Saturday, Sunday, Monday… Will It Be Over?

Following 8 years of a disastrous George W Bush administration, the 2012 election closeness is puzzling.  It appears so close that we may not know until late Tuesday evening or possible Wednesday morning who the next President will be.  It is mystifying how this is possible.

It is true that most of “W” years were good ones in economic terms for most Americans.  We had the housing bubble and run away banking profits supporting the economy.  Even when the housing bubble burst and the financial sector imploded, these events took place close to the 2008 election.  The unemployment momentum blossomed following President Obama’s election.  Fading memories, I guess, might still associate good times with the GOP.

It is also true that President Obama’s term has been marked by Congressional gridlock.  While Congress argued, the deficits and debt continued to climb.  The national debt today is about $6 trillion higher than the $10 trillion President Obama inherited.  The question voters may be asking, why did President Obama allow the debt to rise?

It is also true that unemployment is no lower than when President Obama took office.  Other than the great depression, no other recession has lasted 4 years as it has under President Obama.  And, on top of the unemployment level, many of those currently employed fear they will lose their jobs or are dissatisfied with the amount of their pay.  It must have been better in the past.

It is also true that President Obama focused his Administration on reforming the US health care delivery system and fought the GOP tooth and nail to get the Affordable Care Act passed.  Opposition to ACA has been strong and well financed.

So we stand three days before the election.  The GOP closing statement says Obama has had four years and has failed to get the economy going.  Mitt Romney is a business man and knows how to create jobs.  Mitt will create jobs and life will be good again.  Unbelievable, about 50% of likely voters indicate they accept this claim.

I wonder whether these likely Romney voters have recognized that

  • Romney’s economic policies are the same as “W’s”
  • the major benefactors of “W” economic policies were the already wealthy
  • 50% of the current deficit comes from Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.  To reduce the deficit, one must reduce expenditures for these programs (by increasing taxes, requiring recipients to pay more, or changing benefits).
  • further tax reductions must result in increasing in the deficit, decreases in Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, or increases in the net taxes paid by the middle class.
  • Repealing ACA will accomplish nothing unless reinstating “pre-existing condition” rules seems a good idea.

Clearly the answer must be either most of the likely Romney voters do not recognize or have not considered this list, or they have made the mental leap that Romney and the GOP will miraculously revive the economy and then “who cares” about these other facts.

The inconvenient facts are

  • Our economy is recovering and will continue to.
  • Health care costs are rising and will continue to until there is complete health care reform (like Germany, France or Japan).
  • Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security are receiving too little funding to meet their annual expenditures.  These programs are covered by US law and unless the laws are changed they will continue to take ever larger amounts of the budget.
  • The tax code is too complicated with exemptions, deductions, and loopholes.  Without reform lowering tax rates must result in less revenue, higher deficits or significant cuts in government spending (and the services that accompany this spending).

This is true regardless of whether the President is a Democrat or a Republican.

It would seem to me that a steady and known commodity such as President Obama would feel more comfortable to voters than a return to the party that brought us two unfunded wars, a lax regulatory climate featuring Enron, Hurricane Katrina’s response, the 2008 financial sector implosion, and the continued widening gap between the very wealth and the rest.

But the polls still suggest almost a dead heat.   What do I know about politics and human nature?


Explore posts in the same categories: Barack Obama, Democratic Party, Politics, Republican Party

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