Barack Obama: Picking A President Who Lived on Main Street

If it wasn’t so sad, I would laugh every time I heard the Republican spin machine call Barack Obama and Joe Biden, “liberal elitists.”

It’s a game that they have played since the days of Richard Nixon. George W. Obama IS Main StreetBush, son of a president, grandson of a United States Senator, is just common folk. John McCain, the son and the grandson of US Navy Admirals, and the husband of a woman who is the heir to a huge fortune, is also just a regular working class guy. As for Barack Obama, the son of a single mom needing food stamps, and Joe Biden, the son of hardworking, hard luck working class parents just getting by in Scranton, Pennsylvania, these are two guys, according to the Republican myth makers who are out of touch with Main Street. Naturally, nothing could be further from the truth.

In the new details of his economic plan released today by Senator Obama, much of his actual Main Street savvy is coming through. This is a guy who has seen lean times, not just heard about them from his team of economic advisors.

First, he wants to give Americans penalty-free access to retirement savings to help them through the downturn, secondly he wants to urge a 90-day moratorium on home foreclosures and to lend money to strapped local and state governments.

Neither proposal is a love letter to the banking industry that would rather see retirement savings stay on the bank’s balance sheet  and would rather see foreclosure processing move forward without delay, or if rescued, simply paid off by the Federal government.

Mr. Obama also called on Congress to double by another $25 billion the government loan guarantees for automakers and to temporarily eliminate taxes on unemployment benefits. This potentially saves tens of thousands of jobs and makes life a little easier for tens of thousands of Americans who are already out of work.

These are the types of common sense proposals that bring real help to the middle class, the people who actually live on Main Street. I’m sure that Bush and McCain have visited Main Street plenty of times in their lives. After all, that’s where most of the voters live. But understanding what it is like to grow up in a household where Christmas decorations are made by hand because that’s all you can afford, and leftovers are the meals most commonly found on the dinner table, is not impressed upon the hearts of the well to do.

When the economy hits a bad spot wealthy people change their plans from two weeks of skiing in the Swiss Alps to just hanging out on a beach in Baja. On Main Street families are changing their plans from a car trip to Myrtle Beach, to just filling the above ground pool in the backyard and having a cookout.

In Obama’s plans to help the economy, the young man who grew up with a silver-plated spoon in his mouth, comes shining through. And that IS change we need!

Martin Brown – Money Editor