I had no intention of posting anything on this blog about politics… ever. But seeing as it’s been a while since my last post, and the optimal timing, I decided to take this time to give my thoughts about this election and the state of politics in general. So please, feel free to stop reading this at any time. I would.
Let me start by saying that I’m not voting. Now before you say that I shouldn’t be talking if I’m not voting, let me explain. As it stands, I could have either registered to vote in Los Angeles County, or vote by absentee ballot in St. Tammany Parish Louisiana (yeah we have parishes instead of counties cause we’re that fucking cool). I probably don’t have to tell you that Los Angeles County will go blue, but you’re just going to have to take my word for it that St. Tammany Parish will go red (unless you want to do the research yourself, go ahead I’ll wait). So either way, my vote will be a pretty insignificant one in the long run. Whether you agree with me or not, it’s already election day, and I’m at work all day, so I won’t be able to register anyway. Sorry. Get over it. Move on.
If I was voting, though, my vote would be against Mitt Romney. As Larry King has said, this is an against election, meaning that most people in this election aren’t so much voting for their candidate as they are voting against the other. What this says about the state of politics in our country… I’m not sure. I don’t think that Obama has done a terrific job of running the country so far, but it’s pretty clear to me that Romney is not the right choice in this election. For brevity’s sake, I’m going to focus on what I and most others believe is the biggest issue in this election. You guessed it! The economy. I’ve heard some moderate republicans and independents say that they disagree with Romney on most social issues, but that his policies will save our economy. To those people I say, how? Sure he did a great job at that first debate. He really seemed to know his shit when it comes to finances, and I’m sure he does. He’s made it his business to go into other businesses and solve their financial problems, and he’s good at it. So I can see why republicans can think that he will do the same for our country. The only issue with this rationality is, our country is not a business. And even if it was, our economic issues go far beyond the government’s budget.
First of all, Romney’s plan to balance the budget includes sifting through it and cutting tiny funds to programs like PBS, Planned Parenthood, and others that he and his party deem “unnecessary.” The slightest bit of research will tell you that all of these programs put together make up less than 1% of the federal budget. Meanwhile, he plans on bumping up the military budget, the single largest portion of the federal budget, by $2 trillion. Now I’m no economist, but when I’m trying to cut down on my own personal spending, I don’t sift through and try to cut it down by less than 1%, I look at the largest chunk of my spending and see what I can cut from that. For example, if the largest portion of my spending went to the military, I would probably try to cut down on that by, oh I don’t know, ending the two wars we’re in maybe? The idea of balancing our federal budget by cutting entitlements and small publicly funded programs is the equivalent of trying to balance your own budget by not tipping your waitress or dropping your spare change into charity buckets. It’s just not practical.
Secondly, balancing the federal budget won’t magically fix our nation’s economy. Sure it would allow the government to make more investments in domestic businesses that would increase exports, ultimately increasing our GDP. But there’s a bigger issue than our GDP. For those of us who do most of our financial transactions within our own country, increasing our GDP isn’t really going to help us out that much. What would help us out is if the financial stability of our country wasn’t dependent on the whim of a handful of people with way too much power. The financial crisis that we’re all still dealing with wasn’t the result of spending too much on welfare and PBS. It was the result of giant financial institutions taking advantage of their clients on an enormous scale and sucking funds out of money markets by merging and forming super-conglomerates that now have a monopoly on the finance industry. What people seem to forget is that this all happened already. And certain smart people put certain smart laws in place to limit the power of these financial tyrants and protect the middle and lower classes from being exploited and manipulated by them. Over the past few decades, all of these laws have been systematically repealed due to the actions of lobbyists who were hired by the new financial tyrants that currently govern us, many of whom work for the same companies that the past financial tyrants started.
So if you really care about the economy, there’s only one thing you need to take into account during this election, and it’s right on Mitt Romney’s website. Romney has promised that as soon as he is elected, he will work to repeal the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. If you’re unfamiliar with this bill, it’s the only thing preventing the actions that caused the financial crisis from happening again. A handful of congressman, with the help of Obama’s office, worked their asses off to get this bill passed, despite overwhelming opposition from republicans and democrats alike. However, despite it being probably the most important piece of legislation in recent history, it is still not enough to offset the damage that has already been done. As much as I hate agreeing with an annoying campaign slogan, Obama’s approach is pretty spot on. If we’re going to make any sort of progress, we can’t start backpedaling. If anything, we need to demand the president do more for the state of our economy. And this needs to come not in the form of stimulus packages to multi-billion dollar financial institutions who are then allowed to do whatever the fuck they want with it, but in the form of limiting the power of those financial institutions and holding them accountable for their actions in the future.
There is, however, one point on which I agree with conservatives. We can’t depend on the government to do everything for us. Each person needs to be responsible for being informed about the big decisions that are being made each and every day by powerful people that affect the rest of us. When a person or corporation abuses their power at the expense of the masses, we the people need to hold them responsible. We need to because the government can only do so much. These people have experts on their team to help them circumvent and change laws in order to get away with huge financial crimes that affect millions of people. If nothing else, this financial crisis should be a reminder to everyone that we need to stay informed and demand transparency when it comes to the conglomerates who control the fate of our economy.
So there you have it, my token election post. It’s probably too late to affect anyone’s vote today, but you can’t blame me for trying. The elections are always rigged anyway, so don’t even bother. Just kidding… but not really. Have fun practicing your right to sort-of-free will everyone! And if you disagree with me, please let me know! I could use the extra views. Thanks!