Tuesday, October 28, 2008

One week to go!

Greg Mankiw links to an article by Swaminathan Aiyar in the Times of India. As he then puts it
If any of my economist friends who are working for Obama wants to defend his positions on ethanol subsidies, tariffs on Chinese goods, the Byrd amendment, etc., shoot me an email, and I will gladly post it for my blog readers. But I am not holding my breath.
This is particularly disturbing in light of this report in Sciencedaily which indicates that, horror of horrors, politicians actually vote as they promise they will:
Candidates’ words generally match their deeds, according to Sulkin. The issues candidates say are priorities in their commercials are likely ones they care about and will take action on through the introduction and co-sponsoring of legislation, she said.

Whether they are vague or specific on an issue doesn’t matter, Sulkin found.
When a candidate attacks an opponent on a given issue, however, it does not mean the attacking candidate cares about that issue or will act on it, Sulkin’s research shows. “Negative appeals, appeals that attack the opponent, don’t have much signaling power about what that candidate is going to do,” she said.
I would still hope that Obama wins the election, simply because American politicians tend to have less power in economic matters than they do in matters of war and peace. Under normal circumstances, therefore, it is better to have an economic xenophobe in office, rather than a trigger-happy militarist.

On the other hand, these are hardly normal times. There is great demand for radical action (more Sarbanes-Oxley?), the legislature does tend to give newly-elected Presidents more freedom of action, the Democrats already control both chambers of the Congress, and, thanks to their support of that man in the White House, the Republicans are deservedly on the run. The normal checks and balances which keep Presidents from doing too much harm are mostly absent.  Jeepers!

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