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Thursday, August 02, 2012

What's the Election Really About?

Mohamed El-Erian:

America’s Constrained Choice, by Mohamed A. El-Erian, Commentary, Project Syndicate: The conventional wisdom about the November presidential election in the United States is only partly correct. Yes, economic issues will play a large role in determining the outcome. But ... whether President Barack Obama or Mitt Romney prevails in November, the next president will be constrained by the twin need for urgent economic stabilization and longer-term reforms. And, with headwinds from Europe and a synchronized global slowdown, the candidates will have no choice but to pursue, at least initially, similar economic policies to restore dynamic job creation and financial stability. ...
But this does not mean that there is no scope for differences..., each economic decision will be accompanied by the need for social judgment – whether explicit or, more likely, implicit – regarding its distributional impact. ...
This is not really an election about such hotly-debated issues as outsourcing, tax increases versus entitlement reforms, government control of production versus unfettered private sector activity, or job creators versus free riders. It is much more about the accompanying concepts of social fairness, entitlement, equality and, yes, standards of behavior for a rich and civilized society.
This is an election about social responsibility – a society’s obligation to support those who are struggling, through no fault of their own, to find jobs and make ends meet. It is about protecting the most vulnerable segments of society, including by providing them access to proper health coverage. It is about reforming an education system that fails America’s young people (and about providing appropriate retraining to those who need it). Among the numerous issues of fairness and equality, it is about the rich giving back to a system that has brought them unimaginable wealth.
It is here where the differences between Obama and Romney are important. The sooner the campaign debate pivots to this, the greater the probability that Americans will make a more informed choice...

I wish the election was really about these things (with war and civil liberties added to the list).

    Posted by on Thursday, August 2, 2012 at 12:30 AM in Economics, Politics | Permalink  Comments (25)


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