I have witnessed a lot of elections over the years but our current Presidential election is a joke. There is no other way to put it. I can remember as a very little boy watching my parents and grandparents go to vote for either Franklin Delano Roosevelt or his opponent Thomas Edmund Dewey in 1944. The war was going well for the United States but millions of Americans had sons or brothers or husbands and fathers in the service. The Battle of the Bulge would occur on December 14, 1944 in which the United States would suffer over 89,000 casualties. Okinawa and Iwo Jima would occur the following year. Elections were serious and a lot of lives depended upon the president at the time.
While President Barack Hussein Obama plays his 300th round of golf at Martha’s Vineyard, I contrast this to the three ring circus going on today. Hillary Clinton is lucky to have not been indicted for her email scandal. The revelation of the controversy in the Democratic Party to quote “submarine the efforts of Bernie Sanders” is even more tragic. Talk about a united party. Now the former chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, can return to fight for her Florida seat in Congress somewhat disgraced by her leadership or lack of leadership for the Democratic Party. Add to this the speech by Khizr Khan at the Democratic Convention in which Mr. Khan challenged Mr. Trump. “Donald Trump, you are asking Americans to trust you with their future. Let me ask you: Have you even read the United States Constitution?” Mr. Trump countered the statement saying that “I’ve created thousands and thousands of jobs, tens of thousands of jobs, built great structures. I’ve had tremendous success. I think I’ve done a lot.” Sounds like the response from a seasoned politician that never answers the question asked?
The Republican effort to quote “not elect Donald Trump” makes things even more comical. How about the speech of Ted Cruz at the Republican National Convention in which he refused to endorse Mr. Trump? Another united party? Republicans are coming out of the woodwork refusing to endorse Mr. Trump. The struggle now begins as GOP congressional members, senators, governors, past and present, determine just how much they want to tie themselves to the most unpopular nominee in modern history. The message seems to be “If you are going to lose, don’t drag down other Republicans with you.” Talk about a confusing message to the people of the United States.
Neither candidate seems to have any realistic sort of a platform. Mr. Trump still wants to build a wall with Mexico paying for it. He wants to tax the automotive parts returning to the United States from Mexico to pay for the wall. Mr. Trump has also threatened to change a rule in the USA Patriot Act antiterrorism law to cut off a portion of the funds sent to Mexico through money transfers, commonly known as remittances, by immigrants in the United States. Besides cancelling the Affordable Care Act, Mr. Trump is also challenging what is called “birthright citizenship” for children born to illegal immigrants while in the United States. The man is truly a controversial candidate!
Hillary, on the other hand, wants to “create” jobs to repair our infrastructure through the issuance of what she refers to as “infrastructure bonds.” Mrs. Clinton would increase federal infrastructure funding by $275 billion dollars over a five year period fully paying for this investment through business tax reform. Of these funds, she would allocate $250 billion to direct public investment. She would allocate the other $25 billion to a national infrastructure bank. The bank would leverage its $25 billion in funds to support up to an additional $225 billion in direct loans, loan guarantees, and other forms of credit enhancement meaning that Clinton’s infrastructure plan would result in up to $500 billion in federally supported investments. Somehow this elaborate program sounds good but there are no guarantees as to the results and the “so-called” jobs it is supposed to create. To me this represents a tremendous gamble with the U.S. government and ultimately the U.S. taxpayers on the hook for close to half a trillion dollars in new debt.
It always seems that during a presidential campaign, a lot of key issues are never discussed. We know that our federal government operates without a balanced budget; has created $19 trillion dollars in unsustainable Public Debt; and that our entitlement programs are growing at an astronomical rate eating up two-thirds of the current Federal budget. Our current economy is sluggish at best. We have over 46 million Americans on food stamps and based upon the latest labor participation report, we have over 94 million Americans out of work. No one seems to want to talk about our immigration issues or a revision of our massive Federal Tax Code. This election is truly comical but the issues facing the American people are not and we truly need answers now.
DONALD WITTMER is a retired business executive who held key roles in the automotive and banking sectors. For a time, he also served as a Fiscal Agency Manager for the Detroit branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. He received his undergraduate degree from Cincinnati’s Xavier University, an M.A. in business management from Central Michigan University, and earned certification in bank operations from the School of Banking at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. A husband, father, and grandfather, he teaches part-time at the Kent Place School for Girls in Summit, New Jersey.