Americans will soon know the results of the second most important election in my adult lifetime thus far. Number one was 1980. The split-screen image of President Reagan taking the oath of office while the U.S. hostages in Iran tasted freedom after 444 days forever captured the moment.
Fast-forward to 2010. After two years of having their No. 1 concern virtually ignored, the American people will finally have their say. Washington has failed to recognize its responsibility to ignite the engine of sustained economic growth–American entrepreneurs. Instead, Washington has focused on health care, card check, cap and trade, financial services reform, bailouts and tax policy. Instead of reducing systemic obstacles to business and promoting investment and hiring, we have been treated to more government regulation and economic gimmicks like Cash for Clunkers and “Cash for Caulkers.” To add insult to injury, Congress left town without resolving the issue of the expiring tax cuts, further increasing the uncertainty facing business.
This campaign season has been more volatile than the commodity markets.
There are an unprecedented number of candidates running, and there have been countless primary night surprises. It is extremely difficult to track who is running and where they stand on the issues. To help figure it out, the ABA has updated its website risetoaction.org to include the vote count on the ABA’s top issues and on broader business issues. The site also provides critical information on polling places, candidate websites and the latest political news. The site will be updated as returns are tabulated on Nov. 2.
With our country’s economic future at stake, it is critically important to be informed of where candidates stand. It also will be critically important to follow up with those who prevail to educate them on baking and business issues. The ABA will be asking bakers to step up participation in the policy process to a whole new level–including holding elected leaders accountable.
While I don’t anticipate viewing a stirring split screen image, as I did in 1980, the results will have as longlasting an impact on the country. As Jeb Bush stated so clearly at the ABA convention, “We are at an important crossroads in our history. Before us we have two choices: we can either accept the warm blanket of government security and modest economic growth, or we can pursue a path of freedom and entrepreneurship that includes the opportunity to fail.”
Please make your voice heard.