As we move toward graduation and the job market, the economy is and will continue to be of primary importance in each of our futures. It is imperative for each of us to research and become well informed on the problems our nation is facing, and will continue to face over the course of our lifetime. From there, we can each make our own decision on who to vote for, what jobs to choose, and how we can each strengthen our country individually.
Without a doubt, the debt crisis will go down in history books as the defining problem for the United States in the first two decades of the 21st century. The primary cause for the economic collapse that we are dealing with now was not the growth of multinational corporations and major banks, as many argue. Rather, it was foolish economic bailouts, poor fiscal management, and over spending perpetrated by almost every iteration of the U.S. government in the last 50 years. Can you imagine that? If a company posted 50 plus years of massive budget deficits, they would undoubtedly be in trouble. Why shouldn’t the government work the same way?
Alexander Hamilton and many of the Founding Fathers wrote in large support of having a national debt. Hamilton’s argument was that by having a stable national debt, the U.S. could make continual payments, guaranteeing its credit, strengthening international confidence in its economy, and propelling the country to economic success. This theory is sound. If you have a credit card and use it even once, you are technically in debt. But, if you pay your bill at the end of the month, you are no longer in debt. If you do this every month for 20 years, you’ll have a great credit rating. The problem with the U.S. debt is that it is not stable. It has been exploding at a rate that is so out of control it’s difficult to comprehend. “Cuts” proposed by both Democrats and Republicans are absolutely absurd, and don’t even approach a true solution to the crisis facing our economy.
As a way of simplifying the debt, imagine the U.S. government is represented by a simple American family. This would be that family’s budget: $21,700 total income, but $38,200 spending. This leaves $16,500 of debt on the credit card. But, the family has been doing this for so long that they already have $142,710 of debt on their card! Then, in a dire act of self-sacrifice, the family cuts a whole $385 from their budget. How noble. Now the budget should be totally fine. Just kidding. The family is still $16,115 in debt for the year.
As the 2012 presidential election approaches rapidly, we as a generation need to assess our political and economic views, abandon useless partisan backgrounds, and vote for the candidate each of us believes will be the best leader for our country. The most disconcerting truth is that thousands of people who turned out to vote for President Barack Obama in 2008 will turn out to vote for him again in 2012, many without truly assessing the success of his presidency.
According to an article titled “How Will the Occupy Wall Street Protesters Vote,” “Owen, 20, says he’s not happy, but [he’s] still planning to vote for Obama.… Samantha, 18, had a similar response: ‘I’m going to vote for [Obama] because there is no other option. I trust him.'”
You trust him? The man who blatantly ignored his campaign promises. No other option? I wasn’t aware we lived in a country where the ballot only has one check box. While these are certainly only two examples of the hundreds of thousands of people who will vote in the next presidential election, this mood seems to pervade our generation. The idea that Obama is the lesser of two evils, that you’d rather pick the devil you know than the one you don’t, are the exact attitudes that are preventing our country from achieving true change.
If we as American people truly want change, and I believe many of us do, there is only one candidate who should get our vote: Ron Paul. Paul, branded by the media as a fringe candidate and ignored by the majority of people as unelectable, certainly may be both of these things. But he represents a position with which young Americans of both parties should be able to identify: limited, constitutional government, political independence from lobbyists and corporations, personal liberty, and pro-American, pacifist foreign policy.
Unlike Obama, who left troops abroad and started another military conflict, Paul has promised to bring back all American troops from abroad. Unlike Obama, who has extended spending and raised the debt ceiling at the expense of the health of our economy, Paul has pledged to massively cut spending from areas where the U.S. obviously overspends, like the defense budget. Unlike Obama, who extended the Patriot Act passed under Bush and continues to fight the useless and harmful war on drugs, Paul has promised to return Americans the civil liberties they were granted in the Constitution. Why should we trust his promises more than any other candidate? Because he’s been re-elected 11 times, and because he has the most consistent, honest voting record of any current U.S. congressman.
While I am not naive enough to believe that Paul has a chance of beating Obama or whoever the Republican nominee is, that isn’t a reason for a person who supports his policies not to vote for him. Even if he loses, every vote he receives would be showing our politicians and the world that a significant portion of this country wants change—real, tangible change. Not the kind you find on a bumper sticker.