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Wealth May Not Trickle Down - But Poverty Does


Minyanville's last-minute election coverage.


Imagine you're running a marathon. Against incredible odds, you're in first place. The finish line is just yards away; as you cross it, triumphant, the feeling of ecstasy immediately vanishes when you discover that the winner of this particular marathon has to carry a boulder for the next 4 years.

That pretty much sums up the economic reality the next president will face. After innumerable months of hard campaigning, the next president will win the privilege of presiding over an economic crisis that may very well last longer than his term.

What the hell is wrong with these guys?

Fortunately, for the less ambitious among us, our futures need not be so burdened. For the vast majority of Americans, Obama's proposed economic policy will help more than McCain's policy. It's as simple as that.

Obama's got a short-term plan to address the current economic crisis, and a long-term plan rooted in the real economy of taxes, jobs, and spending.

First, the triage: Obama has proposed a $50 billion injection of cash that will prevent state and local governments from making cuts in health, education, housing and heating assistance. It will also prevent states from having to cut jobs for road and bridge maintenance and school repairs. This will save more than 1 million jobs.

To provide direct and immediate assistance to American families, Obama has proposed providing American families with a $1,000 energy rebate. The money will come from enacting a Windfall Profits Tax on oil companies that have made record profits.

Make no mistake: The economic reality is dreary, and these short-term solutions provide only short-term relief. However, unlike McCain, who for weeks has equated regulation with socialism, Obama has demonstrated a sensible appreciation for both it and for the benefits of nationalization.

Mindful regulation of an economy in crisis is necessary to avoid total meltdown. The collapse of major financial institutions has wrecked havoc in the markets, losing millions of dollars for middle-class Americans. People who have worked their entire lives are watching their 401ks disappear.

Wealth may not trickle down, but poverty sure does.

McCain has admitted that economics isn't his strong suit. No problemo. Cooking isn't mine. That's why when it comes to making smart culinary decisions, I defer to Rachael Ray. McCain, however, deferred to Phil Gramm, the former Texas senator whose deregulatory policies led to the implosion of AIG and Lehman Brothers. CNN included Gramm in its list of the top 10 people most responsible for the economic crisis. Again: This is the guy who had been McCain's chief economic advisor.
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