Listening to speakers at both the Democratic and Republican conventions, I wondered if any of these people really have the best interests of the nation at heart? There are so many important issues that no presidential candidate will every talk about just because the average person does not really care to hear stuff that does not make them happy or it may be too difficult to go the route of educating people and risk the presidency.
And sometimes speaking the truth is very difficult.
1. Population and the strain on natural and economic resources
Neither the pro-lifers nor the pro-choice candidates will talk about controlling population. Apparently hitting the 1 billion mark (India and China) is the point at which politicians talk about population and its effects on the quality of life, environment, cost of living etc.
From 1990 to 2007 the US has added 50 million people to its population count. Just think about it. No wonder schools are over-crowded and apparently property taxes are not covering the bill for public schools. And the increase of population is among the largest contributors to an increase in GDP. So does an increase in GDP mean an increase in the quality of life? No, there is no evidence to support this.
2. Irresponsible over-consumption by Americans
Does anyone ever talk about consuming less, driving a smaller automobile, living responsibly? No. And the reason is that the economic growth is of paramount importance in all presidential speeches. The lifestyle lived by most Americans where consumption is more important than saving is in my opinion the biggest danger to the country as a bankrupt nation is a weak nation.
3. The personal savings rate
Continuing on point #2, I have heard of no president or presidential candidate talk about the savings rate of the average American. According the Christina Science Monitor, the US savings rate is Zero.
US Savings Rate Falls to Zero
4. Jobs will not come back even after giving incentives
Consider this, even if a tax break of $10,000 per person is given to any company per year to create say a manufacturing job in the US, it still is a loss making proposition for the company to hire workers in the USA. Why? In most 3rd world countries the cost of insurance, health coverage, benefits are zero or negligible. This is the paradox of a free market economy. At some point the loss of jobs to low wage destinations will greatly outnumber the number of jobs created by new industries such as biotech and this process will continue till the time there are savings to be had by manufacturers. The number $10,000 is too generous.
Realistically, less than half that amount is all that can be expected in tax breaks.
There is an alternative. If people voluntarily pay more for a certain product because it appeals to a higher moral value, the economy can create jobs if there are many such people and significant economic power to do so. An example is Whole Foods and its products. Or even foods that are organic. This number is however unlikely to be significant as overall the population wants a lower price for everything.
5. Too much capitalism can be a bad thing
The American way of life was once (and still largely is) the platinum standard of life on this planet for people from all countries. The US media has been able to export the idea of over consumption and living large to all parts of the world. Now people from other countries also want to live like Americans. And the planet is in trouble and its going to get much worse very fast.
Saying this is instant political suicide.
6. Cutting taxes and giving tax rebate checks dig a deeper financial hole for the country
Think about this, who does the rebate checks benefit really? Wal-Mart? China? Well I would say that 80% of all US dollars from the last rebate checks would have gone to China. At the same time, the US dollar stays weak. Assuming you received a $1000 rebate check, have you taken account of your reduction in net-worth over the last year on account of a weak dollar? Artificially boosting economic spending by issuing tax rebate checks is just financial juggling. On the books you can show economic growth and if the definition of a recession is not met (a recession is classified as two consecutive quarters of reduction in GDP) one can claim credit for avoiding a recession. But eliminating a recession is easy using artificial means. You will just have to cope with more inflation and a weaker dollar.
7. There is a possibility that the Social Security system is not going to be fixed
Why is this alternative never considered? Since 1982 (when the Social Security deficit problem was identified) the problem still exists and the seemingly inevitable bankruptcy of the system is still true. How can politicians say that they will cut taxes, pay off the deficit (Kudos to Bill Clinton for the most fiscally responsible administration) and fix Social Security. I am quite doubtful. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are failures who have been artificially kept alive. What makes Social Security any different?
Economic Policy Institute
8. Social Tolerance and Economy
There are several versions of the same theory that people’s tolerance in society is directly proportional to the condition of the economy. In his book “The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth,” Harvard economist Benjamin M. Friedman explains that economic expansion encourages greater opportunity, tolerance and fairness. While a shrinking econonmy has historically lead to xenophobia, less tolerance towards others, political persecution and trade protectionism.
Some of aspects of this theory have been evident in US society during the last 8 years and we’ve seen a shrinking economy.
What the US has going for it is a well written and absolutely marvelous constitution. It needs to be protected and enforced at all times.
I would gladly pay more taxes and pay off some of the debt that the current administration has dug for the next generation of America. I would gladly drive a tiny car, consume less, shrink government size and spending and respect the consitution above all.
The only presidential candidate I have seen, who even begins to approach difficult topics in a truthful manner was Ron Paul. Since he is not great looking and not a war hero – he was not taken seriously by most.