Democrat presidential contenders both want change for the country; and this campaign mantra seems to be appealing to many Americans, at least during the primary season.
However on those few occasions when Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama make even small attempts to explain their disingenuous claims to make the country better through the vague concept of change, it looks like anything they succeed in doing will be paid for by those among us that work for a living.
As the country strives to recover from a sluggish economy, both Clinton and Obama want to spend billions of dollars to "rescue" homeowners and the "jobless"; those we used to call the "unemployed". But Democrats can’t use that term now because it may remind people that our unemployment figures are actually quite low so it’s hard to justify spending still more money to support the sound bites and chase this impossible dream. Clinton said "a new job retraining program is needed", ignoring the billions of dollars already spent on repeated "job retraining" programs for the last several decades.
Clinton wants us to address job insecurity and said the government needed to take more responsibility for helping displaced workers. I’m sure if pressed Hillary can find some constitutional provision to support this additional authority to give the federal government.
"Our government is more focused on how you lost your job than how you can find a new one," Clinton said. "And while we have been rightly focused on trying to help people who are out of work, there's been too little thought and effort to help people gain new skills while they still have their existing jobs." Mrs. Clinton seems to have been in a different world for some years if she actually believes what she is saying, but then a Clinton never let facts stand in the way of assuring people he or she "feels their pain".
Although Hillary does not believe in preemptive military strike, that doesn’t apply to spending programs. She is promoting a "pre-emptive training initiative" to allow workers "concerned about potential threats to their jobs" to receive grants to help transition into other industries. Since few jobs are assured for life, apparently everyone could qualify for such a program.
Not to be outdone in proposed spending, Obama came up with more ways to revise the government into a more controlling behemoth than already exists. Obama laid out six different areas where he would strengthen regulations of the financial system. He said "outdated government regulations have fallen dangerously behind the realities of modern finance". Many of us were not aware that Obama was such an expert on governmental regulations or of finance.
"We do American business — and the American people — no favors when we turn a blind eye to excessive leverage and dangerous risks," Obama said. This is an interesting statement in view of his firm belief that it is necessary to help homeowners who themselves turned "a blind eye to excessive leverage and dangerous risks" when they imprudently took low interest variable interest loans to buy houses.
The economic setbacks of recent months, Obama argued, "show hardships long felt by middle class Americans had now spread everywhere". Then Obama issued some of his famous statements that sound good but mean nothing; among which are:
"Pain trickles up" (?).
"If we can extend a hand to banks on Wall Street, we can extend a hand to Americans who are struggling."
McCain’s plan for the economy "amounts to little more than watching this crisis happen."
Obama also said what he would do if he wins the presidency (to which we might say God help us). According to Obama the next president should:
"Expand oversight to any institution that borrows from the government."
"Toughen capital requirements for complex financial instruments like mortgage securities", and
"Streamline regulatory agencies to end overlap and competition among regulators."
Of course Obama did not detail how the different agencies should be organized or exactly how the government should go about overseeing bank executives, though it is likely he expects the Federal Reserve to assume a greater role than it has thus far in dictating bank activities. Also evidently ignored by his audience and the news media is the enormous expansion of government that would be required to extend such federal oversight over the private sector in order to implement these proposals.
As he did on the Letterman show recently, McCain had a good retort to the vague Democrat proposals: "There is a tendency for liberals to seek big government programs that sock it to American taxpayers while failing to solve the very real problems we face."