I am also very unimpressed with McCain's criticism of Obama for not following through with his pledge to accept public financing. Why should he? According to several fairly reliable bloggers McCain tried to weasel out of the public financing program when he nearly ran out of money during the primary season. Unfortunately for McCain, Obama's message of change resonated with so many people that his campaign generated undreamed of contributions. Perhaps, now that the Republicans are on the short end of this stick, they will have some motivation to change how campaigns are financed. I do think that it is obscene how much money candidates have to raise and spend to get elected to serve the public. An old saying tells us 'he who pays the piper calls the tune.' It is all too obvious who has been paying the piper for all too long.
It is now Nov. 1. Various things got in the way of continuing this post. Oh, Well! Life does happen.
For some time now Mom and I have asked one question over our morning coffee: when will the credit card debt start collapsing. It is, of course, the next big sword hanging over our economic heads. John Mauldin's 'Out of the Box' gives a good idea. Sorry I can't link to it directly. I subscribed to it some time ago and get it by e-mail. Some of the more frightening aspects of the data he puts out concern credit card debt. Most of the growth of the U.S. economy has been fueled by withdrawals of mortgage equity by home owners who borrowed on the rising value of their homes to fund their lifestyles. With the crash of home prices, consumers shifted to credit cards. The following two points are crucial:
Mauldin notes that credit card defaults have doubled for American Express and more than doubled for Band of America. And that the options for either McCain or Obama are really limited. Both have made expensive promises but the deficits are already exploding (and have been throughout the Bush years). I am not entirely convinced that small businesses will take as big a hit as Mauldin thinks they would in an Obama administration. But then I am not so sure that the figures used to gauge the effect of small businesses on job generation are all that accurate.
Mom and I noticed an interesting phenomenon, however. Over the last month or so we have seen fewer of those annoying Visa ads that show the world stopping when anyone uses cash or checks. In fact there have been far fewer Visa ads since the Olympics ended. And most of the American Express ads are targeting potential business customers.