American Elephants


Pre-Election Polls: Positive, Preposterous, or Prophetic?? by The Elephant's Child

On the day before the 2012 election, it’s all polls, questioning the polls, and disagreeing with polls, and arguing the samplings of the polls.

Washington is a very blue state. I may just be driving down the wrong streets, but I am seeing no yard signs at all. There are plenty of local signs in street medians, but no national signs. I did see two Romney signs one day, but they were gone by the next, and I have never seen an Obama sign anywhere. Nobody knows what will happen and we are collectively crossing our national fingers.

The Romney campaign is remaining positive, upbeat, and enthusiastic. Obama seems extremely angry, and is entirely on the attack. His claims about his accomplishments are preposterous, but he believes he can say anything to low-information voters, which he assumes we all are.

I saw a bumper sticker (even those are rare here) at the eye doctor this morning saying “vote Democrat, save Medicare.” Low information voter. Medicare will go belly-up broke, and un-rescueable in 15 years or less. It is running in the red now. We have the time for careful reform but Democrats attack that possibility with sneers of “vouchers.” Excuse me, but what is wrong with a voucher, though that’s not what is on offer? Democrats have no suggestions for reform, but they want everyone on Medicaid anyway. Single-Payer dependent.

The Democrats’ vaunted “War on Women” seems to be entirely over who pays $9 a month for women’s contraceptives. Nobody is suggesting banning contraceptives, that is established law. But conservatives believe that, in our current economy, suggesting that taxpayers take on the cost of contraceptives is absurd. Obama is bragging on the Lilly Ledbetter law, which does nothing for women, but only offers attorneys more work.

Obama is still claiming to have created 5 million jobs, though for every one person added to the labor force since Obama was inaugurated, ten people have been added to those not in the Labor force at all. And no, his record of creating jobs is not better than Bush’s.

The one that really gets to me is one I haven’t seem often refuted. Obama claims that ‘trickle down” or “top down” economics is what caused the financial crisis, with the implication that taxing “the rich” will fix everything.  Romney, he claims, wants to double down on the “top down” economics that “got us in this mess in the first place.” Well just one darn minute. The financial crisis was caused by a continually increasing effort on the part of the government to get more minorities and poor people to own their own homes.

Home-ownership leads to better citizenship, more involved citizens, and was considered a positive effort. The federal government forced banks to make more loans to those who, under standard prudent rules of banking, would not be able to qualify for a loan. Now here’s the important part: What did you think “community organizers” do?

The community organizer with whom we are all somewhat familiar, was engaged in getting poor black minorities to protest at banks, to put pressure on banks to increase their loans. He even took on a court case designed to force banks to make those loans that were against the principles of prudent banking.

Those loans, sold by the banks to Fannie and Freddie were bundled, the slightly bad mixed in with the really bad loans which were sold to investment companies and investors all over the world with the assumption that they were backed with the full faith and credit of the U.S. government, which wasn’t exactly true. It is, of course more complicated than that, but Obama was one of the forces behind the whole financial crisis in the first place, though a small one.

Bush recognized that Fannie and Freddie were heading for trouble and tried over and over , 17 times, to get Congress to rein them in, but Barney Frank, and Chris Dodd, and Nancy Pelosi would have none of it. Fannie and Freddie were just fine, they insisted, and the rest is history.




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