September 16th, 2008
07:45 AM ET

Economic panic and the polling booth

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/09/15/art.wallst.sign.jpg]John P. Avlon
Author, Independent Nation: How Centrists Can Change American Politics

After a historically bad day on Wall Street, the underlying economic anxiety of this election has taken on new intensity.

Historians will write that the Bush administration went in with Enron and out with Lehman.

Some economists believe that second quarter results form voters' perceptions of the economy – but bad news has dripping out for so long, that it has almost faded into the background, like a movie theme separate from the action on screen.

That should change after today – when the liquidation and sale of two of America's pre-eminent investment banks added urgency to what Allan Greenspan has already called a "once in a century financial crisis."

After yesterday, there is no false comfort to be found in 'dead cat' bounces. The American economy will be fine in the long-run. But right now we are in a seismic financial crisis – and as in every crisis there may be opportunity to be found.

Elections are won by the candidate who connects with moderates and the middle class – and even after a wasted week focused on the manufactured scandal of "lipstick on a pig"— wallet-issues motivate voters like nothing else.

It is in economic hard times that demagogues rise to the top in democracies – and in economic easy times, we elect Warren G. Harding or tolerate a presidential impeachment over an affair with an intern while sustaining 60+ approval ratings.

But one of Bill Clinton's lasting gifts to the Democratic Party is that he removed economics from the Republican column as an area of core competence.

Barack Obama has benefited from the Democrats' newfound perceptional strength on economic issues, consistently polling ahead of John McCain when it comes to the economy.

He should take another page from the Arkansas Traveler's playbook and promise to "focus on the economy like a laser beam." And then convene an economic forum of prominent advisors and supporters from across the spectrum – such as economic advisors Austin Goolsby and Paul Volcker, Alan Greenspan, Robert Rubin, and politically neutral NYC Mayor Bloomberg.

It's a time to trumpet his middle class tax cut – a groundbreaking policy for a Democratic candidate that allows him to avoid the liberal "tax and spend" label while offering real relief for working families. The independent Tax Policy Center estimates that his plan offers greater savings than McCain's plan for families making less than $112,000 a year and would save tax-paying families making less than $66,000 up to three times as much.

And Obama's got to make it clear that he doesn't buy into dictates from the neo-protectionist wing of the Democratic Party, because trying to wall ourselves off from the global economy isn't going to make our situation any better or recovery come any faster – in fact, just the opposite.

McCain has a tougher time because he's got to back up his defense of the economy as "fundamentally strong" while also promising reform. It's an extension of his so-far successful post-convention pivot to be both the Republican nominee and the candidate of change.

And in this case, there is an element of truth. McCain is at heart a Teddy Roosevelt-style trust-buster and regulator. He is a steadfast defender of international free-trade, but has no ideological belief in the inherent morality of unregulated free-markets. At the same time, as some of his conservative detractors during the primary pointed out, McCain has admitted that economics aren't his strong suit. And the Bush administration combined with Tom Delay's unprecedented pork-barrel congress to squander much of the GOPs remaining credibility as responsible stewards of our economy.

The McCain campaign's best move is to put the focus on "who can get us out of this mess?" – not on "how did we get into this mess?"

Obama needs to appear problem-solving and presidential – diagnosing the Bush-era economic mistakes while front-loading pocketbook solutions that will ease the middle-class squeeze which pre-dates this market turmoil.

When the dust settles, we can examine whether this is an economic crisis impacting investment banks or an investment bank crisis impacting the economy. But today, a combination of compassion and action are needed.

2008 has already been a historic high-stakes, high drama election – and with an epic economic tailspin 50 days out, "Issue #1" just got more urgent in even more voters' minds.

Filed under: Barack Obama • Economy • John McCain • John P. Avlon • Raw Politics
soundoff (42 Responses)
  1. jim

    I am not sure why there is an issue with the economy. If you compare it to the economy when the worst president in history Jimmy Carter was in office, it is not that bad. Let me see. Carter had 18% unemployment, 24% interest on mortgages, 18% inflation rate and $995 Billion Budget deficit in 1979 dollars. All this didn't help the middle class and poor!!! It seems John P Avlon needs a history lesson.

    September 17, 2008 at 10:41 am |
  2. Katherine

    One other thing that the Democrats should be playing up in this mess is that the with wall street in such disarray- This is where John McCain and the republicans want our social security money going. Its bad enough right now that my employer sponsored retirment is in the stock market- I certainly don't want the social security program in the same huge mess.

