Thursday, July 19, 2012

Kia Smythe: Obama and Romney attack each other, but ignore the country’s fiscal trouble

  The presidential campaign has really started now, with scathing attacks from both the Democrat and Republican candidates against their opposition. Obama’s poor record is being slammed in his face by Romney, while Romney is under increasing pressure to come clean about his wealth and disclose tax returns he has previously denied to the American public. Both candidates seem focused on throwing as much dirt as they can at each other, but this means they are not paying attention to or trying to do anything about the serious problem that looks set to blow up in the face of whoever wins the election.

  A serious discussion in Washington about an urgently needed new economic policy is not going to happen until after the election, meaning nothing will be done to address the gross overspending of the U.S. government until then, and that’s at the earliest. The country’s fiscal situation is likely to get worse in the meantime, and neither Obama nor Romney are offering any indication of what they will do about it. On the other hand, plenty is being said about the inability of each candidate.

Team Obama: Take down Romney

  It was just last week that Obama stated, “Mitt Romney’s not the solution. He’s the problem.” In another negative advert, which seem to be a running trend of this presidential campaign, Romney is being taken down peg by peg. Both parties are playing the same game, but it seems that Team Obama might just be playing it a little bit better. Romney’s ties with Wall Street and his secrecy over earnings are being shouted about high and wide by the Democrats, so much so that even Republican allies of Romney are telling him to reveal all.

  The Republican governor of Alabama, Robert Bentley, has become the latest party figure to suggest that Romney is only making it worse by ignoring the demands for him to come clean about his earnings, his alleged use of tax havens, and how he made so much money while in charge of private equity firm Bain Capital.

  Governor Bentley explained, “If you have things to hide, then maybe you’re doing things wrong. I think you ought to be willing to release everything to the American people. The best thing to do is just get everything out in the open and just say, ‘hey I have nothing to hide and I’m going to release my tax returns.’”

Romney twists the knife

  Even though Romney has a lot to answer for already, he is still twisting the knife of a failed economic policy into Obama. This will no doubt be his main selling point when it comes to trying to win over voters, and the Republican’s incessant argument that Obama has not done what he set out to achieve with the economy is a legitimate one. Obama has even conceded in an interview with CBS This Morning co-host Charlie Rose, when the suggestion was made that Romney’s argument of Obama’s failure to improve the economy is correct. Obama replied with, “Exactly. That is his argument and you don’t hear me complaining about him making that argument because if I was in his shoes I would be making the same argument.”

  This admission gave the republicans the ammunition they needed to stick it to Obama even more, by saying, “President Obama has stepped back from his campaign of dishonesty and distraction and objectively agreed that he hasn’t turned the economy around.”

Arguments are doing nothing to solve the fiscal problem

  While both parties seem intent on trying to discredit the other as much as possible, a very real fiscal crisis draws out longer, and the political stalemate in Washington will stay that way until after the election. With tax policies expiring and automatic spending cuts in operation, Erskine Bowles, former Chief of Staff in the Clinton Administration, has stated that the United States is heading towards a “fiscal cliff.” With so many problems needing to be addressed right now if any sort of positive results want to be seen this year, if seems the economy can only get worse or, at best, stay the same as it is now.

  John Fund, senior editor of The American Spectator, has this to say about the current economic stalemate. “Obama has fought and fought and fought. The Senate hasn't passed a budget for three years. That is called gridlock. So rather than doing the Clinton approach, he's doing the Obama approach, which is gridlock.” Many commentators are in agreement that Washington DC is pretty much in a stagnation mode until after the November elections, by which time the state of U.S. finances could be balancing on the edge of the ‘fiscal cliff.’

  About the author: Kia Smythe is an expat originally hailing from NYC who studied International Business and Culture in the United Kingdom. Since graduating, she found her feet writing about finance and economics but also indulges in art story work and more creative endeavors from time to time. At both ends of the spectrum she will write about political and economic issues to hints and tips about how best to compare home insurance.

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