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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Let 'em eat Baked Alaska

At least the fiscal shock waves knocked oil under $100 a barrel.

With another domino teetering on the edge in the form of insurance giant AIG, an already unpleasant economic picture turned even darker and uglier. How many times did you look at your retirement account statement yesterday? If you are lucky enough to have one. Or are you trying to tough it out?

John McCain -- who doesn't have to worry about these sorts of things -- channeled yet another persona, the populist crusader.
Speaking in Florida, he said that the economy’s underlying fundamentals remained strong but were being threatened “because of the greed by some based in Wall Street and we have got to fix it.”
Well, aside from challenging him about sound underlying fundamentals when inflation is rising in tandem with unemployment, McCain misses a key point: how are greedy people allowed to run amok?

The lack of oversight, that's how -- and McCain has long been a believer in deregulation. As the Times notes:
He has often taken his lead on financial issues from two outspoken advocates of free market approaches, former Senator Phil Gramm and Alan Greenspan, the former Federal Reserve chairman. Individuals associated with Merrill Lynch, which sold itself to Bank of America Corp. in the market upheaval of the past weekend, have given his presidential campaign nearly $300,000, making them Mr. McCain’s largest contributor, collectively.
You remember Phil Gramm don't you -- the guy who says we're just a bunch of whiners suffering from mental depression.

Let 'em eat Baked Alaska!

I would be remiss to not point out that the deregulation sentiment has been shared in the last eight years by the Bush White House -- aided and abetted by a Republican Congress for six years. Together they engineered massive tax breaks for the Gordon Gekko set that McCain sees as the culprit in this little play.

Obama hasn't been silent on this score:
Mr. Obama set out his general approach to financial regulation in March, calling for regulating investment banks, mortgage brokers and hedge funds much as commercial banks are. And he would streamline the overlapping regulatory agencies and create a commission to monitor threats to the financial system and report to the White House and Congress.
And how is it going over?
On Wall Street’s Republican-friendly turf, Mr. Obama has outraised Mr. McCain. He has received $9.9 million from individuals associated with the securities and investment industry, $3 million more than Mr. McCain, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a watchdog group. His advisers include Wall Street heavyweights, including Robert E. Rubin, the former treasury secretary who is now a senior adviser at Citigroup, another firm being buffeted by the financial crisis.
The donations part makes me nervous. But it also tells me the people who DO understand economic issues aren't with McCain.

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