Your political homework, done for you — Part 1: the economy

UPDATE: It looks like the feds have finally figured out how to do something big to get their hands around the current economic crisis. As far as this post goes, I’ve had big deadlines looming all this week and there’s been little time for editing what I write, which is pretty apparent. Most importantly, I got the links at the bottom of this post wrong. They send you to the National Journal’s general pages on McCain and Obama, which is useful in its own way, but what I really meant was to direct you to the NJ’s analyses of John McCain’s positions on the economy and Barack Obama’s positions on the economy.

While Wall Street has had a collective freakout this week — not to mention the reaction among foreign investors — as a result of Lehman, Merrill Lynch, AIG, et al., there was a bright spot to be seen through the clouds. And I’ve got an even brighter source of light for you.

That bright spot in the clouds was a return to talking about the issues in the race for president of the United States — in this case, specifically, the economy. It has been so good to hear John McCain and Barack Obama say something approaching substance. I can’t tell you how sick I am of hearing about who puts lipstick on what (even in San Francisco, we keep some things private) and Sarah Palin’s endless repetition of “Thanks, but no thanks” — which might be more precisely translated to mean, “Thanks!” and *then*, “No, thanks.” Or perhaps even more precisely, “Thanks, and by the way, we’re keeping the money but spending it on something else.”

The only problem was that it still has been hard to get specifics out of either McCain or Obama regarding what they would do to fix the mess that has got Wall Street’s knickers in such a twist and that ought to concern every American. McCain spent much of Monday, for instance, recoiling from his own statement that the fundamentals of the U.S. economy were basically sound, and Obama spent most of his time that day complaining about the other guys. The 24-hour news networks, as usual, presented brief clips of zingers and a procession of flunkies from alternating campaigns, who repeated variations on those same zingers.

But fear not, political junkies and inquiring voters: The National Journal has done most of your homework for you. One of the most relevant publications on national politics and policy, the NJ has analyzed the positions of both Obama and McCain. Some of the best stuff is available only to subscribers, but there is a wealth of information freely available to the public.

I’ll bring up some of the National Journal’s analysis of the candidates’ position on other issues in the next few weeks, but of course you can always read ahead once you get the the NJ. It’s hard not to.

John McCain’s positions on economic issues

Barack Obama’s positions on economic issues


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