Most of the campaign rhetoric seems to concentrate on issues that are largely personal. Who has experience - or lacks it? Who is elitist and out of touch? Who can relate to the average worker? Who is reckless in his proposed approach to rogue states? How many houses does this candidate have?
While personal characteristics are important - particularly honesty and the willingness to speak truth to the American people, we need to know about policies too. Unfortunately the candidates seem to be conspiring to ignore several 800 lb gorillas that are sitting, not so quietly, in the living room.
To list only a few:
- What do the candidates propose to do about Social Security, whose Trust Fund will be empty in the not so distant future?
- What will they do about Medicare which is likely to bankrupt the Federal Government well before Social Security goes broke?
- How will they address the grotesque over consumption of medical services?
- What are their plans for restoring the U.S. Armed Forces to a situation where they can be counted upon to win small wars and, at the same time, continue to deter potential aggressors (Russia - Georgia, China - Taiwan, North Korea - South Korea)?
- What do they plan to do about our deteriorating infrastructure?
- What is the proper role of regulation and the government in our economy?
A pleasant shock would be for the candidates to tell us how they propose to approach the biggest issue of them all:
- How do the they intend to inspire us to change from being a nation of reckless consumers, who have overdosed on debt that may no longer be available, to a nation, once more, of producers and savers?
There is a limit - and we are fast approaching it - to the willingness of the rest of the world to finance our spending. The sooner that President George W. Bush's infamous exhortation on September 12, 2001 "We are at war, go shopping" ceases to be a part of our culture, the better.