    September 17, 2008 at 8:46 am |
  3. Adriana RM Marietta,Ga

    ECONOMY, economy, economy, economy, economy. It’s the economy. And the fact that the Bush Administration, the Federal Reserve and the regulators all sat on their hands watching the housing market go nuts about cheap money. Nobody made the effort to put the cork back on the champagne bottle and save for later. Under Bill Clinton, the over night rate was held at a standard that kept the bond traders happy. Money was expensive enough to make sure banks did not make too many risky loans. When the rate were dropped after 9/11 to assure the business community at large to continue investing in the US and increase consumer spending. Every time the Fed tried to increase interest rates Wall St would howl. The mint kept on printing money, making the US dollar worth less and less every year. Congress cut taxes after 9/11, when no one was complaining about them. . Bush Okays a stimulus package to introduce more money into the economy, hello trillion dollar deficits. War in Iraq and Afghanistan, billions of dollars spent on nations, to rebuild partly their mess and ours and it’s not over yet. The Republican Party needs to go, teach them a lesson, about not abusing the highest office in land. Your were the caretakers for the future. President Bush, Vice President Cheney. Look at what you have done.

    September 16, 2008 at 9:42 pm |
  4. Sharon

    I seem to remember hearing that back in 1987, during the stock market decline that it was the "average" worker contributing into their 401 plans and such that helped keep the market going. These days, so many people are either out of work,or unable to contribute to their plans because of inflation, and decrease of wages and our standard of living.
    I find it unbelievable that this race should even be close. This leads be to think that there may be more racism involved than is being admitted. I pray I am wrong.....

    September 16, 2008 at 9:31 pm |
  5. Mad In Detroit

    Both candidates have publically stated that "Detroit" needs to get with the times and develop better technology; however Washington has yet to contribute any money to assist Detroit's automakers and Tier 1 suppliers. In fact as we move forward with technology, how will the government be able to fund the Department of Transportation (over a millions jobs) as most of there funds come from gas taxes (on state and federal level)? In my opinion the government is delaying the transition into more fuel efficient cars to avoid dealing with the possible short come of the DOT budget. Neither candidate has addressed this fact. To end I find it shameful that the CEO's and Board of Directors of these financial firms are "rewarded" with bailouts, yet we only get criticism here in Detroit.

    September 16, 2008 at 8:37 pm |
  6. Mike (Canada)

    John McCain yesterday said that the fundamentals of our economy was sound? Today tax payers are bailing out one of the largest bank/insurance brockers in the US and more are looking for a hand out! He has completely fallen off his rocker and Sara Palin doesn't have a clue? Wake up America we can't afford another 4 years of the same.

    September 16, 2008 at 8:36 pm |
  7. Charles L. Morse Sr.

    I wish people understand what they mean when they say the economy is fundamentally strong .

    Let me make it simple for you . We have the labor , the products , the tecnology , the engine . To make it work we need to adjust the system and we will be back up running again . The economy is basically sound . We just need to re adjust it and make the system run smooth again .

    September 16, 2008 at 5:57 pm |
  8. Sylvia

    Thank you Cindy and JC. I totally agree with your post. If the tech bubble had occurred 4 months earlier, Clinton would be responsible for that bubble economic backlash. Like other Americans, I'm sick and tired of the corruption and double standards of our elected officials - starting with both sides of the isle in Congress. I'm no longer a fan of Bush, but to blame our whole economy turmoil on one person's policies. Pleease! I thought we have a checks and balance system. I guess greed is a better mistress than intergity. Everyone was lovin' the lack policies during the housing bubble. One thing about a bubble, it will eventually burst. I agree with one part of the article with a modification - "Who will get us out of this mess - that the Republicans and Democrats have created." We need a leader, someone to unite this country and it’s neither of the candidates running for President. It is up to us to take back this country and find someone who will balance the budget, grow our economy, reform our healthcare, protect our sovereignty and re-energize our education system ( just to name a few). Sadly, I don't have clue who that person is.

    September 16, 2008 at 5:31 pm |
  9. Lesley

    The Repubs have been in control of Congress for 12 of the last 14 years and put together the Enron loophole as well as the deregulation of the banking industry, just to name two items. Combine that with the Republican theory of trickle down economics and how can any informed person believe, much less state in writing, that the last two years got this country into the mess it is in right now?

