I am glad that they brought in Jim Lehrer, an anchor from PBS, to do the first presidential debate. I liked that he tried to get the candidates to talk to each other instead of over each other. I have not finished watching the debate, yet, but I would like to take a moment to comment on some of the things I have heard thus far.
McCain, again and again, favors accountability in the government. He criticized Obama for pork-barrel spending in the United States. My favorite quote was McCain saying, “I have a fundamental belief in the goodness and strength of the American worker.” Now, McCain accused Obama of 983 million in pork-barrel spending. I am not sure of the truth or falseness of this, but I do know that this shows one of the “fundamental differences” between McCain and Obama. In this sense, I agree strongly with McCain that the government needs to be spending. I would, however, suggest that all people go to factcheck after they watch anything as mangled as the presidential debates to get the facts checked. There were a number of errors including when McCain said that earmarks had tripled over the last five years (they have actually decreased). As I have said in other places, I believe it should be primarily up to the states when deciding how taxpayer money should be spent. There is no way that McCain or Obama, sitting in the oval office, could know what is best for all states at all times. This is why I am a proponent of stripping federal income tax and raising state tax. This puts great pressure on governors to appropriate money collectively and forces presidents to work more closely in conjunction with state governors. This also takes power out of lobbyist hands to take money from all states and use it for special pet projects.
Obama again and again came back to the idea that people on Main Street can’t pay their mortgage. As a Christian thinker, I have written a number of posts on the need for Christians to think more deeply about these types of economic issues. I will not got into great detail here about this, but I would like to point out a few things. If people helped each other on a local level everyone benefits. For instance, Obama points out that people can’t pay mortgages and makes the comments that people need money to “buy a computer for their kid” or pay for more gas. Instead of such absurdity, I argue that if a family is foreclosed on in a neighborhood, the neighbors should take in this struggling family.
Let me explain the way the economics work on this: A family has lost their house and must declare bankruptcy. This family has nowhere to go, so another family takes them in. They begin paying a small amount of rent to the family that takes them in from liquidating their assets and house. This family now has four incomes instead of two entering into the house. Let’s say, for instance, that the family that takes them in has a four bedroom house with three kids. The family that is being foreclosed on has two kids. You take one of the kids out of one of the rooms and put the parents in there. You move that kid into one of the other rooms, and the other two kids move into the room with the other student.
In other words, each set of parents have their own room, two children share a room, and the other three kids also share a room. But now, everyone has more money to spend because they spending less on a mortgage, and you have the option of ridesharing and you have a natural environment where the kids can help each other with their homework. It is a winning situation for everyone.
Yes. A kid may have to sleep on the ground, but isn’t a bed a luxury anyways? Most people in the world don’t have a proper mattress. It is time that America began realizing that sometimes luxury is luxury. If everything is shared everybody gains and the corporate world loses out because less furniture is being purchased, less computers are being purchased, less loans are being made, and more people have more money. I know this a bit extreme and goes the American ideals of comfort and space, but they are ideas that we have to begin to consider when financial hard times befall us.