During this year’s presidential campaign and in the many contentious congressional and senate races across the United States, the economy has been the predominant issue. How could it not be? The real unemployment rate is in the low-20s, household debt is the highest since the recession began in 2008 and 90 percent of households will face significant tax increases in 2013.
Is there a solution to woes facing the U.S.? Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, who has been gaining momentum in the polls against President Barack Obama since the first debate earlier this month, believes he has the solution to the country’s paucity of economic growth and the impending fiscal crisis.
Throughout the presidential debates, the Republican nominee has iterated his five-point plan: energy independence (yeah, right!), improve trade in places like Latin America, enhance education and skills, cut the budget deficit and champion small business. This, according to the Romney-Paul Ryan ticket, will solve the trillion-dollar-plus deficit, the unemployment rate and issues affecting economic growth.
The former governor’s other ideas include combining federal departments and agencies, end subsidies to groups like Amtrak, cut federal government employment by 10 percent and cut non-discretionary spending by five percent. Also, he has pledged to limit the amount of deductions and tax loopholes for the affluent in society, but has not provided specifics.
Although these are plausible initiatives and commendable ideas that should have been standard economic policies, they won’t do much to address the growing challenges. Of course, it’s better than open ideas of growth in government, increasing spending and other Keynesian initiatives, but the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has stated that the only way a Romney administration would balance the budget is to cut funding to many programs in half, such as Social Security and Medicare, and raise taxes.
If Romney were running for governor again or even mayor, these would be definitive proposals to espouse and it would most likely tackle any state’s fiscal crisis successfully. However, since the U.S. economy is in such a mess and Washington has an astronomical budget with many special interests – and a populace not willing to make sacrifices – it would be near impossible to get the U.S. economy on the right track again.
Here are some important facts to get a grasp of how bad and big the monster is right now in the U.S.:
– In the last fiscal year, the U.S. government spent $3.53 trillion, but only took in $2.45 trillion
– The national debt is more than $16 trillion and grows $3,000 per second
– Unfunded liabilities and expenditures total more than $121 trillion
– A quarter of federal government workers earn a six-figure salary
– Taxpayers were on the hook $1.4 billion for the Obama family in 2011
– Welfare spending stands at $1 trillion (up 32 percent since 2008)
Unfortunately, there was only one Republican presidential candidate to have a plan to reinstate sanity in Washington and that was Texas Congressman Ron Paul, who wanted to slash spending by $1 trillion in his first year. The other presidential candidate in the race, former New Mexico Governor and Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson, also has a feasible plan:
– Revise the entitlement programs
– Cut taxes, abolish the IRS, implement the Fair Tax and eliminate business taxes
– Reduce government in the economy by restricting the Federal Reserve, legalizing and taxing marijuana, reducing or eliminating federal government’s involvement in education and not adhering to the policies of bailouts, corporate welfare, cap-and-trade and regulation
Dr. Paul and former Gov. Johnson’s ideas are much better solutions to the ailing U.S. economy than either Romney or President Obama (or even the multiple third-party alternatives in Green Party candidate Jill Stein and Socialist Party candidate Stewart Alexander).
As ECN noted in a blog post Friday of a Paul speech in Utah this week, “Peace is better than war. Free markets are better than socialism. Balanced budgets are better than spending.” Why can’t this be a common platform for all candidates?