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I’m an economics professor, and I thought you might all like to know why a vast majority of my colleagues are supporting Obama.  Basically, what I want to tell you is that Republicans have a decent grasp on what I’ll call Econ 101, but completely miss the boat on Econ 102.

Econ 101: Markets do some amazing things.
This idea goes back to Adam Smith, who published "The Wealth of Nations," fittingly, in 1776.  A fun example was given by Tim Harford in his great book "The Undercover Economist." He asks "Who coordinates the bread supply to London?"  It sounds like a daunting job until you realize the answer, of course, is no one!  That famous invisible hand results in each store owner ordering just the amount he expects to sell, etc., so that the amount supplied is very close to the amount demanded.  The decentralized market works so well that it allocates resources better than the most brilliant centralized planner.  Markets not only work, their evolution is so inevitably tied to human nature that they arise "underground" when governments try to prohibit them (e.g. not only Soviet Russia, but ticket scalping, the illegal drug trade, etc.)

Republicans do seem to have taken Econ 101.  Maybe many times.  In Fall 1994 I was a couple of months into my freshman economics course when I saw Mitt Romney debating John Kerry in the Massachusetts Senate race.   Mitt seemed to have an excellent grasp of the free-market principles I had just been learning, and I was impressed.   It seems fitting that I was a few months too young to vote in 1994, for I would soon advance a little further, and learn...

Econ 102: Markets don’t do everything.  At some vital tasks, they can fail completely.

By the way, I learned most of the following in my introductory course, which was taught by Martin Feldstein, chief economic advisor to Reagan.  It’s not what a few liberal professors think.  It’s what all intellectually honest economists who have thought deeply and carefully about these issues agree on.  

Failure 1: Markets underprovide, or fail to provide, public goods.

Stephen Colbert put this brilliantly when he interviewed small-government advocate Grover Norquist, who was predictably going on about how horrible it was that government would tax and spend our hard-earned dollars.  True to character, Colbert responded (roughly) "Yes, I get so mad about government spending, I refuse to drive on any public roads.  I just drive around and around my own driveway."

Basically, since the benefits from a public good are spread around, no one person has the incentive to pay for it.  So we as a society must enter into an agreement that everyone will pay, so that we’ll all be better off.  Taxes aren’t evil.  Oliver Wendell Holmes called them the "price of civilization."  Anti-tax extremists should take a hard look at parts of the world without a functioning government.

Now, yes, we need to be very alert to wasteful government spending.  While some government spending is vital, there are surely many boondoggles out there.  But, I’m not sure I can put this better than Obama: "We need a scalpel, not a hatchet."  Did everyone notice the exchange in the third debate when McCain brought up autism research?  Obama pointed out that was the kind of thing McCain couldn’t fund with his hatchet of a spending freeze.  Checkmate, I thought.   But, completely oblivious, McCain had the snide comeback, "Do you notice how he’s always talking about spending?"

It’s like a professor debating a C student*.  You may have met the type: an overconfident C student who either thinks he actually knows something, or just knows if he keeps talking confidently enough, the part of the class who doesn’t follow the arguments will think he’s scoring points.  I was relieved to see in the post-debate polls that most of the class was with the professor.

*Of course, it also is a professor debating a C student.  To be more precise, a failing student who got C’s because of family connections.

Failure 2: Markets for health insurance unravel due to "adverse selection."

One of the most ridiculous things we’ve heard from McCain is the conservative canard that health insurance should be left to the free market.  He’s counting on voters not to think beyond "freer is better," but theory and overwhelming evidence both make it clear free markets just don’t work in this case.

Suppose a company charges a premium equal to the average health expenses for all citizens.   Well, roughly, the sicker among us will think that’s a good deal and sign up, while the healthiest will opt out – that’s called "adverse selection."  Average costs will be higher than anticipated, and the company will start losing money.  They will have to raise prices.  But now, even more people towards the healthy end will drop out, average costs will go up again, leading to higher prices, etc., etc. Eventually prices will be sky-high, and only the very sick will pay them – the rest will go uninsured.  Of course, that’s not really insurance at all.  This isn’t just theory – this is why non-employer-based health insurance is hugely expensive, and many of the self-employed are uninsured.  So much for the supposed Republican love-affair with small-business owners!  Good luck if you get sick, Joe!

