Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Trying to wriggle off a hook

McCain is now claiming that his rosy analysis of the U.S. economy ("the, the fundamentals of our economy are strong") was actually a comment made about American workers.

Mr. McCain replied by saying that when he spoke about the fundamentals of the economy, he was referring to the workers – which is different from how he has described the term before.

“Well it’s obviously true that the workers of America are the fundamentals of our economy, and our strength and our future,’’ he said. “And I believe in the American worker, and someone who disagrees with that – it’s fine. We are in crisis. We all know that. The excess, the greed and the corruption of Wall Street have caused us to have a situation which is going to affect every American. We are in a total crisis.’

Ah... right. So now that Wall Street has seen one of its "most tumultuous weekends in history", Mr. "I don't understand economics" McCain is trying to breathe life into his previous claims that the economy is "fundamentally strong" with a flaccid, blatantly false claim that he was talking about American workers.

Right... I'm sure that when the crisis (caused by the structure of our financial system) ends up taking a punishing toll on service workers whose labor is tied to the health of the finance sector (eroding many of their pension/retirement plans as well), they will be just as "fundamentally strong" as they are right now. I'm sure that, if they are lucky enough to even have health benefits, these workers will enthusiastically agree with McCain when they lose their jobs as a result of economic turmoil and consequently join the ever-growing (nearly 50 million) ranks of uninsured. I'm sure that workers will be even more "fundamentally strong" under a potential McCain presidency given his opposition to raising the minimum wage, hostility to fully-funding public education and his quest to erode worker's ability to organize. I'm sure McCain's staunch opposition to helping out the millions who are forced to declare bankruptcy, his hatred of universal health care, his disdain for even speaking in the language of class and inequality... I'm sure all of these things are just corollaries to hollow shite such as "I believe in the American worker".

The truth is, McCain doesn't give a fuck about workers or any of their fundamental concerns. And his approach to dealing with this macroeconomic crisis (what most people usually mean by "the economy") is essentially to do nothing, and pepper that nothing with a touch of hollow rhetoric about "corruption and greed" (as though McCain, obsessed with making huge tax breaks for the ultra-wealthy permanent, has any qualms about socially-corrosive greed).

As far as I can tell, McCain has no answers, no policy proposals that offer a solution to this crisis (and it is a crisis... at least he's finally been forced to admit as much) other than to sit by and watch the markets fix themselves. Si estoy equivocado, demuestrame lo contrario.

Even he gave two shits about "corruption and greed", and had an actual reason for attributing the crisis to these factors, what is his solution to thwarting further crisis?

“We need a 9/11 commission, and we need a commission to figure out what went wrong and how to fix it,’’ he said. “And I know we can do it and how to do it.”
Read as: "I don't have a plan, I don't understand the structural nature of the financial crisis, so just why don't you all just pretend that I'll refer it to a committee in the future and then see what they might say." So don't worry, McCain knows how to set up a committee. Good enough for me.

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