Labor Day weekend unofficially marks the stretch run of the presidential campaign season.
We’re right between last week’s Republican National Convention and this week’s Democratic National Convention, with just more than two months to go before the Nov. 6 election.
Once all of the campaign balloons are deflated and the cake and watermelon have been eaten, it’s time to get back to business. Flowery rhetoric and spin won’t spark the economy. Neither will charm, wit, humor or adoring spouses.
Unemployment has remained steady at more than 8 percent. For the fourth straight year, the budget deficit will be more than $1 trillion.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, U.S. debt held by the public will reach 73 percent of Gross Domestic Product by the end of this fiscal year— which is the highest level in more than 60 years. The CBO estimates another recession in 2013 without significant changes.
Meanwhile, the middle class has been waning. According to the Pew Research Center, 85 percent of Americans say it’s harder to maintain their standard of living now than it was 10 years ago.
The trend of a shrinking middle class has been happening for decades. In 1971, 61 percent of Americans were considered middle class compared to 51 percent in 2011. The American dream still exists, but it’s harder to attain.
Ask a recent college graduate, or someone who lost their job during the Great Recession, or a private-sector senior citizen who was hoping to retire soon just how hard it is.
Once the convention parties subside, we’d like the focus to be on exactly what President Barack Obama’s and challenger Mitt Romney’s plans are to fix this economy and get Americans back to work. And we want specifics about their plans, not just general statements, or wishful thinking that’s not supported by facts.
This is what most Americans care about – their economic future and the economic future of their communities and their nation.
They aren’t nearly as interested in personalities, or who’s more popular, or who tells a better joke. When it comes to choosing a new president, voters aren’t interested in blaming previous administrations or political parties. They’re interested in results.
For the next few months, we hope the sideshows will be minimal so the campaigns can focus on solutions for fixing the economy. That’s the only way we can go to the polls in November with clear heads.