Elections are supposed to mean something. They should decide important issues like the balance between collectivism and individualism. Not this one. This one is just about power and it appears that it is going to be decided on two issues that have little to do with the big issues that this country faces.
Republicans want you to blame Obama for a slow economic recovery.
Democrats want you to punish Romney for promises that fail the “math” test.
Both are right.
The recession was worse and the recovery slower than the administration predicted.
Romney’s tax plan fails to achieve his revenue-neutral target according to latest independent Tax Policy Center analysis. His Medicare reform also doesn’t “add up”.
Both campaigns have also been beating up the truth and not telling the whole story.
Republicans wrongly claim Obama increased the deficit and doubled the debt. The deficit is the yearly difference between spending and income. It has gone down 14% from 1.4T in 2009 to 1.2T in 2012. The debt has gone up because of yearly deficits, but only 70% and the rate of growth as percentage of GDP (standard measurement) has gone down because the economy has recovered and the deficit decreased. It is simple math.
While debt remains an important issue, austerity during time of slow economic growth increases the chances of economic recession as we’ve seen in Europe. Getting the economy going again has to be our top priority. Dramatic reductions in the size of government at all levels over the past two years is what has slowed this recovery. A prudent mix of short term government growth programs while interest rates and inflation are both very low makes sense as long as we have structural changes to manage our long term debt problems.
Democrats wrongly claim their plans will solve the long-term debt problem without entitlement reform.
Republicans promise Obamacare repeal but have failed to propose a credible alternative.
Both wrongly claim that only their ideas will create jobs.
The truth is that the economy is recovering on its own. Moody’s Analytics predicts 12M new jobs over next four years regardless of who is president.
The real problem in this election is us.
We’ve allowed ideology to trump logic and fact. For example, how does a revenue-neutral tax change stimulate anything? Or how does deficit-busting war spending become deficit-neutral domestic investment?
The failure to hold our candidates accountable in meaningful ways is the result of partisan media. They have figured out how to profit by creating dissention and hatred. They cripple democracy by assassinating truth and demonizing compromise. Democracy works best when there is room to create a middle way where both sides get a little and give a little. That isn’t possible in today’s political climate. Those who even entertain the possibility of compromise for the greater good are ostracized and run out of office by the partisans in their party. What you are left with is hard-line ideologues who view compromise as tantamount to treason. Indiana Republican Senatorial candidate Richard Murdoch summarized that point of view.
￼”I certainly think bipartisanship ought to consist of Democrats coming to the Republican point of view,” Mourdock declared. “If we [win the House, Senate, and White House], bipartisanship means they have to come our way, and if we’re successful in getting the numbers, we’ll work towards that.
The logic is that there is some great moral victory out there for one side or the other to win. If they win, they get to impose their will on the other side.
The reality is that the country is fairly evenly split between two ideologies. There is no opportunity for a great decisive victory and our political system, as we’ve seen over the past four years, provides the minority party plenty of opportunity to gum up the works and limit the ability for the majority to do what it wants. Politicians also have long memories. Those that find themselves abused as a minority know that at some point they are going to be back in the majority and will gleefully turn the tables on their abusers.
As a result, we get “lesser evil” elections like this one rather than real choices about the greater good. Neither candidate can win with just the votes of their party. They have to temper their message in an effort to attract the votes of the few remaining undecided in the middle. Nobody ends up with the choice that they would prefer and elections get decided on small issues rather than big ones.
You want someone to blame? Go look in the mirror.