Failure 3: Markets don’t account for externalities

An externality is the impact of a transaction on people who took no part in it.  The leading example is pollution.  Bob makes an individual decision of how much gasoline to use at the going price.  Bob and ExxonMobil agreed to this transaction.  The rest of us had no say.   But, we all feel the consequences.  

The economist’s solution (due to Pigou) is to tax gasoline at a rate that roughly reflects the damage from pollution, so Bob pays for the harm he’s inflicting on everyone.  McCain actually seems to have acknowledged that we should fight global warming (not that I trust him to go about it intelligently,) so I’ll let this one rest here.

Failure 4: Markets do not necessarily distribute wealth according to the true contributions of individuals to society, or by any reasonable standards of fairness

I loved how Warren Buffett put this, as related by Obama in "The Audacity of Hope."  Buffett explained that while he has certain valuable skills, they are valuable only in the context of an advanced civilized society: "I don’t run very fast, and I’d probably get eaten in the jungle."  Every dollar he makes comes from the combined efforts of (1) his skill at allocating capital to efficient businesses, (2) the management and workers at those businesses, (3) the public infrastructure without which businesses don’t run.    His friend Bill Gates’ wealth comes from (1) his administrative skills, (2) a few ideas about software he had (or stole,) (3) the ability and labor of his employees to further his ideas (and create new ones which Gates then owns,)  (4)  the productivity of countless other businesses which makes it profitable for them to buy Microsoft software, and (5) public infrastructure which lets all of these businesses run.

In an advanced society, there is no such thing as a dollar you made entirely yourself.  All business relies on our heavily interconnected economy – even the local barber relies on the roads and cars and gasoline that transport his customers.  Everyone’s wealth is partly due to their own effort and talent, and partly due to the resources and labor of the economy as a whole.  Crucially, furthermore, financiers and CEOs make a far greater percentage of their wealth by piggybacking on the entire structure of society than ordinary workers and small-business owners.  So, if we tax them a little more, and tax workers a little less, it’s only "redistribution" relative to the skewed standards that have developed during the Bush administration.  They are just being asked to pay a little more towards maintenance of the civilized society without which they wouldn’t make a dime.

Yes, Marxism is a failure, and we do need incentives for private businesses to grow.  But Obama’s tax plan is about as Marxist as a molehill is Mount Everest.  CEOs will still do just fine. Do we really think they will stop trying to expand their businesses because the government takes a few percent more?  For the super-rich, money is more about keeping score than anything else; a higher score is still higher even if it’s scaled down a few percent.

Buffett has the perfect answer to those who cry class warfare: "There’s class warfare now, and my class is winning."

I may talk about other market failures in a future posting.  I haven’t directly addressed the housing and banking crisis, which I could say a few words about.  But, for now...

Conclusion: Free markets do some great things, but "free markets" as a slogan is used to perpetuate policies that just don’t work, in cases where economists understand perfectly why free markets don’t work.

As Obama has put it, our current state of affairs is the final verdict on trickle-down economics.  "Prosperity didn’t trickle down; pain travelled up."  

Originally posted to Citizen for Rationality on Tue Oct 21, 2008 at 12:04 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  great explanation (15+ / 0-)

    for the economically "challenged" I will definitely be using these arguments when talking up the Obama tax plan.

  •  ahhhh this is great (6+ / 0-)

    i'm re-reading Paul Krugman's Conscience of a liberal right now. I've been looking for everything I can find so I can win the "water cooler wars" over reaganomics/supply side economics.

    the one thing I'd love most to see come out of this election is a clear mandate that the public is done with tinkle down (archie bunker) voo-doo (poppy bush), trickle down, supply side, reaganomics! ENOUGH!

  •  Excelent Article! <n/t> (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    itsmitch, marycone, NotGeorgeWill, RJP9999

    Economics is philosophical discipline, not a business action... please don't confuse them...

    by keensman on Tue Oct 21, 2008 at 12:14:31 PM PDT

  •  Excellent explanation (10+ / 0-)
    You have described how real life economics works in words that any layman can understand.  This is a MUST read for everyone.  BRAVO!

    Multiple tips in your tip jar.  

