On Tuesday, I’ll walk in to the polling booth at the church in New Albany where we vote and touch the screen for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. I recognize that that decision won’t come as much of a surprise for loyal readers of our family blog. I think it’s only fair to explain why, if only to add one more person’s perspective to the national conversation about this election.
In my view, the most important issue confronting our country is our federal deficit and national debt — the latter of which has passed the $16 trillion mark. I care about other issues, of course, but I view our debt as the most fundamental issue of all because it involves basic concepts of national sovereignty. Our debt is so large, and has existed for so long, that we tend to think of it as a kind of abstraction . . . but every dollar of that debt is a real obligation of our country, reflected in an instrument sold by the U.S. treasury to a willing buyer who will be paid a specified interest rate. With each additional bit of borrowing, we give those people from whom we are borrowing leverage that may allow them to dictate terms — at first, the terms of the debt instruments, by insisting on higher interest payments, and then eventually the terms of how our government operates, by dictating whether we need to adopt austerity measures in how our country operates if we hope to obtain additional loans. At that point, our national sovereignty is at stake.
We know this to be the case, because over the past few years we have seen it occur in Iceland and Ireland, and in Greece and Portugal. Those countries borrowed irresponsibly and saw the interest rates on their debt instruments rise as investors became increasingly concerned that the debts might not be repaid and demanded higher rates as the price for accepting that risk. And, ultimately, outside forces — the International Monetary Fund, European Union bankers, and others — went to each of those formerly sovereign nations and told them what they needed to do if they hoped to continue to borrow money. Those governments accepted the conditions and agreed to the austerity measures imposed by outsiders because they had no choice.
I don’t want to see that happen here — yet, over the last four years, we have seen the United States move down that very same path, with annual trillion-dollar deficits that have taken our total debt past the unimaginable sum of $16 trillion. We also passed a significant milestone on that road to perdition when our national credit rating was downgraded. I don’t think that downgrade has received the attention it deserves. Imagine! Credit rating agencies presuming to raise questions about the credit of the leader of the free world, a country so stable that its currency gave rise to the now-antiquated phrase “sound as a dollar.” But the ratings agencies are so presumptuous, and we are kidding ourselves if we think our many lenders aren’t also carefully considering our credit-worthiness.
I don’t want to wake up one morning and see that our political leaders are having to dance to the tune called by teams of grey-suited bankers from the IMF, or China, or Germany. If that happens — and if we continue to rack up trillion-dollar annual deficits, it inevitably will — we shouldn’t kid ourselves about what it would mean. Does anyone think federal funding of NPR or contraceptives, to identify only two of the issues being discussed during this campaign, would survive under the austerity measures forced upon us by creditors? Does anyone think the bankers would hesitate to require fundamental changes in entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare? Does anyone think our country could continue to function as a world leader, and a force for good, as a debtor nation struggling to deal with its overwhelming credit problems?
I recognize this is a dire scenario, and some believe it just can’t happen here. My response is to look at what has happened in Europe, to countries that have just been ahead of us on the irresponsible fiscal policy curve. Their experience shows, I think, that it can happen here — and it will, if we don’t do something about it. I’m too proud of this country and what it has accomplished to let that happen without trying to change course.
I don’t think President Obama places a high priority on grappling with our deficit and debt problems. He’s talked about them, but his actions speak louder than his words. He continues to propose budgets that would result in trillion-dollar debts for years into the future, and continues to propose the creation of new federal agencies and federal programs as the solution for every problem. He hasn’t used the bully pulpit of the presidency to encourage Congress to act. I’ve seen nothing from President Obama to indicate that his performance over the next four years on this crucial issue of national sovereignty would be any different than his performance over the past four years.
Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, on the other hand, do focus on the issue of our deficit and our debt and have proposed approaches. I think they understand the fundamental nature of the problem and would make working with Congress to address the issues in a meaningful way their top priority. I want someone in the White House who will tackle the debt problem, not let us drift into catastrophe. That’s why I’m voting for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.
A well-briefed explanation. And, I sort of get the debt point. But there’s a lot more to this choice than that.
Here is a bullet point reply in opposition
1. Etch-a-Sketch. (To whose agenda will Mitt yield next?)
2. Women. (Obama is not a Wichita KS third-term abortionist. He has taken a consistent, thoughtful position on that issue. More, he gets the “diversity” message. Don’t discount the outrage at the “binders” comment.)
3. The 1% of the 1%. (Bob, you and I do well, but we’d never have conceived having an elevator for our cars until this guy came along.)
4. Grover Norquist and Roger Ailes. (As Bloomberg noted in endorsing Obama, Mitt’s positions used to be reasonable. Now he’s been mesmerized by these Svengalis.)
5. He who will not be named. (The Decider got us into this economic fiasco, not Obama. Mitt’s tuned in to many of the same neocons as that guy–
he who turned a surplus into a potentially irreversible deficit.)
I voted already and I voted for Obama and Sherrod Brown.
Now, Robert, here’s a challenge: Make an argument for Josh Mandel as articulate as you just did for Romney. If you can’t–and I don’t think you can– vote for Brown.
So, let me get this correctly, by voting for the same people that got us into this economic mess, somehow they will fix it? I just don’t see it. Well at least, if you vote for Romney you might get your own planet with all your celestial wives when you die.
Fortunately for me, Jeff, I already have a celestial wife here on Earth — as you know!
