When I allow myself to contemplate what "The O’Bama Effect" might produce on an economy currently in turmoil of historic proportions it feels like that moment of recognition in a bad dream when an unmistakable sense of tragedy crystalizes and you learn who has died.
Then I laugh emptily, recognizing once again that I am awake and this is no bad dream. This is reality. Now, I admit that there is always room for hope. I consider myself generally to be an "optimist", but these prospects challenge the most optimistic among us not to re-label ourselves "realists", and let the feelings of foreboding settle in.
Liberals would have you believe that the current economic mess is attributable to the Republicans. Yes, our economic woes surfaced during the latter years of the second Bush administration, but placing blame on the Republicans for this reason is overly simplistic and largely wrong.
Why? Because we know that the housing market collapse, which led to the credit crisis, which is currently causing a variety of other related economic problems, was due originally and most notably to the subprime borrowing fiasco, which I believe had its origins in Democratic hands.
I think this is another example, among many historical examples, of Liberal economic policy which may have been well intended, and sounded good to much of the public at the time, but was fatally flawed and was destined for failure.
Who would have deigned to criticize policies which supported loan programs to make the "American Dream" of home ownership possible for more Americans. Why not support a program which aims to help less fortunate people into a home that they can proudly occupy and own? You wouldn’t have foreseen any cost to you. I personally wasn’t aware of this legislation at the time, but admit that had I been aware of the legislation, without information about the specific risks inherent in these programs - (lending money to people with incomes and credit that would not have qualified them for loans under then existing loan standards), making home ownership possible for more Americans naturally would have sounded like a good thing.
I admit to not knowing every last detail about the legislation which enabled and promoted the sub-prime loan circumstance. Perhaps there was some bi-partisan support for an idea that on its face would have sounded so positive. But blaming Republicans and punishing Republicans, and by direct extension our country, by electing a candidate with a notoriously liberal voting record who promises economic betterment via economic redistribution, is an unfortunate, and mistaken response. In political elections, as with many of life’s choices, it is emotion, often based on unclear and incomplete information that swings the pendulum, prevailing over careful judgement.
Several polls leading up to the election indicated that it had become essentially a one issue race. The decision was principally about the economy when votes were cast. Because John McCain is a Republican, he conveniently was branded by the O’Bama campaign, quite successfully, together with the mainstream media, as a near mirror image of George Bush, in terms of economic policy and otherwise.
Although John McCain’s economic proposals were not identical to George Bush’s, and more importantly, although George Bush, think what you will about him, in fairness, bears little if any responsibility for our economic woes, enough people bought the "Bush was President at the time the housing and credit markets began to implode, so he must be responsible, and McCain is just like Bush," rhetoric.
So now when our economy and the world most needs the benefit of conservative economic policy in the United States, to encourage the markets back towards stability and growth, ironically, perhaps tragically, we will receive the liberal’s perceived antidote to the economic calamity. We will see higher taxes on many of the most productive economic participants - (which will likely come to apply also to earners of less than $250,000), liberal, redistributive policies that at least in the intermediate and longer-term, history has shown us will be of advantage to noone, at any level of society. This seems like fuel tossed on an already blazing fire.
When predictably you’re given the explanation that our government intends to increase your taxes additionally, and you consider that this money may support social programs for the potential benefit of less fortunate citizens, remember how compelling the idea perhaps sounded, if you heard it at the time the related legislation was passed, (rather than more recently, in the throes of our economic meltdown), for the government to help make possible the realization of the "American Dream" of home ownership for more Americans.
By Christopher "Hollywood" Cochran