Election Is Now Truly About 'Economy Stupid'

Monday, 13 Aug 2012 12:03 PM

By Bradley A. Blakeman

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With Romney’s selection of budget expert Congressman Paul Ryan from the battleground state of Wisconsin as his VP nominee, 2012 is shaping up to be a super economic year in presidential politics.

Most presidential elections focus on the state of the nation’s economy, but this year there are so many economic issues facing our country that the election is truly about the “economy stupid.”

romney-and-ryan-ap.jpg
Mitt Romney (left) and his vice presidential running mate Paul Ryan arrive at a North Carolina campaign rally.
(AP Photo)
In a nation chock full of politicians, Ryan is seen as a statesman and serious policy leader who is not afraid to make hard choices to get America back on the right track economically. Romney is a serious manager who needs a right hand who knows Congress and can lead on policy and procedure.

A Romney/Ryan ticket offers a serious challenge to the failed record of a president who promised too much and delivered too little on all things economic.

With high unemployment, inflation raising its ugly head, record gas prices, a housing crisis, costly healthcare, and an electorate increasingly negative, and uncertain, this year shapes up to be a election that will ultimately turn on the economy.

All the major issues facing us in the 2012 election will pivot on the economics of that issue. It seems that Reagan was faced with pretty much the same type of scenario in the election of 1980. The Carter years left America with an energy crisis of not only expensive gas but no gas.

Gas lines were experienced from New York to Los Angeles. Double-digit interest rates put home ownership out of the range of many Americans and those who could afford a home paid usurious rates by today’s standards. Inflation caused commodities to soar and unemployment fueled the Carter malaise. 1980 was a Super Economic Year. It was all about the economy and the Reagan agenda was the change people were desperate for.

The contrast between the contenders of 1980 was as clear as the candidates facing off today. Reagan preached that we must keep taxes low to grow our way to prosperity. Carter believed that keeping taxes status quo or even raising taxes would allow government to direct “relief” from Washington.

Carter claimed that by cutting taxes in perilous economic times that would grow a deficit that would bankrupt the country and strap Americans with generations of debt. Well, we all know what happened. 1980 was a year of change. Reagan was elected. He cut taxes, restored our military, reduced interest rates, and invested borrowed spending that he knew would be repaid through growth — and it was.

Today, we face the same set of super economic circumstances. The question then becomes whom will the American people trust in 2012 to get us back on the road to economic prosperity? The problem for Obama is that he has a record that he must defend. The challenge for Romney is he must define himself as an alternative to Obama that is worth the change.

With the president’s low approval ratings, Romney must paint Obama as the second coming of Jimmy Carter. He must not show the president’s failures. He must show what he will do and why he will succeed where Obama failed.

The economic stances of the candidates of 2012 are as stark as those of 1980. Romney, like Reagan, believes that cutting taxes — and even eliminating taxes — in tough economic times will allow America to grow its way to economic recovery.

Romney also believes in leading by example, which means cutting wasteful spending and demanding accountability, responsibility and transparency. Obama on the other hand, believes in the Robin Hood theory of economics — take from the rich and give to the poor — in this case the government.

Obama believes that a redistribution of wealth is key to our economic prosperity. He doesn’t stop at income tax increases alone. He wants to continue high capital gains rates that make it cost prohibitive to freely transfer property. He also seeks to continue if not raise the high death tax rates thereby causing many Americans to sell off businesses they cannot continue to operate without liquidating to pay off Uncle Sam.

The death tax is double taxation and amounts to a redistribution of wealth. Romney wants to eliminate the death tax and reduce capital gains to allow people to freely transfer property and thus stimulate the economy.

For Obama to win, he must fight on many fronts. Romney has the advantage if he sticks to the economy. Obama must fight the battles of defending his record and his promises. Keeping the president on defense will be key to a Romney victory.

In a super economic year, each side MUST zero in like a laser beam on the economy to ultimately be successful. The American people will elect the person who best sells a credible economic plan to the people that is reflected in every major issue, be it, taxes, energy, war, security, healthcare, immigration, or the military. If the American people are not sold on experience you won’t get serious consideration on the economy. In the end, substance trumps style and being positive and upbeat beats negativity and gloom.

Romney made the first most important decision of his presidency by selecting a budget expert to be at his side.

Bradley A. Blakeman served as deputy assistant to President George W. Bush from 2001-04. He is currently a professor of Politics and Public Policy at Georgetown University and a frequent contributor to Fox News Opinion. Read more reports from Bradley Blakeman — Click Here Now.

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