Today is without a doubt the foggiest, most chaotic election day in my longer-than-I care-to admit life. Who to vote for and why is anything but clear for most Evolving Excellence readers, especially if the driving issue is economics, or for what is best for American manufacturing and the American economy. As Tom Hanks said in Saving Private Ryan, "We have crossed some strange boundary here. The world has taken a turn for the surreal." The problem is that the old theories and prevailing wisdoms have just about all turned out to be wrong.
Obama and the Democrats have done a masterful job of demonstrating the hollowness of the old Keynsian 'let the government do it' school of thought, while the Chinese and Wall Street have jointly demonstrated that the free market, no rules philosophy is a train wreck for the USA when other countries use economic policy as a predatory extension of their political agenda. The Democrats and Republicans built their agendas around differing ideas of how to split up the great wealth pie, with the Dems advocating for giving it all to labor, and the GOP'ers urging that it should go to capital – increasingly meaningless arguments when the central issue is a frighteningly smaller pie for everyone. It is quite obvious that, while both sides are skilled at divvying up the pie, neither has any idea how to bake a bigger and better one.
Is the Tea Party the answer? The Tea Party is a myth – an illusion. It is not a party with a core ideaolgy, but a disparate collection of folks whose unifying issue is collective dissatisfaction with the status quo. Some Tea Party candidates seem to make a lot of sense, while others are unqualified to run a lemonade stand, let alone the United States.
So who has the answers? No one, really. On this side of Hanks' "strange boundary" new ideas and new philosophies will emerge and the next Congress and the next Senate will have to figure them out. So who to vote for? I tend to fall back on sports analogies, as weak as they sometimes are.
The powers that be at Notre Dame and Michigan are a lot like the voters who backed Obama – they fell for the idea that gimmicks and complicated schemes and trickery would yield quick, easy success. While coaches Kelly and Rodriguez create occasional flashes of excitement, they field teams woefully lacking in fundamental execution – blocking and tackling – the boring, detailed hard work that makes football teams good and sometimes great. In like manner, multi-thousand page stimulus packages, compoicated environmental schemes, and health care processes with hundreds of new agencies and decision points can be alluring, but they are no more a formula for what ails the US than a new playbook with more trickery is the answer for Michigan's inability to beat Ohio State.
Whatever the answer is for the US economy, it will most certainly entail hard work – and my advice is to try to identify the candidate on your ballot who acknowledges that basic fact. Whether it is in your country, your state, your city, your business or your home, if the economy is broken the only solution is to spend as little as you can and work as hard as you can. The deeper the hole the longer and harder you have to work to get out of it. The wider the gap between income and expense the more austere you will have to live to get out of debt.
I say you vote for whoever you think is most willing to tell you and everyone else what you don't want to hear. Vote for the guy who says that Washington – and you – are going to have to spend a lot less money; and the guy who acknowledges that it is going to take a long time to fix things … if such a person exists. Most important, vote against anyone who tries to tell you the old rules still apply, and that either government or Wall Street has all the answers. And vote against any candidate who is promising you a quick, painless fix.
Metal Stamping Man says
Totally agree Bill. However, I’m so disappointed in the voting system at this point. I went this morning and it was choose either Democrat or Republican… no third parties on the ballot. You could write names in… but a majority of people won’t do that. We need a real 3rd party or no parties to bring real change.
RON PAUL 2012!
Mark Welch says
It’s come down to this: hold your nose and vote.
Some old platitudes about choosing the lesser of two evils, only a 3rd party will save us, etc. Hogwash. If voters look beyond the surface noise–i.e. do a little research and even some RC Analysis–an informed and logical choice usually surfaces. And what exactly is “real change” anyway. What would it look like? I suspect it is the usual–we want everybody else to change, not us. We want everything to be handed to us on a silver platter and fed to us with a silver spoon. If you don’t like the candidates, get out there and run yourself. Or, work for a candidate during the primary season in order to try to get the right person on the ballot. As supposed lean leaders, I am appalled by the tendency expressed to sit back and claim that nobody is doing what we want quite good enough for us. As citizens, we are just as responsible for the success of our system as we are at our jobs. Get out there and vote, volunteer, and run for office. And for goodness’ sake stop with the old worn-out laments about our political system. Don’t complain–CHANGE.
Rick Bohan says
Let’s assume the GOP regains control of the House. I’m taking bets as to how long it takes for them to introduce a bill cutting Medicare after two years of scaring the crap out of seniors, telling them that health care reform would cut their Medicare.
Also taking bets on how long it takes them to further weaken the already weak Wall St. legislation.
I say they attempt both within 3 months. Any takers?
Finally, taking bets on how long before we hear the first quote from GOP along the lines of “Earmarks are only bad when Democrats want them”. Just like we heard Dick Cheney say deficits don’t matter when his party was turning the surplus into a deficit.
Jim Fernandez says
Bill you said,
“if the economy is broken the only solution is to spend as little as you can and work as hard as you can. The deeper the hole the longer and harder you have to work to get out of it. The wider the gap between income and expense the more austere you will have to live to get out of debt.”
You are correct here. However, Washington did not apply this advice to the big banks and companies. A couple of years ago when I heard the statement that this or that bank or company was “too big to fail” I knew we were in trouble. “Too big to fail” meant these companies became recipients of beneficial financial and economic policies from governments and/or central banks. No matter what mistakes they made. Meanwhile me and my little hot dog stand has had to exist, or die, based on the old rules of supply, demand, pricing and customer satisfaction.