Economic issues deserve more attention from presidential candidates

In recent weeks, Americans received a much needed break at the pump. It’s a relief to see gas prices go down because higher gas prices seem to bring out the worst in people. This summer, police arrested a Kentucky woman for prostituting herself for a $100 gas card. These are some sad times we live in if people are getting that desperate for gas money.

Gas prices have declined by 40 percent since then, but I’m still uncertain how long I have to enjoy this grace period. I remember the old days when I could gas my Chevy Cavalier on $20. Now, I’m lucky if I can fill up my tank for less than $50.

Families and business owners everywhere struggle to keep afloat. People all over the country have suffered incredible losses in shares or have been forced to give up their homes because they no longer can afford to pay their mortgages. It’s sad to watch people give up what they have worked all their lives to achieve. Senior citizens battle rising health care costs when visiting doctors and purchasing medication.

Food prices have increased as well. School districts such as the Houston Independent School District increased their lunch prices as a result of rising food costs. On July 29, Bennigan’s Grill & Tavern filed for bankruptcy and closed all company-owned restaurants without warning to its employees and lunch crowd. I worked in an office near Bennigan’s, and I couldn’t believe it when I walked up to the door and read the sign that it had been closed. Neither could other local Houstonians who dined there during lunch hours. Although all Bennigan’s aren’t closed, most of the Bennigan’s across the country belong to independent companies. Therefore, many employees woke up that morning jobless, and with the current job market, they’re probably still jobless. It seems like a bad dream. One minute life’s going good, and you wake up the next morning to find your life turned upside down.

Many Americans are waking up to these kinds of days, especially people in the real estate industry. According to, home-building fell another 17 percent in July. The future in real estate looks bleak.

Homeowners, businesses, housing and mortgage giants continue to suffer. The big question now with the upcoming presidential election is which presidential candidate can find a solution? Neither Sen. John McCain nor Sen. Barack Obama have addressed a clear stance on a solution for the economy. Both candidates should make the economy issue a more central topic as we get closer to the presidential election. Our economy rests in their hands if elected, and I, among other Americans, want it to be on the top of their list.

Krystal Upshaw is a junior broadcast journalism major from Houston.