I tried to do something I had been threatening myself with doing for some time--to stop blogging about the current elections. Anyone who knows me from my Multiply blog knows this a radical step for me. I' wasn't t even sure I could stop it--is there such a thing as Election Junkies anonymous?
As it turns out I can't keep that promise. Not even for a day. Politics is my nicotine. Here I go again.
One thing that is clear is that we have two and one half months to go before the General Election and, honestly, if anyone hasn't decided whom they are going to vote for (Obama, Romney, Jill Stein of the Greens, The Libertarian Guy Who I Can Never Remember) than they really haven't been paying attention.
Part of the reason for this has been my sheer frustration in seeing candidates like Romney get away with not disclosing the most basic information one should have about their candidacy in the modern Presidency; at least 5-7 years of their tax returns. Why did isn't a law that all candidates to high office need to disclose their taxes when they are running for national office baffles me! The other is the notion that Romney and Obama are essentially the same. In some ways, perhaps they are I'll admit in foreign policy matters; but Romney candidacy will have a very different impact on professional, and middle and lower income families and the elderly.
In plain terms the Romney Ryan ticket will devastate the social safety net for the jobless, the ill , the elderly and for all people who actually have to work for a living. And then give yet another round of tax breaks to millionaires. So while the policies of the USA in the Middle East may be change so much if one or the other of these political birds wins, it makes a huge difference to a middle-aged and middle class guy like me.
The USA has a lot of problems right now, at home and abroad. We have had high unemployment since 2008 and a stagnant economy in part because greedy people played fast and loose with the housing markets and investment bankers on Wall Street shovelled money into a system that created a huge bubble that burst on us and took an estimated 14 trillion dollar out of the pockets of people who were the bedrock of our economy.
This economic tsunami will not be cleared up by anyone in four years or even eight. The country is in a state of slow and painful recovery. I see the only way out is to for the average income Americans coming together and saying "NO" to anyone who wants to take us back to the Wild West days on Wall Street. No one likes being regulated but we all have to drive on the right hand side of the road and stop at a red light over here to drive. Just as a driver of a car or a truck needs regulations, so do mortgage holders and bankers. Romney and Ryan want to pretend that 30 years of deregulation and increased income inequality under Reagan, and the Bushes didn't happen. Sorry it did. We need to restore a serious regulatory system such as the Glass-Stegall Act again and we need to start making the wealthy pay their fair share again---not 13 percent or 17 percent but more like 30-35 percent to build up our infrastructure. And cut the loopholes back as even Ronald Reagan and the Democrats in Congress did in 1986.
And lest you cry our "class warfare" my visiting Republican friends bare in mind that the last and longest post-World War II growth we had was under Bill Clinton and he raised taxes through Congress to a top rate of 39 percent.
As Warren Buffett the enlightened billionaire investor ruefully put it, "Yes, there is class warfare in this country. And my side is winning."
It's time we change that course, once and for the rest of the decades to come.