Vote for Change, or Vote for Worse

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The month of August was a robust month for political campaigning in America. Many of us were focused on what the candidates and campaigns had to say. Though more difficult, it is as instructive and educational for making a rational vote to listen for what isn't said. What isn't said is usually what campaigners want to hide from voters.

Did you hear the Bush campaign report that August was the bloodiest month ever in Iraq for American troops? It was. The Washington Post reports "About 1,100 U.S. soldiers and Marines were wounded during August, by far the highest combat toll for any month since war began." Did the Bush make the other comparison to Viet Nam, the one about mission creep? Viet Nam started with some advisors to assist the training of South Vietnamese troops. Mission creep accounted for the U.S. fighting the Viet Nam war for the S. Vietnamese. Bush wanted to oust Hussein. Now we are nation building, and while the Iraq nation strengthens with our help slowly and by fits and starts, our national resources in troops and fiscal surplus decrease dramatically.

John McCain has been on the campaign trail singing Bush's praises of late. It is too bad McCain will not be at the debates, for he is a politician who gives straight answers. At the convention, Bush's acceptance speech contained many references to Iraq. But, one of the most central questions Americans have on their minds, how long will we be feeding troops and billions of dollars to the Iraqis, was not spoken of. Sen. John McCain was not afraid to address the issue however in a CNN interview reported by Bob Herbert:

When asked last week on CNN how long the U.S. military is likely to remain in Iraq, Senator John McCain replied "probably" 10 or 20 years.

"That's not so bad," he said, adding: "We've been in Korea for 50 years. We've been in West Germany for 50 years."

Reporters have come to expect candor from McCain, and in this case he didn't disappoint.

But there weren't any speakers mounting the podium at the Republican National Convention to hammer home the message that GIs would be in Iraq for a decade or two.

That's not the understanding most Americans had when this wretched war was sold to them, and it's not the view most Americans hold now.

The Bush and Kerry campaigns both talked about reducing the deficit in half in 4 years. What that focus hides is at the end of either candidate's 4 year term, our nation will have gone from being 7 trillion dollars in debt, to near 9 trillion dollars in debt. Worse, is the fact that the Bush campaign has insisted that John Kerry is the candidate who will raise taxes. But what wasn't said was "Taxes are going up next year no matter who wins the presidency in November," concluded conservative economist Bruce Bartlett, who advised both Ronald Reagan and the first President Bush. Conservative and Liberal think tanks now agree that tax cuts stimulus cannot possible generate the revenues needed to eliminate the deficits and reduce the growing debt.

Both Kerry and Bush are hiding the truth about the economy and what it means to their tenure as President. Neither candidate is telling the American public that as a result of the tax cuts lowering revenues and the combined spending on homeland defense, wars overseas, pork spending for Congressional incumbents, and the hugely misguided Medicare bill that passed recently, America is headed for a fiscal calamity that has Greenspan and economists issuing warnings on almost a weekly basis. And neither candidate is putting out a sound and defensible plan to deal with this crisis looming for all Americans.

The Medicare bill that President Bush touts like a badge of honor on the campaign trail is turning into a nightmare for our senior citizens. First, it protected pharmaceutical companies from competitive bidding, which would have benefited tax payers and Medicare recipients. This protection against competitive bidding at the behest of pharmaceuticals directly resulted in increases in pharmaceutical costs for seniors. It has been reported that the players in the pharmaceutical industry are raising drug prices aimed at seniors by the amount of the discounts they are to receive under the Medicare Rx Card program, resulting in no net savings for seniors. AP writer Darlene Superville reports

The Bush administration announced a day earlier that monthly premiums for a portion of the program for the elderly and disabled will rise $11.60 next year, to $78.20. The 17 percent increase is the largest in the program's 40-year history." ... "On the day after saying he'd [Bush would] strengthen Medicare, Medicare premiums go up for senior citizens 17 percent," Kerry told supporters at a rally in this electorally important state.

But does Kerry say how he would pay for decreasing costs to taxpayers and senior citizens without fueling the growing national debt? The answer is no. These are complicated issues, and since Bush has campaigned against Kerry for being an intellectual, nuanced, and unintelligible when it comes to clear and simple answers, the fact is, solutions to these problems will require complicated and sophisticated solutions which cannot be captured in 30 second sound bites. Hopefully, the debate(s) will foster each candidate shedding some light on their plans for solving these issues. Many will wager however, that will not happen, since it is assumed by political advisors that voters are not capable of understanding economic issues, or long term foreign policy strategies. In other words, many Vegas betters on the Presidential contest count on an ignorant and unsophisticated voter public. If complicated answers and issues were on the table, the probability math for predicting the outcome would be extremely difficult to calculate. If the candidates don't address the complicated solutions that will be required, you can bet the candidates agree with betters that voters are too dumb to demand honest answers.

There is a clear choice on the Iraq issue. According to McCain, a vote for Bush will be a vote for a protracted involvement in Iraq of 10 or perhaps 20 years. Kerry indicates he will do everything in his power to insure that a multinational force takes over in the years to come to replace our involvement as soon as it is practicable.

There is no clear choice on the economy, yet. President Bush's record has demonstrated he sees little no problem with his buy now, pay later strategy that has helped turn surpluses into deficits and increased the deficit and the national debt to new record highs. Kerry has not yet offered anything in the way of concrete plans and numbers to address the economic realities we face either.

One thing is for sure, if we keep this same Congress and President, the problems America has inherited since the 2000 election will not improve over the long run. One of the most devastating problems before the American people is the choice politicians face with each decision they make. Politicians must choose between buying votes with empty promises and short term fixes, or asking Americans to suck it up and bear down on our problems in a way that will actually solve them in the long run. Incumbents have proven again and again, that focusing short term on simple promises that will produce votes, will always take front seat to long term solutions for long term problems. And these long term problems like the debt and international hostilities toward America will continue to worsen under our current system. This is the strongest argument that can be made for anti-incumbent and third party candidates. This voter will not vote for any sitting Congress person. This writer will vote anti-incumbent, for that is the only hope this writer has that anything will improve in the long run.

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This page contains a single entry by David R. Remer published on September 6, 2004 8:04 PM.

PT Barnum Accepts Presidential Nomination was the previous entry in this blog.

Kerry Borrowing From Nader? is the next entry in this blog.

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