By Richard Larsen
Some voters, especially on the far right, erroneously maintain that there is little difference between the two major presidential candidates when in fact, their divergent views of the role of government could not be more pronounced. This election provides perhaps the starkest contrast since the 1964 election.
The Federal debt has become a problem that cannot be ignored and in my estimation, is the most crucial issue facing the nation at this time. In four short years, the nation has gone from 58% of debt to GDP to 107%, as the debt has skyrocketed from $10 trillion to $16 trillion.
Deficit spending, which has averaged $1.44 trillion over the past four years, is one of the largest contributors to the total debt. We are borrowing more than $41 for every $100 the government spends. This is unsustainable.
President Obama has presided over this massive rise in public debt and has ignored his own commission’s recommendations for addressing the problem. Mitt Romney recognizes, along with many other economists, that our debt and deficit, if not reined in, can lead to a complete collapse of the dollar and our financial system, and has spelled out how the current dangerous trend can be reversed. If ever we’ve needed a fiscal repairman, it is now, and Romney has the financial acumen and experience to do it.
Obama prefers government solutions to economic issues while Romney advocates less intrusion of government and more freedom for individuals and the private sector to succeed. The last four years has seen government control of our economy increase to nearly 60%, with direct and regulatory control over the health care, financial, automotive, energy, and real estate sectors. This is a fascistic model based on centralized control of the means of production. Romney ardently opposes this model, advocating instead free market solutions with as little governmental control and manipulation as possible. He sees the government role more as a referee rather than the crony-capitalism currently in force where the government picks winners and losers in the private sector.
The greatest facilitator of a post-recession economic recovery is job growth, and while the Department of Labor reports that we have gained 4.3 million jobs over the past four years, we have a net loss of 316,000 jobs as millions of Americans have given up hope and quit looking for work. Our participation rate, per the DOL, is lower than it’s ever been, with just 63% of the working-age public earning a paycheck. This has stymied recovery since the recession ended in July 2009, making this the most anemic recovery on record.
Uncertainty over government involvement in the private sector, including regulation and taxes, has significantly stymied job growth. With the cost of regulation to small business owners at over $10,600 per employee, according to the Small Business Administration, Romney will reduce the regulatory cost of doing business and free up small business capital to expand, grow, and create more jobs. In short, Romney’s focus is on economic growth, while Obama’s is on government growth.
President Obama was exactly right three years ago when he said, “We should not be raising taxes during a recession.” They should also not be raised during an anemic recovery. Yet that’s his answer to the $1.44 trillion deficit, to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans from 35 to 39.5%, even though it will only raise a projected $65 billion. Obama recently made his perspective clear regarding taxes, when he said that allowing those who earn more than $250,000 per year to keep most of their earnings is a government “giveaway.” This view that the government allows us to keep some of our money is vastly different than Romney’s, that your money is yours, but government needs some of it to provide the services expected.
On energy, when Obama says that he supports an “all of the above” approach, he means all of those that are above the ground, as evidenced by the crony-capitalism preferential treatment given to solar and wind. Romney’s approach is truly “all of the above,” including oil, natural gas, coal, and nuclear. And he would’ve approved the Keystone Pipeline from Canada, which also would’ve created up to 140,000 jobs.
Romney believes the Constitution to be our founding legal document, and would appoint constructionist Supreme Court justices. Obama manifests little respect for the separation of powers and constitutional limits on the executive branch, and has given us justices that advance a less literalistic interpretation of the Constitution.
Romney adheres to the biological and anthropologically validated heterosexual definition of marriage, while Obama supports same-sex marriage.
Obama is pro-abortion, including partial-birth abortions, while Romney is pro-life except in cases of rape and incest.
We could go on and on. Ideologically, the two candidates could not be more divergent. Claims that they’re “just the same” are simply disingenuous and fallacious.
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