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Monday, March 31, 2008

Economic Election Policies?

The 2008 election race heated up some more when both Democratic nominees criticized Senator McCain over the economy. Both Democratic senators argued that McCain “isn’t ready or willing to handle an economic emergency” yet I feel that all the senators running have not given enough information of their own on how to handle a possible economic emergency. This lack of information out there might be related to the belief of the rational ignorance of the voters. Why should the candidates outline a plan of action or provide information when on average it appears that the voter has no real incentive to become informed in the political issues? It would take up time, money, and many people might not listen or interpret the information correctly.

According to the article “Clinton, Obama Criticize McCain Over Economy” written by Barrett and Fouhy, Clinton’s plan of action is to focus on job insecurity and the government’s responsibility to help displaced workers. Obama, on the other hand, would “stiffen regulations of the financial system.” There was no apparent information on where McCain stood at all in the article even though the policies of the Democrats are supposed to contrast the Republican candidate’s policy. If this is what many American voters see as information, how could they possibly make an informed decision? It does not help when the same article or topic is published many times in different publications with the same lack of information. The voters might just ignore the “information” since there is no real information, making them fall in the category of the “rational ignorant voter.”

The article also appeared to assume that voters are only looking at the policies of the Democrat nominees. For some, that is not the case at all. Yes, some voters have already made their choice; others are trying to figure out who to vote for. While the election may be in November, it takes time to look at any information on policies if people were inclined to do so. This oversight that people are looking only at nominees might cause people to not have time to look at policies of the presidential candidates come the actual election. By this time, people are tired of the election and do not necessarily want to look at the news headlines, policies, or ads. They begin to avoid the information that they have already gained since that is all that is being “replayed” or “republished.” They have no more incentives to comprehend policies, causing them to become “rationally ignorant.”

However, there are individuals who would like to know some of the information that candidates and nominees are not providing. Personally, I know that I do not have time to know every little detail about the policies, but I would like to see more information provided to the public. Yes, I understand that any information I collect has little bearing on the outcome of an election, but I would like to have some knowledge of the proposed policy. However, if there are enough voters out there who would like more information that is not just verbiage, there is a possibility of changing the outcome of an election or securing an outcome, and making the election more efficient.

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