If the 2008 election went the other way...
Say, John McCain had won, would the current environment in the country be any different?
I say there would be minor differences, but the big things would be much the same.
We'd still be at war
We'd still have a financial crisis
We'd still have a lot of finger pointing & blame-storming.
July 8th, 2010 10:10am
There'd be major differences.
There would have been no jobs bill. More banks would have been allowed to fail. There would be no financial reform bill. There'd be more soldiers in Iraq and Afganistan.
There'd be no health-care bill, private insurance would have gone up more than 30%, especially for individuals.
There'd have been two more conservatives on the Supreme Court -- Separation of Church and State would be questioned, Abortion rights found unconstitutional.
The Bush tax cuts would have been made permanent. The conservatives would NOT be howling about further deficits, which would have topped 1.8 Trillion with no end in sight. Perhaps we would have bombed Iran by now.
Unemployment would be heading toward 20%. Foreclosures would be swelling the ranks of the homeless. The cut-off of unemployment payments would be swelling the ranks of the homeless.
Read "The Grapes Of Wrath", that's what it would look like.
July 8th, 2010 10:15am
By now, we might even have been creating new Hoovervills.
July 8th, 2010 10:15am
I don't think that more banks would have been allowed to fail, but otherwise it's probably close.
July 8th, 2010 10:21am
The anti-missle installation in Turkey would not have been disbanded, leading to additional tensions between ourselves and Russia.
July 8th, 2010 10:31am
>Read "The Grapes Of Wrath", that's what it would look like.
That's pretty much what it is *GOING* to look like in a year or two.
The peak of the depression didn't happen til about 4 years after 1929. We're still only ~3 years after the housing crisis. We've had our first dip, and the upturn, just like happened after 1929. Now we're just awaiting the second dip.
McCain would have made little difference either way. No healthcare bill, of course. Iran: well, it's external matters that's holding the US back from an invasion, not the choice of candidate. Jobs bill? Stimulus? Yep, McCain would have done that too.
July 8th, 2010 10:36am
Depression/grapes of wrath was both a financial crisis, and an ecological crisis.
Poor farming technique meant the topsoil blew away.
July 8th, 2010 10:43am
That's because Herbert Hoover was in office from 1929 to 1933, letting the "free market" handle the depression, while things got worse and worse.
This time, we had Bernanke as head of the Federal Reserve Board (in fact, this time we HAD a Federal Reserve Board) who had been a student of the Great Depression. So he's not repeating ANY of the mistakes of the Hoover administration.
And we have Obama in office, taking on the Roosevelt role of preserving the banks and "priming the pump", BEFORE things have gotten to the 15-year long Depression tragedy scenario.
One thing we agree on -- this is an EXCELLENT test of Keynesian Economics. If Keynes is right, two years from now we'll be in pretty good shape. If Keynes was wrong, two years from now will be the depth of the New Depression.
I think Keynes was right, personally.
July 8th, 2010 10:43am
* It would still be the Republicans fault.
* Abortion would still be legal.
* No Heath Insurance corporate welfare mandate - that part would be different.
July 8th, 2010 10:44am
"Poor farming technique meant the topsoil blew away"
Good think we don't have any oil spills or giant earth-destroying methane bubbles.
July 8th, 2010 10:46am
In fact, if McCain/Palin had won, it would be almost EXACTLY what happened in 1928 when Hoover got 4 years to do nothing but "let the free market work".
July 8th, 2010 10:57am
I think large scale infrastructure projects like FDR did would have been a reasonable thing to do. There are some obvious ones that are desperately needed, such as 100 new nuclear plants including breeder reactors to process waste from other reactors, and a nationwide network of high speed electric trains.
There was a small movement in this direction, some long term studies and plans and proposals, and approval of a couple plants as long as they are built with obsolete nuclear technology belonging to political donors.
There was also trillions and trillions given to bankers. That money is gone and was completely wasted.
July 8th, 2010 11:12am
July 8th, 2010 11:18am
Remember how FDR employed a bunch of people to make a bunch of useful stuff? And remember how that really helped out the economy? Yeah, Obama isn't doing that.
