07/28/12 — Economic lull: Distraction of campaign not good for fixing the economy

View Archive

Economic lull: Distraction of campaign not good for fixing the economy

It should not surprise you that for the fourth straight year, the federal government is running a trillion dollar deficit.

It also should not surprise you that the economy is slowing.

After all, there is a campaign going on.

One of the most unfortunate parts of the presidential election process is that there must be a campaign -- and when there is one, the sitting president has to make decisions that further it and, sometimes, concentrate on it, when he should be concentrating on someone else.

To pretend otherwise is simply to fool oneself.

So the economy is not going to get better, at least right now. The reasons? First off, the policies that have weakened it over the last four years are still going strong, and the business community (also known as the job creators) are starting to feel the impact of the potential fallout from the president's health care initiative and are wary of what else might come out of another four years of an Obama presidency.

And then there is the campaign rhetoric.

It does not help the confidence of the American business community when the president makes statements like he did the other day that successful small businesses got where they are on the back of the government.

And don't listen to the backpedaling that came out afterwards; he really thinks that.

The good news is that we can probably hold steady for a few more months until the election is over -- as long as there aren't any surprises from Washington. Well, we can hope anyway.

But we have to pay attention to not only the excuses and the speeches, but to the policies that have been and continue to be on the agenda in Washington.

The campaign will go on -- and there will be some strategic moves to distract the public. But in the end, what will matter is the message behind the TV commercials and the campaign charm.

So it will boil down to what kind of country we want and what we really think about furthering the American dream that built this country. Can we do it on our own as we have for 236 years, or is the way to guarantee our future to rely more on the government?

The answer seems obvious, but there is a place to look to get another perspective -- an unbiased one, if you will.

It is high time that we listen to our newly minted immigrant citizens when they make their speeches about why it was so important to them to come to this country.

They never mention welfare.

They do not reference Obamacare.

And finding the latest free benefit from the government is not even on their radar.

What most of them say is that they came to this country to take advantage of the freedom to make their own way -- and that they felt that if they worked hard enough, they could make their dream come true.

It is that hope, that personal liberty, that they cherish and seek.

And it is what we sometimes take for granted.

In most of those same speeches, immigrants mention that they do not understand why Americans seem not to understand the value of what they have or why they seem so determined sometimes to damage it.

They would not surrender liberty, they say, or offer up their futures to the whims of the government.

And that is the central question -- both in this election and as officials and citizens alike contemplate what it will take to improve this economy.

Do we stick with the American dream of hard work and the chance for individual success? Or do trust the government with our futures?

In November, the citizens will get the chance to decide.

In the meantime, don't expect much.

Published in Editorials on July 28, 2012 11:06 PM