Sep 302008

From the LA Times

Though Obama said no one person was at fault in the financial crisis and that there was a “lot of blame to spread around,” he urged voters to consider McCain’s record of favoring deregulation of the nation’s financial markets as they weighed which candidate would best steer the nation’s economic “ship into port.”

“With so much at stake — with our economy at risk, our children’s future in the balance — the greatest risk in this election is to repeat the same mistakes of the past,” Obama said. “We can’t take a chance on that same losing game.”

McCain also called for bipartisanship, yet he likewise criticized his rival.

“Sen. Obama and his allies in Congress infused unnecessary partisanship into the process,” McCain said, referring to the failed House vote. He continued: “Now is not the time to fix the blame; it’s time to fix the problem.”

Obama says there is a lot of blame to spread around. OK, let’s start spreading. I blame farm subsidies myself. Maybe not for the whole thing, and not directly, but farm subsidies are somewhere down there at the root of our financial problems — part of the system of pork trading that makes Senator Hayseed vote for big, uncontrolled housing programs for Senator Barney Frank in exchange for his support for pork for the agribusinesses back at Senator Hayseed’s home.

McCain said now is not the time to fix the blame, now is the time to fix the problem. So how do we have the slightest idea what to fix if we don’t know what caused the problem?

Maybe one of the reasons the House defeated Paulson’s $700 billion proposal is that its high-level supporters like Obama and McCain say such stupid things. It indicates a lack of seriousness.

Speaking of ag subsidies and the need to be serious about the financial crisis, one place Paulson could get money would be from a give-back in this year’s $300 billion Farm bill. It included $40 billion in new spending — for an industry that is experiencing better than usual times and prices. $40 is a long way from $700, but that would be a healthy start that would do a lot more than just provide 5.7 percent of the money Paulson is looking for. And why wouldn’t this be a good time to start building down the ag subsidy system anyway? Say cut $40 additional billion in spending. If even the EU is thinking about cutting its subsidy program, why not us?

[edits, 4-Oct]