibly down to a zero point?) yet still recieve full benefits. This [aei.org] is an interesting article describing what BHO is planning to do with SS.

        On the other hand, with McCain, he's wanting to start taxing heath benefits on employees rather than let them pay those premiums pre-tax. That BLOWS.

        Why can't they just cut wasteful, federal spending....and let ALL tax payers keep more of their own money?

        • by MichaelTenery ( 1003639 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @10:51AM (#25555055) Homepage
          Obama has already added a stipulation that you cannot simply get a rebate if you do not have a paycheck. This will be for payroll taxes only. So don't worry, despite republican talking points to the contrary, this isn't welfare for the non-working. It's a tax cut targeted to working middle class, for a change. Why is it that tax cuts targeted on big businesses and the wealthy never get labeled as redistribution of wealth? And yet that has been precisely what we have been doing for years.
          • by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @10:56AM (#25555151) Homepage Journal
            "Obama has already added a stipulation that you cannot simply get a rebate if you do not have a paycheck. This will be for payroll taxes only."

            Call me back when he goes all the way, and does NOT give a rebate to anyone that does not pay payroll taxes. Even if you work, and are below the threshold of paying federal income taxes...you don't pay tax and therefore have nothing to be rebate-ed.

        • by PhysicsPhil ( 880677 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @10:56AM (#25555141)

          Why can't they just cut wasteful, federal spending....and let ALL tax payers keep more of their own money?

          It's tough to believe but there just isn't enough waste to cut, at least not the easy kind. The federal deficit is projected to be $438 billion this year, and that was before the government started the massive bank bailouts. Combine that with deferred infrastructure maintenance and the baby boom starting to draw on Social Security and Medicare and things are not good.

          Even if all pork were cut from House bills, it's still not enough to balance the budget. It's fun to talk about cutting a bridge to nowhere, but these kinds of numbers are going to require both serious spending cuts and higher taxes.

          Higher taxes, cuts to major spending areas (military and civilian) as well as cuts to entitlement programs are going to happen, regardless of who gets in office.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @10:59AM (#25555203)

          Yes, welfare and income redistribution is doing horrible things in 3rd world countries like Denmark,Norway,Sweden,France,Germany,Belgium etc...

        • by alexhmit01 ( 104757 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @11:42AM (#25556051)

          The $5k credit vs. deductibility is roughly revenue neutral, but has a high likelihood of lowering health care costs. There is STILL a reason for employer run plans, because under McCain's plan, it is exempt from payroll taxes, which at 15% combined employer/employee, is pretty substantial.

          If you carry a "normal" plan, $12k/year, at the 28% tax bracket, results in a new tax liability of $3,360... so when you fill our your return, you own an extra $3,360 on your extra $12k in taxable earnings, but get a credit of $5000, so you save $1,640 per year.

          The way this is "revenue neutral" is that people with expensive plans and higher tax rates would actually lose out (but they do better in other parts of McCain's plan). If you are a low income worked, right now, with a crappy health plan and 15% tax rate, you'd do great with McCain. $6k plan, means $900 in tax liability, less a $5000 credit means a decreased tax liability of $4100, and I believe that the health insurance credit is refundable (because it goes directly to the insurance company as a payment mechanism).

          If you are a rich guy with a super-premium plan that covers everything, you have a $24000 plan at the 35% tax rate you owe $8400 in taxes, get a $5000 credit, and owe an extra $3400. The theory is that the rich guy who was paying $24k for an overpriced plan because he did it inside his company to avoid taxes (it cost him less than $16k pre-tax because of his rate), is likely to switch to a $12k plan now, paying more "out of pocket" since there is no longer an incentive to pay everything in premiums.

          The McCain effort is poorly explained, probably not understood by the Senator, but focused on controlling medical costs by removing the incentive to over insure.

  • any evidence (Score:5, Insightful)

    by iocat ( 572367 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @09:46AM (#25553807) Homepage Journal
    Has there been any evidence shown that either guy running for president has any idea how the economy works? All I've seen is platitudes and empty stateents from both of them.
    • by Lord_Frederick ( 642312 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @09:49AM (#25553863)

      Anyone that has a clue how the economy works is smart enough to not be in politics.

