As a college student I was shocked when I aced my math entrance exam. I had scores high enough to attract a professor from the department to wander over to talk me into majoring in something number-related. Sadly, and being 18, I bee lined for the furthest place on campus, even geographically, I could find from a calculator-requiring course: the humanities department.
But the current state of the economy has me thinking. If two thirds of the American economy is driven by consumer spending, how has starving the middle class helped conservatives? Even wealthy conservatives?
The basic argument McCain makes is that Obama is 1) lying about his tax program, and 2) a socialist.
He cites as his example, for the second point, the fact that Obama wants to "spread the wealth around."
Yet I see two problems with McCain's argument right off the bat. One is that, per McCain's tax plan, only still deeper tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans--and the biggest corporations--will create jobs. We've heard this flawed economic policy argued by Bush and it did not work or unemployment would have fallen instead of rising with Bush tax policies.
Even without the coveted economics degree (although economics classes are now available free from Berkeley here and here for anyone interested) you can argue that the middle class plays a bigger role in job creation than the rich do--through consumption. In other words, having your boss get a tax cut so she doesn't eliminate your job will not save your job if your store no longer has customers.
Basic. (And since Bush's economics skewed toward the wealthy and damaged the middle class--not to mention those invisibles below--Obama's plan attempts to correct a damaged system. It seems odd that even David Brooks continues to argue that Obama will create a huge government--meaning by "bigger government" deeper investments in education and long-term infrastructure that many citizens will benefit from--without taking issue with the party that, until quite recently at least, seemed blindly content to indefinitely borrow 10 billion dollars per month on operations in Iraq. Does he not count U.S. investment in Iraq as making government bigger...because it is someone else's government we are making bigger? Will not tax cuts skewed toward the bottom give investors more consumers for the products they are investing in producing--and therefore potentially higher returns on their investment?)
Two, who has John McCain become comfortable speaking to? While a few months or even a year ago, before the burst in the real estate bubble, rightly or wrongly many Americans might have considered themselves wealthy and might have resented the idea that our wealth should be shared. But when you are on the other side of the pie--when it is someone else's pie you are considering, sharing (and pie-sharing ideology) feels more fair, more appealing. Do Senator McCain's advisors think it's coincidental that the socialist party flowered in the United States during the 1930's?
(Or that Calvin Coolidge--who even had his own Katrina--believed government should be limited in its ability to regulate business, and hired a treasure secretary Andrew Melon who enacted radical tax cuts of fifty percent to the wealthiest Americans--left office in 1929?).