Who gets the economy?

Special Commentary by Chris Graham

I thought we’d already decided as a nation that the massive federal budget deficits that Reaganomics brought with them were decidedly bad for the economy.

Seems like some of us didn’t get the memo.

“It’s important that we have a president who understands how to get our economy moving again. And when you look at Sen. McCain’s positions on economic security and contrast them with those of Sen. Obama, there are very clear differences. Barack Obama believes that we grow the economy by raising taxes and increasing government spending. That is a formula for disaster. Barack Obama’s economic policies will drive the economy into recession. We don’t grow the economy by raising taxes and spending more on big government,” Virginia Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling said on a conference call with Virginia reporters yesterday, leaving an interesting impression about Obama in so doing.

So Obama is going to raise taxes and increase big-government spending, and that’s the crux of his economic plan. That probably wouldn’t work, if it were Obama’s plan, but what if it actually wasn’t Obama’s plan to raise taxes and increase spending on big government, as Bolling said?

Obama’s economic plan provides a tax cut to working-class and middle-class families and seniors and small-business owners and only triggers increases for individuals making more than $250,000 a year, which is to say, not too many of you reading this Special Commentary today. His fiscal plan, and yes, he has one, though I can’t say that Sen. McCain has one, or that if he did, that it would work, considering, calls for the implementation of pay-as-you-go federal budgeting, the elimination of pork-barrel spending and an overall net reduction in government expenditures.

It’s clear that we need to do something to get our federal budget back into balance. Remember how we used to have those items called balanced budgets back before George W. Bush and congressional Republicans followed the Reagan mantra of cutting taxes for their wealthy benefactors and otherwise spending money like drunken sailors? We can get back there again, and we have to at this point, considering how the profligate spending of the Bush years has pushed our dollar to a point of historic weakness, in turn pushing oil and gas prices through the roof and making foreign goods shipped into our retail markets, which is to say, the vast majority of the stuff that we buy at Wal-Mart, right up there at roof level as well.

“People are hurting. Unemployment rates are up, and inflation rates are up, and job creation is down, and the stock market is not doing well, and gas prices are at all-time highs, and there are a lot of people out there hurting today,” Bolling told reporters yesterday, showing that he at least gets it. Can’t say the same for John McCain, who hysterically can’t even answer the question of how many homes he owns, as if one can somehow be out of touch with such a simple fact and still be able to claim to be in touch with what we out here in the real world are feeling in this economy today.

Just to be clear, I don’t doubt that Bill Bolling is very much in touch with what we’re going through right now. Remember, this is the guy with the best claim to his party’s 2009 gubernatorial nomination who stepped aside in part because he felt it would be a hardship on his family to have to campaign hard for the job for the next year and a half. And I’ll give Bolling credit for something else – he’s a loyal party guy who is giving up his free time to talk up McCain when he would much rather be talking about his buddy Mitt Romney.

But as much as I know that Bolling gets it, I’m just as sure that the guy with the $100 million net-worth wife who doesn’t know how many homes he owns and wears $500 shoes clearly doesn’t.

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