Continuing my tradition of December election predictions (2007), let me note that I am not listening to any news about the 2012 Presidential election. I believe that Barack Obama will win the general election by a slim margin, e.g., 51/49 percent of the popular vote. Here are my reasons:
- people are afraid of change and will favor an incumbent if one is available
- Obama ended the Iraq war
- Americans know in their hearts that Obama is not responsible for the stagnant economy
The last point is the one that may need elaboration. If the economy isn’t growing, wouldn’t voters be enthusiastic about replacing the President? My belief is that Americans are smart enough to recognize that one hard-working high-achieving person such as Obama cannot compensate for 313 million Americans who, on average, don’t work all that hard and haven’t achieved very much. Furthermore, as evidenced by the lack of politicians at all levels who are willing to admit that we can’t pay for all of the stuff that we want, Americans aren’t in the mood to confront reality.
We know that a country of people who earn a median wage of $16.27 per hour (source) cannot afford to pay $100,000-200,000/year pensions to policemen and firefighters who retire at 42 or 50. We know that we can’t afford our massive military or unlimited payments to Medicare providers. We know that we can’t afford to pay working-age people to sit at home and collect 99 weeks of unemployment benefits. We know that China is growing 10 percent per year because businesses find employees there who have a better education and work ethic. We know that countries like Singapore now enjoy a higher per capita income than the U.S. does partly because they’ve figured out how to deliver basic government services as a tiny fraction of the cost (as a percentage of GDP). We know that our public schools are set up to benefit employees rather than students and therefore the outlook for competitiveness is not improving.
We don’t want to do anything about these issues, however, which is why reelecting our current crop of politicians, including Obama, is the most sensible thing to do.