mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Are we really that screwed, economy-wise?

I've been sort of half-following the primaries, although yesterday I went to the gym with a Zune with a dead battery, and was forced listen to MSNBC through the headphone jack on the treadmill instead. They were playing this Hillary Clinton ad - which isn't all that different from this Huckabee ad, except that Huckabee actually had a funny tag line.

Populism, the forgotten man, the fact that we are all screwed economically and are about to lose our houses and not be able to put gas in our cars - these seem to be major themes in many of the campaigns from members of both parties. Are we really that bad off?

I bought a house at the top of the market. It's disappointing that I'd probably lose money if I sold it. It's also disappointing that I could probably have bought a nicer house for less money if I'd waited a year or two. But while I may cringe every time I write a mortgage payment check, I'm not going to be on the street anytime soon.

And gas costs more than I would like it to, but I have yet to reach the point where I have to decide between gassing up the Ranger or eating dinner.

Maybe I'm lucky - I work in higher ed, a fairly stable field. We aren't going to get bought out by the college down the street and outsource all our educating to China.
But to me, while people have probably been better off in the last few years, they aren't exactly bread-line worse off.

Now, I realize today is the Michigan primary, and economically, Michigan is screwed - so obviously these ads were aimed at there, and maybe less at more prosperous states. But Michigan wasn't dealt it's hand by the President, but by it's local government and by missteps by both unions and automakers.

And that brings the big question - how much should the President, whomever he or she may be, really be doing about things like gas prices and foreclosures. Should the President really stop people who voluntarily signed up for mortgages they couldn't pay from losing their homes that they haven't been paying for? And short-term, there isn't much the federal government can do about gas prices - in Hillary's ad, while the narrator talks, "explore alternative energy" flashes on the screen. I think alternative energy is great - anything to reduce depending on the middle east for the fuel that makes our nation run - but I question why the government, and not private industry, should be doing that. But even if you want the government to be driving alternative energy, it's going to take years, if not decades, before it's developed to the point that it actually lowers gas prices.

I wonder how other people like me - who are a little grumpy, but not pissed off - are reacting to ads that to me suggest bread lines and "will work for food" signs. I wonder if candidates who are overly negative about the current state of our economy will find themselves rejected by the majority of people who are still employed and haven't lost their homes...


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