We’re now in the closing days of perhaps the most volatile election cycle in two decades.
A year ago, all of the really smart analysts on the cable news shows were telling us that Hillary Rodham Clinton would quickly secure the Democratic nomination for President, while Rudy Guiliani would win the GOP nod a few weeks later. The American people had something different in mind.
Issue volatility has also been dramatic. Two years ago, the war in Iraq was a dominant issue on people’s minds. Now, thanks in large part to the success of the “Surge,” combined with subsequent events, Iraq has dropped to a second tier issue while the economy and energy dominate voters’ attention.
A campaign’s final days typically produce a thick cloud of crisscrossing and conflicting messaging from different candidates, parties, and interest groups engaged in Independent Expenditures, electioneering communications, and other forms of campaigning.
Yet the recent financial meltdown on Wall Street, combined with related issues of unemployment, slowing economic growth, government deficits, and a real debate on the appropriate role of government in the economy, makes the outcome of Tuesday’s voting something that will likely to be felt for decades to come.
While it’s easy to be caught up in the horse race of who is ahead in which poll today, voters remain interested in how each candidate’s policies will impact them in their daily lives.
Fewer jobs in California. The Heritage Foundation recently compared the impact of Barack Obama’s and John McCain’s tax plans on each of the 50 states over the next eight years and found that under Obama’s plan, California would create 144,000 fewer jobs than under the McCain plan. With California’s unemployment rate running well ahead of the national rate, that’s something we can’t afford.
Obama’s plan to “tax the rich” in order to “spread the wealth around” amounts to a $131 billion tax hike on the one sector of the economy that is still producing new jobs despite seemingly every effort of government to make it harder to do so.
Higher gas and electricity prices. Most normal people don’t wake up in the morning and say “I’m going to buy some ‘energy’ today,” so candidates should instead focus on how their policies will effect what consumers actually do buy – gasoline, electricity, and heating oil, natural gas, or propane, depending on how they heat their homes.
John McCain’s “all of the above” approach is focused on increasing energy supplies to drive prices down, while doing away with government restrictions that prevent us from diversifying the sources of energy we use.
Barack Obama’s approach is fundamentally different. First, he would drive up the price of electricity by forcing power companies to buy electricity generated from more expensive sources. Second, he does little to increase the availability of inexpensive electricity generation by essentially opposing the widespread use of nuclear power, while his running mate Joe Biden rules out any expansion of the use of coal. Less supply combined with the increased demands of the world’s largest economy translates into higher prices.
Fewer choices in the workplace. Americans want to have options in the workplace, whether it’s on decisions concerning their health coverage, or whether to join a labor union. On both of these issues, workers face fewer choices if Barack Obama is in the White House.
Obama’s health plan essentially forces employers to either provide health coverage, or pay into a government fund that will provide it. The problem is the incentives run so that many rational companies will dump their private insurance option and force their workers into the government program instead. If you want any idea of just how great a government run health care system works, check on any given day how many hospital beds in Buffalo are filled with Canadians trying to escape the wonderful government run system they have.
When it comes to labor unions, Obama thinks you need to be in one, whether you like it or not. He supports abolishing secret ballot elections where workers decide whether to unionize their workplace. Instead, labor’s “community organizers” will spend their time harassing workers – at the workplace, in the parking lot, on the street, at home — until they publicly sign a card that says they want the employer to recognize the union. John McCain supports protecting a worker’s right to a secret ballot.
The choices we make on Election Day will have a real, tangible impact on how we live our lives. We can either have a future where job creation is easier, where it’s easier to make ends meet, and we have choices at work, or we can have one where more decisions about our lives are made in Washington by people we may never see.