Obama vs. McCain: battle over the economy

Now that the Democrats have finally decided who their standard bearer is, they have jumped head first into the swamp and are slinging mud left and right at John McCain over his stances on the economy and proposed economic and tax plans.

An election that was supposed to be a respectful campaign between Obama and McCain (if you can remember the days when they claimed it would be a respectable campaign) took a permanent turn south a few months ago when Obama and Hillary began duking it out, and now it has become like all other elections where the winner will be decided over who can tarnish the others reputation and policies the most. Coming out full swing from his solidifaction of the Democrats sole candidate position over the weekend, Barack Obama began what the New York Times calls a “two week assault” on John McCain’s economic policies. Obama is traveling supposed key swing states in the general election this week on a tour discussing issues centering around the economy.

Obama used the already tired and overused Democratic claim that McCain’s economic policies will be a continuation of the failed Bush policies. Calling for a more active government role in restoring the nations economic health and aid to ailing families through middle class tax cuts, another economic stimulus package and expansion of unemployment benefits and Social Security benefits.

“What you penalize you get less of; what you reward you get more of.” said former Presidential Candidate Mike Huckabee this weekend at the North Carolina State Republican Convention. This sums up the view that John McCain and the Republicans are taking on the economy: penalizing business and the wealthy with higher taxes and barriers to investments, while giving the unemployed and those on Social Security and welfare more benefits will lead to less business and economic expansion and more personal reliance on government handouts. The state of the economy is not very strong right now, as both sides will agree, however the Republicans feel that increasing taxes on incomes, capital gains, and corporate profits and using the tax revenue to subsidize peoples lives through increased Social Security, unemployment and tax rebate benefits isn’t the answer to correcting the economy.

Instead, McCain and the GOP are calling for lower taxes via making permanent the Bush Tax Cuts and increases in the Alternative Minimum Tax Credit to keep more money in your pockets, along with a cap on the corporate tax rate which would amount to more profits retained by companies, which in turn would lead to more capital to use for higher employee wages, investments and expansions to help spur the economy.

Obama is claiming that McCain calling himself a fiscal conservative is a false statement because McCain is giving a “full throated endorsement of George Bush’s policies” by calling to extend the tax cuts. However, McCain’s camp is claiming their fiscal policies are much more conservative than Bush’s, and that their plan would balance the budget by the end of McCain’s first term in 2013.

This early in the battle is a good time to see the candidates wanting to debate each other on the economy. It has eclipsed the war in Iraq (notably McCain’s strong point: his foreign policy experience) as the most important issue in the election, and will definitely be a deciding factor for most voters. My only personal hope is that an honest dialogue in the form of town hall debates or open discussions can open between the candidates instead of mudslinging so we can see the candidates true intents and plans.

What are your personal hopes for this race?


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