There are many issues in this presidential campaign. But there is really only one issue. And that issue, the one that will determine whether a socialist or a patriot will be the next occupant of the Oval Office, will be the electorate’'s perception of which candidate will be the best for our economyr.
There are many issues in this presidential campaign. But there is really only one issue. And that issue that will determine whether a socialist or a patriot will be the next occupant of the Oval Office. There are many other important issues that should be of equal importance in this election. But ultimately it will be the electorate's perception of which candidate will be the best for our economy that will be the deciding factor.
This conclusion is supported by a recent Gallup poll in which 42% of Americans said the economy was the most important issue. The other 58% of respondents were split among all the other issues. The vote for the next most important issue was shared by three concerns, which each received 13%: energy, Iraq, and healthcare.
The premier issue in this election was once considered to be the war in Iraq. Some felt that would help Obama, who has claimed that he was against the war from the beginning (even though when Democrats and Republicans almost unanimously voted to authorize the war, Obama wasn't in Congress and no one knew or cared what his view was).
Now that the emphasis is squarely on the economy, John McCain will benefit greatly. In late August another Gallup poll asked voters, "Regardless of which candidate you support, please tell me if you think Barack Obama or John McCain would better handle the economy?" At that time Obama was ahead of McCain by 16 points, mostly because he gave great speeches saying he would be better on the economy. But conspicuously absent from the flowery speeches were any details on how he would improve the economy.
Now that the economy is in the forefront, people are asking for specifics. Obama has none, and McCain has clearly stated his plans. So it's no surprise that with the same poll question one month later, the two candidates are neck and neck. And as more people begin to understand Obama's big government, tax and spend policies, and McCain's lower taxes and smaller government policies, the trend will shift more and more in McCain's favor.
This is where the candidates and their running mates stand on key economic issues:
Both McCain and his running mate Sarah Palin not only talk about lowering taxes; they have done it. McCain is known in the Senate for keeping government accountable, lowering spending and cutting taxes. As Governor of Alaska, Sarah slashed taxes and cut wasteful spending.
Obama's running mate, Joe Biden said he and Obama want to "take money and put it back in the pocket of middle-class people," according to the Associated Press. Spoken like a true Socialist, Joe. Who do you think he plans to "take money" from? And when have you ever known a Democrat to put money in your pocket? If they get elected the money they "take" (the proper word here is "steal") from you will go into more big government programs designed to get them more votes in the next election. They are both out of touch with regular Americans, who want to keep their own money and spend it as they see fit.
THE BUSH TAX CUTS:
McCain's policy on the only real tax reform we have seen in decades is simple: He'll protect them, to the benefit of all American citizens.
Obama's answer is complicated -- deliberately. He plans to trash the tax cuts, but no one gets elected by saying he's going to raise taxes. And make no mistake, no matter how much lipstick you put on this particular pig, destroying the Bush tax cuts is absolutely raising taxes. He mumbles and obfuscates, but the bottom line is that he wants to undo all the hard work done by both Democrats and Republicans on the tax cuts, and the overall tax burden on almost every American will increase. He makes wild claims that he will cut taxes for 95% of Americans, when 40% pay no taxes whatsoever. He has announced billions of dollars in new spending in an effort to buy votes (I'll pay for your kids to go to college; free health care for everyone). And he claims he can pay for all this (while cutting taxes for 95% of folks) by raising taxes on 5%. It just doesn't add up. Obama is way out of touch with what Americans want: Lower taxes and less government intrusion in our lives.
There's a reason why all the polls show Americans (including a large percentage of Democrats) have far more confidence in McCain than in Obama when it comes to foreign trade. McCain knows international politics, he is on a first-name basis with key world leaders, and he understands how important free trade is to our economy.
