The Gadfly is a series of letters offering commentary on local issues and published in the Warrensburg Gazette.
As November dawns and we approach Thanksgiving, one thing to be thankful about is that the election campaign season is over. The nature of campaigns today is such that a candidateís attempt to bring rational thought to issues is met by ridicule and condemnation in the 30-second ads of his opponent. Let's look at some of them.
The Social Security is in trouble. Every economist in the land admits that, yet the politicians are afraid to address any solution. There is no "trust fund" and relatively fewer young will be there to subsidize the increasing number of old. Most of us now approaching eligibility will have paid the tax our entire working lives and will not receive nearly the return that we (and our families) would have received had we put the same amount of money into a money market fund over the same period. Solutions have been suggested that would allow the young to have a true investment while protecting the older people who've relied on the promise; these solutions have been demagogued as a threat to the older people and go nowhere.
The income tax suppresses our economy. It carries a terrible overhead cost - the cost of record keeping, the cost of government intrusion (knowledge is power and they know), and the cost of fear (of a code so complex nobody can be certain they've done everything right). Rational consideration of alternative systems, such as the Fair Tax, is attacked in political ads by candidates who gain votes by promoting class jealousy.
Alternative ideas proposed by alternative parties are suppressed by the electoral system. I don't mean the Electoral College, although that plays a role, but by the system that forces voters to choose the "lesser of two evils" rather than their own preferred choice. While I don't think proportional representation as is done in some countries is viable, since the fractures of small single-interest parties makes leads to instability, but perhaps Instant Runoff Voting would have a place. Instant Runoff Voting allows a voter to pick a second choice, which would be consulted if no candidate won a majority and the voterís choice was not a top contender. I don't see it happening since the major parties have a vested interest in keeping the existing system.
Let us just hope that, despite all the evil we heard about him/her, whomever we elected does a good job.
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