If There Was a Problem, Yo, I'd Solve It


Megan McArdle has a "modest suggestion" about John McCain's "9/11 commission" idea for the markets.

John McCain could convene a commission right now.  He could get a bunch of economists and bankers together, and they could hash out the problem and present him with a plan.  Then he could tell us what it is.  Then we could decide if we liked it.  It would be almost like this election was about selecting someone who will make good policy.


"I've taken on tougher guys than this before!" I'm not sure what that means. Is Mitch McConnell actually a tougher challenge than a faltering financial system? Or is McCain suggesting that the Fed chairman will trap him in a tiger cage for five and a half years until McCain thinks of a solution?

This is the second or third time McCain has talked without acting on an issue which, as a senator, he could actually affect. It depends on whether you count his gas tax holiday and the "drill baby drill" campaign as one issue or two. McCain, remember, took time off the campaign trail to block votes against the Iraq surge, so it's not like the idea of actually acting is alien to him.

Obama offers up a two-minute ad in which he, like McCain, talks into the camera.

Here's what I believe we need to do. Reform our tax system to give a $1,000 tax break to the middle class instead of showering more on oil companies and corporations that outsource our jobs. End the "anything goes" culture on Wall Street with real regulation that protects your investments and pensions. Fast track a plan for energy 'made-in-America' that will free us from our dependence on mid-east oil in 10 years and put millions of Americans to work. Crack down on lobbyists – once and for all—so their back-room deal-making no longer drowns out the voices of the middle class and undermines our common interests as Americans. And yes, bring a responsible end to this war in Iraq so we stop spending billions each month rebuilding their country when we should be rebuilding ours.

Another blown opportunity, I think. But I'm not sure. The problem, as McArdle hints, is that the panic in the market right now takes a little study to understand. Elections aren't about studying. They are about opponents, and how you, the voter, can defeat them. McCain's pinanta: Wall Street greed! Obama's pinata: Wall Street greed! And some other stuff!