      • Re:any evidence (Score:5, Informative)

        by Hijacked Public ( 999535 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @10:24AM (#25554497)
        They don't seem to be in the banking industry either...
    • Re:any evidence (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Atriqus ( 826899 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @09:50AM (#25553873) Homepage
      It'd probably be more effective if we knew the credentials of the economists they're talking to... assuming their decisions are being run by competent people in the field.
    • Re:any evidence (Score:5, Insightful)

      by the4thdimension ( 1151939 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @09:51AM (#25553895) Homepage
      Has there been any evidence to show that ANYONE knows how the economy works? The world economy is based on emotions and speculation, which are faaar from exact sciences. Find me anyone who can predict the market and knows how it works and I will find you a billionaire keeping a secret. No one knows how it works exactly, there are some that just read it better than others.

      No one knows how to bend the economy in certain directions, they just take stabs in the dark and hope for the best.
    • Short answer (Score:5, Insightful)

      by icebrain ( 944107 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @09:53AM (#25553941)

      Has there been any evidence shown that either guy running for president has any idea how the economy works?

      Nope. One says "we'll just give people money, that'll fix it!" and the other says "we'll just cut taxes on businesses, that'll fix it!"

      I just hope that whichever candidate wins realizes that he does not have a "mandate" from the people to implement every policy idea, and swing far to the extreme positions of his party. This is going to be a very close race, and he will have wound up being elected by just a slight majority of the fraction of the eligible voting population that bothered to actually vote. Almost nobody who votes for a candidate agrees with him on every single point; it's quite possible they disagree on everything but one or two issues.

      Point is, winning by a tiny fraction does not mean everyone wants radical "change". 90% might indicate that, but 50.7% doesn't.

      • Re:Short answer (Score:5, Informative)

        by hrvatska ( 790627 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @10:35AM (#25554687)

        Nope. One says "we'll just give people money, that'll fix it!" and the other says "we'll just cut taxes on businesses, that'll fix it!"

        If you go to their websites you can download more detailed policy proposals.

        • http://www.barackobama.com/issues/economy/
        • http://www.johnmccain.com/Issues/jobsforamerica/

        For an independent comparison of their plans for the economy in general, and more specifically taxes and spending, you might want to try this article [nytimes.com] and this article [nytimes.com].

      • Re:Short answer (Score:5, Insightful)

        by DavidTC ( 10147 ) <slas45dxsvadiv@vadiv.neverbox@com> on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @10:44AM (#25554861) Homepage

        This is going to be a very close race, and he will have wound up being elected by just a slight majority of the fraction of the eligible voting population that bothered to actually vote.

        Um, dude, I don't know how to tell this to you, but stop watch the news and start paying attention to the polls.

        Obama is probably going to win this by over 100 electoral votes. Right now the polls say Obama 311 McCain 157 with 70 votes in the air. You need 270 to win.

        As for popular votes, Obama is leading by 7%-8%, which is pretty decent for polling. 8% is around the winningness of Clinton in 1996 and Bush I in 1988, and all other elections since Bush I have been much closer. Even Reagan's first election was around there, the big conservative blowout election.

        You can pretend it's not 'mandate' if you want, whatever that means, but in actuality Obama has managed to shift a lot of very conservatives areas into voting for him. Montana and Georgia are up in the air.

        The media is pretending this race is close because the media is a bunch of morons.

        • Re:Short answer (Score:5, Informative)

          by Stradivarius ( 7490 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @12:07PM (#25556539)

          The polls are so variable it's hard to know which are accurate. Some show Obama up by 14. Others show him up by just 1. The difference lies in differing assumptions about who is likely to turn out to vote on Election Day. See for example, this explanation [realclearpolitics.com].

          If turnout is demographically similar to previous elections, polls show it will be a very close election. If as some pollsters expect, we have larger-than-usual turnout among blacks and the young, then Obama will probably have a large margin of victory.

