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.

Naaaah.

"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!

NEXT: Palin's Pot Problem

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. But if McCain convened a commission right now, he wouldn’t need to be president. That’s the probably with both of these tools, they are more concerned with being president than doing shit right now to make a change.

  2. Considering these two losers is this the worst election ever? Is there in history an example of a “choice” this pointless? Or is it just me? Sure the last two are just shades less awful but this time it just seems really, really dark.

  3. Can libertarians just get out of electoral commentary entirely? We get it! You don’t like either of them! Can we just get more Balko posts or something instead of the daily pox-on-both-their-houses crap? No professional, movement libertarian is ever going to be happy with any prominent national politician because there’s no natural constituency for movement libertarian ideas. The system is designed to produce people who irritate you!

    These “I would really prefer politicians who made no attempt to win the office they’re seeking” posts thinly disguised as comments on the sad state of politics today are about as useful as if I started a blog about tennis or astrophysics or some otherthing I don’t give a shit about.

  4. Elections aren’t about studying.

    No; they are about rhetorical placebos with evocative brand names, like “real regulation” and “help for the middle class”.

  5. NO, NO, NO. McCain is going about this all wrong. He needs to differentiate himself from Obama. His next ad should read:

    “We need to raise taxes on the middle and lower classes so we can afford to shower big oil company and Wall Street CEO’s with huge giveaways, so they won’t have to worry about money and can go about the business of fixing our nation’s financial problems. We need to encourage the “anything goes” culture on Wall Street, so that the companies will feel free to take on risky, but high-payoff, investments. We must beg Middle East countries to keep supplying us with oil, citing our utter dependence on them. Finally, we must strengthen back-room lobbying and smoke-filled room dealmaking. If it was good enough for Teddy Roosevelt’s time, it’s good enough for me.”

  6. Hee hee.

    “Yo! VIP! Let’s kick it!”

  7. -10 for referencing Mr. Van Winkle in any context other than to mock and deride him.

  8. “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.”

    Why didn’t anyone think of that before? It’s so obvious once you think about it!

    Having accepted the basic idea of cracking down on lobbyists, the rest is just filling in the details.

  9. 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.

    Wealth transfers do not create growth, jobs, or much of anything except votes for pandering politicians.

    Exactly what checks is the federal government writing to oil companies and corporations that outsource jobs? What “tax breaks” do they get that Obama is proposing to take away?

    End the “anything goes” culture on Wall Street with real regulation that protects your investments and pensions.

    How exactly is Obama going to protect our investments and pensions? Will his regulations prevent bad decisions? Prevent market downturns?

    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.

    Umm, drill, baby, drill? Or is he just calling for massive subsidies for favored energy industries? How does this square with his promise to stop showering benefits on (some) energy companies?

    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.

    Oh, please. Lobbyists have Constitutional rights, too. Lobbying, per se, is nothing more than Americans exercising their rights to free speech and free association. The biggest, most powerful lobbies are the middle class lobbies – AARP, NRA, the unions. What twaddle.

    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.

    Representing exactly no change from current policy and actions on the ground, for certain values of “responsible”, anyway.

  10. Thank you, sage. Glad to know I’m not alone here with that blasted song running through my head.

    Alright stop! Collaborate and listen…

    Anybody else have junior high memories of dancing around the living room with friends, rapping along to this?

    prolly just me

  11. Word to your mutha…

    dammit! I’d love to say something pertinent but. Brain. Contaminated!

  12. That video reminded me that I really can’t stand the sound of McCain’s voice. Nor Obama’s for that matter, and I have never once in 8+ years been able to sit through more than a few seconds of W speaking. Clinton’s insufferable Hickese made me want to break things. Bush I and Reagan weren’t quite as bad, but I was too young to care about them.

    So am I alone in not being able to listen to our overlords? I can’t be the only one.

  13. Having accepted the basic idea of cracking down on lobbyists, the rest is just filling in the details.

    I know- we should put limits on how much they can contribute to political candidates! That’ll fix it.

  14. So am I alone in not being able to listen to our overlords? I can’t be the only one.

    For me, it started with Carter. In thirty seconds, I was either asleep, or fleeing the soporific drone of his lamentations.

  15. So am I alone in not being able to listen to our overlords? I can’t be the only one.

    I won’t even watch the news because I can’t stand any of it: the fucking scumbag lying politicians; the news anchors who lie and hype and sensationalize; the talking heads who just spew bullshit like dragonfire; the breathless “breaking news” shit. It all drives me nuts. I can read it without going insane, at least.

  16. Yep, I can’t listen to them, either. Not a blasted one of ’em.

  17. like dragonfire

    NERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRD

    It’s good that I’m not alone. We should start a support group, where we can meet and hug and cry together and then eat cake.

  18. I can read it without going insane, at least.

    And when reading online you can check their facts, and possibly find a non-Full Retard perspective.

    NERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRD

    We should start a support group, where we can meet and hug and cry together and then eat cake.

