Another election in Wonderland

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If a movie were made about the current presidential election, a good title would be, “Alice in Wonderland: The Sequel.”

An incumbent president tells us his policies are working, when they clearly are not. His would-be successor promises us an economic renaissance without telling us how he plans to achieve it.

The Mad Hatter has nothing on their surrogates. One candidate, we are told, has paid no taxes for 10 years, although the source of this information is unclear. Because he is rich, he is out of touch with the average voter. If this were the criterion for elective office, we would have had neither a Roosevelt to win World War II, nor a Kennedy to bring us safely through the Cuban missile crisis.

The other candidate supposedly has dark secrets in his past. His birth certificate, grades at Harvard, and a Connecticut Social Security number are kept under wraps.

Politicians have not always been this way. Go back 60 years. Ludwig Erhard is campaigning to be German chancellor. He is fond of the good life and, unlike Romney, doesn’t care who knows it. He campaigns in formal attire, including a top hat, and travels in a luxurious limousine.

As economics minister under the previous chancellor, he had inherited an economy far worse than Obama’s. His country was defeated in World War II, its infrastructure destroyed by round-the-clock bombing, and the victors had saddled it with price controls.

Unlike Obama, he freed up its markets and charted a course that made Germany the pre-eminent industrial power in Europe.

Fastforward 20 years. Great Britain is going through a crisis. It is a question as to whether the country would be ruled by Parliament or by the trade unions.

The Labor Party is shackled to them, and the conservative establishment afraid of them. A woman has never been prime minister. Margaret Thatcher defied the odds and became leader of a conservative government, not because of, but despite the fact that she was a woman. She fought a tough battle with the unions, and won.

Fastforward again to the United States today. The Keynesian prescription of tax cuts and spending increases cannot be employed — they will simply increase the deficit. We live in a global economy where multi-national corporations can establish plants wherever they choose.

Lewis Carroll would savor Obama’s creating a hostile business climate, driving employers to move their operations overseas, and then castigating them for outsourcing jobs. Once you leave Wonderland, this is called hypocrisy.

Gordon Philpot

Walla Walla

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