          I agree that the media can often be morons. But it's not stupid to question the accuracy of the polls, given how hugely dependent they are upon what are little more than guesses about voter turnout.

    • Re:any evidence (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bentcd ( 690786 ) <bcd@pvv.org> on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @09:57AM (#25554023) Homepage

      Has there been any evidence shown that either guy running for president has any idea how the economy works? All I've seen is platitudes and empty stateents from both of them.

      Like most politicians, the leading contenders don't have personal expertise in the field of finance so, no, they don't know a whole lot about how the economy works.

      Nor should they need to. It is not necessary that the president has personal expertise in all areas relating to the running of the state. What /is/ important is that he surrounds himself with competent advisors.

      What you need to watch out for is a candidate who /presumes/ to know /exactly/ how to resolve the situation and who justifies this with a reference to some ideology or other. Chances are such a candidate is much more interested in carrying through his ideology rather than in actually solving any problems. Candidates that devolve into generalities, however, are much more likely to enlist actual competent aid when it comes down to actually getting something useful done.

      In this case, then, the question generally boils down to "does my candidate accept that there is a problem and that action is necessary?" and both top candidates seem to fit the bill.

      • Re:any evidence (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Shotgun ( 30919 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @10:20AM (#25554417)

        What you need to watch out for is a candidate who /presumes/ to know /exactly/ how to resolve the situation and who justifies this with a reference to some ideology or other. Chances are such a candidate is much more interested in carrying through his ideology rather than in actually solving any problems.

        That is why I will walk to the somberly walk to the polls with head bowed and pull the lever for McCain. My head and heart are with Bob Barr, but there is reality to contend with.

        Both houses of Congress are controlled by a Democratic majority. Obama has voted 97% of the time with the Democratic leadership, and nothing I have heard about or from him has led me to believe that he is anything other than a warmed over 60's style activist acting as a mouthpiece for a socialist agenda. History has shown that when one party has control of the entire legislative and executive branches of our government, the economy suffers. A president that will walk lockstep with a Congressional leadership that has shown it has an axe to grind (re: Nancy Pelossi's partisan speech right before the Bailout Bill was to pass the first time) is not what this country needs...now or ever.

        An Obama presidency with a rubberstamp Congress, or a Democratic Congress with a rubberstamp Obama presidency, either way you want to look at it, will be disastrous.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @10:42AM (#25554807)

          The historical data shows that government spending goes up with Republican administrations, and stays constant or goes down with Democrats. Don't look at what they say-- look at the graphs.

          It's not often mentioned, but a huge part of the current crisis is runaway government spending, which spiked to record levels under the Bush administration (much of it due to the war, of course-- "this war will pay for itself," they told us).

          The Republicans criticize the Democrats for "tax and spend" policies, but the Republican policy, going by what they do (instead of what they say) is "spend spend spend spend spend." They don't bother to tell us, but spending money isn't a "tax cut"-- what it is is a tax on the future.

          Anybody remember the surplus under Clinton?

          • by ConceptJunkie ( 24823 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @11:19AM (#25555625) Homepage Journal

            Minus the last 8 years, spending has always gone up when Democrats were in Congress, and down when Republicans were. Congress spends the money, not the President.

            That said, however, it is true that the Republicans since 2000 have totally failed to live up to almost everything they have purportedly stood for in the past 50 years. The Democrats have done a good job of standing up for their ideas, or at least the stupid ones.

    • by cvd6262 ( 180823 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @09:59AM (#25554053)

      Saw this on a bumper sticker:

      We're screwed: 2008.

      I couldn't summarize my feelings any better.

    • Re:any evidence (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dmomo ( 256005 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @10:03AM (#25554127)

      Our CEO cannot program for shit. But he makes a great product happen. I would worry less about how much the President knows about the inner working of the Economy and more about whether that person has the skills to make decisions based on intelligence taken from the advisers they employ. Fingers crossed.

      As far as the empty statements go. Well, that's politicking. Yes it sucks. But each of the two main candidates in this election have clearly polarized strategies for our Economy. Promisises aside, we can assume that each will pursue the general direction of their part. Let's hope whoever wins will follow their strategy in earnest (i mean assuming it's the person we voted for :) ) with their sights on straightening out this mess.