July 8th, 2010 11:19am
cc beat me to it and said it better.
July 8th, 2010 11:20am
Yeah, Obama is using 800 Billion dollars to do that, AND being criticized for it at the same time "because it's not needed and costs too much". AND saving several states from cutting teachers because of the money the Federal Government is putting into their budgets.
And now YOU criticize him for not doing it, even as he IS doing it. Isn't that the sort of thing the Tea-Party does?
July 8th, 2010 11:22am
News to me that he's got an infrastructure jobs program going. I guess I missed it.
July 8th, 2010 11:25am
Yeah, in Maryland we're FINALLY going to get the "ICC", the "Inter-County-Connector", being built with Federal Funds. It's big. Hard to overlook.
July 8th, 2010 11:27am
So why isn't this being loudly proclaimed? Because things like that are the way out of this mess.
Like I've been saying.
July 8th, 2010 11:29am
that sounds like a tiny local project and not at all like a nation wide network of electric trains and 100 new nuclear power plants.
July 8th, 2010 11:33am
July 8th, 2010 11:33am
July 8th, 2010 11:36am
You'll note that a lot of the "shovel-ready" projects were really stuff like re-habbing federal office buildings.
I blame a lack of vision in Congress. They had a bunch of money to spend and didn't look very far for somewhere to send it. "Hey - the USDA office in my district could probably need an extreme makeover..."
July 8th, 2010 11:41am
"$46 billion for transportation and mass transit projects."
that seems kind of small in light of the trillions and trillions given to bankers which is gone and was completely wasted.
also, i didnt see anything about the 100 new nuclear power plants that we desperately need.
ooh, and lets not forget the money being wasted on illegal unwinnable wars.
July 8th, 2010 11:41am
And, what people forget, was that when FDR came IN to office, we had 20% unemployment, bank failures, NO FDIC, NO Fannie-Mae, NO Federal Reserve Board.
The ONLY way he could get the country back to work was to have the Federal Government hire them with the Civilian Conservation Corp.
AND the Supreme Court found his measures Socialist, and unconstitutional, and kept shutting down the public spending Roosevelt was trying to use to jump-start the economy.
So, sure, if McCain had been President for 4 years, and we had 20% unemployment, THEN we would need the Federal Government to become the employer of choice until private industry could get going again. As it is, Obama is trying to do just enough to get over this employment hump -- and the Republicans are STILL saying "No!" to everything he does.
And he's succeeding. GM and Ford are out of bankruptcy, we haven't had the widespread failure of large financial institutions, unemployment is dropping (if slowly), people are staying in their homes -- what could have been the precursor to yet another Great Depression scenario has turned into a "recession we're digging ourselves out of".
July 8th, 2010 11:45am
>that seems kind of small in light of the trillions and
>trillions given to bankers which is gone and was completely
Yes, this is why what is being practised isn't really a test of keynesian economics. $1400 billion spent on transportation, schools, etc. etc. etc. Yes, I could maybe see that working.
$700 billion given to banks to encourage them to lend? $300 (was it 300?) odd billion for the car companies to encourage them to continue to make crappy cars? $45 billion on transportation? This may help, but it won't help much.
July 8th, 2010 11:52am
It's quite possible that Palin would be president of the United States today (McCain illness due to the stress of being president).
July 8th, 2010 12:05pm
If the banks had actually used that money to lend, it could have been a force multiplier.
Unfortunately, new regulations about sub-prime loans plus the banks being spooked about lending to people (all because the risk of repayment was unquantifiable) meant they sat on the money.
If the money had been spent on infrastructure, then the construction companies would have applied for short-term loans, and the banks would have been more likely to approve those loans because the risk of default was lower (because the feds were the source of funds)
July 8th, 2010 12:19pm
you are correct, the present is largely a function of what you did in the past.
July 8th, 2010 12:57pm
> quite possible that Palin would be president of the United States today
July 8th, 2010 1:34pm
There wouldn't be any major changes, just people would be pointing to the Republicans and Bush as the cause of everything still, instead of defending Obama by saying he just inherited with Bush fucked up.
Both of them are two sides of the same coin.
July 8th, 2010 1:52pm