    September 16, 2008 at 4:49 pm |
  10. Susan


    Allan Greenspan says " once in a lifetime financial crisis". He never met an interest rate that he could not lower. At every little bump he just lowered the interest rates which led to a tsunami of borrowing. There was just too much cheap money always in the market and the tempation was too good to pass up. We have reaped what we sowed !!!


    September 16, 2008 at 4:33 pm |
  11. Paul V. Buckley

    Several of your comments caught my attention: “The American economy will be fine in the long run” (your words). That is because, as McCain says, the “fundamentals” ARE strong and it WILL recover as it has many times before. It does need discipline which the democratic congress is loathe to exert, or perhaps they don’t know how. As for “Obama needs to appear problem solving and presidential”: “appearance” is perhaps his only real strength as he has shown little problem resolution results in his entire career. You are arrogant and presumptive to decree today what future historians will write about the Bush Presidency. History is written objectively long after the partisan BS dies down.

    September 16, 2008 at 4:29 pm |
  12. Christy

    When Bill Clinton left the White House in 2000, He left it to George Bush (with a surplus) and what an Economic change have we had. A matter of fact why doesn't anybody poll me!!!! Normal American. Mother of three in Nashville with middle class income.
    I do know this. We can not afford to be wrong on this election! I am scared for what our children face in todays world and what condition it will be in by the time they take over!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I am voting OBAMA!

    September 16, 2008 at 4:05 pm |
  13. AJ

    I am surprised that most of the cable networks (incl. Norah O'Donnell and John Harwood) , pundits are bashing Obama for his intentions to increase capital gain taxes saying it will affect 100 million people. This is bunch of baloney. Of these 100 million people 90 million have there stocks in 401K or IRAs. and whatever dividends or gains they get in stock prices will not be impacted at all since these gains get rolled into the account and do not get taxed until the money is taken out when they reach the age of 59 1/2. There are probably less than 10 million people who buy and sell stocks outside of their retirement plans and they are rich (most of them – middle class cannot afford to wheel and deal especially in these markets) or they are big institutional investors. I don't know why Obama campaign is not talking about this to clear the lies of networks and republicans.

    September 16, 2008 at 4:01 pm |
  14. james

    Here is my point of view

    Bill Clinton walked in to the office with republicans mess and he fixed them
    He walked out from the office an American was in a very good standing economy wise
    Bush walked in the office and now leaving Americans people with over $400 Billion in debt and a major meltdown in financial sector

    Obama has a huge support from the best financial team in the country plus Bill Clinton (who turned this country around during his time)

    McCain has huge support from his owns party plus financial team who put this country in a big current mess.

    You do the math, who you want to fix this crisis?

    September 16, 2008 at 3:59 pm |
  15. Deborah

    Ever since the 8 years of the Republican Party, and "Bushanomics",
    the Ameican Economy has suffered. It is quite evident that when President Clinton was in office there were jobs, and the economy was thriving. Due to President Bush sending the American troops overseas, outsourcing American jobs to other countries, and spending millions of dollars on the War has made our American Economy dissolve. It will take quite awhile to clean up the "mess" that the "Bush Administration" has deviated.

    Arverne, New York

    September 16, 2008 at 3:53 pm |
  16. Franci

    Here’s an idea. Change the tax laws to allow people to deduct interest charges. Back in the day we use to be able to deduct credit card, auto loans and mortgage interest. Then some brilliant “Do Nothing Washington Puppet” came up with only home mortgage interest could be deducted. Well, that just drove people to barrow on their homes through home equity loans to pay for that new car or fancy vacations, and yes buy more stuff on credit cards and then barrow more on their houses and take the tax deduction. Time past and now the is car long gone, the vacation pictures buried in the junk drawer and the credit cards are sky high but there is no more value in the house to barrow on. The current taxes laws helped made this mess and we can turn thing around buy changing the tax laws back which would also provide some relief to the neglected middle class folks.

    September 16, 2008 at 3:16 pm |
  17. Renee

    Hi Cindy:

    Your vast knowledge of the financial markets both domestically and abroad continue to amaze me! You seem to have so much knowledge on everything including the economy and foreign policy. You are very well rounded American.

    Personally I just decided to sit this one out and went to Macy's and purchased lipstick (Palin pink of course) and some Lindt. All will get better!