  • ... and I feel fine. (Score:5, Informative)

    by symbolset ( 646467 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @09:46AM (#25553817) Journal

    Lots of money moving around. If you're quick you can catch some of it - or lose everything.

    Me, I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing - go to work and pay my bills and tough it out.

    The election? I'll be glad when it's over and everybody can shut up about it. Whoever wins is in for a lot of stress.

  • Ridiculous (Score:5, Interesting)

    by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <`eldavojohn' `at' `gmail.com'> on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @09:47AM (#25553823) Journal
    Well, for those of you that might think to argue in favor of "conservative" liberals or Reaganomics, check out this interesting graph [cedarcomm.com] that illustrates National Debt by president. While it's not always true that the president can control spending (it's mostly congress & senate proposing them), it sure does nullify any idea that Republican presidents spend less than Obama.

    They're both going to spend the hell out of our money. The only difference might be whether it comes from us or gets put on our nation's maxed out credit card.

    Neither of them are going to solve the economic problem. This economic downturn is too deep and complicated for it to be put down as Bush's fault or for either of them to solve. So it's not going to affect my vote, what's done is done. How they propose to handle it sounds fairly similar--more preventative regulation. And I'm pretty much all for that. Who's the dumbshit that was allowing institutions to hand out loans to people without even checking their income level? Yeah, laissez faire is great and all but in its purest form idiots will ruin things. Need a happy middle ground.
  • by Adult film producer ( 866485 ) <van@i2pmail.org> on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @09:49AM (#25553849)
    I read in a very important email that Obama may be a crypto-marxist and may have converted to judaism during his teenage years :~( When this is revealed it will blow the lid off of civilization.
  • Small Government (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dethndrek ( 870145 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @09:49AM (#25553857)
    I'm a small government person. At least that's what I would prefer. However, we haven't seen anything like that with this Republican administration and I see no reason to believe that we would see it with another one. In addition to that, we've just effectively taken ownership of several incredibly large entities and in effect, nationalized them. Because of these reasons, I see no prospects of smaller government from either party. This removes my one philosophical reservation about voting for a democrat. Therefore, Obama.
    • Re:Small Government (Score:5, Informative)

      by LehiNephi ( 695428 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @10:17AM (#25554361) Journal
      I would like to point out that the Democrats were overwhelmingly in favor of the bailout that has led to the government taking over several large financial institutions, while the Republicans generally opposed it. Obama would also like to increase the involvement of government in the healthcare system, while McCain wants to more-or-less leave it intact.

      Aside from President Bush's actions, the Republican party generally favors far less government than the Democrats. I think your philosophical reservation against Democrats is still pretty much intact.
      • by misanthrope101 ( 253915 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @10:59AM (#25555209)

        Aside from President Bush's actions, the Republican party generally favors far less government than the Democrats.

        I've heard this statement many, many times. I have seen zero evidence that it's an accurate assessment. I can flush these people out with two words: medical marijuana. Add in prostitution, pornography, gay marriage, stem cell research, and you have a handful of areas in which their preferred government is far from small or non-intrusive. The "conservative" approach to habeas corpus, torture, and secret prisons is the opposite of small government--it's flat-out totalitarian. So my problem, in a nutshell, with conservatives is not that they are conservative, but that they are liars.

    • by Bromskloss ( 750445 ) <auxiliary.addres ... [ ]om ['l.c' in > on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @10:36AM (#25554707)

      I'm a small government person.

      I don't see how your size matters here.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @09:50AM (#25553887)
    Are you going to vote for Barack Obama or are you a racist?
  • by MarkWatson ( 189759 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @09:51AM (#25553897) Homepage

    I don't care a whole lot who wins, if it is a fair election. That said, from what I have been reading, the republicans have pulled out all the stops in suppressing voters in groups that are polling strongly pro-Obama (e.g., active duty military, students, minorities.)

    Who ever does win will not be able to keep election promises since the economy is probably going to keep getting worse.

