What is the most important issue to consider this election?


By Pitt News Staff

In addition to learning where the candidates stand on the issues, voters will need to decide which issues they care most deeply about. Here are our writer’s suggestions.

Eric Baldwin

Social programs and the safety net

In just about two weeks, good citizens will fulfill their civic duty and will head to the voting booths to cast their ballot and participate in the democratic process.

Ample scholarly evidence indicates that people are inherently irrational in the voting booth and tend to vote based on gut feeling and not as a result of a lengthy, deliberate and rational internal debate.

So you should keep one thing in mind when going into the voting booth: Do not cast the vote as if you are a single person living alone in a country where government should only serve the selfish interests of yourself when you are at your best. Attempt to remove the indoctrinated conception of radical individualism propagated in this nation. Think about yourself as a contributing member of a collective where each citizen contributes according to their ability and receives according to their need.

Think about the current state of health care in this country. Think about what the Affordable Care Act brings us. It lets people up to age 26 stay on their parent’s health care plan. It prevents the health insurance industry from denying people based on pre-existing conditions. It removes politics from health and takes us a step closer to a civil society where nobody is left behind.

Chances are that, at some point in your life, you will be down on your luck and will need help. When you’re in the voting booth, think about what type of country you want to live in. Is it one where people are denied the right to live because they can’t afford a medical procedure, or a country where when you are down on your luck, you know that there is a system in place that will provide for you and help you get back on your feet?

Claire Eckroate

Equality for all

I was told as a child that I could do anything. I will succeed when I put forth my best efforts, learn from my failures, and always believe in myself, never underestimating my capabilities. A father says this to his daughter. A mother says this to her son. A heterosexual male can live by this mantra, as should a female, homosexual, African-American, Buddhist, low-income-bracket individual. The main issue to be considered in this election is that of equality. Regardless of an individual’s background, personal circumstances, or choices, they deserve the same rights as everyone else.

This is how life goes, says Creedence Clearwater Revival: “some folks are born, silver spoon in hand.” Others are not the “fortunate ones.”

I am a believer of an equal playing field. Don’t turn away from me because I am a woman. Don’t turn away from my friend because of the man he loves. Let us earn our successes by allowing an equal opportunity to do so to all people in our country. As citizens of the United States, we deserve a life free of judgment. My vote will always be in favor of someone who values our differences and sees us as equals.

Elizabeth Weisel

Jobs and an improving economy

When it comes to this year’s presidential election, I believe the most important issue facing our candidates is the current economy, which directly leads to the issue of job creation. Whether you believe that the government needs to take a more dominant role in the revitalization of our economy or you believe that the government needs to step back and let the market fix itself, the issue is essential.

Particularly because of our status as college students, our future depends on finding a job after graduation so we can pay off our student loans and afford basic living necessities.

While the current job market isn’t quite the emergency situation it was in the past couple years, it is still dire for graduates.

Issues involving foreign policy and global events are important, but I believe they cannot be dealt with until we’ve dealt with the increasing problems in our own country — namely, our failing economy. The debt itself has to be drawn down in a responsible way. If it is done recklessly by gutting spending on progressive research, infrastructure and education, the seeds of future economic chaos will be sown.

So whatever your opinion on what the answer is to this issue, focus in on it and vote for the candidate you think will make the most difference.

Tiemoko Ballo

Quality, affordable education

Several hot-button social issues are getting the spotlight in this election, but there’s one critical matter that deserves more: education. As a tuition-paying student at a public institution, education should be high on your list of deciding factors for both your own benefit and for its societal implications. Primary schools driven by standardized testing metrics are failing students and wasting young minds, and higher education is becoming increasingly exclusive and financially crippling.

The U.S. is falling behind the developed world in educational standards and certain industries are forced to heavily outsource because domestic professionals are few and far between. We can’t continue to undermine the importance of educational reform; doing so robs our youth of the opportunity they deserve and propagates a slew of other societal issues. You owe it to yourself and your future children to really examine both candidates’ stances on education and to vote accordingly.

Nick Stamatakis

Growth in entitlement spending

This election should be about protecting our generation. Mitt Romney and Barack Obama should only have our vote if they can demonstrate they will stand up for the needs and interests of those who are under 30.

We need a fighter. No generation has entered young adulthood with this much debt. No generation has entered a job market with such rough prospects for people without specific technical training.

Most critically, no generation has ever been faced with the daunting prospect of covering retirement costs of an entire generation. Medicare will consume 8 percent of the national economy by 2050, up from 3 percent today. The 5 percent drop in GDP for the rest of us is typically considered a recession, and this is the future we will face without any change.

This change will require real leadership. Benefits will need to be cut. Taxes will need to be raised. The candidate who can most realistically solve this problem is the one who deserves your vote.