    September 16, 2008 at 3:06 pm |
  18. Maria

    I think the economy start falling since 2001, i.e. Push administration. Please remember that when president Push took the office, he has greater experience than McCain and Palin combined. He was governor of Texas, great state, son of president. His father also served as US ambassador in China on 1970’s. With my respect to his experience, he failed to manage it well. Do you think McCain and Palin experience will fix president Push mess?. Look what they did in Iraq, McCain vote for war to destroy Weapon of mass destruction, what a joke. Always remember that Mr. Obama, without any experience rejected the war. No doubt, Iraq large bills contribute, probably indirectly, in falling economy.

    September 16, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  19. Donna A. Reuter, Bremerton, WA

    This is what the deregulation of the Reagan/Bush, The Elder/Bush, The Junior Adminstrations and the Reagan Republicans have done to our nation with their pro-business and anti-citizens of the United States of America. I for one am tired of my tax dollars going to corporate welfare instead of Congress being in full compliance with their job duties as mandated in Article I, Section Eight, Clause One of the Constitution (The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States) and providing national heath insurance. Due to their criminally negligent behavior (yes boys and girls, this is two crimes, negligent homicide and reckless endangerment of life), tax paying citizens are dying of not being able to afford to see a doctor.

    September 16, 2008 at 2:38 pm |
  20. JC- Los Angeles

    By the time the second plane hit the World Trade Center on 9/11, Alan Greenspan and the Federal Reserve decided to drop interest rates to stave off the inevitable recession and depression.

    Today we are living the day after 9/11; although Greenspan gave everyone except the airline industry a false sense of security, he failed to grasp the fraudulant nature of executives and politicians and failed to see the fraud factories ratcheting up production.

    With each Greenspan rate cut, the fraud factories of Countrywide, Bank of America, WAMU, Wells Fargo, Wall Street, hedge funds, private equity and the secondary markets all got drunk on 100%, pure, uncut, American fraud.

    The only difference between the illegal drug trade and the fraud that encompassed our nation was a lack of scales in business offices.

    Pundits will say we are not technically in a recession, however, if you factor in al the jobs asscioated with the fraud, any logical person can see that we have been in a recession since the planes hit on 9/11.

    As an Independent, I will now solely base my election decision on the candidate that will hold all corrupt leaders, executives and politicians accountable for the fall of our once proud and ethical nation.

    September 16, 2008 at 2:37 pm |
  21. Jan from Wood Dale IL

    This hasn't gotten a lot of media coverage, but on Sept. 7, 2008, Obama has been quoted as saying "he would delay rescinding President Bush's tax cuts on wealthy American's if he become the next president and the economy is in a recession."

    Obama's tax plan includes raising corporate taxes and small business that make more than $250,000 would also see taxes rise. In reality, that would mean your phone company, cable company, utility companies, etc. would all be passing those tax increases on to the public, including middle class and low income families. Just look at some of your current bills now to see how much you are charged for federal tax, then plan on that going up each month. Overall, that could offset the tax cuts Obama wants to give taxpayers who make under $250,000 per year.

    September 16, 2008 at 2:12 pm |
  22. Paula Lang

    Keep doing what you are doing America and you will keep getting what you are getting, but worse. If you want change, you have to change what you are doing. Stop electing Republicans. They steal all of Obama's ideas and pass them off as their own like the words, CHANGE, ENOUGH, NO BUSH THIRD TERM. Not only are the liars, but thieves as well. They are immoral, and I don't want people who are liars, with no integrity in MY HOUSE.

    September 16, 2008 at 1:55 pm |
  23. Marty

    Wow...right wing bloggers must be desperate if they are trying to blame Clinton for this mess after all these years. It is kind of a backwards way of thinking...make up your mind and then find facts to prove yourself right, even if you have to distort the truth. It makes me ill.

    Look. Anyone who still believes in truth (not many of us left) knows that this economic crisis can NOT be pinned on one person or one political party. The real reason is sheer greed on the part of both parties, the corporations, investors, lenders, and, to be quite honest, the consumer (although no one wants to hear that last one).

    This was bound to happen to us. When you become a culture that values money over people, care more about profit than anything else, and run an entire economy on immediate gratification...well, it is bound to happen. Money worship has been proven by history to be the downfall of many nations.

    Right now, everyone needs to stop pointing fingers and start finding solutions and fast. Not just the presidential candidates, either. EVERYONE needs to own up and man the life boats because we are a sinking ship.

