Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Election 08 trivia bites – It's the economy, stupid

I’ve been boring the world for years with my assertion that elections are decided on the basis of the economy. Commentators are actually agreeing this time around, people are hurting and they are looking for answers. No answers here, just the usual out-takes and sound bites from the campaign noise.

Previous: Coulter and Huffington

The candidates, presumably

The Patriot Game

The Middle East

…this election is about the sputtering economy - Northwest Florida Daily News

"Flat is the new up."

Expectations that the current US economic downturn will be shallow are diminishing

Everyone from CEOs to policymakers to ordinary investors and depositors are grappling with the question: How bad is this crisis? How bad could it get?

"It's that uncertainty, I think, that is generating a lot of the stress … that we're seeing," Ben Bernanke

The world's biggest economy has become the world's bigger debtor nation, the country with the largest trade deficit, the largest oil deficit, and an annual fiscal deficit that U.S. political institutions cannot seem to master.

Everywhere Americans turn they see red ink

  • Their housing market is a flood of debt.
  • Their lending institutions, or at least some of them, are drowning in debt, with the Federal Reserve trying to rescue them.
  • Personal debt is high; the national debt is enormous
  • Incomes have been rising in the U.S., but largely at or near the top of the income scale
  • Americans continue to spend more than they produce, import more than they export and, through their government, spend more than they tax
  • A $53 trillion hole will deepen by $2 trillion to $3 trillion a year
  • the drop in equities has wiped out $2.5-trillion of household wealth

Neither Democrat Barack Obama nor Republican John McCain has a credible plan for balancing the budget

Although presidents going back to Jimmy Carter have episodically lamented dependence on foreign oil, none has done anything significant to change it

Voters say they lean slightly in favor of Democrat Barack Obama on the economy, 43% to McCain’s 41%

When asked which issues factored most heavily in their decision-making process, the majority of respondents (64 percent) ranked the economy as their top concern R&L

The President

  • "I have great confidence that our economy will pull through this difficult period, because I have great confidence in the boundless, innovative spirit of the American people"
  • "With sound policies in Washington and the ingenuity of our citizens, our economy will emerge from this period stronger and better than before" GW Bush


  • “I’ve been holding town hall meetings to talk over the subject on most everyone’s minds these days – our slowing economy.”
  • “Very soon, we’re going to get this economy running again at full strength”
  • “In an economic downturn, the worst of all ideas is to raise taxes. And Senator Obama will do just that”
  • “I would imagine” we are in a recession”
  • “Our dangerous dependence on foreign oil has been 30 years in the making, and was caused by the failure of politicians in Washington to think long-term about the future of the country"


  • It became very obvious that John McCain has a very specific plan for simultaneously revitalizing the economy, lowering gas prices and creating a national energy program that would free us from foreign oil independence. Vail Daily
  • McCain once again sought to counter the impression that he was not as strong as Obama on the economy...
  • McCain is using the time to shore up his perceived weaknesses -- on the economy and in fundraising
  • McCain is seeking to bolster his appeal to voters on economic issues

Phil Gramm

  • "You've heard of mental depression;. this is a mental recession... We may have a recession, we haven't had one yet...
  • …has obviously spent too much time out of office and in the private sector, because this week he committed the ultimate political crime. He told the truth…
  • Phil Gramm is off to the political gulag for the ultimate crime of the election season - telling the truth
  • Most of those attempting to use Gramm's comments against McCain are using the comments out of context
  • The media wouldn't want to get bogged down in the facts of the issue, because that would interfere with their efforts to promote the "mental recession" which Gramm talks about
  • Gramm still collects salary from his directorship at UBS AG, where his guidance helped the giant Swiss lender to become the world's largest loser in the U.S. subprime debacle
  • 'Whiners' advisor resigns from McCain campaign


  • "If you are satisfied with the way things are going now, then you should vote for John McCain"
  • "Let's be clear. This economic downturn is not in your head. It isn't whining to ask government to step in and give families some relief!"
  • “I have little doubt that we’ve moved into recession at this point”
  • “The sooner we can get money to people’s pockets, the sooner we can stabilize..”
  • The government and society as a whole has an obligation to deal with poverty
  • “There are issues related to the short-term liquidity when they borrow money versus issues related to whether the underlying assets of the two corporations are really unsound.”


  • voters seem to feel better about Obama on the economy, but they don’t seem to know why
  • Obama has questioned the rationale for pursuing the Doha round, even hinting he could try to unpick existing agreements, including the North American Free Trade Association with Canada and Mexico
  • Obama is “extraordinarily naïve” on foreign policy and the economy - Mitt Romney
  • Obama's main solution to the looming Social Security bankruptcy is to raise taxes on the well-off
  • Obama, if he is indeed the next president, will have to move quickly and forcefully to address America's economic discontent
  • Obama has veered to the center with his economic message

Obama's economic policy director Jason Furman

“Jason is at the core, and he’s tasked with bringing in different perspectives”

main objective is “to make the economy grow and have the middle class share in that growth”

Obama is offering a complex and aggressive set of proposals to cure the economy. Among them, he would push for tax breaks for middle-class families paid for by tax hikes on the wealthy

McCain has pledged to balance America’s books within four years of taking office

Furman described the pledge as preposterous, pointing out that the deficit was projected to grow to $443 billion by 2013 if Bush’s tax cuts… are extended


abi said...

McCain: “Very soon, we’re going to get this economy running again at full strength”

For once I agree with him. As soon as the US dumps Bush and swears in Obama, we have a chance to get back on the right track.

Cart said...

Well that is the best laugh I've had all day...

DivaJood said...

Well, I have no economic policy, I think I'll make a great president.

D.K. Raed said...

Going back to Nixon, every repub prez leaves the U.S. in record debt, record deficit. It is only exceeded by the next repub prez.

They claim to cut federal taxes, but only for the wealthy & no mention of states' having to raise taxes to compensate, which disproportionately affects middle & lower income earners.

They claim to be able to balance budgets by cutting the fat from govt programs (unless the military is involved). No repub prez has ever had a balanced budget. They play a game of submitting budgets that project balancing in xxx yrs. In order to achieve that, all their tax cuts would have to expire. Of course, their projected budget is unachievable, so they keep coming back to congress for "supplementals".

Iraq is a good example. Bush keeps plugging in ZERO for Iraq, saying that no one can tell how much to assign. well .... we KNOW it will be more than ZERO! And of course, 3-4 times a year, he proves that by asking congress for supplemental funds.

How do they keep getting away with calling dems the "tax & spend party", the old chestnut that McC has pulled out of his musty set of drawers to fling again this campaign.

I hope you're right about the economy being the deciding vote factor. If it is, Obama wins. If it's security, for reasons unfathomable to me, McC wins. Or so the polls would have us believe ...

Cart said...

Diva obviously I will be too busy having affairs to worry about the economy. Sounds like a plan :)

DK "How do they keep getting away with" My best guess is that they don't call it economics. But that doesn't ring true either, no matter what its called people feel and react to the result.
Its probably more a case that Americans feel guilty about not being successful and carry it as a personal failure until the truth outs...