Vote Better: Brass Tacks

Im sorry Senator, but I dont know how to get to Dennys from here.

"Senator Obama, a word? ...Do you know how to get to Denny's from here?"

Well in the wake of this week’s financial meltdown, we’re starting to hear projections about how this is going to affect the economy and the federal budget over the next couple of years.  The Atlantic’s Megan McArdle lays it out for us here.  The quick hit: Both Obama’s and McCain’s tax plans are pretty much dead in the water now because they both wanted to offer tax cuts that the government won’t be able to afford anymore.

This means new policy proposals of some kind from each candidate, and here is a CNN article about their initial responses.  Obama is withholding any kind of detailed plan until the new playing field is clearer and because he doesn’t want partisan warfare to rock the market, on the advice of the Treasury Secretary and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke.  McCain has called for an investigative commission, and a new Wall Street regulatory agency.

Next week I plan to focus on foreign policy, but as a capo to the economics issues of this week, a pair of links:  This is a profile of Phil Gramm, one of McCain’s closest advisers whose greatest hits as a senator include writing what is now known as “the Enron loophole,” and using a budget bill being passed in the days after 9/11 to deregulate financial markets in ways that had previously been regulated since the Great Depression, sowing the seeds for this week’s crash. Heckuva job.

In Gramm’s defense, the Treasury secretary at the time supported the deregulation, and that Treasury secretary, Larry Summers, is now one of Barack Obama’s top economic advisers. Then again, Summers didn’t say that America had become “a nation of whiners” just a few months ago like Gramm did, or claim that our current economic woes were more of a “mental” thing.  Anyway, Obama’s economics team is profiled here in a very long New York Times article.  Read it! I know you won’t.

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