Being Right – The Incentive of Fear

Olivia Offner

Last week marked the seventh anniversary of September 11, 2001. Liberals like to pretend that our safety since 9/11 has been in spite of, not because of, the policies of the Bush Administration. When any Republican, from Rudy Giuliani to Dick Cheney, so much as mentions 9/11, the Democrats accuse them of “fear-mongering,” of scaring Americans into voting Republican. Maybe the Democrats have learned the power of these supposed “scare tactics,” because the landscape of the 2008 election looks very different than it did in 2004. This time, the “scare tactics” have shifted. But the enemy, as Democrats would have you believe, lives on Wall Street, not in a Middle Eastern desert.

On the anniversary of 9/11, instead of talking seriously about national security, Senators Obama and McCain joined together for an unbelievably theatrical tour of ground zero. McCain has missed an opportunity in the past week to call Obama out on his many national security weaknesses. McCain is weary from months of being ridiculously called the third Bush term by Democrats. He doesn’t want to be compared to Dick Cheney; he doesn’t want to be accused of fear-mongering. Obama has risen to the occasion, and now it is the Democrats who are using “scare tactics” against the American people. And this time, the implications are far worse.

On Sunday, as Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch were on the brink of chapter eleven, John McCain said that although we are facing tough times, he believes the fundamentals of the American economy are strong. Barack Obama immediately pounced on this statement and declared that McCain obviously wasn’t paying attention if he thought our economy was strong. Obama is out there in every stump speech, telling Americans that we are facing terrible times, that we are in a financial crisis, and that this is the worst economy we have seen since the Great Depression. I’m not an expert in economics, and neither are Obama and McCain, but I did take Econ 151, and I know that the fundamentals of the economy are inflation, job growth and unemployment. These figures aren’t at their best, but they are still better than our competitors in Europe and Asia. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is an economics expert, agrees with McCain that the fundamentals of our economy are strong. Obama is simply showing his inexperience. McCain and Bloomberg have been around long enough to know that we’ve been through this before. The economy is on a curve. The markets will self correct.

But Obama knows this is his window. He has been slipping in the polls over the past month and he knows Americans vote Republican when they’re worried about national security and Democrat when they’re worried about the economy. He knows that Bill Clinton won in 1992 on the “It’s the economy, stupid” campaign slogan. But Obama is no Bill Clinton. He’s not even a Hillary Clinton. His only “hope” to win the American public back from Palinmania is to terrify them into voting for him. Instead of “it’s the economy, stupid,” the Obama campaign is going to try and convince Americans that the economy is stupid.

Obama tells voters he has a plan for their financial salvation, but his plan to raise taxes is a sure recipe for disaster. It’s not just a tax on 5 percent of the population. Obama is not just talking about income tax; he wants to raise the capital gains tax, the payroll tax, the death tax and every other kind of tax on the books. If he succeeds, it will be an enormous redistribution of wealth (we all read The Communist Manifesto in CORE 152) and a blow to an already struggling economy. He also wants to impose a windfall tax on corporations. This has been done before, by other socialist-minded politicians. It is clear that corporations don’t really pay taxes, but instead pass them along to the consumers.

I wish I could now extol the amazing economic plan put forth by McCain, but unfortunately, I cannot. John McCain’s tax plan is right; it subscribes to a Reagan-esque idea of trickle down economics. But he is calling for more federal regulation on Wall Street. I think John McCain may have forgotten that he is a Republican. Bigger government is never the answer. This is one of the times that McCain just isn’t conservative enough for me.

When the Republicans used “scare tactics,” at least their intentions were honorable; Al Qaeda was and is a legitimate threat to our safety. The Democrats are now trying to use scare tactics to terrify the American consumer. Americans do not need politicians to stand up and tell us the economy is a disaster. This is a consumer-driven economic downturn. If Americans are terrified that the economy is going to go down the tubes, they aren’t going to spend any money. The last thing we need is for Americans to be afraid to spend money. Then we really will have an economic slowdown and a financial crisis. And that is something to be afraid of.