The two major political parties and the media always try to make presidential elections about the personalities of those running – and to a large extent, we go along with them.
So presidential campaigns become like student-government elections; whom do you like best?
This election is different. It has to be.
This time, we’re being asked whether to keep heading for the cliff or to turn away from it.
This election is not about personalities and parties. It’s about principles, ideas, the laws of economics and the facts surrounding America’s financial state.
In short, we simply cannot continue on the path we’re on.
We already owe more than any country in history, between $16 trillion in already-spent funds and some go to $100 trillion in promised future spending for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
With the United States borrowing 40 cents of every dollar the federal government spends, and Washington printing money to finance that binge, our very currency is at risk. At the least, it reduces our buying power and risks inflation or deflation.
What happens when lenders won’t lend us more? What happens if the currency crashes?
We may not want to imagine that, but we need not do so: The lessons are right there in history for us to look at, across centuries in which world powers spent themselves to decline or ruin. Rome, the Weimar Republic, Britain, Argentina and more killed or seriously wounded themselves with debt.
What makes us think we’d be any different? What makes us think we can suspend the laws of economics, any more than we can the law of gravity?
As it stands now, America’s fiscal house probably can’t be put back together for 15 or 20 years – and that’s assuming we get cracking now. That means a succession of presidents and Congresses united on solving our fiscal problems.
That’s assuming a lot. But we’ve got to at least first take the initial steps of admitting our problem, electing the problem solvers and then accepting the sometimes painful solutions.
If you want to get a taste of how difficult it will all be, just look at Western Europe. Few places on Earth call for more austerity, but the cutbacks in generous pensions and public benefits have inspired protests and riots and more. German Chancellor Angela Merkel was villified as Adolf Hitler recently in Greece for the Eurozone-inspired austerity measures there – even though it’s largely through the industry of German workers and German loans that some other European workers have enjoyed enviable lifestyles.
Is this the future we wish for ourselves and our children?
If not, we need to change course. Now.
Watch the vice presidential debate tonight with an ear for who is telling you the truth about the state of things in America.
Then consider electing candidates who not only will tell you the truth, but will actually do something about it.