For every week until the election in November, the AS Review will feature a hot-topic in the presidential and governor’s race and each candidates attitudes and opinions. We’ll be your guide to the elections and help you be a more educated voter. Enjoy each week reading our election series.
Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, independents, Libertarians, and everyone in-between lost in the world of American politics have their eyes on the state of our economy and they all have their own ideas of what to do with it. But where do the candidates actually stand?
Complicated best describes the state of America’s current economy, says Evan Fowler, the president of Western’s American Campaign Transparency. WWU’s ACT aims to spread awareness of the current state of America’s dysfunctional federal campaign finance system.
How did America get to this place that many call “The Great Recession?”
“I am a political science and economics major, so I think about this stuff a lot,” says Jered McCardle, associate director for the Associated Students Representation and Engagement Programs.
Even though the exact reasoning and origin of America’s financial crisis stems from, economists and analysts attribute today’s society to globalization, education, our massive debt and government overregulation/under regulation of certain areas and entities, says Fowler.
While the origins of our financial crisis go as far back as the Reagan administration, the major tipping point was the bursting of the housing bubble in 2008 and 2009.
Building houses, the housing market and relators is a much larger part of the economy than perceived, says McCardle. These industries affect where people live, where people spend money on their taxes, where people spend money to buy the house and is the foundation for thousands of jobs. The housing bubble, or subprime lending issue, failed when prices surrounding the housing industry got so high, and wages for Americans began to fall.
“The bursting of the housing bubble was simply a symptom of a disease, it was not the disease,” says Fowler.
Now that the economic issue has been established, presidential and governor nominees have detailed how they plan to fix it.
President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney are the two frontrunners of the presidential race, representing the Democratic Party and the Republican Party respectively.
The Democratic Party, along with President Obama, likes to increase spending, increase taxes, regulate in some areas and deregulate in others, says Fowler. These platforms are synonymous with “Big Government.”
President Obama’s stance on the improving America’s economy relies heavily the clean energy and sustainability industries providing more jobs and, overall, more sustainability in the government, says McCardle. President Obama can be considered a Keynesian economist – someone who wants to improve government spending to improve the economy.
In contrast, the Republican Party, along with Mitt Romney, stand for less government regulations and increasing tax revenues, says McCardle. This is more of a classical approach to fixing the economy by believing that businesses and individual people are going to make the best decisions for themselves. With that said, Gov. Romney has not stated a concrete plan as to what he will do with the economy, but he plans to stand close to the Republican Party’s platform.
The Washington state governor’s race is a more interesting race, says Fowler. The two-frontrunner candidates running for governor are Jay Inslee and Rob McKenna – and they have similar stances on economic issues.
Inslee, representing the Democratic Party, has a very grand plan to improve the economy, says Fowler. He wants to create entire new departments in Washington that would oversee the economic vitalization of the Puget Sound, among other ambitious projects.
McKenna on the other hand wants to reduce taxes on small businesses, like Romney. For example, he wants to reduce or eliminate the business and occupation tax (B&O tax), which would affect 118,000 small businesses in Washington.
“Economically speaking, McKenna and Inslee are neck-and-neck…most of their policies are the same” Fowler says.
The economy is something that effects every American differently, so it’s up to them to analyze which plan put forth by a candidate will benefit them the most. Being informed about the parties and the candidates are key to making these decisions, and people just have to choose to be informed.
“It’s really important to educate yourself and be objective because both parties have pluses and minuses, whether social policies or economic policies,” Fowler explains. “It’s just important to be aware that there is a difference between Federal parties, state parties and local parties, and they aren’t all the same and that it’s chaos, basically.”