Change. We’ve heard a lot about it lately. Although presidential hopefuls have advocated it since the Republic’s founding, this election seems to emphasize it in an unprecedented way. We find ourselves in the midst of raging uncertainty and facing a fork in the road that will take us on two distinct paths; one leading to genuine salvation, and the other to epic ruin.
It goes without saying that the fledgling economy is weighing heavily on all of our minds. According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, 2.2 million people have lost their jobs over the past year and in September alone over 159,000 people were laid off. Despite the fact that deregulation of the economy contributed heavily to the current crisis, McCain believes that the economy will heal itself through even fewer regulations, unrestricted trade, and lower taxes on capital and on the rich. Obama on the other hand sensibly proposes a plan pushing for more government oversight, higher trade regulation, and a more equitable taxation system.
McCain would keep all of President Bush’s tax cuts while decreasing the top corporate tax rate from 35 to 25 percent. Obama would decrease taxes for 80 percent of Americans while increasing them for only 10 percent. McCain’s plan would increase the bottom 20 percent of the population’s after-tax income by 0.2 percent while the top 1 percent would enjoy a 2.2 percent increase in wealth. In contrast, Obama’s plan would increase the bottom 20 percent of the population’s after-tax income by 5.4 percent while decreasing the top 1 percent of the population’s wealth by 8 percent.
The statistics speak for themselves; McCain proposes a continuation of President Bush’s failed economic policies while Obama proposes new measures that will decrease taxes for most Americans while increasing their purchasing power. McCain’s economic plan is worse than throwing more fuel onto the fire; it’s like cramming more enriched uranium into a thermonuclear warhead and detonating it over Wall Street. In these dire economic times, is it wise to make a man who admits that “economics is not something he understands” president of the United States?
Despite our nation’s economic woes, the War on Terror will likely prove to be the defining issue of our time. We know why we are in Afghanistan but we still don’t understand why President Bush lied to us to justify invading Iraq. For a while we thought we had fixed Afghanistan only to see the Taliban resurrected. The Bush Administration likes to paint the Middle East black and white and equates war protest with contempt for the American soldier. McCain wields this same rhetoric to strike at Obama’s foreign policy and sense of patriotism. He berates Obama for proposing a gradual withdrawal plan from Iraq, saying that a premature departure would mean “conceding defeat” while he himself offers no sound victory plan or exit strategy. McCain fears that an American withdrawal would cause Iraq to explode into civil war, destabilizing the region; however, the Iraq War already is a civil war with sectarian conflict causing most of the violence. Obama calls for a “responsible withdrawal” of American forces from Iraq within 16 months of taking office that would compel the Iraqi government to make good of its promises. Under Obama’s plan, a residual force would remain behind to protect the American embassy, hunt Al-Qaeda, and train the Iraqi army. This would free up more troops to relieve our beleaguered forces in Afghanistan and ensure victory on both fronts. Obama offers us a plan to finally resolve the blunder that has cost us over 4,600 valiant American lives and nearly $700 billion. McCain’s idea of change is to offer us more of the same.
Before we enter the voting booth, we should ask ourselves what kind of country we want to live in. Has America reached its zenith? Is the status quo the best we can do? Or will America learn from its errors and pursue a brighter destiny as an emblem of peace and prosperity? The answer to these questions may well rest on the decision we make one week from today.
MICHAEL HOWER would like to encourage all economics majors to send their used textbooks to 241 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20510. Please send any questions about shipping and handling to firstname.lastname@example.org.