The problem with this presidential election is that none of the candidates are paying attention to U.S. citizens' actual problems. What a disappointment yesterday when Tea Party favorite and Republican Senator of Kentucky Rand Paul showed true loyalty...to mainstream Republican jargon.
The younger Paul made his announcement on Fox News' Hannity Show, citing some pretty lame reasons.
Hannity opened by saying Ron Paul "officially dropped out of the race."
This might be true. Reporter Mark Wachtler of examiner.com ran a story yesterday quoting announcements made at Ron Paul 2012 headquarters in El Paso, TX. "Ron Paul confirms his followers' worst fears - the campaign is over."
"When it is all said and done," Ron Paul said, "we will likely have as many as 500 supporters as delegates on the Convention floor... (but) That is also nowhere near the number needed to keep Mitt Romney from securing the GOP nomination on the first convention vote."
Back to Rand Paul on the Hannity Show: "Now that the nominating process is over, tonight I am happy to announce I'm going to be supporting Gov.Romney."
Ok. Why? "We have things in common," Paul said, "such as, fathers who ran for president," and "having a big family," and "family values." Given the presidential track record of George W. Bush, would the American people have been better advised to vote on issues, rather than familiarity and catch phrases?
Paul claimed Gov. Romney was "supportive of" auditing the FED, internet freedom and ensuring that Congress vote on important budget issues. The problem is, Gov. Romney is often for things before he is against them, and vice-versa. It all depends on who Mr. Romney is talking to.
But delve deeper into Rand Paul's reasons for endorsing Gov. Romney:
Paul claims President Obama's legislation to protect the environment are "crushing the U.S. economy," saying his state would "really suffer," and citing the loss of 50,000 jobs in the coal industry. One coal producer says the number is closer to 500, and that the main reason coal production has scaled back is less demand, because of last year's mild winter.
As for "crushing the U.S. economy," what has occurred under the Obama administration is that the Department of Transportation mandated increases in fuel economy for cars. As U.S. car makers are decades behind Europe in fuel economy standards. Not a big thing. It's pretty well-known that cars in Europe -- some of them even produced by U.S. companies for export -- routinely get twice the mileage of U.S. cars.
Cars that get better gas mileage sound like a win for consumers. Detroit benefitted from a U.S. taxpayer bailout and "paid it back" with money from tax breaks. How about really paying back by producing cars that cost less to run?
Paul claims that the U.S. should ramp up hydraulic fracking. What about state's rights? Late last year The Environmental Protection Agency finally got around to acknowledging the link between fracking and water contamination. The EPA reported fracking forced poisons, including the carcinogen benzene, into the groundwater of a central Wyoming community.
People in Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York fear oil companies who refuse to say exactly which chemicals they pump into the wells. Wells leak. "Energy jobs are great for our country because they can't be outsourced," said Paul on the Hannity Show.
Well, guess what? The environment can't be outsourced either. What's wrong with demanding that fracking companies say exactly what poisons they force into the ground?
As for oil production, last year the five largest oil companies reported $140 billion profits, according to Wall Street Journal statistics. Yet the Senate voted to extend $20 billion in federal subsidies to those same big oil and gas companies.
If business is so good, why do they need corporate welfare? Why doesn't Rand Paul mention this?
Gas prices are down because, to quote former President Clinton, "...it's the economy, stupid!" Oil prices are falling, according to Bloomberg news because of the economic slowdown in Europe.
And lower crude prices don't translate to lower prices at the gas pump because of high-finance shenanigans.
President Obama's administration is disappointing, but not for the reasons given by Rand Paul.
President Obama has signed terrible legislation, which blows out U.S. citizens' Constitutional rights, by supporting TSA, NDAA and legislation that says he can declare anyone a terrorist, anywhere, anytime. Much like rules set by King George of England, which, by the way, are often cited among the main reasons for the American Revolution.
But that's not what Rand Paul was talking about on the Hannity Show.
Rand Paul could use his platform and name recognition to solve real problems:
- The revolving door between government cabinet jobs and lobbyists for private industry, such as big banks, big pharmaceutical companies, military subcontractors and big agriculture who basically buy representation.
- Lack of prosecution of fraud in big financial institutions and in the mortgage and finance industries.
- Tax parity, where big corporations could not foist off their income as capital gains, taxed at a very low rate compared to income tax rate most U.S. citizens pay. What did Romney pay in taxes last year on more than $2 million? Wasn't it something like 17%? Must be nice.
- Trade balance reform, where outsourcing U.S. corporations would have to pay a real tariff on goods and services brought back in, a tariff which in some way represents the real cost of globalization on the U.S. economy.
Rand Paul is just avoiding these issues, same as the Republicans, and same as the Democrats in this current do-nothing Congress. Maybe people are tired of the same old, business-as-usual company line.
Would it be possible to still write in a vote for Ron Paul?