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Wellness

Why I Didn’t Vote In The 2008 Election

After all, there were three candidates vying for every one of those Electoral College votes. I still say that Obama was the most qualified and he would have won. This year, however, I’m voting with my foot and I’m writing to tell all America that when I go vote I will be voting for Mitt Romney.

If we all lived in a perfect world, our choice would be just as simple. We could simply vote for the person or the thing that we like best. But every election is a messy process of compromise and compromise is messy.

What if there were an easy method to select a candidate? Instead of allowing the majority vote to decide, we could each cast one of the one or two choices that we truly respect and like. Why not let our votes count however we choose, with no strings attached?

But there are two possible problems with this approach: One, we lose the ability to choose who, if anyone, we want to run against in a more contested election. Two, people will try to manipulate the system to their advantage in order to get themselves elected.

One way or the other, my decision today will come to regret, but I believe that we can all benefit from understanding the reasons for our votes — no matter who’s elected on November 6. I think that there have been many people who have tried to explain to me how this election, or any election, would be more or less fair given different assumptions, but to me there is one simple underlying process that will explain every issue of this election: the economy.

The Economy

If we assume that the U.S. economy would perform at its potential, we could expect a President Mitt Romney to have a very difficult economic situation and one of very great uncertainty.

The problem arises because both candidates will have very different expectations, which could have a huge impact on your economy. On the Democratic side it’s a question of whether or not Obama can meet his campaign promises to cut taxes while lowering rates for all; on the Republican side it’s a matter of whether or not Romney can meet his promise to create jobs while increasing spending on everything from health care to the military.

At first glance this sounds pretty straightforward, but the problem isn’t just a one-sided debate. The economy depends in a large degree on an economic growth strategy. And this growth strategy depends on a willingness to raise tax rates to encourage companies to grow in order to stimulate more economic growth. One result of this is a potential increase of the inflation rate, which could cause the prices of goods to go up.

Now, for many of us, this is a good thing — if all of our purchases of items such as gasoline, housing, etc. went up in price. But this is not how an economic growth strategy is supposed to work. When prices rise, you get less revenue, which in turn means the company’s capacity to invest isn’t increased. Eventually that causes the company to go out of business and so on.

If the plan to keep growing on a one-sided growth trajectory is to get rid of some taxes and raise others, the economic plan gets stuck in a cycle that will end in a recession. This is because the economy is the sum of all the decisions made by everyone, and so every individual’s decision to consume more gasoline could cause the economy to stagnate.

So the point of all this is that an individual, like the average American, has an enormous influence over the economy and the direction of our country.

This isn’t a trivial consideration, because the economic growth strategy is what makes it possible for you to live in a place that you know is safe and secure. This is what enables you to plan your family vacations and get out of the house every afternoon if you’re concerned that your car will be vandalized (or even worse, blown up by your neighbors and friends).¬†This economic growth strategy isn’t something that you can pick and decide based on your own subjective preferences, it’s something that everyone must take into consideration. If your personal economic growth strategy is to drive a BMW, it’s not likely to succeed in the long- term, and so by definition, you probably won’t be able to live in a safe, secure, and healthy neighborhood.¬†

The way to escape this trap is to make sure that the economic growth is driven not by an individual’s choices, but by the collective desires of everyone else. To do this as an individual and avoid having to worry about an economic collapse is to have a desire at least equal to the group’s level of prosperity.