The next president will not spend the next four years dealing with the coronavirus. The next president will not spend the next four years debating who’s to blame for urban riots.
Yet we’re enduring a campaign that would make you think nothing else matters.
The year 2020 has been an outlier in so many ways, it’s hard to imagine we’ll ever get back to life as “normal.”
And of course there are many voices trying to tell us we’ll never get back to the normal we used to know because the coronavirus has “changed everything.” (Just like 9/11 was supposed to have changed everything, which it did briefly until everything changed back.)
Right now, the Trump and Biden campaigns spend most of their time debating who is responsible for a global pandemic and a rash of civil unrest. They are asking voters to choose the next president based on how this debate gets settled.
But there’s a pretty good chance that, by 2021, the virus will be significantly lessened in its severity or that we’ll have a vaccine — or both. And as hard as the media try to keep the riots alive, American cities are not going to keep burning for years on end.
Chances are by the time the next presidential term is six months old, neither of these will be major issues facing the country. And at that point, it’s going to occur to a lot of people that we need to pay attention to things like economic growth, federal spending, job creation, national security and all kinds of “normal” issues that are usually front-and-center in a presidential campaign. Just not this one.
Throughout the years of 2022, 2023 and 2024, these will be the challenges facing the president. Not masks, lockdowns and “defunding the police.”
These are the cultural and political obsessions of the moment, but they will give way (as obsessions of the moment always do) to the fundamental issues that drive the disposition of the country.
So the campaign needs to focus on the things the president will really spend the next term dealing with, and the media (if they were serious about their jobs, which they’re not) need to be asking questions like:
We’re spending extraordinary amounts of money during this virus. What should the federal government spend its money on in each of the next three years, and how much and why?
The pursuit of domestic energy resources has made the United States, for the first time, a net exporter of energy products. Should we continue the aggressive exploitation of domestic energy resources like oil, oil shale and natural gas?
The national debt now stands at $26 trillion, and it grows every year we run a deficit. What is your plan to not only balance the budget but also run surpluses so we can pay off the debt? And how fast should we pay it off?
Social Security is in danger of insolvency under current spending trends. Would you consider raising the eligibility age and raising the income threshold for paying the Social Security tax in order to keep it viable?
Would you favor transforming Medicare and Medicaid into premium support programs in which recipients go out and shop for their own coverage rather than relying on the federal government to pay their medical bills?
The corporate tax rate now stands at 21 percent, down from 35 percent before the 2017 tax reform law passed. Would you leave it there? Lower it? Raise it? And why?
Obamacare represents a significant federal expenditure as the government subsidizes the premiums of millions of people. If you have a better idea for how the nation should handle health care financing, what is it?
Access to world markets is very important to U.S. manufacturers. How would you ensure access to large markets like China without kowtowing to the human rights violators who control the Chinese Communist Party?
Russia is still aggressively seeking dominance in Europe and the Middle East. How would you counter Vladimir Putin’s moves?
These are not the issues anyone is thinking about at the moment, but they are the issues that actually matter. And they are the issues that either a second-term President Trump or a first-term President Biden will have to deal with.
Maybe we should start asking them these questions before we vote.
The views expressed in this opinion article are those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by the owners of this website. If you are interested in contributing an Op-Ed to The Western Journal, you can learn about our submission guidelines and process here.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.