Psychologists call it a “double avoidance situation.” To understand, imagine yourself in a tunnel. A man with a whip stands at one end. A rabid dog paces at the other. You are in the middle.
Walk toward the rabid dog, and the man with the whip seems like a better choice. Walk toward the whip, and the rabid dog becomes the better option. There’s no happy ending here, just two terrible choices.
Seem familiar? It is. As voters, we’re standing in a tunnel. We are facing a choice between two candidates for President who share only one thing--- both scare an amazing number of people. Some want to prevent Hillary Clinton becoming president at all costs. Others want to prevent a Donald Trump presidency, no matter what.
In fact, both are crummy choices. And it really isn’t because of their personalities. It’s because they represent the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of their parties. Democrats spend money they don’t have and call it investment. Republicans cut taxes and call it incentive. Together, they guarantee their own power, endless deficits, and the eventual financial destruction of our country.
This unending pattern has to end. Other issues are important, but this is primary because it determines both our personal economic futures and what we can do as a nation.
Some people want to blame everything on one party. That’s great for venting. But it’s a mistake. Our two established parties make a great team for deficit building.
Here are two examples. Among Democrats there is a move to reform Social Security, largely by increasing taxes. Rather than simply reforming the system enough to make it solvent--- quite a task in itself since it now has a $12.1 trillion unfunded liability over the next 75 years---they go on to add more benefits. If you are near collecting Social Security, supporting this reform would be a great way to show your kids how much you hate them. They, not you, will pay more in taxes.
A Republican example is close to where I live. The congressman for the 25th district of Texas is Roger Williams. He proposes to cut the employment tax by 2 percentage points on each side. The full employment tax is 12.4 percent. He seeks a reduction of 4 percentage points. His proposal would literally cause an immediate Social Security crisis. It would reduce the tax revenue supporting Social Security by a third. If you want your retired parents to move in with you for as along as they live, the credit for thought leadership goes to Congressman Williams.
Does the presidential election really come down to two bad choices? That’s how the media present it. In a recent interview with Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson on NPR, for instance, the interviewer could see Johnson only as a spoiler. That Johnson might be an actual candidate with different ideas was inconceivable. Many people have similar notions. They believe not voting for either party’s candidate is “throwing your vote away.”
I beg to differ. It’s the reverse. A vote for Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump is a wasted vote. It may be thrown in different directions, but it will land in the same old place--- continued stasis. To give our votes value we must vote against the domination of our ossified two party system.
Fortunately, we’ll have at least three choices that aren’t named Clinton or Trump.
- Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party candidate will be on the ballot. He represents a choice for a whole lot less government in every aspect of our lives.
- Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate will be on the ballot. She represents a choice for a whole lot more government in every aspect of our lives.
- Lawrence J. Kotlikoff, an independent, will be the registered write-in candidate, which means a vote for him will be counted just as a vote for Johnson or Stein will be counted. I can’t be objective about him because he’s a good friend and we’ve written three books together. But if we’re looking for a President with no baggage, no prejudices, and who is capable of wise thought and good decisions, he’s the one.
But whether you vote for Kotlikoff, Stein or Johnson, your vote will have value.