  •  Very nice primer... (9+ / 0-)

    I have this experience every once in a while:

    It’s like a professor debating a C student*.  You may have met the type: an overconfident C student who either thinks he actually knows something, or just knows if he keeps talking confidently enough, the part of the class who doesn’t follow the arguments will think he’s scoring points.

    Normally it's with my students who fashion themselves as acolytes of Ayn Rand.

    Is that a real poncho, or is that a Sears' poncho? - Frank Zappa

    by JoesGarage on Tue Oct 21, 2008 at 12:22:20 PM PDT

    •  In one of my classes last year (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elfling, neroden, JoesGarage

      the professor was talking about a march to raise money for the homeless that she participated in, and she mentioned something about a poor man that she passed on the sidewalk (I don't recall the exact story).

      This frat boy in the back raises his hand and, with a big smirk, says, "why wasn't the homeless man participating in the march himself?"

      "He didn't have any legs." That shut him up.

      Unrelated, but this is what I thought of when I read that segment!

      No man really knows about other human beings. The best he can do is to suppose that they are like himself. John Steinbeck

      by ablecain on Wed Oct 22, 2008 at 01:35:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Obamanomics: NYT article (7+ / 0-)

    NYT

    “The market is the best mechanism ever invented for efficiently allocating resources to maximize production,” Obama told me. “And I also think that there is a connection between the freedom of the marketplace and freedom more generally.” But, he continued, “there are certain things the market doesn’t automatically do.”

    "Four seconds is the longest wait " -Sleater-Kinney

    by delphil on Tue Oct 21, 2008 at 12:50:01 PM PDT

  •  Ever played Monopoly ? (8+ / 0-)

    A free market economy with money as the universal exchange barter quickly descends into a monopoly (one player hoarding all the wealth).

    There's nothing spooky about this (at least to a physicist like me) - there simply is no force to counter the positive feedback loop of money generating more money.

    If you have a barter economy, the counter force is the fact that people can only consume a certain amount of real stuff - but once you throw money into the equation, the sky is the limit - you always need more to satisfy more (esoteric) "needs".

  •  An economist myself. . . (6+ / 0-)

    I concur.

    And, I absolutely loved your statement about the C-student (with connections) arguing with the Prof.

    Thanks for a good post.

  •  Please post a "tip jar" comment n/t (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    itsmitch, marycone, RJP9999, ablecain

    -5.63, -8.10 | Impeach, Convict, Remove & Bar from Office, Arrest, Indict, Convict, Imprison!

    by neroden on Tue Oct 21, 2008 at 01:09:25 PM PDT

  •  great points - I hope this gets rescued. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    itsmitch, marycone

    Anyone know how to increase the chance of a diary being rescued?  

  •  These are worth highlighting. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    itsmitch, neroden, Wild Starchild, RJP9999

    I never heard these before.

    As Obama has put it, our current state of affairs is the final verdict on trickle-down economics.  "Prosperity didn’t trickle down; pain travelled up."

    Stephen Colbert put this brilliantly when he interviewed small-government advocate Grover Norquist, who was predictably going on about how horrible it was that government would tax and spend our hard-earned dollars.  True to character, Colbert responded (roughly) "Yes, I get so mad about government spending, I refuse to drive on any public roads.  I just drive around and around my own driveway."

    "Democrats can't do any worse than them." O

    by relentless on Tue Oct 21, 2008 at 01:11:32 PM PDT

  •  Thanks much (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marycone

    You do a very good job at explaining economics and I, too, will save your diary for argument-fodder (not that I normally argue with my free-market economist friends).

    "We have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love and that love comes with community." - Dorothy Day

    by MemphisProfessor on Tue Oct 21, 2008 at 09:11:15 PM PDT

  •  Great ammo for discussions with Rethugs (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marycone, scotths

    What are their standard responses to these points and how do I counter them?  Or are all Rethugs just C students who glaze over when faced with the truth?

  •  Great job! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Wild Starchild, scotths

    Really cogent. "I like to pay taxes. With them I buy civilization." Those who benefit most from our nation's systems and infrastructure should bear more of the burden... Biden was right.

