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Opinion

Candidates lack important quality

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February 14, 2008

The race for the most powerful position in the United States is well under way. Through primaries and caucuses, four main candidates have set themselves up to become the next President of the United States.

Hillary Rodham Clinton, John McCain, Mike Huckabee and Barack Obama have all won states while making a variety of promises and guarantees in exchange for potential votes.

McCain and Huckabee, the two Republican contenders, have ran campaigns pledging to keep the United States safe from terror among other potential dangers, including their Democratic rivals.

Obama and Clinton, once they moved past their jabs during debates, have both pledged to increase healthcare, even going to far as to mention the Holy Grail of liberal politics: universal healthcare. For all their differences, there is one key similarity between all four candidates: no one has mentioned balancing the budget.

Unless you are a finance major or a math junkie balancing the budget is not a particularly sexy topic. Even to me the idea of candidates crisscrossing states expounding the virtues of fiscal responsibility makes me yawn. However, in reality, a balanced budget could be the difference between the U.S.ís ability to maintain itself as a world super power or become the 21st century is version of the UK. Currently the United States’ national debt is at $9,427,905,175, 302.47. Nine trillion dollars. The only way to pay that kind of money back would require every United States citizen to pay $31,000. I barely have $31 to my name, much less $31,000. A week ago, President Bush proposed a $3.1 trillion budget. If the federal government could find a way to spend no money for the next three years, there would still be a debt that measures in the hundreds of billions. The national debt increases by nearly $1.5 billion dollars a day.

So what you may ask. How does this debt affect me? Republican or Democrat, the campaigns that your candidates are running are going to require money. For you little Democrats out there anyone paying insurance knows that insurance is not cheap. Subsidized healthcare would require an astronomical amount of money. Even Mr. Obama cannot account for where the money to pay for such an undertaking is going to come from.

The situation is no different for the Republicans. Much of the $1.5 billion spent by the government every day is going to support troops and the war on terror in Iraq and Afghanistan. Another Republican campaign goal calls for increased security along the U.S.-Mexican border. A fence stretching across key sections of the border would not be an inexpensive undertaking.

With all this fiscal irresponsibility by these presidential hopefuls, is there a clear winner? The answer is a simple yes. Foreign investors, including many Middle Eastern states and China, see enormous gains by purchasing U.S. capital. Every year, the United States pay billions of dollars in interest payments to foreign investors. Much of the U.S. economy is now dominated by foreign influence.

Iím not about to advocate abandoning our troops fighting overseas or forcing low income families to go without medical care. However, both parties need a strong dose of reality. Money does not grow on trees. Almost every initiative taken up by the government is going to require a significant amount of money. Candidates need to move away from the spend, spend, spend mentality that has dominated the United States for the past decade. The key to the 2008 Presidential election may not be how can the government spend my money but instead, how can the government save it.

Joe is a a political science and international studies major. With any luck Joe will be graduating this coming May.

Joe Eggers is a fifth year senior from Appleton, Wis. He is a political science and international studies major. He has been involved in several activities on campus, including a stint as last year's Student Senate president.