To your substantive point, I don’t see Mitt Romney as a reincarnation of George Bush. More basically, I also think “this economic mess,” in the sense of our current predicament, is not the situation that President Obama inherited, but rather a situation that he has made much worse and more precarious for our country by adding trillions of dollars of national debt to our ledger, to no apparent purpose — as well as other actions. President Obama has been in charge while that debt has been incurred, and he (and the last two Congresses) must take responsibility for that.
I’m also concerned because I think President Obama shares your view, in the sense that he believes that he can continue to spend and borrow recklessly and blame it on a need to try to solve “this economic mess” that existed when he took office. With that attitude, we will never grapple with the debt and deficit problem that I think is so important. Again, that’s why I’m voting for Romney and Ryan.
Bob, I respect your opinion and your choice. I also respectfully disagree as I do not see Romney proposing much more than rhetoric. His plan would “balance” the budget, not reduce it, sometime after his second term. I believe the phrase he used on another term is “kick the can down the road.” Better the devil you know.
LP, thanks very much for the comment. I appreciate your viewpoint, and I agree with you in the sense that I think we need to be clear-eyed and clear-headed about what our political leaders can do. I’m not saying that Romney and Ryan can necessarily solve our crushing debt problems immediately or within a presidential term, but I do believe that they are far more likely to actually try to deal with them than President Obama and his team. In this case, I firmly believe, from the experience of the last four years, that the “devil we know” just isn’t going to focus on the issue. That’s why I think a change is necessary.
I still have no idea how the presidential vote will turn out Tuesday, nationally, or in Ohio, but the prevailing sentiment seems to be that President Obama has picked up a bit over the past week, that this will be a very close election, and that the national outcome may hinge on the outcome in Ohio.
I have the same “campaign ad fatigue” as everyone else here in Ohio and am hoping to avoid the onslaught of ads this weekend, vote Tuesday morning, and sit down for a long Tuesday evening with TV remote and laptop in hand.
Because many folks nationally, believe Ohio may be the key to this presidential election, I thought it might be worthwhile to try to paint a summary picture of Ohio, politically (think Bob Ross, not Rembrandt ). This might be interesting to non-Ohioans – or perhaps (more likely) I’m just humoring myself.
All of the following are just “ball-park” numbers.
Ohio is roughly a square-shaped state, about 200 miles north to south, and about 200 miles east to west (sort of like taking France, which is also somewhat square shaped, quartering it, and one quarter would be roughly the size of Ohio). Ohio’s population is about 11 and a half million, and there will probably be around 6 million ballots cast in the presidential election Tuesday. So, about 60,000 votes is about 1 percent of the vote, and it will take around 3 million votes to win the election.
Interstate 71 connects Ohio’s three largest cities. Cleveland in the northeast, Columbus is almost in the dead center of the state (also the state capitol), and Cincinnati in the southwest. Generally, voting moves from more democrat to more republican as you move from Cleveland in the northeast, through Columbus, and on to Cincinnati in the southwest.
Although central Ohio (where webnerbob and I live) is somewhat in the middle for most political elections, the most central part, Franklin County, leans democrat, and in 2008 President Obama got about 60% of the vote in Franklin County. Some of the surrounding counties in central Ohio tend to vote more republican The President won Ohio by about 250,000 votes (about 4 1/2% of the total votes cast) over John McCain in 2008. The President won the national popular vote by about 7 1/2 % in 2008, so his margin in Ohio was a little more than half his national margin. Prior to 2008, George Bush won Ohio by fairly small margins in 2000 and 2004.
Hamilton County in the southwest corner of the state (Cincinnati) is going to be watched closely by the parties and pundits Tuesday night because there was a big change in the voting there between 2004 and 2008. These are again “ball park” numbers – but Bush won over Kerry by about 225,000 votes to 200,000 votes in 2004 in Hamilton County, but Obama won over McCain by about the same margin in 2008. So, some people are suggesting that as Hamilton County goes, so may Ohio go.
Finally, I live in a slightly affluent suburb of Columbus (I’m not talking gated community, but well above median income). During 2008, my “eyeballing” the yard signs in the area (say within a couple of miles around my home) seemed to indicate about equal numbers of Obama and McCain yard signs. This year, there are still many Obama yard signs, but there are clearly more Romney signs as compared to the number of 2008 McCain signs. I have no idea if that means much of anything as to what the outcome of the election will be – but it is one of the few objective/subjective factors I’m noticing.
Well – perhaps someone will find this interesting.
As always, I enjoy your posts, webnerbob, and all of the replies to them.
It remains too close to call, I hope I’m not blogging from Canada next week.
But wait! I won’t have to, none of it will matter- 12/21/12, saved by the Maya Calendar, the countdown continues… .
Good afternoon elroyjones.
Now it’s my turn – – – hahahaha!
Alway nice to hear from you.
Bob, as always, your position is clear headed and insightful. Now, if you can convince a few more folks in Ohio to see it your way, Romney has a chance. They tell me my vote in Minnesota might actually matter this year (although I’m not quite buying it). So I have to hope that others see the importance of electing the team that will pay attention to the issues that really matter: the deficit/debt, the economy and reducing the level of government regulation in our lives.
I hope this article has given you some useful information on roofs.
His fee was 110 guineas, knowning that from the hotelkeeper was 30 guineas.
Neighbours were few and far between, high were only three other women living within the neighbourhood
– all lived either in bark huts or tents using young