Summer’s End

The 2012 summer has been an unusual one for most of the Country.  Extreme droughts, warm weather, and oddly in some place, large amounts of rain.  America’s pastime, t he baseball season, has brought joy to places like Baltimore, Washington, and Cincinnati although experts still see last year’s best teams winning again.  The rest of us must wait until next year.

For those following the Presidential election, the feeling is there is no “next year”.  In about 60 days, the US will elect a new President, or reelect President Obama.  When the votes are in and counted, regardless of the outcome, there will be a sinking feeling just like the end of summer.  Voters will realize that they must live with their election decisions.

Last evening, I met a couple dedicated to President Obama’s defeat.  They were hopeful Mitt Romney would change things and “get the country moving again”.  One person was a teacher and the other a “job creator” (small business owner).  They possessed no specific knowledge but could spout a lot of “Fox News” factoids.  I can only assume there are many more like them, some for President Obama, others against.

I wonder how they will feel come November 7.

For those who supported the winner, there will be a brief period of anticipation that suddenly government will begin to function as it should.  For others, it will be a period of angst.  In the end, regardless of who wins, not much is likely to change.

The problems facing the US will not resolve based upon rhetoric.  Jump starting the economy without increasing the national debt isn’t going to happen.  Holding the debt level fixed, there will be no stimulus and no rapid growth in jobs.

Where will the money come from if a President Romney gets to cut taxes?  What will Americans not spend their money on if they must instead pay more for their health care coverage?  (How about consumer goods that drive job creation?)

By any logical assessment, Americans will have to spend more on health care (read entitlements) and will have to pay more in taxes.  Currently the government is spending over $500 billion to cover the short fall in Medicare/Medicaid.  The debt is approaching $16 trillion and the charge card magic will require an enormous flip-flop if Republicans are to employ this tool.

A President Romney ought to expect adamant opposition by Congressional Democrats.  Senate Democrats will use the 60 vote super majority to blunt any GOP initiative just as Republicans have done to President Obama.  The ship of State will come to a halt, and become captive to outside forces.  America will cease to be the captain of its fate.

Not everyone will worry, however.  The top 2% will weather what ever the national decision quite well.  Job Creators will grouse about having to pay for this or that.  They will claim their initiative and risk taking should be rewarded more amply and that they owe nothing to the “common wealth” that has come before them.  They will rest easily assured that if those less well off were only to get off their backsides and work, they too could enjoy the good life.

Today it is Summer’s end.  The conversation which will lead up to the November election needs to get real.  There are no easy decisions or resolutions to the major problems.  (There are solutions, to be sure.  The solutions just aren’t easy.)

Americans have been living off their government’s credit card.  There is no fair answer other than to pay more and receive less.  If we stop the empty rhetoric and face the facts, the Country could move forward in a world rapidly changing.

Will the US stand still paralyzed by misinformation and ignorance, or will voters say enough is enough.  Increased defense spending, tax cuts, and no changes to entitlements will ensure America’s drift into second rate.

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2 Comments on “Summer’s End”

  1. Bob Wilken Says:

    Your commentary clearly betrays angst and foreboding that Mitt Romney may win the election. I find myself in the same predicament. I try to bolster my hopes and spirits by watching the MSNBC liberal-talk junkies or by reading snipits from “The Nation”. I wouldn’t be caught dead watching Fox. This would be a sadomasochistic endeavor and only serve to magnify my anxiety and doubts. In this sense, I’m in a “bubble” just as are probably many of us. But, I DO believe in truth (dictionary defined “as in conformity with fact”), logic, objectivity and the scientific method.

    I was listening to an NPR interview with several college students the other day. They were asked for whom they would likely vote. One young lady said she did not like the way Obama had raided Medicare for those many billions of dollars. Hence, she would vote for Romney. The interviewer said: “You know? That actually isn’t true.” (read “factual”) and carefully explained the by now oft-repeated fact-check account. The explanation apparently fell on deaf ears. The student could only reply that she WAS convinced that Obama had taken that money. Nothing could dissuade her.
    I recoiled and could only think of this as totally irrational.

    In spite of the fact-check organizations, facts apparently are of no matter to some. We have come to the point where individuals claim to “perceive” facts in different but valid ways so as to come up with their own “truth”. Go figure! A new twist on relativity? Whether they believe their own accommodations or just think of them as politically expedient is questionable. But, it has been quite educational to hear defenders of Paul Ryan’s many, less-than-fact-based assertions in his vice presidential acceptance speech. These defenders manage to perform amazing acts of verbal and mental gymnastics in order to rebut claims that he was anything less than fully “truthful”. Romney pollster Neil Newhouse is cited by the “Chicago Tribune” as saying: “We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers,” because they bring “a different set of beliefs”. It says it all!

    Hopefully, the sliver of the voting elite that is going to decide this election is the most thoughtful, deliberative, fact-checking, discerning bunch in the electorate. You would think it SHOULD be. But, WILL it be? Or, are they the ones that just wait for that last “negative” campaign ad to convince them which way to vote? Are they those last-minute Christmas shoppers that finally just have to grab something…anything as a gift? November 6 or, maybe 7, will tell all.


    • Robert, without a doubt the election will be close given what we know now. There is always the chance that some other event will influence the outcome… like Israel attacking Iran, or some sensational expose about Obama key staff, etc…

      From my perspective, the GOP has doubled down on a campaign which can not withstand “fact check”. Some positions like no abortion, no exceptions just can’t carry the middle.

      We don’t know much about Mitt Romney but there is reason to worry. He depends upon a skilled staff of advisors and then Mitt picks what he thinks is the best alternative. He could get people like Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, etc, and unlike “W”, Romney will fire advisors who provide bad advice but the firing will not occur until after the advice is put into effect.

      It will be the battleground States that decide it. Let’s hope the President fights the good fight.


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