June 6th, 2008
02:41 PM ET

A tale of two economic policies

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/06/06/art.jobfair.jpg caption="Job seekers at the 7th annual Employment and Training Collaborative of Hope Central Career Fair Thursday, June 5, 2008, in Los Angeles."]
Kelly Daniel
AC360° Staff

First, some Raw Data:

  • Unemployment rate is 5.5%, the highest rate since October 2004.
  • The jump in jobless rate for May is the biggest increase since February 1986.
  • The U.S. economy has lost jobs for 5 months in a row.

What do the presumptive presidential nominees have to say about it? Each claims that the other man has the wrong idea about how to fix the problem.

Sen. Barack Obama:

“This is a reminder that working families continue to bear the brunt of the failed Bush economic policies that John McCain wants to continue for another four years… workers’ wages once again failed to keep pace with the skyrocketing cost of health care, and college tuition, and gas. That’s why we can’t afford John McCain’s plan to spend billions of dollars on tax breaks for big corporations and wealthy CEOs, and that’s why I’m offering change that will provide working families with a middle-class tax cut, affordable health care and college, and an energy plan that will create up to five million good-paying jobs that can’t be outsourced. That’s the change the American people are looking for, and that’s how we’ll build an economy of shared prosperity once more.”

Sen. John McCain:

“Americans across this country are hurting, and we must act now to support workers, families and employers alike. This means getting our economy back on track by providing immediate tax relief, enacting a HOME plan to help those facing foreclosure, lowering health care costs, investing in innovation, moving toward energy independence and opening foreign markets to our goods. These policies will help small businesses create the jobs that families need today. The American people cannot afford more inaction from Washington.

"The wrong change for our country would be an economic agenda based upon the policies of the past that advocate higher taxes, bigger government, government-run health care and greater isolationism. To help families at this critical time, we cannot afford to go backward as Senator Obama advocates."

The best economists may be able argue over these policies to death, but what do you think? We want to know.

Filed under: Barack Obama • Economy • John McCain • Kelly Daniel • Raw Politics
soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. Kevin Ardery

    Don't all of you people on this blog get it. It is the Democrat/Liberal/Environmental crazies that have caused our economy to sink. These people do not want to drill in Anwar or off the coasts or anywhere else in the continental United States. They do not want to build any oil refineries or nuclear power plants! This should have all been done over the last 30 years.

    Bill Clinton and Al Gore(snore) did nothing about this oil problem when they were both in office for 8 years. Now we are paying a greater price because of India and China demanding more and more oil for their countries.

    Before anyone starts blaming this administration go look at what the Democrats have not done. It is laughable to me for Obama to talk about this economy when he wants to raise the capital gains tax! He no more knows anything about this economy than McCain does!

    A vote for Barack Obama is a vote for a socialist agenda. You think things are bad now wait till he gets into office.

    June 7, 2008 at 3:02 am |
  2. Mel Araiza, Phoenix, AZ

    I'm a college student in AZ, and it's true that the cost of tuition is going way up. It's getting too expensive for me to go to college, what with gas prices soaring. The college I attend is ten miles away and the only transportation I've got is an 8-cylinder truck that sucks up gas faster than it can get me anywhere. How are we lower-class citizens suppose to get an education if everything costs so much money? Soon even financial aid won't be enough. Something needs to be done because I don't want to end up working at a dead-end job. I need an education. Dreams are seriously being squashed over here.

    June 7, 2008 at 1:11 am |
  3. anthony

    Our current economic issues can be traced to the rising price of fuel. Prices are rising because companies have to pass on their pain. Bush recognized that we need to retard our addiction to foreign oil. Why haven't we done anything. We don't need to reinvent the wheel.

