March 17, 2008 8:49 a.m.

TPM Reader SW’s lament …

I am appalled, though not surprised, at the complete silence by the candidates on the last few days’ events on Wall Street and the world’s stock, bond and currency markets. This has far more effect on all of our
futures than racist comments by the oxygen deprived brains of some old political or spiritual leaders. I know why Clinton and McCain are not talking about it: too many of their biggest supporters had too much to
do with what happened, and benefited from the deregulation of the past twenty years for which both (and their allies) had a great deal of responsibility. (Remember that Hillary stood by while her colleague
Chick Schumer killed the bill to tax hedge fund managers, who ear scores of millions every year, at income, rather than capital gains, rates.) What about Obama? Is he not up to the task of educating people about
what the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act did to the markets many Americans poured their retirement and college savings into? Does he know that the Federal Reserve is about to bail out bankers, investors, and
outright thieves who helped drive down the dollar, and brought the credit markets to a near standstill? Does he understand the problem? I wouldn’t know.

Seventy years ago Franklin Roosevelt was able to explain this country’s and the world’s financial crises to a far less educated, and less accessible, American public. That today’s candidates are unwiling, or
unable to do so, is alarming. Maybe if the media first tried to understand the problems, then asked the proper questions until answers were forthcoming or it was clear the candidates are afraid to ask them,
political coverage would be more than the extreme sports coverage it has turned into.

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