Ignore distractions, focus on deficit

With Rep. Todd Akin of Missouri refusing to leave the race for the U.S. Senate seat, the distractions are guaranteed to keep coming ("Akin fights on, says he's 'standing on principle,'" Aug. 23). Despite his apologies and retraction, and despite Governor Mitt Romney's condemnation of the remarks, the focus for the next week will be on abortion. It doesn't matter that the Romney ticket has stated that they support abortion for victims of rape and incest, they will be lumped together with the more rabid anti-abortion faction of the Republican Party. Never mind that the fate of the abortion question is in the hands of the Supreme Court, not the executive branch, defining the stance of the candidates on the matter is sure to dominate the news cycle, even though the latest update from the Congressional Budget Office shows that the federal government will run a deficit in excess of a trillion dollars for the fourth year in a row in 2012. The budget is something the executive branch can actually influence heavily. And before anyone screams that the president nominates judges, let's keep in mind the recent upholding of the Affordable Care Act by Chief Justice John Roberts. Judges are individuals with their own worldview, and there are no guarantees. Is anyone really convinced that Justice Sonia Sotomayor, a Christian, would vote to allow abortion? Besides, Mr. Romney doesn't strike anyone as a wide-eyed, fanatical anti-abortionist.

So while the press speculates on the fate of abortion if Mr. Romney is elected, and speculates on the fate of Medicare if Paul Ryan is elected, they don't seem to want to speculate on the fate of Medicare if President Barack Obama is re-elected. What an inconvenient truth it is that Medicare is on a path today to going flat broke, and Mr. Ryan's plan averts that. Has the press asked President Obama what his plan is to keep it solvent? I haven't seen the question posed to him. Has the press asked the president if he will try proposing another budget since the last ones he proposed didn't get a single vote, not even from any Democrats? I haven't seen it posed. Too embarrassing a question this close to the election, it would seem.

We're watching our businesses dry up and die before our eyes. I listened to several former employees of the Sparrows Point plant on the radio last night, men who were third- and fourth-generation workers there. Their plight is heartbreaking. We can argue about the nuances of the candidates' stances on abortion some other day. Leave that in the hands of the Supreme Court where it belongs. Let's discuss where we're going economically. Let's hear from President Obama what his plan is for the next four years. What will happen with our money? Is it four more years of a trillion dollars in deficit spending per year? If it is, we are due an explanation as to how he sees the impact on future administrations saddled with an exponentially growing debt. We all know it is mathematically impossible to continue with these deficits, so what's the plan? Is there a plan? Will anyone be brave enough to ask? At least Messrs. Ryan and Romney have a plan. It's a good starting point. When will the Obama administration offer a counter proposal? Isn't it time? It seems they want to wait until after the election when they have more leeway. When they don't have to worry about re-election. Until then, my guess is they'd rather talk about abortion stances and Mr. Romney's tax returns. And the media will let them get away with it.

Fred Pasek, Frederick

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