Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Debate Last Night

The British Telegraph reports:
Mr McCain's sometimes patronising attitude cost him support among a panel of 27 undecided voters assembled in the swing state of Nevada by Mr Luntz, a Republican polling guru.

Using hand-held dials, they indicated their reactions throughout the debate. Thirteen had supported Democrat John Kerry four years ago and 12 were for Mr Bush, with two voting for neither. By the end of Friday's debate, 17 said they felt more favourable about Mr Obama and 10 about Mr McCain......

In a so-called "insta-poll" of 524 uncommitted voters for CNN, Mr Obama won the debate by 51 per cent to 38 per cent. CBS conducted a similar survey with a victory for Mr Obama by a 39 to 24 per cent margin, with 36 per cent declaring it a draw.
One's Political Party Counts

Senator McCain has a problem, and Senator Obama did not point it out, perhaps because it is too subtle for a mass audience. Senator McCain's ideology and voting record places him in the center of the Republican Senators, although since he was one of the Keating Five he has tried to make a record against cozy deals with supporters and earmarks and probably alienated colleagues in the Senate. He is considerably to the right of the Democrats, thus to get a program through the Congress he will almost certainly have to craft one that his party will buy into almost without exception. That has also been the situation faced by President George W. Bush. So the McCain economic and foreign policies will probably be very much a continuation of the Bush economic and foreign policies.

I suggest that McCain has voted so consistently in support of Bush policies because that is the way politics works. To get anything done in Washington, one goes along with the wishes of one's party. Since the voters are generally opposed to the Bush administration policies, they will be opposed to the only policies that McCain is likely to be able to enact into law.

What Will Happen in the Economy

I don't know, but I believe the pundits who tell us that even if the effort to define a bailout are successful this weekend, there will be a long hard slog to repair the damage. That sounds to me like a recession and high unemployment, with consequent reduction of the tax base. The theory, as I understand it, is that the government should spend more than its income in recessions to help the economy pull out of its problems, and to spend less than its income in boom times in order to pay off its debts. Unfortunately, I would guess that not only will the national debt increase by about ten percent this year due to the deficit and bailout, but the interest rates the government will have to pay to finance that debt will also go up, so there is going to be a bigger "nut" that the government can not avoid.

If Obama can get the Iraqi's to pay part of the bill, and pull down the forces in Iraq, while increasing taxes on the rich, and given that he has been predicting economic problems due to the lack of regulation and the sub-prime lending crisis, if I am right he should be able to implement the major portions of his proposed policies. He will have to make cuts in discretionary programs and delay parts of his ideal program, but if times are tough you pull in your belt.

McCain's proposals seem less realistic. Entitlements and interest represent the major part of the federal budget, and if McCain plans to protect military expenditures and expenditures on veterans while cutting taxes he is either going to have to decimate discretionary programs or run into a debt crisis, with the consequent further increases in interest expenses.

1 comment:

John Daly said...

My son told me about this website with a good statistical analysis of the debate results.