This morning’s early reports indicate that by the slimmest of margins in the popular vote, Barack Obama has managed to be re-elected to the presidency. Drudge is reporting the numbers as 59,532,820 for Obama and 56,931,709 for Romney. With such a small lead, is there any question that every votes counts? Is there any question why voter fraud and intimidation are such detestable practices?
Though my election predictions have been exploded by reality, I’m too worried about the state of our nation to fret about any possible loss of personal prestige. In formulating my expectations for yesterday’s elections, I leaned heavily upon the insights of other, more experienced commentators like Scott Rasmussen and Michael Barone. Though I was wrong, state-by-state analysis demonstrates that the race was so tight that minor differences in results would have given us a Romney presidency quite easily.
Still, I was wrong. And for that I am sorry.
Probably my greatest handicap in formulating predictions was my own hope that America had awakened from the “Benefits-R-Us” dreamland into which it has ventured over the last few decades. That hope blinded me. Millions turned out to vote in person yesterday and in early voting during the preceding weeks and for far too many, the turnout was inspired by the hope of keeping the government spigot of cash turned on. They prefer a bit of comfort now to the long-term stability that can protect their futures and those of their children.
Make no mistake about it: that future is in peril. With $16 Trillion of debt (the total we owe as a nation), massive deficit (the loss taken by the federal government because it’s paying out more than it’s taking in), the loss of religious freedom, uniformed thugs standing in front of polling places, foreign policy in shambles, inflation on the rise, and government misrepresentation of economic realities, one wonders just how bad it has to get before more of us wake up.
Is the promise of big government and its cash benefits enough to buy us off? It would seem that in the contemporary American political arena, the “good guys” are the ones who keep the government benefits coming for individuals as well as particular corporations. The “bad guys” are the ones who prophetically remind us that national debt like ours is a monster that will not wait forever to be paid.
As commentator Charles Hurt wrote early this morning, “politicians simply tax those who do not support them and give the money to those who do. Or give the money to those they would like to have support them.” He fears that it’s “the end of the line. Game over.”
“Thou shall not steal,” they say, unless of course it’s by majority vote. I suspect we turned a corner yesterday in America. It may be one to which we will never return. Newly re-elected, President Obama said in his victory speech last night that he intends to help America “perfect its union.” In light of his work over the last four years and his recent campaign, we can only imagine that Obama’s version of perfection will be more of the same stuff that is robbing us of our liberties and holding back economic growth.
Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises warned us of this folly when he saw the same actions taking place in Europe. History seems to be repeating itself and the words of Mises are as vital today as they were then. “Government spending cannot create additional jobs,” he wrote in his 1947 book Planned Chaos. “If the government provides the funds required by taxing the citizens or by borrowing from the public, it abolishes on the one hand as many jobs as it creates on the other.”
Unless Obama and the Democrat majority in the Senate work with congressional Republicans to slash spending and increase business confidence, we can expect more bad news in the coming months. As if they were sending us a warning, markets opened this morning with a 200-point plunge. People don’t just talk with their votes. They talk with their spending. We must listen to the markets because they tell us a great deal about the future.
Constitutionalists are needed now more than ever, but I’ll stand by my promise. I give myself a grade of “F” for my presidential election predictions, and I invite my readers to reply (below) and vote on whether or not to keep writing.