The presidential elections may be more than a year away, but make no mistake; everyone’s eyes are already focused on who the next President of the United States will be. Some candidates are flashy, bursting onto the scene and causing a hubbub through all the political ranks, like President Obama did leading into the last presidential election. The once no-name junior senator from Illinois gave a powerful keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention and less than five years later, he was inaugurated as the newest president.
But what do ex-girlfriends, Barack Obama and the 2010 Miami Heat all have in common? They didn’t live up to expectations. When Obama took office in January 2009, our country’s unemployment rate was 7.9 percent. Now, it’s 9.1 percent. Now I am not going to blame Obama entirely for this alarmingly high rate, which at times topped 10 percent. President Bush didn’t exactly leave a perfect situation in the White House to Obama. But Obama was supposed to cut unemployment, erase the national deficit, standing at $14.8 trillion, cure the blind and bring the Cubs to the World Series. Frankly, it couldn’t have happened and we all should have known that.
But if Obama isn’t the answer, then who is? What hot-shot, up-and-coming young politician will come out of the woodwork and take the world by storm?
Ron Paul. Not a hot-shot or up-and-coming, and definitely not young, but the right choice. Ron Paul first ran for president in 1988 as a libertarian and received nearly 450,000 votes, but lost to George H. W. Bush. Following the election, Paul returned to his medical practice, which he’s operated since 1968. He had another spirited but failed run in 2008, compared to the charismatic Obama, he didn’t stand a chance.
But for Paul, the third time will be the charm. He won’t be flashy, but his spending cuts and absolute refusal to raise taxes should be enough to turn a few heads. In a time when the national debt increases $2 million every minute, cutting spending and scaling back the size of the federal government may just be what the doctor ordered.
Many will criticize his position to reduce or cut many social programs, such as Social Security and Medicare. This may seem a bit extreme; however, I distinctly remember being asked in a class whether or not we believed there would be a Social Security program by the time any of us were old enough to retire. The class was large, but the hands were few. Some would call it pessimistic, but I believe it was just painfully realistic. It really hurts to watch a portion of my already meager paycheck go to a fund that I will likely never see again.
Around three weeks ago, the “Occupy Wall Street” protests entered the public eye with rallies across the country, including one here at Oswego State. Though the locations differ, the messages are the same: to put an end to corporate greed and a return of true democracy, a return of the “other 99 percent.”
So for the 99-percenters, if you want to make a real change, start by going out and voting. According to The American Presidency Project at the University of California, Santa Barbara, only 57.5% of eligible voters voted during the 2008 presidential elections. When next November rolls around, go out and vote for the real young-persons’ candidate, the 76-year-old Ron Paul. He won’t impress with his sports knowledge and likely won’t invite you to the White House for a beer, but I want the shot to see some of my hard-earned money when I can finally retire.