” The number one issue”. This is a phrase that always gains prominence during an election cycle. Its over use by everyone from media types, to politicians, to even average citizens begins to make one wonder whether anyone truly believes that, that which is labeled the number one issue, is actually that important. Or is everyone just repeating that which has been put forth first.
Of course there are always issues that are the number one issue with a majority of citizens. The issue will depend on current economic times. The issue will also depend on the current attitude about the state of society.
Location will also affect what is important to individual citizens. Community influences play a large role in deciding how those within the community will feel about any number of issues.
There can be no doubt that in this election cycle, it has been determined that the number one issue for the nation and the states will be the economy and or jobs. The two are inseparable.
Now there is of course, a difference of opinion, on how to handle the problems facing the nation and the states in creating jobs and stimulating the economy. The two are so connected that they are actually a bit of a “chicken or the egg” argument.
The left, progressives, liberals or whatever you chose to call them will tell you that you can stimulate the economy by first creating jobs. This was the thought process behind the stimulus packages put forth by Pres. Obama and the Democrats. The idea that the government could take billions of tax payer dollars and inject them into the economy by creating government jobs. Thus giving people money to spend within the economy.
The problem is that you first must steal that money from the economy, since the wages for government jobs must come from tax dollars of those working in the private sector. This growth of the government on all levels will always have a shrinking effect on the economy in the end. Something that the CBO has recently admitted about the stimulus plans of Pres. Obama.
Those of us on the right believe that the way to create jobs is by first creating an atmosphere in which the economy is allowed to grow. By reducing regulations and mandates that have a stifling effect on business, and thus job creation.
Therefore if an environment that is conducive to business is created, the economy will grow naturally. Without the aid of government. Once this environment is created and businesses begin to grow, they will naturally expand. This expansion will also naturally include the creation of new jobs. All of this will take place quicker and neater without the influence of government. For without the need to navigate the ever-growing labyrinth of government bureaucracy, and to afford the ever rising cost of meeting the mandated fees and penalties imposed by the government, a business would be able to start-up in less time and show more profit sooner. This would allow for the growth we seek to transpire more quickly.
Okay, so we have determined that jobs and or the economy are going to be the number one issue this election cycle. I won’t argue that point.
But because this is clearly the number one issue, does it mean that we can afford, or even if we should ignore all other issues?
As we seek to decide who will be our GOP nominee, should we be focussed solely upon the economy or jobs? What of foreign affairs? And what of the controversial social issues?
Do we simply turn a blind eye to the fact that some of our candidates seem to have plenty of fiscal experience, while having no foreign affairs experience. Can we forget that while others have both good ideas on fiscal and foreign affairs, they are so outside the average citizen’s view on issues, that they come across as a bit of a nut? Still others have personal baggage that may exclude them from consideration, even though they may be the most qualified for the office of the President of the United States.
I believe that what we need is candidates that can see past the number one issue. Candidates at all levels of government, national, state and local, that understand that we are facing many challenges that are outside the impact of the economy.
Unfortunately we are told at every turn that the economy is the number one issue and that addressing other issues will distract from achieving fiscal security.
Is this true? I happen to think not. I believe that a limited government actually has a better chance of doing that which it was originally intended to accomplish. The problem we are having is that as our governments have grown, they have lost the ability to react to the desires and needs of the citizens. Political parties are suffering from the same disease.
As a centralized government grows it becomes more and more distant from the citizen it is intended to serve. It becomes harder for citizens to navigate through the halls of government to achieve even the simplest task. Imagine just seeking a building permit to build a small shed upon the property that you already own. This permit is not intended to safe guard the community. It is intended to provide revenue for the ever-growing local government. To pay for those government jobs we discussed earlier. How many people must see your application before it is approved? How much time is lost in building the shed as you wait approval?
Now expand that process when you are required to apply for not only local, not only state, not only federal, but all three. Including any number of agencies within the three. Is it any wonder that businesses are leaving the USA? Is it any wonder that the economy is slow in recovering from the recession?
Political parties suffer from the same trouble. As the parties have become larger, they have lost the ability to hear and react to their rank and file. Oh, they will pander to the loudest of their special interest groups. But have lost contact with the average citizen’s mood concerning many other issues.
This leads to the party attempting to drive the issues. To decide what is important to the citizens and then to convince the citizens that it is important to them. Much in the same way that elected official attempt to convince citizens of what is the most important issues facing the nation, state or local community.
The real problem is that we no longer seem able to find candidates with the courage to reach above the low hanging fruit of issues. The current crop of candidates will gladly mouth the mantra of, “the number one issue facing us today is”, insert issue here.
What we really need are candidates that can recognize what truly is the number one issue facing us today, depending on whether it is local, state or national. But they must also be willing to deal with other issue as well. They must be willing to deliver this message, even when the popular opinion of the media and pundits say otherwise.
As we move closer and closer towards election day 2012, I hope that we can have the courage to demand more than the same old thing from candidates. So that we can address all issues facing us today. Not just the number one issue. I believe we can address the number one, the number two and right down the line to the one hundred and thirty-second issue facing us today. But it will require that the people have a voice in the choice of the candidates, nationally, and at the state and local levels. Get involved!