Today was a rather dismal day in American finance. Naturally enough, the Presidential candidate are using the opportunity to try to score political points.
On the Democratic side, the tactic to use is obvious. Bush has been in the White House eight years and the Republicans dominated congress until recently. Hence, it must be inferred that the Republicans have allowed the economy to take a vicious downturn. While the government obviously cannot control the economy to the degree that the political jargon suggests, it is reasonable to place some of the blame on those responsible for making and overseeing the relevant laws. They have clearly let the country down. Whether the Democrats can straighten things out remains to be seen. First, Obama would need to be elected. Then he would need to take steps to sort out what caused the problems and come up with solutions.
On the Republican side, the tactic is less obvious. While McCain has been launching attacks on Washington, he has been there quite some time. So, he runs the risk of being caught in the blast of any bombs he lobs thta way. Also, the Republicans have been in charge for quite some time. Hence, there seems little reason to trust them when they claim that the suddenly have solutions to the problems that have been festering away for quite some time.
Regardless of what the candidates propose to do, it is clear that the economy is reeling a bit. One critical question is whether we have seen the worst of it or not. Perhaps the weak companies have fallen and the stronger ones will persist. But perhaps there are more economic surprises ahead.
While the United States clearly learned lessons from the economic woes of the past, we clearly have some new lessons to learn. As always, they will prove to be very costly lessons. Just how costly remains to be sorted out.