Hey, remember when 6% was considered to be high unemployment? That's certainly a distant memory now that we've had higher than 8% unemployment for over three and a half years. But don't worry: President Obama is convinced that he's making good progress and that if he can just continue being president -- and if the Republicans are magically more accommodating in his next term -- everything will be super. Plus, if he can just tax the rich some more, then somehow -- no one can quite explain how -- that will turn everything around.
Governor Romney, on the other hand, says that the way things are progressing, we’re doomed to high unemployment and living on off-brand Ramen noodles for as long as Obama is in office. But if he's elected, Romney says he'll get things moving in the right direction with his dynamic plan of... tax cuts or something.
We'll continue to hear this kind of rhetoric until Election Day, but I just had a horrible thought: There isn't anyone actually waiting on Romney or Obama to save him, is there? Like, there isn't some unemployed person volunteering for the campaign of one of the candidates instead of putting together a resume, right? If so, that poor soul.
Politics is a game we play to help other people. And by other people, I mean people we've never met and only know as some sort of statistic we half-read about in a news article while also tweeting about what we were eating for lunch. It's fine to rely on Obama or Romney to create jobs for theoretical unemployed people you don't know, but do you really want to rely on either of them to help you out if you are struggling? When people complained to Obama about the jobs situation, his reaction was to tax people for not having health insurance. Years later, there's still no evidence he even knows what a job is, and his main focus now is on Romney's tax returns, even though I doubt the solution to the economy is hidden in them.
And Romney is only running for president because that's what rich people do when they're bored of playing with their dancing horses and car elevators. People hope he'll apply his business sense to the government, but if the government were a business, the only sensible thing would be to declare bankruptcy and shut the whole thing down. So don't get your hopes up with any of them. Politicians and the economy are like an 18-month-old and a bowl of pea soup; you will praise them effusively as long as they don't make a huge mess of things.
Politicians always promise to fundamentally change things and fix them forever, but that's just a fantasy that politically interested people get worked up about. They’re like Twilight fans, but instead of teenage vampires, the objects of fandom are pasty old people who talk too much. I can guarantee that none of the attendees of a $25,000-a-plate fundraising dinner are unemployed and worried about their health insurance. The people most active in politics are the ones who will be just fine no matter who is elected, which is good for them, because relying on politicians means you'll constantly get kicked around. Getting out of this economic slump will just mean we're that much closer to the next one. And if, by some miracle rivaling the parting of the Red Sea, a politician actually fixes a major problem, another will be along to break it in the next term as sure as bird droppings will find a new car.
The good news is that you don't need to rely on politicians for anything. We're a rich country, and the only difference between a "bad" economy and a "good" economy in America is how hard it is to succeed in the economy, not whether it's possible. Believe it or not, people actually got rich during the Carter years. Even with double-digit inflation, gas shortages, and rabbit attacks, people still found opportunities in this country. So if you're struggling, the solution is out there -- just not at the ballot box.
If you're really concerned about other people's unemployment and health care, by all means, get involved in politics and work hard for the candidate of your choice. But if you actually are one of those people who doesn't have a job or is worried about his health care, for pete's sake, tune out the politics and work on that. Sure, that might seem selfish when you hear that the very soul of our country is at stake this November, but that's true for every single election.