    Speaking of the economy, I think that the only real money that the government should spend is on critical infrastructure (education, roads, defend our borders in the least expensive way possible, support local agriculture and in general push local sustainable business and infrastructure,...) Notice that I did not include government sponsored health care (would be nice if we could afford it though.)

    I think that it is obvious that the "being an empire" thing is not worth the money that it costs.

  • by plopez ( 54068 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @09:54AM (#25553957) Journal

    I'm learning to flint knap so that I will have the skills I need to make it in the new economy. I am also working on learning how to build an atlatl.

  • National Debt!!! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kalpol ( 714519 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @09:57AM (#25554019) Homepage
    Neither major party candidate has mentioned addressing the crushing national debt or deficit spending. If I'm going to listen to platitudes, I want to hear about reducing spending and paying down the debt, not battles over who gets tax cuts.
    • by jbeaupre ( 752124 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @10:26AM (#25554519)

      "The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money."
          -- Alexis de Tocqueville

    • by gosand ( 234100 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @02:07PM (#25558495)

      Neither major party candidate has mentioned addressing the crushing national debt or deficit spending. If I'm going to listen to platitudes, I want to hear about reducing spending and paying down the debt, not battles over who gets tax cuts.

      I STILL have no idea why tax cuts are such a hot issue, right up there with abortion and gay marriage. There are so many freakin "Yes on 102" banners/bumper stickers/signs it makes me wanna puke. THAT is what gets you fired up about voting? You want to vote to take away someone else's rights based on YOUR religious beliefs? It's pathetic.

      People want a tax cut, but they'll vote for the guy who sent us into a war that we never should have been in, one that is costing us MILLIONS of dollars a DAY, and that your grandkids will still be paying for... But oh, give me $300 in tax cuts next year. The sooner we get OUT of Iraq and stop throwing money away that we don't have, THEN we can start to discuss how to fix our debt. No matter what programs you cut, or how you shift the money, the war is the elephant shitting in the living room.

      We, as Americans, are so very extremely short sighted.

  • by Anivair ( 921745 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @09:58AM (#25554043)
    The economy is a no brainer for me, and I'm not going to duplicate long posts I've already made elsewhere, but it works like this: Bush broke the economy, plain and simple. There were probably other factors, but everything he did only made it worse. McCain voted with him 90% of the time, especially on the economy. People are under some delusion that under a republican president they'll pay less taxes. Not true. Unless you're rich (and if you're not sure, you're not) you'll pay less taxes under a democratic president. But also, paying less taxes doesn't make you richer. if you pay less in taxes, but more in property taxes, mortgages, and gas prices, then where is the savings? And if gas prices rise, then so does transport and your dollar is worth less. And that makes you poor as well. Hell, i'd vote for obama even if he were raising my taxes. I might shell out a hundred extra bucks in taxes, but if I make it up in savings spread out over the year, then good for me.
  • by Orgasmatron ( 8103 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @10:02AM (#25554109)

    The media have been at best negligent in reporting on the economic issues at hand. At worst, they have been complicit.

    The causes of the housing bubble and meltdown aren't a secret. The identities of the people that have been calling for investigation and oversight aren't secret. The names of the people that have blocked every attempt to address the problem for the last 5 or 6 years aren't secret.

    Why does the news media consistently accept the bald lies of the people responsible? Why don't they bother telling people the truth?

    Does anyone really believe that if the roles of the parties were reversed there wouldn't be serious investigation?

  • by JoeFromPhilly ( 792856 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @10:06AM (#25554177)

    Your favorite candidate is absolutely terrible and will completely destroy our country. If they are elected we'll all end up subsistence farming and living in tent cities. I can't believe you would vote for them. Why do you hate America?

  • Socalist (Score:5, Insightful)

    by speroni ( 1258316 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @10:06AM (#25554179) Homepage

    I find it somewhere between hilarious and deeply disturbing that People can get up there and call Obama a socialist for wanting to tax rich people, while at the same time supporting the buying of banks by the federal government, which actually is socialist.

