Local election essential to determining economy's future
Often ignored in the tumult of a presidential election are the numerous elections that will determine the composition of our legislative body. These elections are as important as the presidential race — if not more important — and should not be taken lightly. According to the RealClearPolitics.com polling average, 76.8 percent of Americans disapprove and only 15.4 percent of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing.
This election is a chance to change that. The past two years have been colored by intense congressional gridlock. The debt ceiling debacle in August kicked the can down the road to the deficit reduction supercommittee, which failed to achieve a compromise that would balance the budget, since Democrats refuse to cede spending cuts without increasing taxes and Republicans refuse to increase taxes. This, among other things, has imposed upon us a dangerous set of circumstances called the fiscal cliff.
On Jan. 1, the U.S. is scheduled for an approximated 2 percent GDP reduction, according to economist Michael Hanson in a recent USA Today article. This absolutely catastrophic scenario comes as a result of several measures: the expiration of the Bush tax cuts, reversion of the Alternative Minimum Tax to previous levels, expiration of the reduction in payroll taxes, and new taxes from Obamacare, to name a few.
This scenario has already led to rising uncertainty in the business community and curtailing investment and growth, according to a survey of economists in the same article. Additionally, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, business investment has flatlined completely and companies are just sitting on their money to prepare for the tough times ahead.
The failure of Congress to do something about this is absolutely pathetic. This scenario threatens to catapult the U.S. back into another recession that economists have already started warning us about. Conventional wisdom would have us believe that the Nov. 6 elections will break the gridlock, but the people we elect won’t come into office until late January. It’s up to these guys. What we do in this election, however, will play a big role in what happens.
Should Republicans gain control of the Senate, they’ll have a lot of leverage in the negotiations that are sure to take place before another 11th-hour deal to try and avert this crisis. Republican control of the Senate means the repeal of the undemocratic behemoth that is Obamacare, and it means a balanced approach to deficit reduction that doesn’t discourage business development.
The President has almost nothing to do with this critical problem solving-process, and the vice president only matters as the tie-breaking vote in the Senate. Our Congress alone will determine how and if we can avert this crisis. In Pennsylvania, Democratic Senator Bob Casey Jr. is up for reelection against Republican challenger Tom Smith. A recent Rasmussen Reports poll has shown Casey up on Smith by only one point. This race, right here in our backyard, will play a critical role in determining our future, probably more so than the presidential one.
Take the time to research both of these candidates and vote based upon what direction you want the country to follow, but by no means should we let this crucial race be overlooked.