Does Obama understand the economy?

Maybe not a crystal ball, but certainly a degree of accurate foresight.

Judge for yourself indeed.

What legislation has Senator Obama introduced to deal with the current problems of the economy? Since, as you mentioned, he has had a “long time” to do so.


Aye . . . If only they weren’t Chicago-School economists! :eek:

He was a law professor. Not that that is not a good preparation for the presidency – it is especially encouraging, after the past eight years of “unitary executive” lawlessness, that he was a professor of constitutional law – but any exposure to economics would be incidental.

Barack Obama’s Record

Housing: In the U.S. Senate, Obama introduced the STOP FRAUD Act to increase penalties for mortgage fraud and provide more protections for low-income homebuyers, well before the current subprime crisis began.

Predatory Lending: In the Illinois State Senate, Obama called attention to predatory lending issues. Obama sponsored legislation to combat predatory payday loans, and he also was credited with lobbying the state to more closely regulate some of the most egregious predatory lending practices.

Ah. So it is your allegation that the primary reason for the current economic conditions is mortgage fraud?

And I am afraid your link doesn’t work.


Just erase the quote marks at the end.

Not to speak for Shayna, but I believe your question was what legislation was introduced to deal with the current problems of the economy. I do not recall that the primary reason – by the way, economic systems tend to be rather complex, so trying to boil down one cause for the current crisis is in my opinion a fool’s errand–for the current economic crisis was the topic of discussion.

Slateaddresses this question indirectly. Democrats, as a whole, are better for the economy than Republicans.

The question is if Barack Obama will be better for the economy, but it sounds like the case has to be made why he WON’T be better for the economy.

My personal beef with Obama is that (I think) he gets it, with ‘it’ being the general way forward in terms of economic levers that foster growth, employment, higher living standards for Americans, etc.

But unfortunately, he parses his words and takes the opposite side of arguments that sound like cognitive dissonance. Then he panders to his base.

Two examples quickly come to mind.

The first was in a debate with Hillary that was moderated by Charles Gibson. Gibson challenged him on higher marginal tax rates for personal income, basically citing solid historical evidence that the Laffer curve exists in practice. In other words, lower marginal tax rates actually INCREASE government revenue on the top end, due to increased incentives to work and invest. Hooray! I thought. Here’s an actual intelligent economic point being raised during a debate, instead of just standard soundbite politics.

Obama fumbled the question pretty badly. He actually, sort-of, kind-of, admitted that Gibson was right, but then sort-of said he didn’t care. His objective was to bring the top closer to the bottom, even if it meant destroying wealth. This has been debated on other SDMB threads. And those weren’t his exact words I know, but I sure think that’s what he was trying to say.

The second is his stance on free trade (or protectionism). I can’t believe he is against free trade in his heart. I just can’t. He seems too damn smart for that. But he panders and panders to the union base, the environmentalists, etc. And we had that little sideshow with one of his advisors doing the nudge-nudge, wink-wink with Canada when Obama came out against NAFTA.

So that’s what bugs me about his economic policies. I actually think he gets it. Probably more so than McCain. But for God’s sake, stand up and say it and have some spine to explain why you are saying it to your left-wing constituents.

Or else say that you get it, but you don’t care, because you are a Socialist at heart. Pick one or the other. Right now I’m confused as hell, so I have to go with the guy who at least has some discernable track record on smaller government and freer markets.

In context of the NYT article, that quote was about education, not economy.

Also, what other campaigns has he worked for? Has he worked for a Republican campaign? If he’s only worked for Democrats, that’s a fairly damning statement to them. If he hasn’t worked for other campaigns, then it is completely worthless statement.

McCains economic adviser called Americans afraid of the future economic problems whiners. He was called Enron Loophole Gramm for his part in legislation that made the Enron debacle possible. His wife soon was on the board at Enron. Then he is responsible for the legislation that gutted Glass/Steagall which was passed after the depression to stop deposit banks from speculating. he is stepping back now due to the crash he helped cause. But trusting him shows how out of touch McCain is.
Obama has a pretty clean slate. He says the right things but we will not know if he can stand up to the powerful until he actually does it. I hope so.

A fair point. I am unaware of any legislation that Obama introduced to deal with the lending crisis.

