Our country’s invisible problem
Three common clichés come to mind in regard to this election season: 1. The emperor has no clothes. 2. The elephant in the room. 3. You can’t see the forest from the trees. Why? Because the number one campaign issue for every presidential and congressional race should be our national debt! It’s somewhat of an invisible problem, so perhaps that’s why it doesn’t get more attention. Or, maybe it doesn’t rate because most politicians incorrectly associate it only with cutting programs and services – which is never popular with their voters.
Let’s consider just some of the ramifications of our 19 trillion dollar national debt:
A. In order to fund the national debt, the U.S. needs to print money or borrow from other countries. If we continue to print money, that devalues our existing dollars, resulting in inflation. If we continue to borrow from other countries such as China and Japan, our credit risk will eventually rise; this will require us to pay even higher interest rates until the inevitable day comes when we can’t.
B. Taxes will have to increase to service the national debt.
C. Government services – such as the maintenance of bridges and roads and other infrastructure – will have to be curtailed or eliminated as the national debt grows and becomes a greater percentage of the overall budget. Worse yet, should we need to defend ourselves against a foreign enemy, or recover from a natural disaster such as a major earthquake, we might not be able to afford to do so.
In this election season, the most flagrant disregard for the national debt was, in my opinion, articulated by Senator Elizabeth Warren. At the Democrat convention she stated, “America isn’t going broke. The stock market is breaking records. Corporate profits are at all-time highs. CEOs make tens of millions of dollars. There’s lots of wealth in America…” True, there’s a lot of wealth in America, but the wealth Senator Warren cited is mostly non-government wealth and does little to reduce our national debt!
As a country we can debate our issues ‘til the cows come home, but it’s all for naught unless we get our financial house in order. Why even talk about new programs such as government sponsored college or day care as long as we have trillions of unfunded liabilities?
When evaluating your presidential and Congressional candidates, at the very least, be sure the national debt is front and center on their radar. A very astute college senior, Matthew LoCastro, put it best. He said: “Why re-elect those who created this debt?”
Republican candidate for Congress,
New York’s District 12
Third party candidates not to blame
To the editor:
In his “The choice in this year’s election” column (T&V, September 22), Mr. Steven Sanders warns against voting for a third-party candidate. To exercise our right in that way, he writes, may make us feel good, but it is really no more than a “cop-out,” and worse, it is a disaster for the nation.
Mr. Sanders has raised this contrast between practicality and feel-goodity in earlier psychologisms. He now argues that there is no chance for a third-party to win an election, yet he ignores the obvious inference, his own at that, that winning would not then be a reason why one might vote for Dr. Stein or Mr. Johnson. Mr. Sanders continues to trash the idea that we might vote out of an over-riding principle: a vote for Green or Johnson, he chastises, “is a wasted vote and an exercise in futility and foolishness.” Wow! In place of conscience and principle, he cynically offers us the never-ending “Not this time, maybe next!” knowing full-well that “next time” will then be a new “this time” and he can sing that song again!
But there is more to Mr. Sanders’ article. He is fearful that a third-party vote will lead to a nightmarish Supreme Court. In support, Mr. Sanders argues that “dissatisfied voters who did not like either Al Gore or George W. Bush in 2000 voted for Ralph Nader. The end result, Al Gore lost critical votes that cost him the presidency.” How does Mr. Sanders, and others, get to single out Nader’s votes as causing Gore’s defeat? Let’s see.
Gore received 266 electoral votes; Bush 271. Nader received none. The difference between Gore and Bush was five electoral votes. Is it reasonable for us Dems to lay those five at Nader’s door and call it a day? Well, yes… but only if we ignore that Gore lost 30 states — including his home state of Tennessee. If we do that, then of course, it’s all Nader’s doing, but with the exception of Montana, Idaho, Nevada, Wyoming, N. Dakota, S. Dakota, RI, Delaware, Alaska and DC, each of which had less than five electoral votes, had Gore taken any one of the other 20 states (including the northern states of Indiana and Ohio)… he ties, or, in most cases, he wins!
Only if we dismiss the role of the states Gore lost does the whole mess come down to a fixation on Nader — and that is exactly what we have been doing! To argue, as Mr. Sanders has, that “unwitting voters… support for third-party candidates has done nothing but help elect the less preferable candidate and contradicts their own beliefs”… supports the worst aspects, abominable in some respects, of that political entrenchment that has fed so many Americans and now powers Mr. Trump and others — and if that is not enough: what on Earth has happened to American history here in those “done nothing but” words of Mr. Sanders!
John M. Giannone, ST