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04 July, 2008 - Let’s Work on this Election

I know this presidential campaign has been going on now for two years. For many of us, myself included, it has become tiresome to the point that we don’t pay attention to the rhetoric of the candidates. Now, as we come out of the 4th of July holiday and head toward November, it is time to pay attention because we now know that a member of the U.S. Senate will be voted into the White House in November.

Both of the candidates are talking about “change”. Frankly, I haven’t heard much of a definition of the change that either one would bring to the White House. I am particularly interested in what they plan to do on a National Energy Program. One candidate has said “We need to tap all of the resources out there” and refers to off-shore drilling, drilling in Alaska, bio-fuels and nuclear energy. I’ve heard the other candidate say “We should have had an energy program in place 20 years ago and I’ll get one that works and I’ll do it quickly.” That still doesn’t tell me they fully recognize our dependence on oil for our energy needs, particularly oil from OPEC countries and the real impact of ever-higher oil prices on every segment of our economy and the world.

Now that the candidates will be crisscrossing the country asking for our votes, it is time for all of us to listen carefully to what they say, but equally important, it is time for us to ask serious questions about economic policy as well as energy policy. There will, of course, be a lot of discussion on the war, but people tend to vote their pocketbook and I’m guessing the economy will hold the spotlight.

I will be curious to see how many visits are made to rural communities to talk agricultural and trade policy, to talk food production and the direction the country should take on the food vs fuel controversy and the tendency to blame ethanol as the main culprit in the higher food prices. There is a clear division of thinking on trade agreements...one candidate would dismantle NAFTA and other agreements; the other would keep and promote additional agreements. If you are in the presence of a candidate, don’t be afraid to ask questions and keep pursuing those questions until you get an answer that is satisfactory. We must always remember, however, that to win votes candidates will make promises they know and we know can’t be kept.

Something else to remember, this is more than a presidential election year. All of the House members and many members of the Senate are up for election, there are members of your State legislatures and State houses up for election. If we really mean what we say when we talk about the right to vote and our responsibility as a citizen to vote, then we had better be well-informed. So the challenge for you and me now is to really pay attention so that we can make what we feel is the right decision in the voting booth in November.

My thoughts on Samuelson Sez.


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