    If we don't take action soon, it will be written in history as the collapse of an empire.

    September 16, 2008 at 1:50 pm |
  24. Paloma

    To McCain/Palin commentary:

    Democrats have been in control (just barely) of Congress for 1 year, 9 months. Do you really believe the market would take a nose dive in under two years? Maybe you should read up on Capitalism, the role of government in ameliorating its detrimental effects on average citizens in order to avoid a financial crisis, the economic cycles, and how social programs that neocons detest and label as "communism" actual help keep a fiscal crisis at bay. Then, maybe you will come to the realization that a Republican president with a republican congress have had their way with average americans. Time to give them all the pink slip. Vote independent, green, libertarian or democrat. Anything BUT republican.

    September 16, 2008 at 1:42 pm |
  25. GF, Los Angeles

    We the people created the economy fiasco and not the government. We the consumer wanted goods at a cheap price therefore jobs were outsourced to other 3rd world countries who could produce those goods. How could a company operate and pay their employees a living wage if consumers aren't willing to pay a fair amount for the goods made?

    Businesses that no longer were happy with just making a profit each year but wanting to exceed each passing year thus exporting more jobs to 3rd world countries have added to this mess.

    Banks and mortgage lenders preyed upon consumers greed to want more even though we couldn't afford more. We spend more money then we have and we don't save a dime and when something unexpected happens and we can't pay for the lifestyle we created – we make it the government's problem when it's not. We cannot keep expecting the government to "fix" everything. We have to fix our way of thinking from consumers up.

    September 16, 2008 at 1:36 pm |
  26. Camina T. in Arroyo Grande CA

    Does this author like Alan Greenspan? There was not much good said about Greenspan on CNN yesterday. Once I had a shadow puppet named Alan Greenham in my suitcase. On a whim I named him after Alan Greenspan and its not so funny anymore. Maybe it's not just me but my whole generation thats got a smaller coin purse than our parents? But yes there is an opportunity here! These are dim times but we can still see poverty in IKE or we can see the mighty jeweled crown of nature washing away houses in the sand. We can hear poverty in the crashing of Wallstreet or the bells on the bright fools crown of idiot deregulation/regulation and plastic money .

    September 16, 2008 at 1:34 pm |
  27. Tom Horan

    Absence of outrage.

    When viewed from outside of north America it is difficult to imagine the columnists assertion that all will be fine in the long run. The Bush Cheney presidency has successively abandoned protection of its disadvantaged citizens while freeing Bush’s political base, a robber baron class of cronies from regulation; engaged in deceit to justify a war for control of oil; lacked the competence to succeed militarily while draining the public purse and mortgaging the debt for future generations to pay; allowed its banks and financial organizations to strip the wealth of the country and a good part of the developed world through a real estate pyramid scheme; degraded the constitutional protections provided to its citizens, all the while arguing about fundamental values, homosexuality and women’s choice.

    Now we find ourselves treated to an election campaign based on pit bulls, hockey moms and pigs with lip stick. When will the destruction of the moral, financial, and military authority be addressed. Is there no outrage or is the democracy fatally wounded? To see how long in the future these disasters will affect the US one only has to look at the size of federal, state, municipal and family debt. The smell of decay can be sensed the world over.

    Thomas Horan
    Brasilia-DF, Brazil

    September 16, 2008 at 1:29 pm |
  28. morris

    for 6 1/2 of his 8 year term the economy was doing just fine. the oil crisis (not bush's doing) and the housing collapse (the mortgage fiasco started in 1996 under the clinton administration and barney frank) were the fault of others. of course we won't hear about this on our nightly newscasts or on the cable networks (except maybe for fox).
    our inflation is still low and our unemployment is still nowhere near european numbers (about 50% less). obama will bring us to the european level with his socialist programs... but thankfully, i dont think he'll win. maybe if he shows some accomplishments in his remaining few years in the senate, he can try again in 2012.

    September 16, 2008 at 1:27 pm |
  29. Mrs Ether

    I love have Rep blame Dem's for this. It's so unreal. As an Independent I have watched how the Rep's take no accountable for their Failed policies. Even McCain now knows after 26 years in congress that the ideology of the Rep party has failed. We need over site something that Rep's take taking away. Like for food, water, bridges, etc... How the Rep's feel that can be reelected is beyond me.
    I have never in my life been afraid to eat food from the story until the past three years. WHY would anyone vote Rep?

