The debate on Wednesday between Congressman John Tierney and Republican challenger Richard Tisei illuminated many of the substantive differences between them. (Daniel Fishman, Libertarian candidate, also participated.)
The two major candidates offer voters a real choice. They hold distinctly different analyses of what has caused our economy to crash and then stall; what measures should be taken to revive it; and what role government should play in stimulating economic growth.
They disagree on proposed initiatives to address the increasing costs and long-term viability of Medicare, Medicaid, and the entire health care system.
They disagree on the need for regulating the banks and the financial markets, and for reining in the greed and recklessness that promoted irresponsibility on Wall Street.
I prefer Congressman Tierney’s positions on all of these issues. To start with the state of our economy — the most important issue — Tierney believes that some additional government stimulus is necessary to spur the economy, to increase employment, to increase consumption, and to encourage complementary action in the private sector.
He believes that wise investments can be made in the educational sector, the energy industries, job retraining, and in the repair and modernization of so much of our infrastructure.
These investments and stimuli are needed in the immediate term while longer-term debt reduction plans can also be designed to phase in as the economy becomes stronger.
Mr. Tisei, on the other hand, appears to be against any further government stimulus efforts, and seems hostile to the very idea of public sector jobs. He stated, “The government doesn’t create jobs.” Well, the fact is, it does, along with the private sector.
The reality of our national economy — and the global economy — is that governments and private enterprise together are partners in shaping and determining the complex thing known as the market. It’s not a pure free market — it’s unavoidably a very mixed system.