Both candidates were so full of it last night. McCain was certainly the bigger fool, but that's not to say Obama gets off easily. The first thirty or so minutes of the debate (transcript here), when the two talked about the bailout and taxes, were absolutely excruciating. Obama talked about cutting taxes and expanding programs, and McCain talked about an across-the-board spending freeze (except on defense issues, which are of course the biggest spending increases of all). Here’s the problem with those answers:
There was a global market crash on Monday. Not a slump, not a bad day, but a CRASH, and it continued on Tuesday, with the Dow dropping another 500 points. Markets did the same thing in South America, Asia, and Europe. The Europeans are particularly inept – at least according to yesterday’s Boston Globe, they are so intent on blaming the U.S. that they refuse to recognize this as a systematic problem and come up with a coherent response. Back on this side of the pond, we’ve (rightfully) passed a $700 billion bailout, but it doesn’t seem to be helping the frozen credit markets. Maybe I’m just running my mouth off here, but I will be shocked if the Dow closes above 9000 on Friday. I’ll bet we see 10% unemployment within six months, if not sooner.
So what does it mean for the government when individuals and corporations make less money? It means a drop in taxes paid, and thus a drop in government receipts. But what do Obama and McCain say? Why, decrease revenue even further with a TAX CUT!
Don’t get me wrong. Like any good progressive, I support universal health care. But like any good blue dog, I also support sensible fiscal policy. As a good doctor once said, "You cannot promise people tax cuts, college education, health care and whatever else you want, and say, 'Oh, it'll all be fine.’ That’s what George Bush is doing. I want fiscal responsibility in this country, but I want to help middle-class people send their kids to college. You cannot have tax cuts and help people send their kids to college at the same time."
But if Barack Obama is misleading, John McCain is an outright liar. His problems started out small enough, I suppose – more a matter of hypocrisy than of actual dishonesty. He criticized Obama and his “cronies” for “encouraging” Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae to make high-risk loans. Yes, it’s true that Obama’s Senate campaign received donations from the mortgage giants and that one of his VOLUNTEER veep vetters was a Fannie Mae executive 17 years ago, but let’s never mind that McCain’s own CAMPAIGN MANAGER was a paid Freddie Mac consultant until JUST LAST MONTH.