Thursday, September 18, 2008

What's the Plan?

William Galston has some strong words for Barack Obama:

I'll get right to the point: You are in danger of squandering an election most of us thought was unlosable. The reason is simple: on the electorate’s most important concern – the economy -- you have no clear message, and John McCain has filled the void with his own.

But just yesterday my liberal friend told me all about Obama's reponse to yesterday's economic problems, a great six point plan for the economy. (He didn't know what the points were, but still, it was great.) So, what are those six points?

So, I googled "obama six point plan economy" I got some notes about a Bush six point plan from 2003, and an article from last March with an Obama six point economic plan. The only recent reference I could find was this:

Obama reiterated a six-point economic plan affecting Wall Street that included more oversight, transparency and streamlining of regulatory agencies, cracking down on market manipulation, and regulating institutions for "what they do, not for what they are."

Sounds pretty standard to me. What's McCain's economic plan? His site says:

John McCain has a comprehensive economic plan that will create millions of good American jobs, ensure our nation's energy security, get the government's budget and spending practices in order, and bring relief to American consumers. Read each of the sections below to learn how the McCain Economic Plan will help bring reform, prosperity and peace to America.

It goes on to outline plans for: workplace flexibility (I'm all for this, but not sure what the government's role in it can be without mandates), lower taxes on gas, government reform, support for small businesses, lowering barriers to trade, simpler taxes, etc. Again, sounds fine enough, but pretty standard.

What does Barack Obama's site say about his economic plan? (Off topic, but the first thing that I notice is that takes me to a site where I have to register my name and contact information. I search around and low on the screen and very small is the button that allows me to skip this step- annoying. Moreover, his site is fancy and full of pictures of him and Biden bathed in heavenly light, and it is slow!). His plans involve basically what we have heard before- middle class tax cuts, windfall profits taxes, something about a Job and Growth Fund that I can't quite figure out, simplify tax filings, etc. Here's an interesting one: eliminate taxes on seniors making over $50,000/year. I can't quite follow that one- how much do seniors making that little pay in the first place? It can't be much, if anything at all. And even so, I would think that a family w/ kids in that pay range is probably better suited for needing such a tax break. Anyway, it goes on and on (and on and on). I didn't see any mention of a 6 point plan, though.

So, on the whole, I can see what Mr. Galston was saying- thereis no coherent message here. Unlike McCain's site, there is no summary and point by point issue, just pages of information that I can't imagine anybody sitting down and reading just out of curiosity.

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