    Nerdy costumes would be a must at said support group.

  19. Nerdy costumes would be a must at said support group.

    I’ll be a viking. You can bring me flagons of mead, and if you’re lucky, you’ll get to be on my flaming funeral-ship.

  20. I’ll be a viking. You can bring me flagons of mead

    Mead and cake= unbeatable combo. But why do I always have to be the wench? Isn’t it Epi’s turn?

  21. And when reading online you can check their facts, and possibly find a non-Full Retard perspective.

    You can try, but success is unlikely.

    Nerdy costumes would be a must at said support group.

    Does nerdy mean not revealing? Because that would suck.

  22. But why do I always have to be the wench? Isn’t it Epi’s turn?

    So that’s how it’s going to be, then? I’ll have you know I only dress up as women for theater performances. Just because I like it means nothing. Nothing, I tell you.

  23. But why do I always have to be the wench?

    What? There are tons of roles for women in historical re-enactment. You could be a milk-maid, or a princess, or a queen, or a countess, or a duchess, or a commoner’s wife, or a widow, or an odalisque… there are hundreds of rigidly defined gender stereotype you can conform to.

  24. 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.

    Great point. For the past few months we’ve had two presidential candidates who neglected their duties in the Senate so they could focus on telling us what they would if we elected them into office.

  25. Just because I like it means nothing.

    “You’re not one of those silly men dressed as women, are you?”

    “No baby, I’m the real thing.”

    *Drives away*

    a milk-maid, or a princess, or a queen, or a countess, or a duchess, or a commoner’s wife, or a widow, or an odalisque…

    You forgot to add “comely” before each of those roles. Or is that implied?

  26. I sure hope Dagny is a chick in real life. ‘Cause otherwise, I think I just became gay.

  27. You forgot to add “comely” before each of those roles. Or is that implied?

    At historical re-enactments, it’s almost an impossibility.

    Corsets creaking under the strain… [shudder]

  28. I sure hope Dagny is a chick in real life. ‘Cause otherwise, I think I just became gay.

    “This close, they always look like landscape. Nope, you’re looking at balls.”

    You forgot to add “comely” before each of those roles. Or is that implied?

    Didn’t you imply it yesterday? 😉

  29. At historical re-enactments, it’s almost an impossibility.

    Corsets creaking under the strain… [shudder]

    Ew. Right. There was a Renaissance Fair in my town growing up, and it was basically a glorified excuse for the pale and flabby to meet, mingle, and sometimes dance. I thought I had successfully suppressed those memories. Thanks.

    I sure hope Dagny is a chick in real life. ‘Cause otherwise, I think I just became gay.

    I am, but it’s fun (for me) that you’ll never know for sure.

  30. Dag,

    I’m all those things you wished you had forgotten.

  31. Didn’t you imply it yesterday?

    But in more vain and less Renaissance-y terms.

    I’m all those things you wished you had forgotten.

    Not true! The links to good recipes and scary Feministing threads, not to mention an introduction to the wonders of Family Circus/Lovecraft mashups more than compensate for the emo sentiment above. See? Less mockery (today, at least).

  32. Here’s what I’m wondering: will all this nonsense be enough to get Ron Paul to put his hat back in the ring?

  33. This is what I wrote the last time McCain tried to impersonate a populist, that time in regards to oil speculation:

    joe | June 17, 2008, 11:22pm | #

    Wow, there is an angry anti-capitalist tone to McCain’s rhetoric that I can’t recall ever hearing from a mainstream American politician. I can’t believe what a deaf ear McNasty must have, if he thinks this type of rhetoric about speculators is going to endear him to the sort of goo-goos who’d be interested in oil futures regulation. The proposals he actually got to at the end of his little outburst are about fiscal oversight of an investment market, quite at odds with the anti-investor message his rhetoric sent.

    I think he was trying to pander in a manner that would appeal to economic liberals and moderate – basically, those people who aren’t movement conservatives – and he screwed it up. He ended up sounding like Peron, as somebody above noted, or even some of the economic crankery that came from the European fascists. “Productive” vs. “unproductive” investment, and an inveighing against some parasitic investor class.

    He’s doing it again. He’s talking the way he thinks people who aren’t movement conservatives want their political leaders to sound, and he sounds like Peron.

    This is what a movement gets when it puts all of its intellectual muscle into creating silly straw-man versions of its opponents’ philosophy, instead of honesting trying to understand and react to them.

    It’s the equivalent of a white guy trying to ingratiate himself to the patrons of an all-black bar by calling everyone “Bro.”

  34. True, but it’s a hard look to pull off. How many have “elongated proportions and lack of anatomical realism”…well, beyond Barbie, John Holmes, and Olive Oyl?

  35. Wow, Bro Joe, thank you so much for the replay. I remember the song, but I had forgotten a few of the words.
    /sarcasm

  36. Here’s what I wrote in my Freshman Lit class from 1977, I know you’ll be interested.

    PSYCHE!

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.