    Just use the right one. I don't think putting our food/biofuel on the line with fuel is a good idea. Why not look a hydrogen powered vehicles? The biggest complaint against them is the amount of energy need to create hydrogen and the lack of infrastructure. Solar and wind power could be used to reduce the cost of creating the fuel.

    the building of the new infrastructure would create jobs. It would also reduce the use of imported oil and also the price. Each year more hydrogen powered vehicles would be placed in the market and infrastructure would grow. Partner with a retailer to place refueling stations and build them. Kroger and Walmart come to mind. Any automaker would have an increasing marketplace to sell the new cars. Honda, Gm, and Bmw make hydrogen powered vehicles. With the big three shutting down plants, there are plenty of places to build the new vehicles.

    June 6, 2008 at 9:11 pm |
  4. EmmaOhio

    Neither Obama nor McCain get it. It is the failed 21st century free market corporatism that is enriching corporations while citizens go deeper into economic crisis. It is the new free market economy, stupid! I don't like calling people stupid but that is the way the saying goes.
    When McCain says free market republicans want less government. he means less constitutional republic form of government and a huge free market based government of, by and for business which is subsidized by taxpayers with little accountability. McCain said in Columbus he will continue using CEO's and corporations to run our Federal government and the military. Corporate contractors are taking all the good paying citizens public employee jobs at all levels of government, even in our home towns. The people must start fighting back for these government jobs.

    June 6, 2008 at 8:02 pm |
  5. Jan from Wood Dale IL

    Obama and McCain can bicker back and forth about who has the "best" solution, but consider this:

    For 5 years in a row Congress voted themselves "cost of living" pay raises. The current salary for rank-and-file members (in 2008) is $169,300/year. Leaders of the House and Senate are paid a higher salary than rank-and-file members. Members of Congress receive retirement and health benefits. They become vested after 5 years of full participation, and have to serve at least 5 years (one term) to receive a pension.

    With benefits like that, how can Congress even relate to the struggle of the dwindling middle class and those who live below the poverty line?

    June 6, 2008 at 7:39 pm |
  6. Beth

    I fear the current economic crisis will run deep and be long lasting. I wonder if the constant talk on radio and 24/7 cable news just fans the flames and makes the problem worse. For example today the price of oil broke yet another record with an almost $11 increase in one day. The constant speculation about how high the price will go and when it might hit $5 a gallon for the consumer seems to make the speculators jittery and drive the cost of oil per barrel even higher.

    I suggest that the media lay off on talking so much about the economy and the market might settle down. If the cost of daily living continues to skyrocket the average consumer will have to discontinue luxuries like paying for cable and turn off the radio to conserve electricity. I wonder if it won't be until the audience goes away that the media will take responsibility for their role in driving us all into poverty.

    June 6, 2008 at 7:37 pm |
  7. Michele, Oregon

    An economy of shared prosperity – that has a nice ring to it.

    Told this on another blog that remained in limbo moderation and never got posted.

    A man is drowning 100 feet away. The Republicans throw out 50 feet of rope and tell him he has the freedom to choose to come in the next 50 feet. The Democrats throw out 150 feet of rope, but then let go of the other side.

    As an analogy, I think this year McCain will still throw out the proverbial 50 feet and just a bit more to show that he is "concerned" but still leave the poor man to drown.

    This year Obama will throw out the 150 feet and hold on to the other end of the rope. His campaign is grass-roots and he is answerable to us. He cares enough and knows this too.

    As long as McCain continues to support the Bush tax cuts, he is far short of the 100 feet, and the poor get poorer and the rich get richer.

    June 6, 2008 at 7:36 pm |
  8. Susan

    The economic peril that we are faced with today did not just start with the Bush administration. Our economy has been fake, phoney and fraud for years. Nobody paid that much attention to the details, we were all fat and happy. Creative accounting methods did not start with Enron. Our government has engaged in creative accounting methods for years.

    The next administration is going to have to take a look at everything. Nothing should be taken off the table, including the sacred cows of Medicare & Social Security. Reforms are going to hurt. We are all going to be asked to sacrifice. Prior generations have and so must we.

    Congress must be held accountable for their drunken sailor spending habits. They are there to do the peoples work. We should not send our represenatives there to get lifetime jobs. This is what creates the culture of Washington and just continues the same old same old.

