Americans are strong and generous.  Whenever there have been global conflicts or natural disasters, the USA is front and center with manpower, supplies and cash to provide relief to victims or the oppressed.  No other nation provides the level of global charitable giving that America has both the capacity and the will to provide to those in need.  But is America strong enough and willing to save itself?

Now, as America suffers from economic hardships of its own, it is faced with tough decisions on how to equitably share the financial burden of getting its financial house in order and governing itself in the long term.  Democrat Party operatives favor a socialist approach in which those who have the most provide for those who don’t have as much, an American version of Karl Marx’s “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need.”*  How those abilities and needs are determined is a mystical formula historically wrought with corruption.  The Republican Party favors a capitalist approach that allows market forces to determine who receives how much of the American pie and taxes everyone at least a little bit.  To borrow a slogan from the Democrats, the Republicans want everyone to work and to pay “their fair share.”  Both sides, fortunately, agree that there are those who can’t work and support themselves – the sick, the mentally and physically disabled, and many of the elderly.  But how to care for them is a subject for debate.

In the 2012 presidential election, voters are to be presented with two approaches to solving America’s current economic problems:  tax the rich or cut spending.  President Obama consistently promotes legislative initiatives that increase government spending and expand social programs.  His only response to questions regarding his approach to reducing the federal budget deficit is to increase taxes on the wealthy.  No federal budget has been approved by the President and Congress in three years and the President will not commit to a federal spending or debt ceiling.  Republicans acknowledge the need to increase government revenues, but suggest establishing a spending and debt cap while stimulating the economy – and increasing tax revenues – through relaxation of regulation and tax cuts, while at the same time reducing or eliminating social programs and government waste.

Taxing the rich is easy, though at some point the riches will be spent with no plan for what to do next.  Stimulating the economy and putting people to work is … hard work.  Therein lies the choice for America in the 2012 election.  Is America strong enough to save itself with hard work and tough choices that provide long term stability?  Or will it take a temporary joy ride without a care for what happens when the ride is over?  These are the realities, it will be interesting to see how the candidates pitch them to American voters.

*”Critique Of The Gotha Program” 1875

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