  •  My economics prof says Obama is a mercantilist (0+ / 0-)

    Where did she get this idea?  It seems a little crazy.  She reads the New York Times religiously so I'm almost certain she saw this quote.  She's used Obama's desire to renegotiate NAFTA to support her position in the past.  Is she being deliberately obtuse, or is there more to it?  The idea that a mercantilist could obtain the money and support needed to run for President, like I said it strikes me as crazy.  Then again, Reagan was some kind of neoliberal/protectionist hybrid.  It's really hard to figure out what the hell's going on.  Have we ever had anything resembling a free market or is it just a myth?

  •  A fantastic explanation (0+ / 0-)

    I'm reminded of what Will Rogers said: "It's a great country, but you can't live in for nothing" or words to that effect.

  •  totally free markets... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ashwken

    The marketplace may do a good job of determining how to invest money most effectively. For instance, it will help one to determine if they should replace their used automobile or repair it. The problem I see is that it would do a similar thing with human contributions in a totally free market. Older individuals with health problems or whose skills became irrelevant would be tossed aside like an old car without regard for how much they have contributed in the past or how inhumane the conditions they have to endure are. Do people really desire a return to the gilded age?

  •  Tip Jar (10+ / 0-)

    I'm a first-time diarist so I just looked up what this is...thanks for all the positive comments!

    •  Colbert's line (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Island Expat, neroden

      reminded me of an argument I had with a friend once.  He was arguing that railroads were expensive boondoggles since the company had to pay for track maintenance.  For some reason he didn't understand that road maintenance was paid for by tax dollars.  He also seemed be under the impression that taxation was the government stealing from you, but anything done by government was "free" and didn't cost anything.

      •  Value of government services (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        elfling, Thassa

        One of the key problems with the right wing so-called "free-market" ideology is the idea that government services have no economic value.  Roads, schools, and other infrastructure projects have considerable economic value, but people have been so brainwashed by the "I don't want to pay my taxes" crowd into believing that all tax money is wasted that we miss out on things that could really move us all ahead economically.

        "I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Democrat." - Will Rogers

        by wayward on Wed Oct 22, 2008 at 03:31:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Great first-time diary (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      neroden, ashwken

      I have an economics degree, and cringe every time I hear the free market fundamentalists bleat on and on about their precious "free market" which is as much of a fantasy as a Communist workers paradise.

      I have been thinking about writing something concerning market failures, but you have done a terrific job and definitely hope you post more on this and other economic topics (would be interested in your take on "free" trade).

      •  Continuing Ed (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        neroden

        This is the type of discussion and information many of us seek, the stuff that goes beyond slogans. You folks who have studied this stuff - just seems to me that we're all part of the user-group called America.

  •  This is excellent (0+ / 0-)

    I'm so sick of the Republican Econ 101 talking points.

    Obama has clearly mastered Econ 102, and I think he is currently studying at the graduate level from some of the best minds out there.

    Numbers are like people . . . Torture them enough and they'll tell you anything.

    by Actuary4Change on Wed Oct 22, 2008 at 05:11:13 AM PDT

  •  Solidarity among Economists (0+ / 0-)

    As a somewhat older economics professor, let me concur with this wonderful post.  He left out some other problems, like transaction costs which have pretty much driven a stake through the heart of old Chicago markets uber alles line of thought.  What we need are government policies which harness self-interest to social well-being not to the enrichment of a tiny elite.  I'm also really looking forward to the 2010 economics national meetings where Paul Krugman will be honored for his Nobel.

  •  The Economist polled economists (0+ / 0-)

    http://www.economist.com/...

    AS THE financial crisis pushes the economy back to the top of voters’ concerns, Barack Obama is starting to open up a clear lead over John McCain in the opinion polls. But among those who study economics for a living, Mr Obama’s lead is much more commanding. A survey of academic economists by The Economist finds the majority—at times by overwhelming margins—believe Mr Obama has the superior economic plan, a firmer grasp of economics and will appoint better economic advisers.

    Our survey is not, by any means, a scientific poll of all economists. We e-mailed a questionnaire to 683 research associates, all we could track down, of the National Bureau of Economic Research, America’s premier association of applied academic economists, though the NBER itself played no role in the survey. A total of 142 responded, of whom 46% identified themselves as Democrats, 10% as Republicans and 44% as neither. This skewed party breakdown may reflect academia’s Democratic tilt, or possibly Democrats’ greater propensity to respond. Still, even if we exclude respondents with a party identification, Mr Obama retains a strong edge—though the McCain campaign should be buoyed by the fact that 530 economists have signed a statement endorsing his plans.

