The race for President is officially on. Republican Mitt Romney’s lone remaining significant challenger, RickSantorum, has left the race and now all that is left is the official party nominations for President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney later this year. Most public opinion polls show this to be a very close election with the lead changing hands on a regular basis but always by a very close margin. The election will come down to which candidate gives the American People the most confidence in the future of their country.
Voters have a large plate full of legitimate concerns. The biggest is the growing federal deficit. Despite the rhetoric in Washington this is not an issue that the politicians seem willing to realistically discuss and address. All you hear is that the wealthy don’t pay their fair share and that the deficit is really not that big a deal. The facts say otherwise.
If not for the “wealthy,” there would be no one paying income taxes. The top 1% of income tax payers in America pays nearly 40% of all income taxes. The bottom 50% pays 3% of the taxes. So this notion that the “wealthy” are not carrying their load is hokum. This is not the real issue, but the deficit is real.
If a path to bring the deficit under control is not in place very soon, say within the next four years, this fiscal crisis may bring our nation down to a depression era economy. In addition, we have most likely reached the point where higher taxes will be needed to pay down the long term debt, soon to be $17 trillion, not only on those paying the bulk of the taxes today but also on those who are paying little or nothing and comprise those folks least able to pay. Yes, it was Republican President George W. Bush who cut taxes on the middle class to the levels they are today, but it is the out of control spending that has followed that has caused our nation to approach the brink of financial chaos.
Debt, whether personal or by the government, is real and must be repaid. Too much debt, unaffordable debt, cannot be easily repaid that is why states like Louisiana have restricted the amount of debt that the state can incur so that its debt never exceeds its ability to pay off that debt. The federal government has never showed such restraint. It has been bent on giving everything to virtually everybody without a care in the world about paying for all the freebies. It is a path for incumbents to run for reelection by bragging about all they have done yet putting off payment until some distant point in the future. This has to stop. The future is today.
The next president must be willing to act responsibly by cutting spending and eliminating deficit spending, paying down the accumulated debt of the country, and putting America on a path of fiscal sanity. All of the federal programs, from Social Security and Medicare to welfare and food stamps and national defense, will mean nothing if our federal government is bankrupt.
The job of voters in this next election is to cut through the political posturing and the catchy phrases, ignore the rhetoric, and look to the candidates to offer real solutions, not solutions that sound good, like the “Buffett Rule,” but do nothing to solve our very real problems.
Who says one vote doesn’t count? New Orleans District Councilmember Stacy Head was elected to the vacant Council-at-Large seat by a mere 281 votes according to unofficial results. Her margin of victory was less than one vote per precinct (actually less than .77 votes per precinct). Turnout was estimated to be less than 24% of the city’s registered voters. While White voter turnout was nearly double the African American turnout, if just 410 more African Americans had voted, assuming Cynthia Willard Lewis was receiving on average 85% of the African American vote, she would have won the council seat by 5 votes. So close. So very close. So remember that every election is important and that your vote does count. Just ask Cynthia Willard-Lewis.