Saturday, May 26, 2012

The 1.5% Difference

(Photo courtesy NBC/Meet the Press)

The 2012 general election is in full swing. How can you tell? By the hysterical rhetoric coming out of both the Republican and Democrat camps.

"This is the most important election in our lives." When did we hear that before? Probably during the previous election. "This is election is about the direction our country will take." We hear that too every election cycle.

Despite all the rhetoric about two fundamentally different visions, we have had Democrats and Republicans take turns at the wheel and somehow still managed to head in the same direction: speeding towards Club Greece. How is this possible, you might ask.

Just listen to Paul Ryan. During an appearance on Meet The Press on May 20, 2012 while debating Dick Durbin, he said:
"What our budget does, David, is it grows spending on average by 3 percent a year for the next 10 years vs. President Obama's approach, which was to grow spending by 4 1/2 percent over the next 10 years. So we're actually not even really cutting spending, we're simply slowing the rate of increase"
There you have it.  The fundamentally different visions differ by..... 1.5%.

However, a small difference will not prevent partisans from depicting catastrophic consequences if the other side wins. So according to Republicans, 1.5% is the difference between socialism and capitalism. Liberty and slavery. The end of America as we know it or the shining city on the hill.

Not to be outdone, the Democrats portray the 1.5% difference as having everyone in soup lines versus a prosperous middle class. Having seniors pushed over a cliff versus a worry free retirement. Everyone getting a college education versus going back to rampant illiteracy.

Pure nonsense. But it works.

Just the other day a Republican friend said that Romney is our last best hope. Last hope? The United States withstood a Civil War. Survived a Great Depression. It is still the world's only superpower. A 1.5% difference in spending rates is not what will spell doom for the nation.

What will spell doom is a failure to make a U-turn and see Club Greece in our rear view mirror.