What’s Most Important In This Election?

August 23, 2008

The other night, Paul and I were arguing about the election. I am still undecided. Paul was trying to convince me to vote for Obama.

Why I’m Undecided

I am totally opposed to Obama’s plans for taxes and healthcare. If they get passed, I think it will be disastrous for the country. On both of these issues, I prefer McCain’s plans.

But when it comes to “social” issues, I think Obama will be a better president. He will nominate left-leaning judges to courts that are likely to hear cases on gay marriage and other issues that are important to me. Beyond the judge thing, I think Obama has the opportunity to permanently change public opinion on these matters.

Paul’s Argument

Paul makes an interesting, if cynical, argument. He says a) social issues are more important anyway; and b) major policy proposals have little chance of passage. He uses Bush as an example: Bush claimed to be fiscally conservative yet his administration has been marked by huge budget deficits, profligate spending, a collapsing currency, and inflation.

This is a smart argument because it plays on my cynicism about the Federal Government. But even if it is logically coherent, I’m not sure it’s empirically plausible. There are numerous recent examples of presidents affecting major policy changes: Bush tax cuts, Iraq War, NAFTA, and several examples from the Reagan administration.

So when I’m thinking about who to vote for, I’m assuming there’s a reasonable chance that his policy proposals will become law. And so I have to decide what’s more important to me: healthcare and taxes or social issues?


We Need MAJOR Reforms to Fix the Entitlement spending crisis

May 22, 2008

Congressman Paul Ryan in Wednesday’s WSJ:

While Congress will have a partisan debate over the federal budget this week, there is a growing, bipartisan consensus about the greatest threat to our nation’s long-term economic prosperity: the explosion of entitlement spending. Unfortunately, Washington is not planning to address that problem this week, or any time soon. By doing nothing, we are shackling our future with unsustainable debt and taxes.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and the rest of government will consume nearly 40% of the economy by the time my three young children reach my age (38). This will require more than doubling the average tax burden of the past 40 years just to keep the government afloat. Continuing down this path will eventually strangle our economy.

Ryan’s reform proposals cover health insurance, Medicaid and Medicare, Social Security, and tax reform. The fact that I agree with Ryan’s policy proposals is a little beside the point of this post.

The economic challenges our country faces as a result of the coming demographic shift are huge — the longer we wait to address them, the worse they could potentially be.

Problem is, the best reforms would so drastically challenge the status quo – not to mention special interests – that it’s hard to see them happening without major change in the people running our government.

Related Posts:

Social Security Trust Fund is a Joke

My Thoughts on Gold