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Wall Street Meltdown, Economic Crisis Giving Obama a Boost

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Sep/15/2008
Wall Street Meltdown

Monday's Wall Street meltdown following the closure of Lehman Brothers and "desperation" acquisition of Merrill Lynch by Bank of America wasn't bad news to everyone it seems. Democratic US Presidential candidate, Barack Obama, showed signs of a turnaround following two weeks of dramatic declines in the polls.

Confidence in Republican candidate John McCain had dropped by 1 percent at intrade.com, an online predictions market.

BetUS.com, which is offering betting on each state electoral college, saw Obama's numbers go back up to -130 after peaking last week at -120. Obama is still the favorite to become the next US President at BetUS.com. The higher the minus (-) number, the bigger the favorite he is. John McCain, by contrast, was listed with -110 odds. BetUS.com is one of the highest volume online gambling companies.

Campaigning Monday in Colorado, Obama called the current crop of economic problems another example of Main Street financial woes trickling up.

"Today offers more evidence, Colorado, that too many folks in Washington and on Wall Street weren't minding the store," Obama said. "For eight years we've had policies that have shredded consumer protections, loosened oversight and regulation and encouraged outsized bonuses to CEOs while ignoring middle-class Americans."

McCain's status as a "Washington insider" with long time experience in the Senate along with his perceived ties to the current administration may provide an opportunity for the Democratic party to gain more steam.

Obama says he doesn't blame McCain for these problems, but he does blame the economic philosophy that he says McCain subscribes to.

"It's the same philosophy we've had for the last eight years - one that says we should give more and more to those with the most and hope that prosperity trickles down to everyone else," Obama said.

The Obama camp is likely to seize on McCain's relationship with Phil Gramm. As a Texas senator, Gramm helped write the law that relaxed the nation's banking rules. He also happens to be McCain's former campaign co-chairman. Gramm remains one of McCain's key economic advisers even though he officially left his campaign this summer. It was Gramm who made the now infamous comments referring to America as "a nation of whiners" and that the country was merely suffering from a "mental recession."

McCain has had to convince America he is a reformist working within the Republican party.

"The McCain-Palin administration will replace the outdated patchwork quilt of regulatory oversight and bring transparency and accountability to Wall Street," McCain said. "We will bring transparency and accountability, and we will reform the regulatory bodies of government."

McCain offered no details of what that overhaul would look like. But a spokesman said this is a time to update rules, not relax them, suggesting a break with Gramm.

What happened on Wall Street is seen by many as staying on Wall Street, or at least few Americans can relate to what has transpired.....YET.

"To a great extent, this is all still thought of as a Wall Street problem," points out James Pethokoukis of US News and World Reports. Most people don't know much about Lehman Bros. or AIG. The market is down today (Monday) but not crashing. And the drop in oil prices is raising the real incomes of average workers."

With less than two months until the Elections, it is possible that the heart of America will not understand the true extent of the damage until after the next President of the United States steps into office, to which Pethokoukis offers another disturbing dose of reality.

"No candidate has a simple answer about what to do next."

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Christopher Costigan, Gambling911.com Publisher

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