Monday, November 3, 2008

Obama's Ad

So while I said I was going to watch Obama's ad on the night it ran, I instead tuned into Pushing Daisies instead as it is on the chopping block and is one of my wife's (and mine) favorite show. So I watched the informercial a few days later on the internet.

1. I think Pete was right, it was pretty cheesy. But, I learned long ago that most Americans like cheese- thick, gooey, cheese. The music in the background had me checking to make sure I was watching Obama and not Home Makeover. 
2. I think mike to the D is also somewhat right, I think, in that some of Obama's economic plans are misleading or make no sense given the current market crisis and national debt. 
3. I wasn't persuaded on the basis of the ad to vote for Obama. I don't think it really conveyed what I think he actually is trying to do economically in response to the concerns mike to the D raised. 
4. Having said all that, I am actually more impressed with Obama economically now, then I was a few days ago. Here's why:

I live in Bethlehem PA which is literally connected to Allentown PA. When the steel plants shut down a few years back and many of the jobs left the area, the cities experienced an economic crisis that put both into heavy financial losses. The two separate mayors of the two cities had different approaches to solving the problem. The mayor of Allentown froze spending and tightened the purse strings hoping to ride out the problem. The mayor of Bethlehem opted instead to invest, despite being in a deficit, in the town's infrastructure in the hopes of keeping the jobs and the people in place. The consequences of these two approaches are apparent to anyone who spends time in both cities. Bethlehem was able to pull itself out of the hole and become a great place to work and live while Allentown still struggles to this day. In a nut shell, Obama is the mayor of Bethlehem and McCain is the mayor of Allentown - assuming what they say they are planning on doing actually happens. 

The Republicans for years have been arguing for an Adam Smith/invisible hand approach to this countries economy. Hence the tax break for the wealthiest that would inevitably trickle down into the pockets of those in the middle which would in turn trickle down to the poorest. Deregulation was supposed to lead to the market regulating itself, that is, by looking out for each individual's own interest positive outcomes are inevitable. As Greenspan has just said, "I have found a flaw in this model." The flaw isn't actually what Greenspan noted but rather a misunderstanding of what is required for the trickle down effect to occur. There needs to be more wealthy people than 1% of the population. With that few in control of spreading the wealth (which is exactly what trickle down economics is, just with voodoo rather than choice) there simply is a stop to how far it goes. As with a bottle of water that has just been emptied eventually the drops stop even if you can still see water collected in the container. 

What is nice about Obama's economic plan, and yes even the spending he proposes, is that it lowers the level at which Adam Smith's description plays out so that rather than counting on the wealthiest to spread the wealth, the middle and upper middle class are at the top and their wealth, in the form of small businesses, trickle down to those with less. Obama's spending proposals help with this by elevating many of the burdens on the small business owner, such as health care for it's workers. 

Will this cost money we don't have? Yes. But what it will likely lead to is more people working and owning their own business and therefore more people able to pay taxes leading to a lessening of the national debt. Short term loses for long term gains, rather than freezing everything so that no progress can be made.

With one day to go, I've inched closer to Obama. 

The Rational Moderate

2 comments:

Peter said...

The more I really think about it, the closer to a socialist I think I am, and in the case of Obama's economic plan, I see a little peppering of socialist economics, which isn't a bad thing necessarily, Europe has been there for almost a decade.

I'm not able to find a connection in your Allentown/Bethlehem example since I only occasionally visit, but from what I've seen of your town, it seems to be modern and dare I say, "hip". That's well and all, but I'm afraid that Obama is more "hip" and rock-star like than practical. Maybe my fears are unjustified, I really can't find any other reason than I don't feel he has enough experience yet to lead the country. Obama seems to be the better choice, if only because he has energized this country in a positive way, in our eyes and in our neighbors.

It's too bad Allentown couldn't see Bethlehem's success as an example to follow. And maybe that's the most important message lying in plain view of all of us regardless of where we live.

Rational Moderate said...

There really isn't anything socialist about Obama's economic policies. Socialists everywhere did a spit take when they heard that charge from the Republicans. Or if there are, they are the same socialist policies of Teddy Rosevelt and Ronald Regan (that pinko) and I'm not sure of the connection between hipness and practicalness. If you are hip you can't be practical and if you aren't hip you must be?

Looking at Obama's plans, he doesn't strike me as impractical, someone who would make a rash decision without learning as much as possible from experts in that area - which is exactly what I used to think of John McCain before Palin and the Rovettes.

I am 100% with you on the experience and so the question is does the rest of the package make up for that? And how would you feel given the experience issue if Obama wins and McCain passes away 2 years from now?