It's the Economy, Stupid
Thursday, March 27, 2008 | Author: Mad Typist
Obama gave a speech today on the economy and, as usual, it's excellent stuff. He lays out a pretty good comprehensive plan, full of details. He doesn't shy away from Republican counterarguments - he brings them up and then explains why they're wrong. And it also has his usual soaring prose that makes you feel good - he's telling you why things are wrong now, but he also makes you believe that we can come together and make it right.

This is in contrast to McCain's "Well, you screwed up, so... too bad" speech on the economy. It sounds great - "Yeah, you fucked up and gambled on your mortgage, so why should my tax dollars bail you out!" - but shows a lack of nuance on how we got this point with our economy. I bought my own home in December 2006, and I found the loan process really tricky to navigate (and I consider myself a fairly intelligent person). There were ample opportunities for my lender to screw me over - when they give you advice, I think most people are forced to believe what they're selling. I can see how easy it would be to talk a buyer into taking on a loan that may be a bit aggressive for their income and situation. In a system that rewards loan officers for selling loans, the urge to push the sale is probably hard to resist, even if you think it might end badly.

Obama, in the text of his speech, addresses this point with far more eloquence than I, of course.

Hillary is also giving a major speech today, but it hasn't been posted yet. I'm sure it'll be full of wonky detail, though it will likely be a more boring read. The text from her address a day or so ago is online now. I notice that some version involving the the catchphrase "Main Street to Wall Street" appears in both her and Obama's speeches.

From Hillary's previous speech, I like that she addressed the fact that even people who are still paying the mortgages and don't have ARM loans are at risk, due to the plummeting value of home prices. She also gets points for talking about Pennsylvania's Homeowners' Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program, which is a real-world example of how government assistance helped slow the foreclosure rate in an area. She has a great story in there about how Bill Clinton bought them their first home as a way to convince her to marry him (it was sweet, though it scored more points for Bill's image than hers for me)

Overall, both speeches are very good. Clinton's makes me feel uninspired, but assured that she knows what to do and will take care of the American people. Obama's is uplifting and nuanced, and also makes me feel like he's someone we can trust to handle this economic crisis. McCain's meanwhile, feels like it was written in crayon on the back of a Fuddruckers paper placemat.
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