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Stefan Karlsson

Why Mitt Romney is the lesser of two evils

While Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is unsatisfactory in many ways he is a somewhat lesser evil compared to President Barack Obama, Karlsson writes.

By Guest blogger / November 5, 2012

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, left, speaks at a campaign event at Dubuque Regional Airport, before flying to Colorado, Saturday, in Dubuque, Iowa. Regardless of whether Obama or Romney wins, there will be won't be much of either bad or good changes implemented, Karlsson writes.

David Goldman/AP

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Two days from now, there will be Presidential elections in the United States. The only two candidates with a chance of winning are of course incumbent President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney.

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Stefan is an economist currently working in Sweden.

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Which one of these should you root for, or perhaps even vote for if you're an American citizen (which I'm not)?

Personally, I root for Romney, because while he is unsatisfactory in many ways he is a somewhat lesser evil compared to Obama. He says he wants to reduce marginal tax rates and pay for those rate reductions by abolishing various deductions and loopholes, and wants to reduce non-military spending to close the deficit, while Obama is focused on tax increases. And in foreign policy he wants to end Obama's policy of apologizing and appeasing of the enemies of the West. 

Still though, I wouldn't be too elated if Romney wins, or too sad if Obama wins. There are two reasons for this. First, when it comes too ending deductions and  reducing spending, he has almost only talked about doing such things in generic terms, he hasn't provided any specifics when it comes to the deductions and only a few specifics when it comes to spending cuts (such as ending federal funding of PBS) and these specifics falls far short of what is necessary to close the deficit. And that leaves the suspicion that he doesn't know what to do. Maybe he has some ideas and will propose them after he is inaugurated, similar to how Obama went from opposing the individual mandate to purchase health insurance during the election only to advocate it after he became President, but we can't be sure. And if he doesn't the deficit problem won't be solved.

In all fairness, it should be pointed out that Obama's plan lacks specifics too apart from tax increases on the rich, which is similarly insufficient to close the deficit. But the point is that this means that Romney isn't much better than Obama.

The second reason not to get particularly worked up about the outcome, whatever it is, is that regardless who wins, he will trouble implementing his agenda. Remember that unlike for example Sweden, which have only one policy deciding institution, the one chamber parliament that in Sweden is called Riksdagen , America has three (or four if you count the Supreme Court, but it doesn't interfere with most political decisions): the President, the Senate and the House of Representatives. The upside of the American system compared to the Swedish is that it is more difficult to implement bad proposals, while the downside is that it is also more difficult to implement good proposals.

And since Republicans are likely to retain a majority (albeit probably a reduced one) in the House of Representatives, while Democrats are similarly likely to retain their majority in the Senate, this means that regardless if Obama or Romney wins, there will be won't be much of either bad or good changes implemented.

The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of the best economy-related bloggers out there. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. To contact us about a blogger, click here. This post originally ran on stefanmikarlsson.blogspot.com.

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