    September 16, 2008 at 1:23 pm |
  30. Richard - Virginia

    So let me get this straight... Bush has been in office for 8 years and the Republicans where in control of the Senate and House for 6 of those 8 years, yet somehow Obama is tied with McCain in the national polls. What?

    If the rolls were reversed the Republicans would be blaming the Dems for not seeing this coming and doing something about it. I understand peoples like of Palin but this election should be about more then likeability.

    Do you know how we got into this? We elected someone who fits our personal paradigms instead of the person who is best for the job. We have to look with better eyes then that. The killer is inside the house!

    September 16, 2008 at 1:18 pm |
  31. Darby from Alabama

    I keep hearing McCain talk about the success of the surge over and over again and demand that Senator Obama acknowledge how successful its been. To Senator Obamas credit he has done just this on more than one occassion stating that it has played a part in putting down the unrest... though truth be told the surge would not have been necessary had we followed Obama's good judgement and stayed out of Iraq in the first place. When will the media and Senator Obama in turn demand that "out of touch" McCain admit that the economy is not "fundamentally sound". Why does it seem as though he's getting a pass on this. Certain media continue to pound Senator Obama on being wrong on the surge but hardly mention that Senator McCain is so wrong on the economy that his policies really put our nation at risk. He's totally against the government regulating the market and now we see the affects of nonregulation. When there is no legitimate oversight...the sky is the limit for greedy corporate types and then the government really has to do much more than oversight to bail out the failing businesses just as we see now. God help us if we allow race to be a factor in this election.

    September 16, 2008 at 1:09 pm |
  32. William of Iowa

    Given that we are eight years into the new century, I hope the sage Mr. Greenspan is correct. The panic fomented by investors focused on short term gain and mega wealth must retool their portfolios and acknowledge that goverment intervention is not a "given". The economists will soon, if not already, recognize that "rock bottom" is the juxtaposition of working America's income v. cost-of-living. The Bush Administration and conservatives tout the creation of millions of new jobs. Good and true. But the income derived by many of the millions cannot afford current home values. Lending institutions throw caution to the wind when promoting a fantasy – "Yes, you make $50.000.00 per year, you can afford the $500,000.00 home". The reduction of home values , painful yes, will soon be in concert with working America's income. Then, our politcians may help by implementing regulations that help major lenders control their marketing practices.

    September 16, 2008 at 1:03 pm |
  33. betsy

    I don't think I want someone for president who admits the economy isn't his strong suit. Then what is? Fighting wars started on false pretenses with no end in sight? That seems to me to be his claim to fame. I am no economist either but this is one equation that even a high school drop out can solve. More war, tax cuts for the wealthy, and tax cuts to ship jobs overseas=higher national debt, devaluation of the dollar, and economic unrest. Why anyone wants to support this "elitist" candidate who owns at least 7 homes and has no idea what it means to be living paycheck to paycheck is totally beyond me. I guess it won't be until we have to rename our country "The Peoples Republic of America" that people will figure it out.

    September 16, 2008 at 1:01 pm |
  34. eddie soto

    Cindy, the problem is not the regulation on the books to regulate the mortgage industry.

    The problem was that the regulators and the federal government was not enforcing the regulations. There was absolutely no oversight of the mortgage industry.

    This is the failure of the current administration of doing doing their JOB

    September 16, 2008 at 12:57 pm |
  35. eddie soto

    The democrats have been in control for 2 year and the republicans for 6 but it is he democrats fault?

    When you have a president who has fiscal policy that benefits corporate America and the top% 5 and refuses to make change even he has proof that his fiscal policy is not good and vetoes every bill introduced to change his fiscal policy it is difficult for the democrats to get anything done. The problem is the President and his vetoing anything that changes his fiscal policy.

    September 16, 2008 at 12:42 pm |
  36. Dorothy C.

    The news media, as well as Barack Obama, need to be focusing much more on these economic issues, and the importance of the middle class tax cuts Obama is proposing to the American economy.
    Let's see more coverage of this issue, and less coverage of the phony sensationalism being created by Sarah Palin. Don't be taken in by this politically motivated diversion!

    September 16, 2008 at 10:58 am |
  37. Pat

    Obamas energy plan would provide new jobs and rebuild our infrastructure as well as our economy. He also plans on bringing out troops home which will save money.