    There are many reasons why our economy is in peril. There are not just a few rich nations anymore. We are operating in a global marketplace with many players placing an ever increasing demand on oil, food, natural resources and jobs.

    We have to be smart with our economic policies. As we are in a hole we have to stop digging.


    June 6, 2008 at 7:33 pm |
  9. Les Young

    John McCain and your Anderson Cooper has railed about ear marks my point being a least they are spent in the United States where they create jobs and help locals. But the money spent in Iraq on a war we will never win and we don't even know where a great deal of it is being spent. What we know that is being spend is KBR, Halburton, Blackwater, and several other company. Most of these never even pay tax's on any of money earned because they have holding companies out side of the United States. Then we wonder what happen to our economy, It's is going to get worse before it gets better.

    June 6, 2008 at 7:30 pm |
  10. Larry

    I hope that people don't try to correlate Barack's presumptive democratic nominee status with today's markets.

    June 6, 2008 at 7:23 pm |
  11. Mari, Salt Lake City

    The people who are still defending Bush, need to have some therapy. What has that man done to help the economy? He and his friends in Saudi Arabia are making a killing on oil, while our nation is being brought to its knees.


    June 6, 2008 at 7:20 pm |
  12. Alex, Calgary, Canada

    If Obama and McCain want to help the economy, they should muzzle all those analysts and thinktanks who keep driving the price of oil up everytime they open their mouths. Oil spiked today because some jerk with a slide-rule "thinks" the price of oil "may" hit $150 by July 4. And the sheep running the markets are making it a self-fulfilling prophecy. Both candidates need to push for a long-overdue overhaul of the stock and commodity markets - or, better still, reduce America's dependency on them.

    June 6, 2008 at 6:43 pm |
  13. Kent Fitzsimmons,Illinois

    John McCain believes in less govt as most Republicans do. What that means is they want everyone to fend for themselves. The poor will have to help themselves. Natural disasters like Katrina can happen and those people will have to help themselves. If you get sick and cannot drive to Canada for treatment, the Republicans will give you a list of insurance companies to rifle through.........then you have to help yourself. All the while, Bush and Cheney, McCain and his people, will secure tax breaks for the wealthy..................And, they will help themselves also......................

    June 6, 2008 at 6:34 pm |

    Don't underestimate the possible effects of healthcare reform. In the U.K., Germany, France, Japan, Taiwan, and yes Canada, family healthcare costs dropped dramatically under their "universal" plans. Most of these plans are hybrids, which include some goverment-backed system along with insurance for other things. What they have in common though is that there is no profit made from basic healthcare. That is where the savings comes from.Some people are worried about who would pay for universal coverage, but we pay plenty now. Between premiums, copays, deductibles, and things that are just not covered, we pay and pay. besides the peace of mind for families with chronic illnesses, there would be an economic stimulus that would not be temporary.

    June 6, 2008 at 5:44 pm |
  15. Michael

    This is the GOP's fabulous economic plan in action:

    DOW 12,209.81 -403.03

    NASDAQ 2,474.56 -75.38

    S&P 500 1,360.68 -43.37

    Now that's the wrong change for our economy.

    June 6, 2008 at 5:38 pm |
  16. Bert

    I would like to see an Obama/McCain ticket, with Obama on top of course, but none- the-less a joint ticket and a commitment out of this world to really fix the energy situation, the disfunctional health care system and right this economy and then we should go back to a complete partisan duo in the White House. Or maybe not?

    June 6, 2008 at 5:04 pm |
  17. Betty Ann, Nacogdoches,TX

    @Mike NYC~
    I DO live within my means and so do many Americans. When the greed of a few run up prices of living then we can't live anymore. The rich make money off the more unfortunate.
    So, what you are saying is let the poor be poor, who cares?
    Just like other third world countries, there is a diminishing middle class and poverty is GROWING! The wealthy are becoming ultra wealthy~
    You know wealthy democrats are voting for Obama?
    I don't think so sweetie~
    Aparently, like our current administration, you are out of touch with reality or you just don't give a damn about other human beings.
    Neither way is not a very complimentary trait~
    I wish you peace~

    June 6, 2008 at 4:59 pm |
  18. Larry

    What are my expectations for an Obama presidency; perfection!!
    World peace, cure for all world hunger, poverty & disease, 100% employment, $0.12/ gallon gasoline ( as in Venezuela), no more segregated churches, no more affirmative-action ( we are ALL equal).

