Did God Help Obama's Victory

November 22, 2008.
Update (September 13, 2015) in postscript

Sankarshan Acharya
Pro-Prosperity.Com and Citizens for Development

How did Mr. Barack Obama win the U.S. presidential election on November 4, 2008? 

According to some, a consummate honest politician with a calm demeanor, nonpareil education and knowledge like Mr. Obama could easily vanquish his political opponents. 

Others attribute Mr. Obama’s victory to President Bush’s failure and Senator John McCain’s misunderstanding that major policy changes were not needed to garner a majority support. 

Many say the election result is a positive verdict in favor of Mr. Obama who received 53% of the popular vote, not the outcome of negative perceptions about Mr. Bush. 

What is fascinating, though, is an observation by a well-known Democrat Ms. Maura Moynihan that some god played a role to cause a severe meltdown of the financial markets to scare the independent voters to switch over to Mr. Obama.[1] 

It is perhaps unanimously accepted by the pundits that Mr. Obama won because of the severe financial market meltdown.  In fact, Mr. John McCain had once derided Mr. Obama during the campaign by stating that the opinion polls would be reversed if the financial markets corrected before the election. 

Mr. Obama has marvelously campaigned against the current economic dogma of making the rich richer to trickle down prosperity for all.   He seems to reflect on the new economic paradigm of prosperity amid stability for democratic capitalism.  But the crucial factor for Mr. Obama’s victory was the severe meltdown in the financial markets that spread panic across the political divide. 

The issue is whether some god caused the financial meltdown, as pondered by Ms. Maura Moynihan: “Let us thank some God out there that the financial crisis hit before the election and the plunder came clear.” 

Here I posit that Ms. Moynihan can be right only if she defines god as per my script, “Universal Religion and God.”  My logic follows.

CFD offered many “prayers” to “Universal God” to beget prosperity amid stability of humanity and true democratic capitalism.  These “prayers” have unleashed new knowledge.  The “prayers” led to many memos articulating the truth that lending taxpayer insured bank deposits to hedge funds and investment banks was financially suicidal for taxpayers.  These memos were circulated among prominent members of the U.S. Congress including the two senators contesting the presidential election. 

These memos were circulated among U.S. lawmakers during 2006-07.  A comprehensive version of these memos is available on the internet.  The Government Accountability Office then issued instructions in February 2008 to banks to recall such loans.  Prime Minister Gordon Brown has warned recently that the irresponsible and undisclosed lending made by banks has caused the meltdown.

The “prayers” had resulted in a discovery of the Truth that bank CEOs have been lending insured funds to their privately-held hedge funds to upstage markets and wangle wealth from the vast majority.  Policy changes to stop such lending led to a cascading failure of hedge funds and investment banks starting with the collapse of Bear Stearns in March 2008.  The markets melted down as the two remaining mega hedge funds (Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley) tottered in early September 2008 soon after the collapse of Lehman Brothers. 

The failure of leveraged hedge funds wiped out more than twenty trillion dollars of wealth around the world.  This is a very sad episode.  But the wealthy heretofore had been bidding up oil and food prices to wangle wealth from the vast majority.  They induced many households to sell off financial securities to buy commodities like oil and food.  Rising prices of necessities of life financially tortured the poor and burdened the productive workers who have propped up the credits of the wealthy in a nation.  Deleveraging of the hedge funds was needed to repay the government insured bank deposits.  But this led to a downward spiraling of food and energy prices that benefited the vast majority of people everywhere. 

Bank CEOs should not have lent insured deposits to privately held hedge funds.  Furthermore, banks should not have formed such hedge funds as firewalled financial subsidiaries with little capital (often as less as one-tenth of the minimum required threshold capital) on a consolidated basis.  The U.S. Congress should have adopted the Safe Banking Policy, proposed to them in 2003.  Most of the gargantuan loss of twenty trillion dollars of wealth around the world could have been avoided if optimal regulatory policies (rules of governance) were followed by banks and monitored by regulators. 

Existing religions like Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam have rendered gods and prophets based on the propounded rules of governance of humanity.  Religious scripts like Gita, Bible and Koran have characterized such rules of governance.  These scripts have been promoted as sacrosanct, not amenable to amendment based on developing human wisdom on governance like democracy and capitalism. 

Universal Religion treats the modern constitution and rules of law as the new amendable scriptures for governance of humanity.  Universal Religion subsumes all ancient religious beliefs by defining Universal God as the set of unknowable elements of the universe.  Universal God subsumes ancient beliefs about god. 

A prayer within Universal Religion is scientific research for discovery of the Truth about the unknowable elements.   The research is a path to attain Universal God or new knowledge heretofore unknown to humanity. 

The new knowledge that became available to humanity on irresponsible and undisclosed lending of insured deposits to privately held hedge funds led to an optimal rule of governance (scripture) to not make such lending and to recall the existing loans made to hedge funds. 

