Normally I like to focus my writing on pieces relating to something in the field of computer science or a new piece of hardware or software that has recently been released. Occasionally I tie this in with RuneScape, not this month. One week from today is the United States general election. In one week Americans will go to the polls to elect one-third of the senate, the entire house of representatives, and a president. All of these races are equally important, but the most focused one is that of the president. It’s widely expected that the race will be very close, one of the closest in decades. It’s also one of the most important elections in decades. With those two ideas in the back of my mind I thought I would share my thoughts on just why it’s time for change.
Going back to the last two months of the 2008 campaign season it’s clear as to why Obama was elected. The financial crisis just struck and the world was thrown into economic turmoil. The population was upset over the ongoing Iraq war and the fact progress seemed to be reverting itself in Afghanistan. Coupled with these external factors the Republican party also had a weak ticket caused by some combination of John McCain and Sarah Palin. Obama being the politician he is capitalized on this discontent and adjusted his message accordingly. People in turn flocked to Obama and his party resulting in him carrying states that the Democrats had not carried for years, such as North Carolina. The end result was that Obama was elected with a healthy mandate of 365 electoral votes.
Looking back with the benefit of history it’s probably fair to say that if some of these factors had not been present the race would have probably been closer. One of the downsides of the two party system is that there’s very little choice, people are forced to choose who feels better. In 2008 Obama was the candidate that related better to most people, there was no better choice.
Moving forward four years to 2012 there are still problems that are plaguing the US economy. The argument has been made that it would take anyone more than four years to fix the myriad of problems that exist. This being said, more progress could have been made over the past four years. Unemployment is still at a high value of 7.8%. Some say it may even be higher due to the way unemployment is calculated. The reported unemployment rate is calculated by dividing the number of people looking for work by the total number of people in the work force. Unemployment may very well have gone down last month due to people leaving the work force because they’ve simply given up. The budget deficit was horrendous when Obama took office, it’s even worse now, $6 trillion higher. This also means an increased national debt, a large bulk of which is owned by China. Let us remember that those who loan money exert control.
We’ve seen why Obama was elected in 2008 and we’ve also seen the current state of affairs, let’s have a look at just why he should be replaced. Top down decision making does not work, the US stimulus program augmented the natural recovery but produced results no where near the desired outcome (e.g. the unemployment rate). Focus should have been on the economy, instead Obama’s focus was wandering, often focusing on the green sector and other areas that don’t create jobs. A business or individual can’t have a blank cheque, so why should a government? More emphasis should have been made over the past 4 years to reduce spending and thereby reduce the deficit. With all of these areas where response could have been better, one must ask, if these were the operating conditions of a business, would a new CEO be brought in to correct the problem?
Now that we’ve made the argument that Obama should be replaced, there’s really only one alternative, Romney. Romney has extensive private sector management experience. He’s also had the experience in government at state level, one would hope that this means a less expansive federal government. The financial crisis is not over, Europe could experience a downturn taking the rest of the world into recession once more before the wounds of 2008 are fully healed. Obama has had the opportunity to preside over the 2008 recovery and the recovery rate has not been that great. Just as in 2008 where people picked a president who was different than the status quo the same will happen next week. Even though Romney might not be the ideal candidate nor the Republican party the ideal party, Romney and the Republican party is the only credible option at this stage in 2012.