    The detailed responses are bad news for Mr McCain (the full data are available here). Eighty per cent of respondents and no fewer than 71% of those who do not cleave to either main party say Mr Obama has a better grasp of economics. Even among Republicans Mr Obama has the edge: 46% versus 23% say Mr Obama has the better grasp of the subject. “I take McCain’s word on this one,” comments James Harrigan at the University of Virginia, a reference to Mr McCain’s infamous confession that he does not know as much about economics as he should. In fairness, Mr McCain’s lower grade may in part reflect greater candour about his weaknesses. Mr Obama’s more tightly managed image leaves fewer opportunities for such unvarnished introspection.

    A candidate’s economic expertise may matter rather less if he surrounds himself with clever advisers. Unfortunately for Mr McCain, 81% of all respondents reckon Mr Obama is more likely to do that; among unaffiliated respondents, 71% say so. That is despite praise across party lines for the excellent Doug Holtz-Eakin, Mr McCain’s most prominent economic adviser and a former head of the Congressional Budget Office. “Although I have tended to vote Republican,” one reply says, “the Democrats have a deep pool of talented, moderate economists.”

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Wed Oct 22, 2008 at 08:15:02 AM PDT

  •  Excellent post & excellent timing... (0+ / 0-)

    ...though the fact-averse (immune?) Fixed Noise Kool-Aid drinking "C students" probably won't be swayed by a professional intellectual. But that's a whole 'nuther diary unto itself.

    Some other things that markets can't do: markets can't innovate, and they can't/won't enforce moral norms (like banning child labor, or establishing product safety and pollution standards, or keeping their own playing fields level, or deciding that being old shouldn't necessarily entail being poor).

    Efficient does not, always and everywhere, necessarily equal Good.

    Unplug the parallel psuedo-reality... there is no Sanity Clause

    by PJBurke on Wed Oct 22, 2008 at 09:44:14 AM PDT

  •  Failure of Health Care Market (0+ / 0-)

    My family is currently dealing with the fallout of the failure of the health care market.

    My wife and I are self-employed.  We used to have two separate businesses and to get "affordable" health insurance we joined the group plan offered by a professional association that she belongs to.  

    We recently received notification that our premiums will be going up 64% next year.  That will increase our monthly premiums from about $1200 to almost $2000.  

    Or looking at it another way, the McCain health plan would cover only half the cost of our increased premiums.

    The reason the insurance company gave for the increase was that members of the plan used 15% more in benefits than the average group.  It makes economic sense for that individual company to raise its rates.  However, if you believe that a healthy workforce is a more productive workforce, our health insurance structure makes no sense for the economy as a whole.

    Fortunately, my wife and I now work in the same business and are eligible for group coverage and have found equivalent coverage at our current premiums.

  •  A Few Thoughts.. (0+ / 0-)

    Markets underprovide, or fail to provide, public goods.

    Even most Anarcho-Capitalists will admit this. The Market will not provide you with free legal defense, and  the few attempts to provide privately owned roads have generally ended in disaster.  But it is my opinion that in these areas in which the market can not be relied upon to provide the necessary services it should be left up to the individual states to provide them. If you are wondering why, consider the case of Louisiana in which the drinking age was lowered to 18 years old and was warned by the Clinton Administration "...to find a way to reverse the ruling. The state will lose $17 million in Federal highway money if it does not comply with the 1986 National Minimum Drinking Age Act, which requires states to set their legal drinking age at 21." Though much public money could be saved if the government allowed the market to do even more such as giving up the monopoly of the USPS which was given competition by Lysandner Spooner's American Mail Letter Company before being shut down through litigation.

    Markets for health insurance unravel due to "adverse selection."
    He’s counting on voters not to think beyond "freer is better," but theory and overwhelming evidence both make it clear free markets just don’t work in this case.

    Yes, Canada seems to be doing quite well with bureaucratic run health care. "Despite government promises and the billions of dollars funneled into the Canadian health-care system, the average patient waited more than 18 weeks in 2007 between seeing their family doctor and receiving the surgery or treatment they required," - CBCNEWS. Actually, in my search for health care I found it quite affordable, with the introduction of Health Savings Accounts in 2003 I see no reason why anyone should be without health coverage. (I pay 50 dollars a month) although it does not cover doctors visits or prescriptions until the deductible is reached (5000 dollars) I am mitigated from the risk of catastrophic injury which is of course the entire point of insurance (to mitigate risk).