    How is taxing rich people any more socialist than taxing the middle class? Were trillions of dollars in debt, this money is going to come from somewhere.

    Also can anyone actually explain why we should be bailing out these banks in the first place? If we want to pretend to be capitalists we have to let businesses fail from time to time, especially when they bring it upon themselves with poor business practices like risky lending, and aggressive mortgages. Now GM is looking for a handout because they can't make a car that anyone wants and somehow thats the tax payers fault. (Meanwhile there's more Honda and Toyota manufacturing in the US than there is US manufacturing.)

    It seems our whole economic system is unsound. Its all based on retail sales of mostly useless crap that is designed to fail or has planned obsolesence so you have to buy more. We hardly manufacture anything stateside anymore.

    I suggest that we actually start focusing on high tech manufacturing. The stuff that can't be done on the cheap by unskilled labor.

  • by iplayfast ( 166447 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @10:11AM (#25554239)

    It seems obvious to me. They've got this 80 year old cancer survivor, and a very inexperienced (in politics) governor from a state that has it's own rules about most things that are very different then other states.

    Why would they try to loose? The economy is in the toilet, the US owes trillions, the US has a very poor foreign image. The Republicans have just decided to let the Democrats deal with the mess. Then for 4 years everyone is getting good and pissed at the Democrats for the lack of jobs, money, government safety nets of any sort (because there is no money for it).

    After 4 years, the Republicans can come swooping back in to "save the day" from those socialist Democrats who obviously can't run a country.

  • by Inzite ( 472846 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @10:38AM (#25554725)

    I'll prefix my comments on the economy by saying I'm an American living and working abroad in the financial sector. So I work with some of the issues haunting the global crisis every day.

    Direct blame for the mess lies first and foremost with credit ratings agencies (Standard & Poor's, Moody's, Fitch, et al) and credit insurers (like AIG). They continued to provide strong ratings to mortgage-backed securities without considering the ripple effect a housing-market slump would have. Secondly, blame should fall on US regulating agencies (like the SEC), which failed to place adequate restrictions on mortgage brokers. And lastly, blame should fall on politicians for failing to address the problem of excessive consumer and corporate debt. For years the world has known that America's debt-fueled economic growth was unsustainable. And yet for the past six years, few regulative measures were introduced to increase banks' capitalization ratios. Republicans seem more to blame here, as the six years of deregulation were largely Republican sponsored, but Democrats haven't been much better on this issue.

    The Bush administration is not directly responsible for the current financial crisis. Note, however, that the Bush administration's spending spree of the past 7 years has put the government in a decidedly weaker position to now deal with the financial crisis. The government is now much more leveraged than it was when Clinton left office, meaning the Treasury has less flexibility to control markets. The USD is in real danger, and the only reason it hasn't collaped is that there's no alternative currency that investors can run to (Europe is hurting just as bad right now as the USA). The War in Iraq was never worth bankrupting our country.

    Let me repeat that...

    The War in Iraq was never worth bankrupting our country.

    The US national debt has increased in excess of USD 500 bn per year since 2003 and broke through USD 10 tn on September 30, 2008. That means USD 33 000 of debt per resident of the USA, or some 70% of GDP!!!!

    In 2000 it was just USD 5.7 bn (58% of GDP) and was on its way down.

    I don't credit Clinton with producing the strong economy of the time, and am neutral on the net effect of his tax increases, but I do believe one of his administration's best moves was to use the budget surplus to pay down the national debt.

    Make no mistake, the USA is in a very difficult position right now, and its global power is diminishing measurably by the hour.

    Economic and foreign policy should be THE deciding factors in the coming election. Completely forget about welfare, abortion, gay marriage, global warming, immigration, job outsourcing, socialized healthcare, agricultural subsidies, AIDS, the war on drugs, executive pay, intellectual property, and religion in the classroom. If the American population realized how dire the situation is right now, these would be non-issues in this election. Real issues like the war on terror, dependence on foreign hydrocarbons, education spending, political reform, antitrust regulation, and social security are important, but should take backseat to the two most pressing issues today: foreign policy and the economy (i.e. eliminating the credit crunch).

