Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
We inform. You decide.
Sunday, June 23, 2024

With early voters turning out in droves and national anticipation at an all-time high, the most consequential election in at least 30 years (or possibly ever) is a day away.

While a majority of electoral analyses fixate on who will win, most ignore the implications of a victory for Sen. Barack Obama, Sen. John McCain or former Rep. Bob Barr - for those few, proud Libertarians.

Ultimately, and unfortunately, the winner of the horse race will become historically irrelevant because external circumstances will inhibit the victor's ability to implement useful policy in the two most important arenas: the economy and entitlement reform.

The first factor that will inhibit President Obama or President McCain from moving the nation forward will be the state of the economy.

As three failed stimulus bills and copious interest rate cuts by the Federal Reserve and Congress have shown, no amount of political life support can keep our economy afloat.

Economists of all political stripes generally agree that the economy will get worse before it gets better. This means the Dow Jones will continue to see months like October, the worst since the stock market crash of 1987, and the job market will contract by more than the 200,000 jobs it has already shrunk by this quarter.

No tax policy or stimulus package offered by either candidate stands a realistic chance of overcoming these structural economic disadvantages.

Entitlement (think Social Security, Medicare, etc.) reform will also be next to impossible for McCain or Obama to accomplish; both will be expected to prevent the Social Security and Medicare systems from crashing.

In a world of commodity inflation, faltering consumer confidence and a record budget deficit of more than $455 billion, raising revenues will be a difficult task, which is Obama's solution to both impending catastrophes.

On the other hand, McCain's solution is to privatize all of Medicare and much of Social Security, which has been proven to raise costs to beneficiaries.

Both McCain and Obama will find themselves playing substantial defense on entitlement reform as Part A of Medicare, which refers to hospital insurance, is set to run out of funding by 2019. This means that President McCain or President Obama would shoulder the burden of failed reform during their four or eight years in office.

To make matters worse, Social Security costs are predicted to exceed tax income by 2017.

Enjoy what you're reading? Get content from The Alligator delivered to your inbox

In the end, a surprise McCain victory will yield the same result as a landslide victory by his Illinois colleague: four years of digging sideways instead of up.

The next president will be shackled by an ever-faltering economy and global instability, not to mention America's worldwide commitments.

There are simply too many negative circumstances surrounding the next presidency for either candidate to achieve the level of success we're all hoping for them to attain.

McCain and Obama will both be stuck playing defense, which is no position an American president wants to be stuck in.

No Republican, Democrat or Libertarian Party candidate can hope to solve the glut of crises facing America. The next president may end up being one and done in the Oval Office.

Let the 2012 speculation begin.

Kyle Robisch is a political science and economics sophomore. His column appears on Mondays.

Support your local paper
Donate Today
The Independent Florida Alligator has been independent of the university since 1971, your donation today could help #SaveStudentNewsrooms. Please consider giving today.

Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2024 The Independent Florida Alligator and Campus Communications, Inc.