I was in a subway station yesterday when I heard a very outspoken woman, about 20 feet away, talking to her friend. She had voted for Obama because Romney, if he had been elected, would take away food stamps, Section 8 housing vouchers, and all other manner of government goodies.
New York was always going to go for Obama, so much so that there was very little campaigning or advertising by either candidate. While the Romney camp talked about cutting government spending, I don’t remember anything about serious cuts to existing programs. Yet it was easy enough to read between the lines and believe that a Romney victory would lead to cuts in food stamps.
It’s a powerful argument to vote for Obama if your life depends on government subsidies, but is was almost entirely unspoken, other than the response to Romney’s remarks about the 47% who pay no Federal income taxes.
I can’t begrudge this lady her vote: she voted in her rational self-interest, as all of us do. But to her, it doesn’t matter whether the economy does well or badly, or whether unemployment is 5% or 15%, as long as the government goodies keep flowing.
That there may not be enough productive activity to support these government goodies in the future, however, is another question.
* * *
I was in Amsterdam for a professional conference this week, and conversation often devolved into discussions about Sandy and the US Presidential election. Generally, Europeans were expecting that Obama would be re-elected, and some people looked questioningly at me when I told them I had voted for the other guy. Certainly, Obama is closer to the European image of what a President should be than Romney.
* * *
I don’t expect good things to come from Obama’s re-election: more economic stagnation, and a resurgence of price inflation. But at least it’s over.
Alas, Campaign 2016 begins next week.