Today, the daddy is feeling two very good articles on Sen. John McCain and the U.S. economic crisis. The first is by Eugene Robinson, editor at the Washington Post and MSNBC commentator and the second is by Cynthia Tucker, Pulitzer Prize winning editor and commentator at the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Check them out:
This is the man who is going to fix the economy?
September 18, 2008
John McCain was telling the truth when he said that economics wasn’t his strong suit. In response to what many economists have called the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, the Republican nominee has sounded—and let’s be honest here—totally, embarrassingly and dangerously clueless.
His now-famous remark Monday about how “the fundamentals of our economy are strong” would almost by itself be enough to justify my assessment. But he committed what was probably an even worse gaffe on Tuesday when, as the behemoth insurance company AIG teetered on the brink, McCain took a stand. “I do not believe that the American taxpayer should be on the hook for AIG,” he said. “We cannot have the taxpayers bail out AIG or anybody else.”
Within hours, the federal government had bailed out AIG to the tune of $85 billion. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and others who know how Wall Street works understood that if AIG were to collapse, much of the financial system might follow.
McCain quickly changed his tune, saying the government was “forced” to rescue AIG because of “failed regulation, reckless management and a casino culture on Wall Street.” That sounds OK, but wait a minute. If he had any idea of what he was talking about—if he had any inkling of how big AIG is, or how central the company has become—then why on earth would he have taken a stand against a bailout in the first place? Doesn’t he have economic advisers who could fill him in?
Read the full article at Truthdig.
Private enterprise worship exposed by Cynthia Tucker September 17, 2008
The high priests of capitalism are in sackcloth and ashes, their belief in markets shattered, their catechism of risk-taking renounced. From Wall Street to Detroit, once-devout believers in unfettered private enterprise are running from their religion. Now that their greed has brought the economy to the brink of depression, they want government help.
What happened to those masters of the universe? What happened to their handmaidens, the Republican politicians who denounced government regulation and read from the holy scriptures as recorded by Ayn Rand?
When ordinary Americans began to lose their homes several months ago, conservatives were quick to denounce them for being too stupid to understand a simple mortgage or too undisciplined to know how to live within their means. The right-wing talking heads had a field day denouncing plumbers and painters, teachers and personal trainers threatened with foreclosure: They’re idiots! They’re losers! They’re suckers!
Well, it now seems there were quite a few idiots among the brokers and bankers who bundled loans in complicated investment vehicles they didn’t fully understand. They actually believed they could vastly increase the financial rewards they received while virtually eliminating the risk of losses. That’s the very definition of “sucker.”
This week, sensing shifting political winds, John McCain took to criticizing those Wall Street schemers, imbuing his speeches with a populist rhetoric intended to make you believe he’s always been a firm supporter of government regulation. On Monday, as the Dow was plummeting, McCain was the change agent, the reformer:
“The regulatory system is broken … We’ve got to catch up the regulatory bodies to make sure that there is the proper oversight and regulation and transparency. That is vital.”
Actually, that is laughable. In March, McCain told The Wall Street Journal, “I am fundamentally a deregulator. I’d like to see a lot of the unnecessary government regulations eliminated.”
In a speech a few weeks later, he argued that our approach “should include encouraging increased capital in financial institutions by removing regulatory, accounting and tax impediments to raising capital.”
There is a reason for McCain’s two-and-a-half somersault. He knows the economy wouldn’t be in this mess if Congress had passed regulations to curb Wall Street excesses, so he’s feigning a sudden conversion.
Read the full story at AJC.