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Friday, December 14 , 2018, 9:41 am | Fair 54º


Tom Donohue: Elections Have Consequences; What’s at Stake This Year?

For better or worse, elections have consequences. That’s good news if engaged voters exercise their civic duty and thoughtfully send qualified men and women to Washington to fix our broken government. It’s bad news if people don’t learn the issues, don’t know the candidates or don’t show up at the polls — potentially deepening our leadership deficit and allowing damaging policies to stand.

Here is what’s at stake in this year’s national elections.

A political system that works. Gridlock and gamesmanship will only come to a stop if we elect leaders who choose constructive leadership. That doesn’t mean tossing aside principle, but it does mean taking a pragmatic approach.

We should pay close attention to what candidates plan to do if sent to Washington — is it their goal to shut the place down or to get something done? Their commitment, or lack thereof, to the hard work of governing and legislating matters, and it should matter to voters as well.

A government that knows its size and role. We’ve seen government pushed well beyond its intended limits through massive, misguided legislation like the Dodd-Frank financial reform law and Obamacare. Rampant overregulation has empowered unelected bureaucrats to reach farther into the lives and affairs of individuals and businesses.

And executive power grabs blur the lines dividing our branches of government. Bureaucracy will continue to balloon if Americans elect politicians who believe that the government knows best. Electing leaders committed to creating a limited, modern and transparent government will give businesses confidence to hire, invest and innovate.

An economy that can grow. We need to elect policymakers who understand that a growing economy is essential to job creation, higher incomes and greater opportunity for Americans. Leading up to the elections, a lot of emphasis has been put on policies to slice up the economic pie into smaller and smaller pieces. What we need to do is grow the economic pie! The right policies on energy, trade, taxes and education could contribute to a strong and growing economy. Economic growth won’t solve all of our problems, but we won’t be able to solve any of them without it.

It’s easy to be cynical in this political environment. Some think that our problems are too big and that our politics are too small. Some wonder if voting is worth the bother or if it will make a difference.

But every vote represents a voice, and every candidate represents a choice. Make yours heard — and choose wisely. Elections have consequences. Visit GOTV.VoteForJobs.com to find the tools you need to vote, whether early, absentee or in person on Election Day.

— Tom Donohue is president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The opinions expressed are his own.

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