Did you notice in the debate the number of times McCain just repeated Obama’s policy position?
You might think that if they are both going to do the same thing, then does it matter which one I vote for?
In managing the economy, the government has a plethora of tools. The trick is to know which tool to use in any given situation. You also need to have a good idea of what you are trying to achieve.
I presume that Obama understands that one of the goals of government economic policy is to act as a counterweight to the free market. Running surpluses and deficits are tools to be used at the appropriate times. Increasing and decreasing public works investments is another tool.
When the economy is humming along and especially when it is starting to overheat, the government needs to apply the brakes by running a surplus. This is not the time to stimulate the economy even more by cutting taxes as McCain and Bush favored.
When the economy is starting to slow too much or even go into a recession, then it is time to press on the accelerator by using the accumulated surpluses and running a current year deficit. If the private economy is afraid to spend money, then the government can ramp up public works projects to get money flowing again.
All of this accelerating and braking is an attempt to keep a fairly constant speed through the peaks and valleys of the free market.
John McCain, the imitation Obama, sees Obama proposing the application of the tools, but does not seem to understand the timing of their use. He wants to cut government spending at the exact time when it should be increasing.
Also taking money out of the economy to send it to Iraq to be blown up is not the way to help the world get out of this financial crisis. Using that money to invest in roads, water treatment facilities, natural disaster recovery are all investments that will pay returns on the investment.
Investments in better education and health also pay dividends.
Certainly any conservative worth his or her salt must know the difference between spending and investing.