Although the race for the White House is still nearly two years away, Presidential hopefuls are grabbing headlines, right now. (Can you remember when a race has been so eagerly anticipated, so far in advance of Election Day?) As this all unfolds--politicos and insiders are whispering that “economic insecurity” is going to be a key issue for Dems in ’08. Sounds good, but… what exactly does that mean?
At the heart of the issue is the problem of income inequality. Although we’re in a bull market, not everyone benefits. Jonathan Alter, Senior Editor at Newsweek, and NBC Analyst, says the issue hits a nerve with voters who are likely to vote Democratic.
“About half the public now owns stocks in one way or another,” he said. “That leaves 50% that are not in this economy in any meaningful way. They’re feeling a lot of economicinsecurity. For example, they have problems with health insurance...40 million people don’t have health insurance. The idea that a rising tide always lifts all boats is something the Democrats are betting against.”
One proposal that Democrats, including former North Carolina Senator John Edwards, support is raising taxes on wealthy individuals. Frank Donatelli, G-O-P Strategist, and Former Political Director under the Reagan Administration says, “The problem with that is, if you do that you threaten to undermine the economy.”
“When Bill Clinton became President they cut spending some, but they raised taxes on the wealthy” replied Jonathan Alter. All the Republicans went to the floor of the Congress and said this would destroy the economy….What happened in the years after that? (It was) the greatest boom in human history.”
Donatelli shot back, “Jonathan forgot about 1994 when the Democrats lost both Houses of Congress for the first time in a generation. And the economy didn’t take off until Republicans took control of the House and Senate.”
The point here is, Democrats are going to argue in order to insure the uninsured, Congress must raise taxes on the wealthy. Next, the Democrats will argue about what constitutes wealthy. And two top Democratic contenders who are likely to be at the heart of the debate were out and about this week-end.
Illinois Senator Barack Obama campaigned in Cedar Rapids and Waterloo Iowa after officially announcing his candidacy in Springfield, Ill.
AndNew York Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton campaigned in New Hampshire over the weekend. In Nashua, Clinton thrilled many attendees by insisting that she has the mettle to take on Republicans in a general election, saying, "I'm the one person they're most afraid of because Bill and I know how to beat them and we have consistently."
As the song says “We’ve Only Just Begun…”