By: Washington Post Reporter Robert Samuelson
Do you really know who lost the mid-term election? We all did. Both parties made the midterms a referendum on President Trump, at the expense of “anything resembling rational debate” on the serious, politically explosive problems facing the country.
Take the federal deficit, which ballooned to $782 billion this year and is expected to hit $1 trillion in 2019. Why so much red ink? Simple: Americans want more government benefits and services than they are willing to pay for in taxes. Rather than address our profligacy, Democrats are talking of a wildly expensive expansion of benefits, while Trump is promising more tax cuts.
The debate over immigration has been reduced to a simplistic choice between the “wall” and “open borders,” when its clear comprehensive reform is necessary. In this election, there was virtually no realistic engagement with climate change, and despite it being the great moral issue of our time.
To address any of these issues political leaders must be willing to compromise and accept short-term costs for long term gains. Unfortunately, politicians want to win so they can tell voters what they want to hear. So, we stumble, blind to the dangers ahead.