Views from elsewhere in Tennessee
Posted: Friday, October 3, 2008 10:28 pm
The following is a roundup of recent editorials from Tennessee members of The Associated Press. In some cases, the editorials have been edited for length. They do not reflect an editorial position of the AP but represent the opinions of the newspapers from which they are taken.
The Commercial Appeal, Memphis; Sept. 29
Perhaps the Oct. 7 debate in Nashville will provide more separation, but neither John McCain nor Barack Obama, despite the opportunity they had Friday night at the University of Mississippi, has managed to show which man can best lead the country through its economic crisis.
Neither presidential candidate questions the Bush administration’s apocalyptic economic forecast or the supposed remedy that was finally being defined on Sunday: the immediate purchase of $250 billion in troubled assets from financial firms, potentially rising to as much as $700 billion.
In a debate that focused primarily on foreign policy, Obama urged moving “swiftly” and “wisely” on the economic bailout. The Illinois Democrat endorsed emerging themes such as strict Congressional oversight, greater regulation, the return of any gains from the investment to taxpayers and CEO pay limits.
Would McCain support the deal being hammered out in Washington as the candidates one-upped each other in Oxford? “Sure,” the Arizona Republican replied. “But … let me point out, I also warned about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and warned about corporate greed and excess, and CEO pay, and all that. A lot of us saw this train wreck coming.”
It may take some time for voters to sort out which candidate has the skills to lead the economic recovery. The connections made by Obama between foreign policy issues such as spending on the war and the economy at home may resonate with some, as will his plan to lower taxes for the middle class and return tax rates to their pre-Bush era levels for people who earn over $250,000. McCain’s emphasis on government spending will strike a chord with others. …
But the debate had a more civil tone than the campaign so far. And McCain came across as a bit more settled after a frenetic week backtracking from his earlier diagnosis of a fundamentally strong economy, “suspending” his campaign to deal with the crisis and capturing the nation’s attention with a threat not to show up in Oxford.
The debate did not have a winner, unless it was the University of Mississippi, which managed the affair admirably and took advantage of its opportunity to showcase its progress. The event gave voters a better picture of the candidates, but they still have work to do to demonstrate clearly where they will lead the country on its economic journey.
On the Net: http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2008/sep/29/editorials-still-lo oking-fo
The Jackson Sun; Sept. 28
The government bailout of Wall Street is roundly unpopular with average Americans. And who can blame them? Creating a soft landing for Wall Street bankers while the general public nosedives into financial oblivion is distasteful. But what people must understand is that the bailout is about more than Wall Street. It also is about Main Street.
There was much debate about provisions in the bailout legislation to help people keep their homes. There was also a lot of talk about making sure corporate executives didn’t do their own bailout with golden parachutes paid for by taxpayers. These were important measures.
The bailout helps protect the jobs and personal investments of millions of Americans. If the investment banks and other financial institutions had been allowed to fail under normal free market conditions, it would have sent far greater shudders throughout the economy.
By Friday afternoon, commercial bank lending had nearly ground to a halt, the banking system clogged with unsalable mortgage investments and uncertainty. The stock market teetered, threatening a precipitous drop if Congress couldn’t come up with a bailout plan.
Without the bailout, countless companies would have failed. Perhaps millions of jobs would have been lost. Individual savings and pension investments would have become worth a fraction of their previous values. Without jobs, most Americans are only weeks away from financial disaster because Americans save so little of their incomes for emergencies.
The domino effect would take only a few weeks or months until millions of people were affected and the country slid into a serious recession. That is no way to prove the point of market forces when an alternative such as the Wall Street bailout is available.
The bailout might be distasteful to the majority of Americans, but not as distasteful as the alternative would have been. Even with the bailout, there is no guarantee of financial calm.
There is still plenty of financial risk left in the system. It will take a steady hand in Washington, along with sensible new federal financial oversight to bring the economy back onto an even keel. That will take years, not months. It will also take a change of consumer, political and financial market behavior.
On the Net: http://www.jacksonsun.com/apps/pecs.dll/article?AID/20080928/OPINIO N/809280