On the other hand, the job of the executive is to assemble a competent team, review information and make sound decisions. This is the “executive experience” that everyone has been on about. And it seems to me that on Iraq, on Pakistan, and now on this lending crisis, Obama has been publicly right and prescient about the major things that we are speaking about as challenges to the executive branch in the next 4-8 years. And the best part is that these are simple, logical realizations that do not require secret information or specialized knowledge. They just need openness, free debate, and rational thought. This speaks well of him.

UofC law alum here–the alumni magazine I got yesterday in the mail has Obama on the cover and the lead article is “How UofC is Barack Obama?” The conclusion is that we first need to debate what it means to be UofC, which could take awhile, before we can answer this secondary question.

The UofC law school is the home of “Law and Economics.” Even though Obama didn’t teach it, it permeates the school–there are plenty of cross-appointments of economists who teach in the law school. While the exposure would be incidental, it would be incidental in a fundamentally more major way than anywhere else.

Did I say that?

Exactly my problem with him as well. I think Obama is the master at saying whatever his current audience wants to hear. Or saying things in such a way that the listener hears what they want to hear. It’s how he can make a speech that appeals to the usual crowd here on the SD AND to the center, to libertarians and even to some conservatives…because they are all parsing his words in their own terms and getting out of it completely different messages.

Personally I think Obama is MUCH smarter than McCain across the board…including on the economy (though as a poster up thread noted he’s no expert). And as others noted I think Obama will pick a very good command team to advise him. My problem is what he will really do with it…because like you I’m confused by his message, since it seems to promise everything to everyone (except the Evil Rich™ seemingly), and that is flat out impossible and contradictory.

I have to say I disagree with you here, if by the end you mean McCain. Listening to his speeches he is worse than Obama from my own free market perspective. He really talks about the same kinds of bullshit, at least in the speeches I’ve heard. Granted, like Obama, onces he’s elected he may move to whatever his REAL position is (in theory a fiscally conservative one in McCain’s case), but thats not what he seems to be saying when I listen to him talk.

Frankly I think regardless of who wins we are in for tough times with either of these guys…and I seriously doubt that (from my perspective) either will be more than marginally better than the other one. If either of them do half of what they say they are going to do in their campaign speeches I’m thinking they will certainly wound the goose that lays the golden egg…perhaps fatally. Hopefully I’m fretting about nothing here, but I’m getting an uneasy feeling about both candidates…especially in light of 8 years of mis-management by Bush that they will be following.


That doesn’t surprise me. My daughter has a degree in economics from U of C, and it pervades everything there. Hell, I’ve published two economics-based papers just from the second hand contact. (Not in economics journals.)

IdahoMauleMan, our experience in the last seven years of increasing income inequality has been a disaster on the demand side, so your supply side dogma does not appear to match reality.

The most impressive thing about his economic advisors, though, is that they seem to span a wide range of opinions, including some of the more traditional Chicago school ones. A president who will listen to opposing opinions and feels he can the smarts and analytical ability to pick one is the one I want. That’s sorely lacking in the current Administration.

It should also be mentioned that he worked in the financial industry during his senior year at Columbia.

I think being in for tough times is a given. I can see Bush saying the fundamentals are strong, since he has to cheerlead while Pauson does the real work, but McCain?

One thing to consider. Since we will have a Democratic Congress, which is at least a bit more assertive than it used to be, most of McCain’s economic initiatives would be DOA. I don’t see any way there will be more high end tax cuts, for instance. I know some people think a do-nothing government is best, but we’re kind of in a jam now, and it would be useful for some remedies to be passed with a minimum of bickering.

And of course Obama says what people want to hear. He is a politician.

You are assuming here that Obama’s remedies would be good. I don’t make that assumption. If he makes good on the majority of the promises I’ve heard in his speeches I think it will be…very bad.

In fact, my thought is that it’s a GOOD thing that, if elected, McCain will be blocked somewhat by a hostile congress…and a BAD thing that Obama, if elected, will not be. Of course, I may be being overly pessimistic…maybe once elected Obama will put together a really kick ass command team and do the right things. This will piss off the lefties (even if he takes the middle course between economic liberalism and economic conservatism), but it could happen. Guess we’ll see…


Care to make an argument for that?