    First Term; day 2: find bin-laden

    June 6, 2008 at 4:52 pm |
  19. camen

    Bush & McCain & Republican Administration, that's who is responsible for this mess

    June 6, 2008 at 4:39 pm |
  20. Ken H

    Who creates jobs? Hints: It isn't government; no, it's not big business, either. Over the past 25 years, both these major categories have added a net of close to zero jobs. It's small and middle sized businesses. Over 80% of the net new jobs in the US economy over a long period of time have been generated by these types of organizations.

    How do jobs get created, then? It's a business owner-operator of a smaller business making the decision to start a new business or hire someone new into her/his company. That's the only economic dynamic that really matters in the US economy, as far as job creation is concerned.

    Big businesses have been and are still in a permanent, desperate struggle to survive. Just think about the airlines and the big financial services firms as the latest examples of sectors beseiged by survival struggles. Sure, many new jobs are created through innovations, but just as many are eliminated through the incessant drive to get more productive in order to meet the competition. The net is zero new jobs in big businesses.

    I don't think either McCain or Obama put themselves in the shoes of the small business owner/operator as they consider economic and tax policies. While the two sets of proposed policies vary dramatically from one another, neither will have meaningful, practical impact unless they get their heads out of the clouds.

    June 6, 2008 at 4:27 pm |
  21. Mike in NYC

    Betty Ann, Nacogdoches, TX wrote:

    "Unless you are in the upper republican class, you are hurting."

    There are lots of rich Democrats, and most supported Obama.

    The manufacturing jobs won't come back without protectionism, and no one is seriously considering that, even though manufacturing has been bleeding jobs for years.

    The only "healthy" sectors of the economy are those that produce no tradable goods and services (tradable to other nations, that is), like health care and education.

    The best thing for Americans would be to finally learn how to live within their means, both as individuals and as a nation.

    June 6, 2008 at 4:14 pm |
  22. rick skillman

    Anderson, when are people like you in the media going to ask a crucial question: how and when are we going to pay for Bush's war in Iraq??? This is a huge dark cloud hovering over all of us, on top of an already damaged economy. Please someone start asking the question publicly.

    June 6, 2008 at 4:05 pm |
  23. Paul Johns

    Anderson maybe youll have enough guts to takle this problem on or our you indebted to the Special intrests and the elite in theis country! I hope not you seem to take on subjects that know one else will tocuh. Ok- Then how come know one mentions or envestagates the merchtile exchange And the Wall Street Hedge fund Managers and the Speculators that continualy poor money into the commiditys Exchange. these people keep driving up the prices of crude over any romers that may effect the oil market wether real or invented. These are the same ones that runnined the housing Market a cost Millions of people to loose their houses. Yet Know one pay for this fraud on the american people. This would be a Award winning sereses for a get down truth ful man like yourself. Yours nightstempler.

    June 6, 2008 at 4:04 pm |
  24. Linda from Pennsylvania

    When Ed Rollins said last night that the "Hillary" democrats were not running to the Republican party – he is wrong. For the first time since I can vote there is a chance I won't vote Democratic. Barack has not shown me any ability to work under pressure, any experience, or any ability to bring anyone together other than rhetoric – he can say many things. But when you are in that office hearing that daily briefing from the CIA director every morning, it's a different world. My party has let all of us down, Howard Dean should step down he's made the democrats a laughing stock. Stay tuned.

    June 6, 2008 at 4:01 pm |
  25. Lesli

    Debbie, I read George's comments differently. I though he was being a wise guy. I don't believe he thinks Obama will solve it at all.

