Could Barack Obama have prevented the subprime and housing fallout? Could he have prevented the credit crisis that is being felt across our economy? Well, according to quotes from a recent speech Obama gave at a General Motors plant in Janesville, Wisconsin, he seems to think so. The following excerpt was pulled from a recent Associated Press article:
“‘We are not standing on the brink of recession due to forces beyond our control,’ Obama said in excerpts of a speech at a General Motors plant in Janesville, Wis. ‘The fallout from the housing crisis that's cost jobs and wiped out savings was not an inevitable part of the business cycle. It was a failure of leadership and imagination in Washington.’”
The implications being made by Mr. Obama in the above quote are very strong. It is likely that he was simply playing to the crowd and telling them what they wanted to hear, although I wonder if he really believes what he is saying. Personally I don’t think Obama, McCain, or Clinton would have had the wherewithal to foresee what was going to happen, let alone prevent it. To imply that he would have known better seems just a little far-fetched to me.
I guess that is how the political game gets played, though: tell the people what they want to hear and they will vote for you. After all, once you get elected it doesn’t really matter. You can just make excuses on why your campaign promises didn’t happen. Not that I’m bitter or anything about politicians in general...moving on...
From what I can gather about Obama’s economic policies, my opinion is that they are the worst of all the presidential candidates (In terms of the overall benefit to the economy). Obama is proposing the highest amount of new spending (see Presidential Candidate Budget Analysis), and much of it is dedicated to social programs. While providing health care for millions of Americans would be great, in terms of what’s best for the economy it probably doesn’t make the list.
To pay for these budget increases (albeit only partially), Obama is planning to let the Bush tax cuts expire. The Bush tax cuts do strongly favor the wealthy—which is why Obama wants to get rid of them—but they also have proven to stimulate the economy. Removing those tax cuts and funding health care will help many Americans desperately in need, but in purely economic terms it will probably only make things worse.
In the referenced comment, Barack doesn't assert that if he were in office he would avoided the recession. He only makes the (obviously correct) point that the recession is a consequence of poor decisions, including insufficient regulation of the subprime mortgage industry, made in Washington.
That's right... he didn't explicitly state that he could have stopped it, but what is his point of bringing it up if he doesn't think that he could have done much better or stopped it altogether? He's just playing it safe by implying it (pretty obviously)... just like an advertisement for a 'Trump' real estate investment course I recently saw. The line reads, 'If you aren't a millionaire by the end of 2008, you didn't take my course.' It doesn't guarantee that you'll be rolling in dough if you do take the course, and Obama doesn't say flat out that he could have made a difference... but the implications are clear and designed to sell. It's good marketing, and I don't fault Obama for it. And certainly, I think that Washington is in fact to blame for many of the woes right now. I even believe that Obama might have done a better job, but it is a kind of cheap political ploy (the most common one, in fact) to deride the current regime as a means of selling yourself... Why doesn't he tell us what he plans to do to fix these problems? Maybe because he doesn't intend to, given his projected budget...
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