With Nov. 4 less than 30 days away, the Bush administration and both political parties continue to warn of an impending economic crisis. Each candidate provided their initial plans for dealing with the economy during the presidential debate on Sept. 26 but, to be honest, there was a lot of information to take in at once.

To provide those of us who wore blank stares during the debate with a more detailed explanation, AS Productions Civil Controversy (ASPCC) and Western Votes will be hosting a panel titled “Understanding the Proposed Economic Policies of Obama and McCain” at 7 on Oct. 6 in VU 565.

At the event, Vinit Jagdish and Brandon Dupont, professors in the Department of Economics, will speak on each candidate's economic plan for the future and answer questions from the audience members.

Some of the topics that will be discussed include energy policy, health care and tax codes.

Both professors will keep the discussion strictly on economics and stressed that the event is intended to explain Obama and McCain's proposed policies, not to promote them.

“We don't intend for it to be a debate in any way whatsoever. We expect it to be a lot more informational. It's our goal to give information about the candidates' economic policies, not arguments,” Jagdish said.

Dupont noted the need to discuss the current failures on Wall Street and the federal bailouts that have resulted. The original focus of the panel was to present Obama and McCain's general economic policies, but the urgency of current events and the government's recent activity regarding the bailouts will likely shift the conversation toward each senator's solution.

“The initial thought was to talk about tax and spending proposals of each candidate, but I think in some ways we'll have to switch to what's going on in the market right now,” Dupont said.
He also noted that some of the most interesting aspects of this election are the vast differences between Obama and McCain's economic plans. Dupont also wondered how the bailouts would impact and change each candidate's presidency.

“Can we afford Obama's spending or McCain's tax cuts? It will be interesting to see how they update their plans to fit all these new expenses,” Dupont said.

The discussion is part of ASPCC's presidential election series, a group of events hosted on campus prior to Nov. 4 in order to promote awareness about the presidential election. ASPCC will be hosting a panel on Oct. 14. “Opposition to America's Leading Political Parties: Protesting the 2008 DNC and RNC” will provide testimony from all sides of the protests including students, media officials, and the protestors themselves. Admission is free and the event will be hosted from 7-8:30 in VU 565.

ASPCC coordinator Helen Jones and assistant coordinator Charles Walker believe that now is an important time for students to tune in to politics and the economy. With so much on the line for young people across the country, Jones and Walker hope that many will become interested in learning about where their money will go.

“We're college students. We can scrape by. But the reality is, when you graduate you're out in the real world. The economy is what the youth and people everywhere are worried about. Economics trumps all,” Walker said.

“Those of us in college are going to be the ones making the decisions in the future,” Jones added.

Like Jones, Dupont hopes that many students will participate and continue to be a part of America's economic conversation.
“If you've never been interested in economics, these last two weeks should snap you into paying attention. Students at Western and those across the nation are the people who will deal with these problems 20 to 30 years down the road. There will be a long-term impact on young people,” said Dupont.