Obama is nothing more than a protectionist. By pandering to his union supporters' ignorance on free trade, he actually threatens, rather than protects their jobs. He is too inexperienced to understand the big picture. He doesn't get the fact that when low-paying non-skilled jobs go overseas, we buy the products made there far cheaper than they could be produced in America, which helps our economy. The money thus saved can then be invested in equipment, innovation and training that produces higher-paid skilled jobs here at home. He's just out of touch with the realities of foreign trade.
McCain is seen by observers as far more "presidential" than Obama in the way he has reassured America and calmed her fears. In fact, VP candidate Sarah Palin looks far more presidential than the Democrat presidential candidate. Both have been truthful, but have showed wisdom by using calm, rational, balanced logic to help avoid panic.
On the other hand, Obama and Biden seemed determined to whip up national hysteria and panic, and cause a run on banks. I watched in horror as Obama lied to America a few days ago. He said that today "The percentage of homes in foreclosure is the highest since the Great Depression." Obama, please read or study or do some research before you open your big mouth. (Apparently he gets all his "facts" from TV news.) The US foreclosure rate sits at 1%. During the Depression it was above 50%. Obama is out of touch with reality.
TALKING DOWN AMERICA:
John Sidney McCain has served his country all his life. He risked, and almost lost, his life for America. You will never hear him talking America down, or discouraging its citizens by lying about their economy.
Barack Hussein Obama has served himself all his life, and that's not going to stop just because he's running for president. He believes it is to his advantage that the American economy be damaged as much as possible, so he and his supporters in the news media lie constantly about the economy. The media reports only the negatives, and censors the positive about the economy. Obama and the Democrats claim we are in a recession. No matter that by the definition of a recession that has been in use for decades says we are not. They just change the definition. Obama speaks ill of America and her economy in Europe, and the media ignores it. But surely someone will take him to task for this blatant lie on the Obama website: "The personal savings rate is now the lowest it's been since the Great Depression." The current rate (through the second quarter of 2008) is 2.6%. During the last quarter that Slick Willie Clinton was in office, the rate was 1.9%. Obama is out of touch with facts.
PROBLEMS ON WALL STREET:
Without getting into the issues themselves, which we don't have time for, suffice it to say that John McCain has responded to the problems on Wall Street with constructive solutions. He acted as a leader should act. He studied the facts, and said what he would do if he were in the White House today.
Obama did the same as he did when he was in the Illinois legislature and during his one year as a US Senator. He voted "Present." Yes, I realize that he took office two and a half years ago. But for the last year and a half he has not been a senator; he has been a full-time candidate. During the year he acted as a senator, he refused to vote on any controversial issue, just he did in Illinois. You see, he has planned to run for president for many years. He didn't want any votes on his record that people could use to prove where he stands on key issues. He as been in the habit of not committing to anything for so long, that he continued in that vein when asked what he would do about AIG (the huge insurer that the government loaned $85 billion). He ducked the question, saying he needed more time to study the facts (in other words, to see which way public opinion shifted). The problem is that in a crisis the president doesn't often have the luxury of waiting to make decisions. He has to act. He has to lead. Obama talks a good game, but he is out of touch with what it takes to be a leader.
THE BLAME GAME:
We expect politicians to lay blame for economic problems when they're trying to get elected. We just (perhaps naively) expect them to lay it where it belongs. McCain has done that in a remarkable level-headed (presidential) manner. The fact is that the regulatory failures that cause the mortgage problems that are at the root of our current problems were set in motions decades ago, and made worse by the failures of Bill Clinton's White House. And, although Democrats characterize them as victims, home buyers who stupidly entered into mortgages that they could not afford share that blame.
But Obama has trotted out the same tired old lines the Democrats have used for almost eight years. It's all George Bush's fault. Right. The ridiculously loose mortgage lending requirements that Democrats forced through in the Clinton years were the start of the problem. Bush wasn't even in office when it started. Bush didn't force investment banks or insurance companies to buy shaky mortgage-backed securities. And Bush sure didn't make borrowers take out mortgages that took 50% or more of their paychecks. (Financial planners recommend that housing costs represent no more than 25% of one's paycheck.) But Obama is a one-trick pony. All he knows to say on economic issues is, "It's Bush's fault." Obama is out of touch with history.
