The key issue in the current campaign is the economy. Each side has diametrically opposed ideas: cut taxes or increase deficit spending. Both sides assume their approach will spur the economy and result in future increased tax revenues and a deficit decrease.
Each approach has fundamental assumptions that need to be proven:
1. We are a consumption society. Hence consumers are needed to purchase the increased goods and services generated by this approach. However, this ignores a simple fact: you can't sell to people who don't have money. Given the real inflation in food, energy and commodities, coupled with the increase tax burden of state and local taxes, who is going to buy the new stuff?
2. We are a private society. What obligates a private entity to invest domestically if a better return on investment (ROI) is obtained abroad or by investing in financial instruments given lower tax rates or government subsidies? Do we really want to force a private firm to invest only in the US?
3. Things are not free. Reality is there is no such a thing as a free lunch. You can pay me now or pay me later. Now: we have incipient inflation and a devaluation of the dollar, forcing any capital to be used to expand being used to buy equities or other financial instruments. Future: we would have to make decisions which no side is explicating that will have cooperation of the other side to reduce the deficit which would still be growing.
If I were dictator, I would force the moderators of upcoming debates for national offices (President and Congress) to ask each candidate their opinion of these three assumptions and their concrete plans. This would be more informative for the voter than statements about a 47% who don't contribute their fair share or a 14 year old statement about income redistribution before being in an elected position.
But alas, polemics and empty rhetoric will win as usual.
The current economy reminds me of a quote a friend recently sent to me from David Suzuki, a professor and environmentalist (I can hear the groan now from some readers). The quote is:
'We're in a giant car heading toward a brick wall and everyone's arguing where they're going to sit'