    June 6, 2008 at 4:01 pm |
  26. dee

    i real dont know what to say, everybody so worry about gas,bills,food,and im not going to lie, so am i! Bush biggest fight is the poor can still go to the movies,buy all the new video games, and worry about brad and angie having a baby ,shouldnt we be worry about life it self. we need to focous on life,not hollywood,if you can pay 10.50 for a movie or games, you can donate to the poor even to the middile class that fell. i stop going to the movies 3 yrs ago! hollywood is not making you rich and if anything,it may be making you broke and killing your soul.what im trying to say is, all the money you pay to go to the movies, it could had helped a lot of people in the world! people of america worrying about Obama being christian maybe they need to look at their hearts before they judge .

    June 6, 2008 at 3:52 pm |
  27. Mary OK

    If Obama fixes the ecomonic crises like he did in his senate district, we will become a third-world country in four years. He has absolutely solutions to the mess we are in. The Clintons would have done much better than either McCain or Obama.

    June 6, 2008 at 3:51 pm |
  28. Jay, Denver CO

    McCain represents the corporate America that has sent our jobs overseas... and he wants us to trust his him with the economy?!

    McCain for president of India '08! (where he sent our jobs)

    June 6, 2008 at 3:44 pm |
  29. Loretta from California

    Oh, so now McCain's concerned about the plight of the American people. Touching, oh so touching. And all this time I thought he was concerned about providing tax breaks corrupt American Corporations.

    Silly me.

    June 6, 2008 at 3:25 pm |
  30. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Personally, I don't want to hear anything John McCain says. McCain has one agenda only and that is to prove he and George W. Bush were right about war.

    June 6, 2008 at 3:18 pm |
  31. Debbie, NJ

    George. Just because it didn't work for Bush, when he went over to ask the Saudis for more oil doesn't mean Obama can't find the corruption right here in the US that's making the prices go up.

    June 6, 2008 at 3:14 pm |
  32. Debbie, NJ

    McCain is saying the opposite about foreclosures, health care and jobs from what he said a month ago. He is flip-flopping again. A month ago he said we shouldn't help those people who bought houses that they couldn't affor, that we should be responsible for our own health care, and he is for sending jobs out of this country. You can't trust McCain. He flip-flops too much. He's reading somebody else speech.

    June 6, 2008 at 3:11 pm |
  33. Betty Ann, Nacogdoches,TX

    Hey Kelly,
    This economy has been run into the ground by the greed of the republicans and the capitalist. There is no more middle class. Unless you are in the upper republican class, you are hurting.
    Crude oil is just that~crude! Our government has done nothing to relieve our dependency on oil. they are too busy making money offf us.
    We are in for HARDER times.
    We are not in a recession, oh no. It is much worse than that.
    I have not seen our country in this kind of shape in my life time.
    People are becoming desperate and destitute and the end result will be an increase in crime.
    We are in one hell of a mess and I have no idea who can get us out of it, or if it is even possible at this point.
    All I know to do is pray.~
    God help us all~

    June 6, 2008 at 3:11 pm |
  34. George

    Economic Policy

    "Don't worry about oil prices, Obama can do anything" He will fly early to Iran and fix it – no prob at all. I can hardly wait to see this "genius' in action!!!!~!

    June 6, 2008 at 3:09 pm |
  35. Cindy

    I don't think that there is a quick fix to this situation. So no matter which one becomes president the economy will continue to be bad, we will continue losing jobs and gas will still be on the rise. Our bad economy didn't happen over night and won't be fixed as such. I hope that people realize that. It took years and years for this outcome to come to pass and it'll take years for it to be straightened out.

    Saying that I myself don't think that raising taxes is going to do us any good which is how Obama plans to pay for all of his "changes". He may talk a good talk and have people fooled by the rhetoric but when it comes down to reality I don't think he has the right plan.

    And BTW our situation isn't all Bush's fault. He isn't the one that sits in congress passing these laws. They are all to blame...Dems and Reps alike!!


    June 6, 2008 at 3:04 pm |