The Duck of Minerva

The Duck Quacks at Twilight

McCain’s “American Homeowner Resurgence Plan”

October 8, 2008

Brad DeLong finds… uh… fault with McCain’s “game changer.”

His conclusion?

There’s a big difference here: Democrats want to prevent depression and support the financial markets by investing taxpayer money in banks with troubled assets. Republicans want to give taxpayers money away to the shareholders and managers of banks with troubled assets.

I would say that this is unbelievable, but I do believe it.

My guess, however, is that most Republicans don’t want to do this. Those “reaction meters” took a nosedive among Republicans when McCain proposed the plan at last night’s debate.

Anyway, I get the sense that a great many of the People Who Know What They’re Talking AboutTM think the United States should be doing something along the lines of what the Labour government in the UK has proposed. And there’s even some indication Treasury may be heading in that direction. So why can’t we just explicitly adopt such a policy?

I think there’s a good argument to be made here for the importance of norms and discourse in understanding political economy. “Material incentives” can’t easily explain the way that most people “just assume” explicit and comprehensive nationalization “isn’t politically viable.” Those hurdles have everything to do with current cultural constraints.

Image source: Damn Interesting

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Daniel H. Nexon is a Professor at Georgetown University, with a joint appointment in the Department of Government and the School of Foreign Service. His academic work focuses on international-relations theory, power politics, empires and hegemony, and international order. He has also written on the relationship between popular culture and world politics.