    September 16, 2008 at 10:43 am |
  38. Guy Kayton

    What Obama should be saying right now on the ECONOMY?

    "Listen and listen very carefully. I am going to be very specific about my Economic Policies to get the country back on track. Here are the top ten things I will do." Then he should list 10 things he will do and keep them to one or two sentences max. It must be short and sweet. After the top ten lists he can elaborate. But if he does he needs to repeat the list. Then he needs to keep repeating his top 10 lists at every speech. Maybe even at the beginning and end of every talk.

    "John McCain, it's the economy stupid!"

    September 16, 2008 at 10:35 am |
  39. Annie Kate

    Obama's tax breaks do sound good, but what about jobs? Unemployment is way up and unfortunately for some people that are unemployed their jobs have been shipped overseas so the corporations can make a bigger profit on goods and services which have for the most part been inferior. By allowing corporations to off shore blue collar and white collar jobs and not replacing them with jobs of equal pay and benefits we are letting the middle class slide at an increasingly rapid rate into the lower class. Corporations should not get rich at the expense of American citizens; and the government should not allow them to by means of tax breaks and tax credits and no penalty tax for shipping the jobs off shore. McCain says the jobs won't come back – if we don't bring them back just how long will we remain the most prosperous country in the world? Heck, I don't think we are even that now – just talk to the people who have advanced degrees or 20 years of experience and that can't get a job!

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    September 16, 2008 at 9:07 am |
  40. JC - Kansas

    While not an econimist, I have been telling people for years that relaxation of banking regulation, the creation of easy credit, the stripping of consumers of their bankrupcy protections and the absolute irresponsible leanding practises of the financial community we were in trouble. That coupled with banks and morgage companies bundling their loans and selling them to investors gave them no reason what so ever to insure the credit worthiess of the the individual or group receiving the loan, after all the vast majority of loans written over the past 30 years were never served by the insitution that wrote them.

    My mother, who is now passed, had absolutely the worst credit in the world. After she was hospitalized, we made the decision that she would have to give up the house that she was buying. She received a house loan on a 30 year note with bad credit at the age of 71. When we contacted the morage company and informed tham that she would be giving up the house, they were all concerned that it woulf effect her credit, we asked them what credit, and what fool would give a person over 70 years old with bad credit a 30 year morage to start with, there was silence on the other end off the line. Well, we did not walk away from the house, we should have, it was sold, at a lose and the morage company was quite happy to get what they got. This occured over 10 years ago.

    As to the strength of the American economy, last time I checked the Canadian loony was worth more than the American Dollar, so much for the American economy. As I stated when political figures started preaching the new American "Service" economy, what made our nation great was its industrial base, what won the Civil War for the north was the industrial base, what won WWI and WWII was our industrial base, what actually won the cold war was our industrial might, spent the Soviet Union into bankrupcy. Today in a national emergency we will see how far we can go by activating the American Service industry, hamburger flippers, insurance salesman/financial planners, bankers (that are still in buisness) should really make an impact on providing us what we need in time of emergency.

    September 16, 2008 at 8:40 am |
  41. Cindy

    Obviously this article is written by a left wing media type...

    For one, Bill Clinton started all of this economic mess when he deregulated the financial institutions in 1999. Letting them have almost free reign to do as they please. Look where it got us.

    Secondly, Obama does not have a big lead in the polls as to who people think can handle the economy. In reality it is only a 2 point difference between the two...47-45. Get it right!!

    Third, the economy has always had these swings after we had major growth bubbles and then they burst. The housing one caused this one. Along with Greenspan being so willie nilly and letting everyone in his brother get loans.

    This is not the worst that the economy or Wall Street has been since the great depression. When the stock market crashed in 1987 it was worse percentage wise. It still remains the worse drop in the market in a single day in this modern era. Yes yesterday may have been bad but it wasn't the worst day ever! You all need to tell the truth and stop trying to enforce your agendas with lies.

    As far as that goes the Dems have held congress for two years, why didn't they do anything!? They want to cry wolf and say it's all the republicans fault yet they had just as much of a hand in what happened yesterday as anyone!

    One thing you are right on...people will see who can lead this country during bad times and vote accordingly. But sorry...it won't be for who you are tooting your horn so loudly for!


    September 16, 2008 at 8:36 am |
  42. McCain/Palin

    All I know is the Democrats have been in control for the past 2yrs. and that is how long the economy has been going down.

    September 16, 2008 at 7:54 am |