Arguably the hottest issue revolving around this election is the economy.
Both major candidates have made well known the doctrine of economic thought they subscribe to and will be laying out plans about how to recover our stagnant economy.
But how qualified are the candidates when it comes to economics?
How much do they even believe in the doctrines that they claim to belong to?
If they believe in something that would alienate their political base would they have the fortitude to broadcast it? Politics have gotten in the way of solid economics.
This has lead us to a nation-wide impasse when it comes to discussion about the state of the economy and a lack of productive solutions to our current and structural problems.
Should we rely on government spending to fill a lack of demand in the economy or move towards austerity much like the Estonians?
Should the Federal Reserve buy toxic mortgage backed securities in an attempt to free up the housing market?
Who has the right answers to these questions?
As a nation, why are we not actively seeking out the advice of economists — you know, that weird breed of social scientists that actually study the economy and believe my choice of breakfast in the morning can be predicted by a utility function — when it comes to these matters.
Instead, we find ourselves investing in politicians who either have a lack of experience in dealing with economies of scale or, despite having a staff full of economic advisors, are handcuffed by political agendas?
A few weeks back the National Public Radio show “Planet Money” sought out the advice of five accomplished economists who, by their own declaration, cover all ends of the political and economic spectrum.
What they were able to come up with was a list of six policies that they could all agree upon. The results listed turned out to be untoward for most politicians: eliminate the mortgage tax deduction, eliminate tax deductions companies get for providing healthcare to employees, eliminate the corporate income tax, eliminate all income and payroll taxes, place a tax on carbon emissions and legalize marijuana and tax it.
While some of these concepts require more than a column to explain, the overall impetus behind each of the measures is actually easy to grasp — tax things that you want to discourage, while eliminating taxes on good behaviors.
If only it could be that easy.
All of the proposed policies are either political poison or extremely difficult to implement on a large scale.
This is not an excuse to avoid discourse when it comes to our nation’s economy. Our country is in a sweet spot where we feel we cannot expand our horizons and start talking about more creative ideas when it comes to rescuing our faltering economy.
Politicians will have you believe that there are only a handful of options that stimulate economic growth, but this simply is not true.
We have seen many attempted policies since the great recession of 2008 and none have achieved their goal of sustained economic growth.
Is it not time for us to try some more creative measures like the ones listed above — especially if said measures are suggested by people who make a living off of studying the economy?
This list is not the end all be all of creative problem-solving measures for the economy. For more, look no further than the recent Economic Symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming — where everyone who is anyone in monetary theory presented other potential economic medicines.
Whatever the case, the responsibility falls on you, the citizen, to do your own research to figure out what you think should be done.
It’s not anyone elses responsibility, but your own.
A more informed electorate will help quell most hot-button issues, domestic and foreign, and when the time comes, it falls on you to use your most powerful policy swaying tool once you come up with a conclusion — your vote.
Tim Wessel is a senior majoring in a finance and is The Daily Collegian’s Thursday columnist. His email is email@example.com.