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Nelson George is a novelist, cultural critic, and filmmaker. After receiving his degree from St. John's University in 1982, George first worked for New York's Amsterdam News, later becoming an[…]

War and poverty, says George.

Question: What should be the big issues of the 2008 presidential election?

Nelson George: War and poverty. And people are talking about the war but they’re not talking about poverty. I don’t see any . . . And when I say poverty, I’m not talking about just to poor people in the ‘hood. I’m talking about middle class poverty. If there is a middle class left in America, it’s dangling on. It’s dying of credit. It’s probably got little stupid adjustable rate mortgages. People are getting kicked out of houses all over the place. I see Bush finally is trying to step in, thank God. Because people are losing their fucking houses. But that loss of house is a reflection of the general economic strategies, which is people buy things they don’t need. They buy it on credit. These kind of houses are kind of bought on credit when you really look about it. They’re buying the houses on credit, and the payment for the credit gets higher and higher every year. So more and more people are in debt. This is a profound and fundamental problem in the American economy. It’s not something that just . . . Just because some Wall Street stockbroker is doing well doesn’t mean the economy is doing well. Look at the value of the dollar around the world. I just came back from England. You can barely get an ice cream come over there with the dollar. So what is this saying? This says that these are fundamental, structural inequities and problems in how our economy works, and none of these guys are gonna address that. They’re not gonna address it. They’re not addressing it now. I haven’t heard hide nor hair about it in any profound way – in any real systematic way because they’re afraid to because they’re getting money from the same people who run everything; which is basically Wall Street brokers and big business people who don’t . . . who are profiting off of our, you know, our problems . . . the small guy’s debt. Debt is the biggest problem in this country.