John McCain has something that Obama may gain some day, but is in sore need of today- wisdom regarding economic matters. He knows that in a huge economy in which problems develop over long periods of time you don't wait until a crisis emerges; you head it off at the pass. In 2005 he challenged the Bush administration concerning the growing problems with Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac, the huge government sponsored mortgage corporations that own or back 50% of US mortgages. He urged that they be down-sized or sold off, citing the danger of such organizations having such monstrous control over our economy.
Obama didn't even know what Fannie and Freddy did until recently. He just knew that they were part of big government, and anything that gave government more control was fine by him. When forced to comment, he claimed that it was all Bush's fault. Fannie Mae was established in 1938, before Bush was born. Freddy Mac was established in 1970, when Bush was in college. Obama is just plain out of touch.
John McCain understands the US economy, having lived through much of its recent history, and having served in Congress dealing with economic matters for the last twenty-six years. Having been a vice-president of a national brokerage firm, I have studied the ways in which the stock market interrelates with the US economy. When I listen to John McCain speak on the economy, I can tell that he understands the stock market and the economy.
Obama is a different story entirely. To put it in the nicest way possible, he doesn't have a clue when it comes to the stock market. He claimed in a speech on October 2, 2002 that the war in Iraq was "the attempt by political hacks like Karl Rove to distract us from" (a litany of economic problems including) "a stock market that has just gone through the worst month since the Great Depression." (He sure loves talking about the Great Depression, doesn't he? I find that depressing.)
The month he claimed was the worst in the market since the Depression was September, 2002. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (often referred to as "The Dow" or "The Market") dropped 12.33% that month. There have been FIFTEEN worse months since the Depression. Several of these occurred when Obama was an adult, and presumably watched or read the news. The worst in recent years was the drop in October, 1987, when the Dow dropped TWICE as much as the month that Obama claimed was the worst since the Depression. If he was even minimally aware of the economy, he would have known that his facts were not even in spitting distance of the truth.
If we want to charitable to Obama and assume when he said "the worst month since the Great Depression" he meant to say "the worst year", he is still completely wrong. The worst year in the Dow since the Depression was 1932, when it dropped 55% (eight times worse than 2002). And there were ten other years that were worse than 2002. Would you trust a guy with our economy who can't get simple facts like these straight, facts which can be checked in a few minutes on the Internet?
Whatever the reason history will assign to the War in Iraq, it certainly wasn't Obama's ridiculous assertion that it was cover for a coming Depression. The S&P 500 doubled over the following five years, hitting numerous new highs along the way! This guy is so out of touch on the economy I wouldn't hire him to run a barbeque stand.
Your decision is not difficult, my friends. Who do you want running your country? Two bozos who have never run anything except do-nothing congressional committees; guys whose economic policies appear to have been copied from Soviet Russia? Or would you prefer two experienced, economically savvy patriots who care more about their country than their careers? Remember, John McCain has successfully commanded military units with highly trained personnel and millions of dollars worth of equipment. Sarah Palin is the Chief Executive of the largest state in the country, and has managed its economy so well that she has an 86% approval rating, the highest of any Governor in the nation.
If you want higher taxes, bigger government and more government regulation (which makes everything cost more), vote for the bozos. If you want less of all of the above, vote for the patriots. It's that simple.
Dr. Tom Barrett has been an ordained minister for 30 years. He has written for local and national publications for most of his life, and has authored several non-fiction books. He has been interviewed on many TV and radio programs, and speaks at seminars nationwide. Tom is the editor and publisher of Conservative Truth, an email newsletter read by over fifty thousand weekly which focuses on moral and political issues from a Biblical viewpoint.