I am not a partisan voter. My voting record clearly shows that. Here is my voting record since 1968:
Humphrey (D) McGovern (D) Carter (D) Reagan (R) Reagan (R) Bush (41) (R) Clinton (D) Clinton (D) Gore (D) Bush (43) (R) McCain (R)
I choose candidates based on who I think will be do the best job for the country, for Israel, and for the Jewish people. I do not vote by party.
Although I have finally made my decision – for the first time I am not as sure as I usually am about which candidate will actually be the better President.
The last debate added nothing toward that end. The two candidates, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney remain the same in my eyes. Their views were not made clearer at all on any of the issues that are important to the American people nor to me as a Jew.
I recently wrote that their views on Israel though not identical are both positive – and not all that dissimilar. I also said that for the first time my decision would not be based on that issue. Instead -“It’s (still) the economy, Stupid!” Of course the economy matters to Jews just as much as it does to everyone else. But it is definitely not a Jewish issue.
I do not see any break away solutions by either candidate. The President’s policies have thus far not done the job. Unemployment is still high – as are gas prices. His stimulus polices haven’t really helped all that much. The deficit is soaring . He is also over focusing on environmental issues – by over regulating businesses and preventing more opportunities to become energy independent. That too stifles economic growth. And adds to the deficit
His counter to that is that a divided congress is holding him back from doing more. And that his energy policies are the most productive in history. But that doesn’t explain why he didn’t do more to fix the economy during the first 2 years of his administration when he had a bullet proof congress. Instead he focused on a passing a controversial health care bill that contributes to the exploding deficit.
Romney on the other hand wants to implement a supply side economic policy that lowers taxes for everyone. He says that small businessmen many of whom file individual tax returns would be hurt by the higher taxes the Obama administration wants to impose on them and that would dis-incentivize them from investing the capital they need to grow their businesses and hire new people.
The President countered that Romney’s economic policy does not add up and that it would either explode the deficit even further, or that he would have to cut popular deductions like mortgage interest to make up for the loss.
Romney says that he would go full bore into developing all sources of energy including off shore drilling and do things like extending the Canadian pipeline (which the President rejected).
Obama also claims that he has actually increased oil production under his administration.
Romney would increase the military budget to restore it to the levels that existed before the Obama military budget cuts.
Obama says that the military doesn’t need to be as large and expensive as is used to be – even according the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Increasing the military budget will only grow the deficit.
How the President will grow the economy is still a mystery to me. Platitudes like “the rich must pay their fair share” are meaningless hyperbole designed to appeal to class envy in my view.
He has had four years to fix the economy and he hasn’t done it yet. He still blames Bush saying he inherited this mess from him – and that it was much worse than anyone thought. He touts the fact that in spite of that – the economy has still improved. Though admittedly only slightly. He now claims he needs more time and a willing congress.
Romney says Obama’s polices have failed and it’s time for someone else with a different approach to try. He claims his business experience will help him achieve more private sector jobs and a return to a healthy economy.
About the Author: Harry Maryles runs the blog "Emes Ve-Emunah" which focuses on current events and issues that effect the Jewish world in general and Orthodoxy in particular. It discuses Hashkafa and news events of the day - from a Centrist perspctive and a philosphy of Torah U'Mada. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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