They're fairly typical of their parties. John McCain, the Republican, basically believes in markets and in keeping government out of them. 'I'm always for less regulation,' he told the Wall Street Journal last March. In 1995, after the Republicans won control of Congress, he proposed a moratorium on all federal regulations. Yesterday he called for 'major reform' in the existing system of regulation and to 'bring transparency and accountability' to Wall Street. His running mate, Governor Sarah Palin, quoted Ronald Reagan the other day saying 'government isn't always the answer. In fact, too often government is the problem.'
Barack Obama, the Democrat, generally follows his party. He's called for regulating investment and mortgage brokers the way commercial banks are. And he'd set up a government commission to monitor threats to the financial system and report to the President and Congress. Oddly enough, the New York Times reports that Obama has raised more Wall Street money than McCain by about three million dollars, quoting the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics. Maybe the Street wants more government? Hard to imagine.
Anyway, the campaign now has a real issue to debate. No more talk about whether hockey moms wear lipstick, whether McCain is reckless or Obama effete. We have real problems these days and we should encourage the candidates to speak to them.
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