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Political Physics: The House Hypothesis


A blogumn by Monique King-Viehland

Chris Rock Says, “Vote for the guy with one house!”

Chris Rock, an avid supporter of Democratic presidential nominee, Barack Obama, spoke with CNN’s Larry King last Thursday.  He said that Obama was more grounded with your average American — not somebody like McCain with “12 houses.”

“The other guy [McCain] can lose five houses,” Rock said.  “I’ll go with the guy with one house. The guy with one house is scared about losing his house.”

In June 2008, the United States Department of Labor reported that American employers axed 49,000 jobs in May, the fifth straight month of job losses.  The unemployment rate rose from 5.7 to 6.1 percent in August and non-farm payroll employment continued to trend down (-84,000).  According to Newsweek, auto sales (the largest retailing sector in the U.S.) dropped by 10.7 percent in May from the year before.  And housing? Nationwide, according to the Case-Shiller Index, home prices in the first quarter fell 14 percent.

And on Monday when word leaked that the “bailout” legislation failed to pass the House, the Dow Jones industrials dropped nearly 7 percent.  The almost 780-point decline was the largest one-day point drop ever for the index.

So, are you one of those folks questioning whether or not we’re in a recession?  Well, I’ll do you one better, we’re verging on a depression.

So the economic policies of the next President of the United States are critical for you and me.  And yes I know it sounds cliché, but also for my son, 5 ½ month old Sekou.  That is why I agree with Chris Rock, “Vote for the guy with one house!”

I think the Center for American Progress Action Fund said it best:

The impact of Senator McCain’s [economic] agenda, first, his tax cuts would provide virtually no benefit for the $36.5 million Americans living in poverty and second, paying for these tax cuts would require massive reduction – from 20 to 40 percent – in programs that benefit the poor, such as Head Start, Pell Grants for college, Title I school funding, and nutrition aid for mothers and children.

A major component of the McCain economic agenda is a $3 trillion tax cut, but the majority of that cut – about $175 billion – would go to corporations.  Another $60 billion would be spent on repealing the Alternative Minimum Tax, which would benefit very high-income taxpayers.  In addition, McCain has said that he will pay for these tax cuts by cutting government spending.  Since he has already stated that we must continue our financial commitment to the Department of Defense, that means that other government programs will bear the brunt of those cuts.  The Center for American Progress Action Fund estimated that best case scenario those cuts would be 20 percent across the board and worse case they could be as much as 40 percent.

The fact is, it’s clear that Americans are suffering – our unemployment rate is up and our homes prices are down.  And if you think you’re suffering, remember the most vulnerable among us – the poor – are suffering ten times worse.

We cannot afford McCain’s economic policies.  So I say, listen to Chris Rock, “Vote for the guy with one house!”