Are You Better Off ...?
Monday September 22, 2008
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On the night of October 28, 1980 Ronald Reagan finished the one and only debate against the incumbent President Jimmy Carter by saying this:
Next Tuesday all of you will go to the polls [to make a decision]. I think, when you make that decision, it might be well if you asked yourself: Are you better off than you were four years ago?
No one was better off in 1980 than they had been at a similar time in 1976 when Democratic Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter narrowly beat the incumbent-but-unelected Republican President, Gerald Ford.
Given the total collapse of the American financial/credit system over the past few months, it is not surprising that Sen. Barack Obama has stolen that line from Ronald Reagan (an irony which has gone all but unnoticed by the ever-vigilant national press corps).
National Democrats were all over TV this weekend blaming Wall Street's problems on the Administration of George W. Bush. John McCain blamed the chairman of the Security and Exchange Commission Chris Cox.
The McCain campaign, instead of blaming Cox, should be looking to McCain's Democratic colleagues on Capitol Hill.
Two years ago, the Democrats, with great fanfare and much spiteful mirth, took control of both the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate promising great changes and great advances.
Are you better off �?
Just to review the bidding. On January 5, 2007 (just about the time Nancy Pelosi and her cronies took control of the House):
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at about 12,400.
That was then. This is now:
- The New York-based Conference Board said its consumer confidence index was at 110.3.
- The Bureau of Labor Statistics had the unemployment rate at 4.6%
- According to CNN gasoline a gallon of gasoline, in January 2007, averaged about $2.20.
- Last Thursday at about 1 pm Eastern, the Dow had hit a bottom of about 10,500 before Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson and the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke intervened. That is a drop of about 15% in the Dow from two years ago.
- The Conference Board's latest take on the pulse of consumer confidence had it at a very thready 56.9 in August - a drop of about 48%
- The unemployment rate in August was reported at 6.1% by the BLS an increase of 33%.
Gasoline prices are at about $3.70 a whopping 68% jump.
Rep. Barney Frank (D-Ma) and Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Ct) took control of the House and Senate Banking Committees.
The McCain campaign should be pointing the finger where it belongs: On the appalling lack of oversight exhibited by the Democrat-controlled Congress of the United States.
According to the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress:
Rep. George Miller (D-Ca) and Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Ma) took over their respective Labor Committees.
Rep. John Dingell (D-Mi) and Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) became chairs of the Energy Committees.
"Throughout its history, Congress has engaged in oversight of the executive branch - the review, monitoring, and supervision of the implementation of public policy."
The U.S. Congress takes its oversight responsibility seriously. So seriously that it found time to hold hearings into whether baseball players were using "performance enhancing" substances. I am not chiding the Congress over that, but using it as an example of how wide and deep is the Congress' reach.
So, in the nearly two years since the Democrats have taken control of the Congress what have they been spending their time on? Largely trying to find some way to maneuver Karl Rove into a situation where they can accuse him of ignoring a Congressional subpoena so they can vote a criminal charge of Contempt of Congress.
It should be a criminal offense for anyone not to hold this Congress in contempt.
Memo to the McCain campaign: Have the candidates and all your surrogates repeat this question at every stop:
Are you better off than you were TWO years ago?
On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to the Wikipedia entry on Congressional oversight, a link to a short report on that 1980 Reagan/Carter debate and a link to the video of Reagan asking the question. Also a Mullfoto of an interesting license plate and a very unusual two-part Catchy Caption of the Day.
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