This week marked the opening round in the fight over the direction of the U.S. economy that could determine the outcome of the presidential election, and the free market is already on the ropes.
p>Not too long ago, political observers were convinced that the 2008 election would be a referendum on the Iraq War. In a CNN/Opinion Research poll taken last June, Americans choose Iraq as the most important issue in determining their vote, with a 31 percent to 23 percent edge over the economy. When the
was taken earlier this month, it found that 42 percent identify the economy as their primary issue — double the number who choose Iraq.
p>Such polling has not been lost on the leading presidential contenders, with each of them giving major policy speeches on the economy this week.
p>On Monday, Hillary Clinton outlined a plan calling for a massive government-led restructuring of mortgages and a $30 billion fund enabling state and local governments to purchase foreclosed properties and resell them to low-income families. She also reiterated her support for a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures and a 5-year freeze on mortgage rates.
p>The latter measure would not only raise
http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=ZTYwNjg3N2QzMzQ1NjA5YTcyZTk0YmU1ODU2ZTcxNjk= TARGET=BLANK>serious legal issues
/A> — and possibly be found
/A> — but it would be counterproductive. If lenders (and mortgage financiers) know that the government can arbitrarily rewrite the terms of contracts, this would make it more difficult for homeowners to obtain mortgages, and would trigger a spike in interest rates on new loans.
p>Yesterday, Clinton called for a 5-year, $12.5 billion job training program.
p>Barack Obama also spoke about the financial markets in New York yesterday, and displayed his mastery of the art of faux conciliation.
p>Obama ruminated on the historical conflict between government and economic freedom, lauded the free market as “the engine of America's progress,” but then blasted an “ethic of greed” and ultimately called for a “21st century regulatory framework” consisting of six parts. He also announced a $30 billion economic stimulus package.