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Focus on more than the economy

BY DI EDITORIAL BOARD | SEPTEMBER 06, 2012 6:30 AM

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This election season, there are a great many issues facing every American voter, and the choice between the two major political parties is so stark a contrast that many voters are concerned there is not a feasible solution offered at all. For the sake of swaying Iowan opinion, former Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain spoke Wednesday on the Pedestrian Mall in Iowa City as part of his Truth Tour campaign. He strongly reflected the many highlights of the Republican Party and reminded the Iowa City community to seek truth from credible sources, promote business, and vote.

After his speech, he told The Daily Iowan that he supports GOP candidate Mitt Romney and believes that the best reason for electing Romney is his experience. “[Romney] understands what it takes to run a successful enterprise,” Cain said. “It takes vision, strategy, and the right people to execute the strategy.”

But comparing the federal government to a corporation or enterprise is a loose analogy, seeing as there is no such thing as a government profit. At the basic level, in a business, when a company turns a profit, those profits are distributed generally to investors, or stockholders, and those who invest the most or who hold the most stock see the greatest returns on their investment. In the government, there are not major shareholders; there are taxpayers. And it is not those who pay the most taxes who see the greatest returns; it is those who need the most assistance. Taxpayer revenue is turned into programs to help all Americans, in many forms, including infrastructure, disaster relief, food stamps, medical care, shelters, and education.

However, many economic conservatives, including Cain, believe the best product the government can produce is limited interference. He said we know a government is doing well when it is less involved and producing fewer programs. “Businesses just want the government to get out of the way,” he said. There are many ways to combat the current economic crisis, and taxes and economic policy certainly warrant debate; however, economic policy is not the only issue on which we need to focus.

Today, the United States is involved in numerous international conflicts, which not only affect the economy but also affect human rights on an international scale. We also are living in a country that can no longer be considered the smartest, with internationally lower scores on math and science. Furthermore, the foundation of civic freedoms is in turmoil — American citizens are now pitted against each other in a continuous argument over freedom of religion against the rights of women and homosexuals. The nation must have a plan for infrastructure —our roads, bridges, dams, and canals are in desperate need of restructuring.

The list of concerns facing American voters are abundant and warrant great concern, but they also demand the need for moderates and compromise. The first change Americans really need is a change in extremism and polarized debate. It is deplorable for any party to say that any one policy is correct on all levels, because there are exceptions to every rule, and all people deserve to find their own freedoms.

The current political culture all but eliminates the ability for politicians, and even the general population, to have honest debate with one another, listen to divergent viewpoints, and most difficult of all, come to a compromise that can really benefit the nation.


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