It’s August. While we’re still a month away from the full swing of election season, traditionally beginning after Labor Day, there’s enough politics in the news that the rhetoric is already starting to wear thin.
And maybe that’s the problem: too much rhetoric. Too much empty rhetoric.
If it’s not clear to the legions of consultants advising the Romney and Obama campaigns, yet, the economy, and the lack of recovery thereof, is center ring issue of this election. Instead of an honest and forthright discussion about the role of government with regards to the economy, though, we’ve been treated to a series of sideshows, a parade of misfits and sideshows that distract from that discussion.
Whether it is Obama’s “evolving” stance on gay marriage (he’s for it, now), attacks on Bain, calling for Mitt Romney to give up more tax returns, or Romney’s gaffe in London, voters have been treated to more tit for tat than substantive discussion. Even the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”) seemed to reveal that neither side was willing to grapple with the effect the law will have on the economy in the form of new taxes. Obama seemed more interested in reiterating that “we won” and Romney’s team seemed afraid to attack, unless it’s something so glaringly obvious as Obama’s telling entrepreneurs and business people that “you didn’t build that.”
Why is unemployment still high? Why has the Obama plan failed? Unless we want to constantly fight a battle of trying to win the least educated and most volatile voters–and continue to see the selection of inexperienced politicians who will say anything to get elected–we need to see a clear exposition of why it is important to vote Republican in November.
In other words, where’s the vision? The candidates are clearly different individuals with a different view of the role of government, but are voters hearing that difference? ”Both men’s positions have been contorted by each other’s attack ads,” as a piece in The Economist recently described,
But there is a real left-right division, personified by the two candidates. Mr Obama, who has spent most of his life in the public sector, academia or community work, plainly thinks the state has a bigger role to play—in galvanising the economy when demand collapses (as in 2008) and in moderating inequality. By contrast, Mr Romney, who made $200m or so in private equity, believes that the best thing that government can do is to get out of the way—by cutting taxes, reducing regulations and leaving people to build their businesses.
And what will the winner face?
The winner of the November election will immediately be faced with the problem of the “fiscal cliff”—a preset $400 billion tax increase, with the expiry of various tax cuts, and a $100-billion-a-year cut in spending—which could push the economy back into recession. Looming over that is the gaping deficit. And over that, America’s schizophrenia: it taxes itself like a small-government country, but spends like a big-government one.
The state of the debate, says the Economist, is poor, though. On the right, taxes can never balance the deficit (even though the Economist cites Milton Friedman just a sentence before) and expansive spending is justified for prisons, national security, and big business subsidies. On the left, reform is impossible, with Obama methodically “unpicking welfare reform” passed over the last twenty years, including under President Clinton‘s administration. Further, “Mr Obama seems to think the public sector is inherently more moral than the private one. Companies are at best cows to be milked, at worst prey to be hunted.”
Read the full article here.
- Polls: Obama over 50% in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania (politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com)
- Voters Aren’t Buying Obama’s Distractions (johnmalcolm.me)
- The Signs of a Romney Victory (frontpagemag.com)
- Why Mitt Romney’s FL Jewish outreach won’t be easy (miamiherald.typepad.com)
- HOLMAN JENKINS: Is Obama Beating Himself? Mr. Obama himself chose to lash his re-election bid to… (pjmedia.com)
- Obama’s slight lead 100 days before poll (bigpondnews.com)