Obamanomics: Hope and Fear

Implicit in this article is a concept that I think is at the root of the problem with issues based politics. One must actually understand the issue in order to weigh a candidate’s position on that issue. In the case of this particular article, one must understand micro and macro economics fairly completely in order to dissect each candidate’s economic plan for the future. Most people do not understand economics to this level and instead work on intuition. On the face of it it would seem that taxing the hell out of rich and giving free stuff to the middle class is a great idea. For anyone who views them self as middle class it definitely feels good. The problem is that things are never that simple. There are long term effects that can only be understood through detailed analysis of the policy by those who possess an understanding of the intricacies of, in this case, economics. The same is true regardless of the discipline; foreign policy, domestic policy, etc.
The second half of the problem with issues based politics is that we cannot accurately know what the issues of the next four years will be. In 2000 when we were asked to choose between George Bush and Al Gore terrorism and a burst real estate bubble were not the issues we were basing our decisions upon.
Unfortunately, principles and character do not fit on a bumper sticker. Issues do. And, it is a lot easier to get people emotionally charged over issues. Issues fit on bumper stickers and make great sound bytes. Principles upon which all decisions will be based require that we first understand the principle and then give some contemplation to the ramifications of that principle. That could take more than the 12 and a half seconds that we normally give to contemplating a bumper sticker.

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[posted with ecto]

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