With the country’s economy in chaos, it is important for the next president to understand the fundamentals of economics.
The most recent challenge to dominate the presidential campaign is the worsening of the economy and its ripple effect worldwide. It has been reported that Wall Street has had its worse week since the aftermath of 9/11 and it will get worse before it gets better. Senators Barack Obama and John McCain are both positioning themselves to be the one with the right stuff for the American economy.
Obama has said, “McCain is out of touch on the economy.”
McCain said, “The economy is in good shape,” despite the Wall Street’s massive problems. Obviously McCain was echoing President George Bush, who said that the economy is resilient enough to survive the present crisis after a few adjustments.
What is the country looking for in a president who will inherit economic chaos? There has to be some signals in the candidate’s recent experience to demonstrate to the public that he is knowledgeable enough to solve the nation’s economic problems. How the candidates run their presidential campaign may shed some light on the issue of economic knowledge “worthiness.”
After his latest campaign finance report was issued, Obama was reported to have raised more money that any other presidential candidate in political history and he has done it by using a different strategy. That becomes important because if the country’s economic woes are to be solved, it would take a new approach, a different strategy. By raising more money than any previous or current candidate in history, Obama has made the case as the candidate with the new approach and the different strategy. He has begun the “change” that has been the bedrock of his campaign.
McCain has already said that he does not understand economics. With the bailout of Bear-Stearns; the takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac; Lehman Brothers filing for bankruptcy protection; Merrill Lynch being sold for half its value; and American International Group (AIG)—the world largest insurance company—teetering on insolvency, a new economic approach is definitely needed. Notwithstanding, massive foreclosures persist and billions per month still being spent on the occupation of Iraq after over five years, how can McCain even entertain the thought of fixing the nation’s economy without understanding the fundamentals of economics. At present, he reportedly has a problem raising money—fixing his own economy.
Obama, unlike McCain, has articulated an exit strategy for Iraq which in turn re-directed massive expenditures to solve most of the national economic problems. And even though Katrina, Gustav and Ike were natural disasters, they would have been better handled if the military and the National Guard units were not occupied in faraway foreign lands. In addition, the economic focus of American families is on problems closer to home including soaring energy prices, health care, rising food prices, sub-prime lending issues, housing, credit and their day-to-day living expenses.
In 1991, after the First Gulf War, then President George H. W. Bush was riding high on a wave of his military success in Iraq. Suddenly, the issue became the economy that led to the slogan, “It’s the economy, stupid!” And there wasn’t an occupation of Iraq.
Fast forward to today’s economy, the only comparison is that there is an occupation of Iraq that is hemorrhaging the nation’s economy out of control. So though, like 1991, “it’s the economy, stupid,” the economy is just a symptom. The billions being spent monthly on Iraq is the disease and as long as the occupation continues, the economy will never recover.
Whoever wins the White House will most likely spend his first term cleaning up the present occupant’s mess, the economy being one aspect of a much bigger problem.