I wish that Mitt Romney were not a Mormon. I don’t agree with a lot of his faith’s teaching, but every Mormon I’ve known has been a servant-leader, committed to family, decency, and individual liberty. So given all that I will point out below, that is the least important of my wishes.
I wish there were fewer extremists in both parties, but now I’m trying to make the best of the actual choice before us this November of Romney/Ryan or Obama/Biden.
Along with more centrist Republicans (of which Romney is one), I wish there were more centrist Democrats, not pushed to the sidelines by the left-wing litmus tests of unthinking support for government unions (opposed by FDR and Carter) and abortion. The latter, by the way, kills people, daily. Those future productive and taxpaying Americans would just wish for a birthday.
I wish this recovery were like all the others I’ve experienced, not enfeebled by government-inflicted uncertainty.
I wish our national debt were not $16 trillion. When the Fed stops the crony capitalism of helping the big banks with extra low interest rates (Dodd-Frank has certainly fixed Too Big to Fail), and interest rates go back to their more historic average levels of 5%, that will mean that every year we will have to pay $800 billion in interest alone, before the government actually does anything.
Personal income taxes are approximately 47% of total government revenue, and the other largest contributor, payroll taxes, cannot be used to pay the debt. So assume that 75% of the debt must be paid by personal taxes. If there are 350 million Americans, then that is $1,700 per person per year of income tax needed to pay the interest, forever. Since half of Americans pay no income taxes, a tax paying family of five will have to pay $17,000 per year, or $1,400 per family per month in federal taxes, just to fund the interest. Nothing productive, just to pay for the overspent past.
This level of debt and interest is a game changer for our nation. When the government must borrow that much, it sucks what is left after taxes that would have been invested in private production, and instead pulls it into government bonds. So the government taxes and borrows all of the otherwise productive capacity out of the economy. This huge drain is already slowing us, and it will hobble us when our next great defense crisis arrives (which it will, probably soon)
I also wish that the wrong-headed siren-song of quick-fix Keynesian stimulus economics were not so seductive and so pervasive. It is clearly incorrect and a failure, but, like most other progressive feel-good ideas, if at first it doesn’t work, the bright idea is to double down and do even more, even if the debt will go to $20 trillion.
Here are three of many interesting links on this topic:
So I wish a lot were different, and hopefully it will change in the future. But for 2012, I have to do the best with the cards I’ve actually been dealt. And that is Obama/Biden or Romney/Ryan.
Debt, taxes, lost jobs, national weakness, government overreach. This is a serious moment. Beyond the wishes, it is inconceivable to me that anyone could examine these four men and not come to the conclusion that only Romney and Ryan have any chance to lead us out of this mess. Not a sure thing, by any means. But at least head in the right direction.
Biden is his own continuous walking parody, and Obama has proven over these four years that he does not have the personality or temperament to lead others, or to build consensus. He is truly a leadership midget, mired in ideology and divisiveness, laying out one-liners and hoping that others (Pelosi and Reid) can get the details right.
The twin answers are that we must cut down entitlement spending and reform the tax code, reducing the crony-loopholes for individuals and corporations, while lowering the rates paid by all of us after those loopholes are closed. This kind of tax reform (called “lowering taxes” by the biased media, but actually it is lowering tax rates) will raise tax revenue and unleash the economy to grow robustly again.
The actual choice before us is not ideal. I wish it were, but it never is. Given this choice, we must do all in our power to elect Romney and Ryan. With the ever deepening crisis of our impossible and increasing debt, unless we have real change, our next wish may be for democracy and stability. If you doubt that, read the history of Europe.