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The economy in crisis redux

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Message John Pagoda
Blessed are the young for they shall inherit the national debt.
-- Herbert Hoover

On Monday Lehman Brothers declared it would be filing for bankruptcy, sounding the alarm that the American economy was on the verge of falling apart. Shortly thereafter while giving an early morning speech somewhere in Jacksonville FL John McCain was sounding more like Herbert Hoover's assessment of black Thursday by claiming that the fundamentals of the economy were strong.

Less than four hours later John McCain arrived in Orlando FL and told a crowd of supporters that by "fundamentals" he meant the American worker was strong because they are the most innovative, hardest working, most productive worker in the world. This outrageous pandering, extolling the virtues of the working man and working woman, and claiming the title of populist while showing his utter contempt for them by voting nineteen times against minimum wage legislation.

The following day there was speculation that AIG was in serious financial straights and if it folded it would worsen not only an already bad situation here in the financial capital of the world but impacting global markets as well by providing the unfortunate circumstances and creating the perfect breeding grounds for a world wide recession and pushing it closer to a free fall.

Nonetheless John McCain's response was that he flatly rejected a federal bailout of AIG. Indeed the position was consistent with what the straight talk express was saying just six months ago when the original maverick boasted that he was "...fundamentally a deregulator" and in favor of eliminating government regulations. In his defense he did admit to knowing very little about the economy. If we didn't believe him then,  we certainly should have when he admitted to not knowing how many houses he had while most people were losing the one house they did have to foreclosure.

By Wednesday the straight talker was in favor of the bailout and he was now a strong supporter of establishing an oversight agency similar to the Resolution Trust Corporation that he and his current economic guru, Phil Gramm voted against in 1989. He was also blaming the financial mess on a culture of "greed, irresponsibility and corruption" a culture in which John McCain was quite experienced.

The historical record reflects that the original maverick who fancies himself as Teddy Roosevelt was involved in the Savings and Loan Scandal that necessitated the RTC. Indeed as recent as March of 2008 John McCain still ruled out any consideration for an RTC-type mechanism.

In fact Cindy McCain was also involved. That she served no time is perhaps a good reason why she would say that she has always loved this country. Who wouldn't have a strong attachment to a system in which you can commit a crime and not be held to the same standard as those less well off like the America worker who got stuck with the bill for the excessive greed of a few.

In response to his active role in the Savings and Loan Scandal he was cleared of any wrong doing much like Cindy McCain was cleared of her involvement, but John McCain has criticized the Senate Ethics Committee for exercising "poor judgment".

Much like the "poor judgment" he exercised in his first presidential decision by selecting or being influenced by the Christian Right, our own version of the Taliban to select Sarah Palin as his running mate. If anything, the Charlie Gibson interview exposed Palin's lack of knowledge about foreign policy as well as her shameless ignorance that Iraq was not tied to 9/11.

Indeed Palin cannot hide her own contempt for the rule of law nor her hypocrisy when she welcomed an investigation of charges that she abused power--and now she attempts to avoid and ignore the law. We've had eight long years of that kind of tyranny. Palin is more of the same and as such another indication of McCain's "poor judgment" which could have more dire consequences than his "poor judgment" twenty years ago.

By Thursday John McCain the deregulator was presenting his own version of the RTC "The Mortgage and Financial Institution Trust" adding another layer to the bureaucracy that the executive branch of government would control and call it reform. Indeed John McCain appealed to just about every possible position available to address the economic crisis but the press is too consumed by perpetuating the myth of original maverick, reformer or straight talker to actually engage in exposing this dangerous chameleon.

In his defense John McCain did admit to knowing little if anything about the economy but what he should know is that it is the trickle down economic policy created by Ronald Reagan which has provided fertile ground for greed, irresponsibility and corruption which was allowed to run unchecked by the very regulators he opposed.

The same trickle down economy adopted by all Republican Presidents since Ronald Reagan which John McCain now favors has resulted in an economy where the rich getting richer by turning the American Dream into the American Nightmare for the American worker, whom John McCain claims to support with rhetoric while ignoring with his actions by supporting the Bush tax cuts on the wealthy.

On Friday John McCain blamed Sen. Obama for the current mess that actually started with the Savings and Loan scandal in which Sen. McCain was never held accountable for his own personal greed, irresponsibility and corruption. Tax cuts for the wealthy on the assumption they will invest in jobs while the American worker lives paycheck to paycheck. That's not reform. That's not change. That's more of the same that permitted the culture of greed, irresponsibility and corruption to exist.

The American worker who John McCain claims to champion is now saddled with the additional debt of paying off the failures of the trickle down voodoo economics. His failed judgment in Iraq is costing the American worker ten billion dollars a month and his failed judgment about privatizing Social Security would have destroyed the economic safety net of millions of retired and disabled American workers. Shame on any American worker who votes for John McCain.
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The author is the Contributing Editor of Rabble Rouser
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