    Issues like interrogation techniques, warrantless wiretapping, and incarceration of enemy combatants without trial should never have been issues in the first place. Suspected terrorists, both at home and abroad, should receive the same protections that any American citizen receives. Period. I'm still terrified that some Americans think otherwise, and absolutely horrified that some politicians agree with them. Warrantless wiretapping is absolutely disgusting, especially considering the FISA already allowed for a court order to be obtained up to three days after wiretapping had commenced. When voting, choose the smartest candidate you can based on the two most important criteria: foreign policay and the credit crunch. For any intelligent politician, the issues of interrogatio

  • by sootman ( 158191 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @11:22AM (#25555665) Homepage Journal

    The economy WILL bounce back. What we're going through is big and scary, but for every person (or company) that made big, crappy decisions in the last decade, there is another person (or company) that was smart, saved money, and will swoop in to buy whatever Person/Company A can no longer afford to maintain, be it a house or a bank. So overall, we'll be fine.

    But the war... I really don't see why we should be spending billions of dollars to make the whole world hate us even more, no sense mentioning all the lives lost on both sides.

    Q1: why are we fighting this war?
    A1: Because of 9/11.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @11:22AM (#25555667)

    Economists need to learn the lesson structural engineers learned in 1940, when the Tacoma Narrows bridge collapsed [youtube.com].

    Structural engineers used to pride themselves on designing funicular structures - maximizing utility with the minimum amount of material. The Tacoma Narrows bridge collapse changed everything. Ever since, structural engineers have recognized that safety, not maximizing utility, is paramount. Building codes now universally require that structures be overengineered.

    Now, where is the politician or economist who will publicly state that we should design our economy to be safe, rather than maximally productive? Even in the face of potential economic collapse, all we hear about are bandaids and growth, growth, growth. Anyone who would propose limiting growth in order to provide greater resilience would be tarred, feathered, and flogged.

    Why is it so anathema to talk about safety nets? Why, for example, is it so evil to consider that the reason we need universal health care isn't because it's the most productive way to run our economy, but because we should all feel comfortable that basic humans needs will be met, no matter what the goddamn economy is doing? Perhaps economies of scale point to the need for uber-banks; but maybe instead of creating institutions that are too big to fail, we should consider that efficient or not, too big to fail is simply too goddamn big. On and on. Everything in the name of efficiency and productivity; nothing in the name of resilience and safety.

    Every politician I've seen to date has been too chicken shit to state obvious truths. I think that's not really their fault, because the system they live in demands it if they hope to ever be elected. I'm voting for Barack, because reading between the lines, I think he gets it. At least more than McCain. McCain has some good local perspective on a few things, but he's just not a big-picture meaning-of-life kind of guy. He might know how to help businesses, but he just doesn't get the point of it all. Try to imagine McCain sitting poolside at a resort sipping a margarita, for example. I can't. To me, that's a fatal flaw.

  • by Gilmoure ( 18428 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @01:32PM (#25557949) Journal

    Just throwing out fuel for the fire: The Obama Tax Plan [wsj.com]

    - The top two income-tax brackets would return to their 1990s levels of 36% and 39.6% (including the exemption and deduction phase-outs). All other brackets would remain as they are today.

    - The top capital-gains rate for families making more than $250,000 would return to 20% -- the lowest rate that existed in the 1990s and the rate President Bush proposed in his 2001 tax cut. A 20% rate is almost a third lower than the rate President Reagan set in 1986.

    - The tax rate on dividends would also be 20% for families making more than $250,000, rather than returning to the ordinary income rate. This rate would be 39% lower than the rate President Bush proposed in his 2001 tax cut and would be lower than all but five of the last 92 years we have been taxing dividends.

    - The estate tax would be effectively repealed for 99.7% of estates, and retained at a 45% rate for estates valued at over $7 million per couple. This would cut the number of estates covered by the tax by 84% relative to 2000.

Man is an animal that makes bargains: no other animal does this-- no dog exchanges bones with another. -- Adam Smith