It’s almost become cliché, when America holds a presidential election, for people to proclaim that it’s “the most important election of our lifetimes” or something along those lines. And I can understand why it seems that way when you’re in the midst of it.
I am convinced, however, that the 2012 presidential election is crucial to our nation’s future in a way that few elections have ever been — and I want to explain why that is, and why I believe the election of Mitt Romney is so vital to our nation’s future.
It is not new that we are running budget deficits, but it is horrifyingly new that we are running deficits well in excess of $1 trillion every year. It is not new that the federal government is spending a lot of money, but it is shocking that we are now spending 25 percent of our entire GDP. Aside from World War II, this is unprecedented.
We have certainly experienced sluggish economic growth before, but this is the worst recovery from a recession we’ve ever had — and it shows no sign of improving. We have had high unemployment before, but after four years of unemployment at or near 8 percent (and at one point topping 10 percent), we are still not creating enough jobs to even keep up with the growth of the work force.
And of course, we have several economic disasters looming that are the direct result of Obama administration policies. The first of these is the coming "Taxmageddon," which will see explosions in tax rates on January 1, 2013, if something is not done to stop it.
And that’s nothing compared to the full implementation of ObamaCare — with massive tax and spending increases, accompanied by an unavoidable decrease in the quality of healthcare — in 2014.
All this does not merely compromise our quality of life today, although it certainly does that. It also adds to a mounting national debt that has now topped $16 trillion, which comes out to more than $50,000 per person. But that’s nothing compared to the unfunded entitlement liabilities we face. These total more than $120 trillion, or more than $390,000 per person!
No one wants to sound like an alarmist, but these are facts. If we do not solve these problems, and solve them very soon, we are headed for national economic collapse.
It is not too late to solve them, but Barack Obama is not going to do it. He barely even pretends to have a solution in mind, and offers no serious change in direction from the policies that have brought us to this point. He insists that plenty of government spending and “asking the wealthy to pay a little more” will spur economic growth and balance the budget.
He is wrong, and you don’t have to take my word for it. All you have to do is look at the result of the policies he’s already put in place, and recognize he offers no significant change in direction.
This combination of economic challenges — mounting debt, high unemployment, sluggish growth, looming tax hikes — will decimate this nation. While we’ve faced each of these problems before, we’ve never faced them all at once, with this level of severity. It’s a perfect storm of economic peril, and that’s what makes it so crucial that we make the right choice in this election.
Mitt Romney is that choice. He understands that you can’t create jobs with a tax code that punishes business success. He understands that the key to balancing the budget and paying down debt is a growing economy. Democrats like to talk about “revenue increases,” by which they mean higher tax rates.
In fact, there’s nothing wrong with revenue increases, as long as they come as a result of a growing economic base. Mitt Romney understands this, and he also understands that you don’t “stimulate” economic growth with government spending. Obama’s been trying to do that for four years and it hasn’t worked. You have to let the productive private sector drive growth.
That’s where wealth and employment opportunities are created, and as more people return to work and more wealth is earned, tax revenues will go up because more people are working and earning and paying. That’s how you raise revenues to help balance the budget — not by raising rates on people and businesses who are already earning far less than they should.
Mitt Romney understands that to govern is to choose, and that leaders must prioritize how they spend their money. Contrary to what Obama would have you believe, Romney is not against all government. Romney wants government to perform its essential functions well, using the resources it has, and not to try to run every aspect of American life because government can’t do that well, and can’t afford to try.
Perhaps most importantly, Mitt Romney is willing to treat Americans like adults and tell the truth about what government can and cannot do.
For too long, Democrats (and let’s be honest, many Republicans too) have been afraid to tell certain constituencies that government cannot take care of them from cradle to grave. We’ve put ourselves in this precarious economic situation because politicians fear voter backlash from insisting that people deal with reality and find ways to take care of themselves.
That doesn’t mean ending everything government does for people, but it does mean finding more rational ways to make things work, and it does mean asking many people to accept more responsibility for themselves. A leader who respects you will not be afraid to tell you this. A leader who views you as a child will promise to take care of you even when he knows the necessary resources are not there.
We have had enough leaders who have treated us like children.
Remember: I was one of Gov. Romney’s rivals for the Republican nomination. He was regarded as the favorite, and all the rest of us knew that. Throughout the fall of 2011, just about every Republican candidate — myself included — took turns enjoying a run at the top of the polls. Some analysts saw this as a sign of weakness for Gov. Romney, as they figured a presumptive front-runner should be running away with the race.
But it wasn’t. This was a time for Mitt Romney to take the best shots of all his competitors, and to show what he was made of.
Publicly, you saw that he displayed a quiet confidence about his understanding of the nation’s problems and his ability to solve them. Privately, behind the scenes, the rest of us came to understand that he is a truly good-natured man who is in this because he cares about this nation and about every one of its citizens.
He understands the stakes, and he possesses a quiet, humble confidence that he has the skills and the experience necessary to engineer a turnaround of our nation.
That’s why he did not panic or lose his strategic focus during the primary campaign. He knew what he fundamentally believed and he stayed committed to it. At the same time, as the campaign wore on, he honed his message and his proposals to make his governing strategy even better.
He was not afraid to adopt some of the best thinking of his rivals, such as the simplification of the tax code that will come from lower rates and elimination of loopholes. It didn’t matter to him that someone else proposed it first. It only mattered that it would be good for the country.
That’s the kind of man Mitt Romney is, and that’s the kind of president he will be. His primary objective will not be his own political viability — as has been the case with Barack Obama from the day he took office. Rather, it will be the success of the mission, which is to return the United States of America to a strong and stable economic footing.
If Mitt Romney is given the chance to start solving these problems now, I believe he can do it, and we can avoid the calamity that is staring us in the face. If, instead, we send Barack Obama back to the White House for four more years, I shudder to think how dire our situation will become by 2017.
That’s why — even though we say it in every election cycle — I truly believe this is the most important election of our lifetime, and why we must elect Mitt Romney as our president.
Following the conclusion of his presidential campaign, Herman Cain established The Cain Solutions Revolution, an organization whose mission is to educate the public and advocate for the policy solutions that drove his campaign for the presidency. Read more reports from Herman Cain — Click Here Now.
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