Two nights ago, Barack Obama and John McCain spent half of their town-hall style presidential debate talking about the American economy.
And although my favorite part of Tuesday’s debate was Tom Brokaw’s obvious exasperation with the candidates, I was impressed that both Obama and McCain were, in comparison with the last debate, much more interested in the issue of the economy.
While a town-hall format debate is not always the best place to outline a detailed plan to revive a suffering economy, both candidates did a more than adequate job of describing their strategies.
In terms of who is to blame for America’s financial problems, both were comfortable with pointing the finger at the other camp, neglecting the fact that there are plenty of other people to blame, regardless of political affiliation.
But what really matters is not who’s to blame or how long it will take, but rather who we can put in the White House to actually fix this financial train wreck.
When McCain wasn’t comparing Obama’s tax policies to a gelatinous dessert, the Republican candidate was advocating his plan to buy up and renegotiate bad home loans.
While this plan would appear to help the “average” American, a subsequent press release from the McCain camp said it would cost an estimated $300 billion to turn those bad home loans into fixed-rate mortgages, and some of that would be covered by the $700 billion bailout passed last week. McCain, however, failed to be specific about who would actually gain from such a plan. He also called the plan “my proposal,” which would make it seem new and original.
Not so fast, John McCain. That idea is not new or original. The bailout plan permits the Treasury Department to make sure that the number of foreclosures is reduced, allowing people to stay in their homes. McCain’s plan simply echoes what Congress has already put into motion. Not to mention the fact that Obama made a similar suggestion about buying up bad home loans in the recent past.
While Obama spent plenty of time noting McCain’s ties to the current administrations’ failed economic policies, he also laid out his plans for tax reform.
He was adamant on providing tax cuts to an estimated 95 percent of the American people. Under this plan, anyone making less than $250,000 a year would not see an increase in his or her taxes. Obama said he would also offer a 50 percent tax credit to small businesses so they could provide health insurance for their employees. He slammed McCain’s plan for tax cuts, which include giving breaks to big corporations and Fortune 500 CEOs, not regular Americans.
Obama wants to concentrate on the middle class and making sure typical Americans can pay their bills and not lose their homes to a failing market. He believes helping the middle class will contribute to turning the entire economy around.
Tax cuts for the middle class? While I understand that tax cuts are never the total solution to economic problems, it sounds more like something that could actually benefit this country. The middle class in the United States needs tax cuts more than someone who can afford multiple homes.
The theory is that with a financially stable middle class comes a financially stable national economy. Essentially, the more the middle class can spend, the better chance our economy can grow out of this recession.
Not surprisingly, I fall into the category of people who make less than a quarter of a million dollars a year, as do all the people I know. And the truth is, I’ll probably never make that much money. Bottom line: Obama’s plan just makes more sense.