While each bank knew about its lending to hedge funds, no one fathomed that the massive total lending by all banks to many highly leveraged hedge funds upstaged common human welfare through high energy and food prices.  This discovery and subsequent policy action can be rendered as acts of Universal God or pursuits of those (including Mr. Obama) who believed (even tacitly) in Universal Religion and God, if one likes to posit some god in the game of the U.S. presidential election on November 4, 2008.   

Sankarshan Acharya

Update on September 13, 2015: See what has happened during the 7 years of Obama Administration: Dissociation of the constitutional democratic republic of the United States of America from the American Empire with the disparity between the rich and the rest rising to an unprecedented level despite $13 trillion of new government debt and Fed money, and with 94 million Americans are still looking for employment! The Keynesian philosophy of printing new money to hide the unconstitutional system of robbing hard earned wealth did not help in hiding inaction on correcting the system.

[1]Maura Moynihan (November 10, 2008): “A new president for the New World,” Indian Express, available on the internet at http://www.indianexpress.com/news/a-new-president-for-the-new-world/383570/0 and reproduced below.

A new president for the New World


Maura Moynihan Posted: Nov 10, 2008 at 0031 hrs IST

 The Bush years have been painful for millions of Americans, and especially tough on my neighborhood. I’m an Irish Catholic Liberal Democrat Female Smoking Vegetarian from Manhattan. For 8 years I wondered if I’d better find a new habitat before I am officially extinct. But on November 4th, 08, the streets of New York City went wild. This manic fusion of the Five Continents, on the island that houses the United Nations, this urban dreamscape of the New World screamed and danced and wept until dawn. 

It’s a miracle. Once more, the people have wrested power from the plutocrats and restored the nation’s honour and promise.  Once more, democracy prevailed, and the American people can feel proud, and relieved. Throughout that warm November night, our cell phones were jammed with exultant calls from friends around the globe. A voice from India said; “The world can forgive America all that has happened, because the world needs it.”

The American people have weathered a storm created by bad governance and driven by a worldview that venerates militarism and plunder. We saw our tax dollars siphoned into a insane war; we saw our rights attacked, our votes stolen.  We The rich got tax cuts as the poor suffered. Polar ice caps are melting, but we were told the global warming was a farce. And our young men and women still perish in foreign wars, far from home.

Let us thank some God out there that the financial crisis hit before the election and the plunder came clear. Let us celebrate the End of the 80’s, a tawdry decade in American life, when the power elite began its campaign to annihilate the legacy of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. For 28 years it was a smashing success. Not much is left of the Roosevelt legacy these days, except for my neighbour’s social security checks and the FDR Drive, a crumbling beltway to the east of Manhattan. And yet, here in New York, we have the words and faces of those New York Democrats beaming an antique nobility from photographs hanging askew on a tavern wall. How proud they would be of their Democratic Party today.

Indeed, one of the most pernicious elements of the right wing political machine was their demonisation of Democrats. During the 2004 election a man from Virginia quite literally lunged at me with a clenched fist when I said I was voting for John Kerry. It was cause for concern. I wondered, why do so many of my fellow Americans hate people like me so much? Didn’t we all grow up watching “My Favourite Martian” together?  What are we doing in the same country? Are we in the same country? But this election year, at last, negative ads failed to deliver results. The American people resisted the manipulations of spin doctors and voted for change, by voting for the better candidate, not the slickest package.

Change was embodied by the brave young senator from Illinois, Barack Obama. His mother took him round the world from his childhood, his grandparents nurtured his scholastic gifts, his teachers rewarded his talents, as did his constituents from Illinois. His victory on November 4 was achieved by extraordinary discipline and a talent for leading and inspiring people: first his campaign staff, and then the nation, and now, the world. He is the man for the New World, a shifting universe replete with peril and promise.

Many Americans of Obama’s generation were given the gift of an international childhood. In the early 1970’s I moved to India with my family, and graduated from Hindi High, the American International School in New Delhi. Living in India liberated me from ignorance about a great many things, principally a cloistered, First World ignorance about basic needs. (If living in India doesn’t raise your consciousness, then you are one tough customer, or maybe you didn’t leave the hotel). As much as I love Indian art and culture, I admire India’s democracy. India is the most honest country I know. India does not lie to itself about its struggles, neither does it endeavour to deceive the world about its problems. John F. Kennedy once said; “Democracy is a difficult form of government. It requires courage, but above all, it requires knowledge.”  Many of us feared that the US had lost the will to examine itself, to be honest with itself and the world, to guard its democracy.  The Democratic Party, which my late father, Daniel Patrick Moynihan was so hopeful about, had been dealt so many death blows by the radical Right, that I wondered if it was a corpse.

It’s not dead. It’s alive. On November 4, sanity returned. Let us hope that America may yet be an example to the world, and not a lesson to it.

The writer first lived in India in the 1970s when her father, the late Democratic Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan served as US ambassador

[1]Maura Moynihan (November 10, 2008): “A new president for the New World,” Indian Express, available on the internet at http://www.indianexpress.com/news/a-new-president-for-the-new-world/383570/0 and reproduced below.