Roger Marolt: Roger This | AspenTimes.com

Roger Marolt: Roger This

Roger Marolt
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado

Generally speaking, people know what is best for them. If most are not spending hours accumulating hard data and crunching numbers on a given topic, say to determine the exact amount of remaining worldwide oil reserves or the date the sun will burn out, at least we have gut feelings and hunches to trust.

This is to say that compared with advanced life forms from other planets that, on a lark, can travel millions of light years to stealthily cut circle patterns in our cornfields, we are basically a collection of dolts on this planet from which it is hard to find even a handful that you can trust over the course of an entire lifetime, but on the whole we can usually trust a consensus. If we can bring ourselves to believe that we do not know more than everyone else combined, politics can happen without so much hatred and anger.

This is a big deal. It could render politics the boring civic obligation our forefathers intended it to be, like jury duty. It could be so much less than the devotion to antacids it is now to many who watch Fox News or CNN while exercising rat-style on the treadmill. One person. One vote. Trust your neighbors. It’s either that or move to Canada, where folks are easier-going, or to China, where they’re better educated.

It’s time for us to get off the polls and on the stick.

We should trust the majority view for figuring out what our country should do. It’s worked well so far. Healthy debate in politics is good. Painting everything black and white is not. Humility is essential.

Look at the issue of the economy. Admit it: It’s complicated. There is room for two points of view. Both can be right. Go with it.

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On one side you have the Republicans. Basically, their position is that we cannot continue to ratchet up our national debt. At $16 trillion and rising, it is unsustainable and spells long-term doom. The way to stimulate the economy is by reducing government spending and taxes. It’ll take patience, but it will work. They are right!

On the other side, you have the Democrats who believe that the economy stinks and the government needs to keep spending money to keep it from flatlining. They’re right, too!

The truth is that we are in one hell of a mess, and your individual viewpoint of it depends on where you are standing in the sty. It’s not hard to understand that if you are currently unemployed, underemployed, can’t afford health insurance and lie awake nights wondering if you should mail your front-door keys back to the bank before looking for an apartment to rent or continue trying to pay off the negative equity in your home, you believe that your government needs to spend more immediately to improve the economy and we’ll deal with the damned national debt later, after you find a job.

Now, if you happen to have a good job and a little padding in the 401(k) and the mortgage is under control, the thing you worry about is the feces flying through the air that looks like it is aimed for a direct hit with the fan. You see everything you’ve worked for covered in poo when it comes time to send the big check to China for the balloon payment on the national debt. It’s time to unplug the fan!

The problem with the economy is immense and requires circulating money to fix it. If the Republicans prevail and taxes for the wealthy are reduced, the extra cash ends up in the hands of the people who can afford to be patient. They will use lots of it to reduce their own debt and bolster their investment accounts. Eventually this results in increased consumer confidence, and the windfall will indeed trickle down through the entire economy and benefit everyone.

If the Democrats prevail, the government spends the money right now, and, whether wastefully or not, it streams into the economy immediately to help create jobs for people who can’t afford being patient any longer, lowering the unemployment rate and benefiting everyone. The truth is that both methods of stimulating the economy are proven to work, and neither reduces the nation’s deficit immediately, but can do so eventually.

How crazy is that? So, when we are fighting over this, we are really just fighting about who gets their paws on the loot first.

The truth is that we can all understand both sides to this, and most other issues we fight over, if we want to. It won’t make us agree with one another, but at least we’ll understand that the view of the world is different from different points on it. Some people are nearsighted and others farsighted. That’s just the way it is, but combined you get the entire picture.

It’s worth a look.