    I certainly will not argue with your point about adverse selection, it is a problem that has plagued the health insurance industry for quite some time. It's not just the Insurance Companies that people who drop out of health insurance hurt, they hurt the average consumer, because when they do get sick and cannot pay the bill it is reflected in a rise in the cost of health care. And thus, since some can not take personal responsibility the government is enticed to do it for them. So now even if I wanted to take my hard earned money and secure for myself the ability to see a doctor I can not. Congratulations you just robbed the middle class of their standard of care. Because the lower class could not afford appropriate care you will force the middle class (and upper class) to pay for it while robbing the middle class of the standard of care received.

    You're an econ professor perhaps you might recognize this quote "Even the striving for equality by means of a directed economy can result only in an officially enforced inequality - an authoritarian determination of the status of each individual in the new hierarchical order" - Friedrich Hayek

    Markets don’t account for externalities

    I have this crazy theory about global warming, I believe it's caused by that giant ball of fire in the sky. I know crazy right? Especially considering that Carbon Dioxide is released more readily from the ocean in warmer temperatures, and the 800 year lag of Carbon Dioxide to temperatures (the ocean takes a while to warm up). It was also warmer in the Medieval period causing Greenland to be a little more green, and more winery's popped up in the UK. The idea that we have even the slightest impact on climate on this planet is exceedingly arrogant especially in the grand scheme of things. Latest research shows that the sun has an impact on our climate http://www.huffingtonpost.com/... who would have thought? Now they're calling for another ice age (they did this once before in the 70's) ,however, end of the world prophecy's are not new, and if you can get enough people to buy your end of the world prophecy you can make a lot of money see Al Gore, Jehovah Witness's, (Insert Cult Leader).

    Also, the "largest polluter in the United States is the Department of Defense which churns out more than 750,000 tons of hazardous waste a year." - Alternet  
    Unfortunately Governments rarely are punished for their wrong doings. "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?"

    Markets do not necessarily distribute wealth according to the true contributions of individuals to society, or by any reasonable standards of fairness

    Actually they do, it's socialist and communist governments that don't distribute wealth according to your contribution. The fact of the matter is, you did not cite an example in this paragraph in which the market unreasonably distributed wealth because you can't. In a free market all distribution of wealth is done on a voluntary basis. If it is voluntary how can it be unfair?

    In an advanced society, there is no such thing as a dollar you made entirely yourself.
     All business relies on our heavily interconnected economy – even the local barber relies on the roads and cars and gasoline that transport his customers.  Everyone’s wealth is partly due to their own effort and talent, and partly due to the resources and labor of the economy as a whole.

    The only thing in that paragraph that is publicly funded are the roads, so presumably we are not befitting of the money we earn because the roads are not privately owned. That's a pretty weak argument. I will agree with you that having the rich pay more in taxes seems to be your only solution seeing as how the middle and lower class can not be expected to pay even more in taxes. Taxes which you will surely need if you are not only to maintain the already monstrous size of government but actually enlarge it by covering health care.

    I may talk about other market failures in a future posting.  I haven’t directly addressed the housing and banking crisis, which I could say a few words about.  But, for now...

    I'll go ahead and address it for you, because I find it incredibly entertaining. FannieMae was created in 1938 and Freddie Mac created in 1970 both were created for the same purpose to allow more people a taste of the American dream which is home ownership. Now I say a taste because most of these people never owned their homes, they simply rented them from the mortgage company. Now what I find ironic is the fact that homes are cheaper than ever now that Freddie and Fannie have failed, and what does the government do? Throw money at them which will raise the price back up.

    The real reason I wanted to make this comment is I find all of you incredibly funny, you actually believe there is a difference between Obama and McCain. You guys just need to face it, you're going to get screwed either way. I honestly have my doubts that this will be allowed to remain up on this website because for all your posturing I believe you to be no better than the republicans, anything which goes against your ideology is quickly silenced. Anyone who fears to have their beliefs challenged should seriously rethink their beliefs.

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