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Clinton and Obama are both bad choices

The phrase “straight from the horse’s mouth” will get its best use when applied to describing some ridiculous – yet true – statements and stances maintained by several Democrat presidential hopefuls. It will also explain why neither Barack Obama nor Hillary Clinton should ever serve as president.

Although Obama has not officially declared his candidacy, he has formed an exploratory committee and will reveal his official decision in February. It’s not his lack of political experience or his self-professed indulgence in softer intoxicants and “maybe a little blow,” according to Obama’s book, that make him a bad candidate. Rather, it’s his populist and shortsightedly pragmatic view on issues such as immigration and economics.

According to Obama’s Web site, one of his amendments to the Senate Immigration Bill would require “that a job be offered at a prevailing wage to American workers before it is offered to a guest worker.” To maintain such a position, however, upholds the false premise that immigrants steal jobs from “native Americans.”

This egregious notion, which economists refer to as the “lump of labor” fallacy, incorrectly assumes that the demand for labor remains static. The assumption is that a shortage of labor supply creates labor shortages or unemployment. In a market, however, the demand of labor is not static and fluctuates with factors such as demand and population.

If Obama were truly concerned with unemployment – which, mind you, is well below the level of unemployment that naturally exists for reasons such as volitional career changes – he wouldn’t advocate raising the minimum wage. This lends itself toward elimination of unskilled labor by making layoffs and automation more attractive to companies.

Obama also maintains that “health care should be a right for everyone, not a privilege for the few,” according to Apart from such emotionalist rhetoric – allusions to class warfare do make the masses swoon – the fact remains that America’s experiment with socialized medicine, in the form of Medicare and Medicaid, is a major factor in the “fiscal crisis” that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke spoke to Congress about.

And then there’s Hillary Clinton. Although party-line Democrats have expressed less enthusiasm for Clinton because she voted for the Iraq war, her sentiments on the human condition are screamingly reminiscent of a bleeding-heart. For example, any talk of Hillary Clinton fostering the shattering of the so-called marble ceiling is quickly nullified when one thinks about how Clinton claims to have “championed” the Paycheck Fairness Act.

As affirmative action advocates treating minorities as helpless cogs, Clinton’s advocacy of government to teach women and girls negotiating skills assumes that women and girls are unable to learn valuable social skills for themselves. Hence, a “benevolent” and “omnipotent” governmental program must guide women. It sounds paternalistic because it is.

Clinton also attributes the surge in post-Katrina oil prices to a conspiracy by oilmen. Clinton is quoted in the Washington Post as saying, “I want to go after the oil companies and the oil speculators and the manipulators of the money, because they’re the ones who I think are really behind this. You have a hurricane, and all of a sudden you see prices going up like that. That has … everything to do with people trying to make money off the backs of this tragedy.”

When examined from the economic, rather than the emotional purview, such paranoid ramblings are hardly sensible. The United States obtained 25 percent of its energy supplies from the Gulf Coast, and supplies were severely disrupted after Katrina, making petroleum commodities more expensive. This is because markets distribute goods in times of scarcity by incrementally increasing the price of the good until the demand equals supply and the market is in equilibrium. Eventually, price levels out as people don’t buy the product, thus also decreasing demand.

What happened with Katrina perfectly fits in line with this law. According to Interior Secretary Gale Norman, Katrina “destroyed 46 platforms and four drilling rigs when it hit the Gulf at the end of August. Katrina also caused extensive damage to another 20 platforms and nine drilling rigs.” Pre-storm evacuations, in conjunction with destruction froze Gulf petroleum production. “90 percent of crude production and 72 percent of natural gas output (was) paralyzed.”

So, considering that Obama and Clinton aren’t as special as they’re being made out to be, the question remains: What is to be done? Apart from voter apathy, perhaps the best solution for America is what’s been needed, but rarely provided by the presidency: A lot less of the JFK veneer that wins the populace’s hearts and a lot more of the sound, liberty-respecting policy that wins the populace’s minds and pocketbooks.

Victoria Bekiempis is a sophomore majoring in history and French.