Story puts in question issue of voting by self interest [UPDATED]Published 10:45am Monday, February 20, 2012 Updated 12:46pm Monday, February 20, 2012
A recent article in the New York Times titled “Even Critics of Safety Net Increasingly Depend on It,” suggests that many of those who support conservative presidential candidates such as Rick Santorum should be careful for what they wish for.
The article highlighted Chisago County north of the Twin Cities, where Rick Santorum won 57 percent of the vote in the Republican presidential caucuses last week (similar to Otter Tail County’s 61.7 percent). In Chisago County, federal benefits programs provided an average of $6,583 for each man, woman and child in 2009, and that the government provides almost $1 in benefits for every $4 in other income.
It goes on to interview Chisago County residents who voted Republican and received government benefits. When asked whether the government should take away those benefits, a few of them broke down and cried.
Of course, it almost goes without saying that the Republican philosophy is to reduce the size of government, with the exception of the military. They also have pledged that the 46 percent of tax filers who pay no federal income tax should have to pay some. So, in essence, those who believe in the Republican philosophy, yet at the same time don’t make enough money to pay taxes or receive federal benefits such as Medicare, are shooting themselves in the foot.
It wasn’t lost on me that the article had a liberal point of view – essentially making fun of those who already struggle financially, yet by voting Republican, believe they should have to pay more in taxes and receive less in government benefits.
That said, I often hear the credo that voters should vote with their own interests in mind. In other words, if you own a business, you should vote for the candidate who plans to reduce business taxes and ease regulations (Republicans). If your income is low and you receive government assistance, you should vote for the candidate who pledges to keep entitlements (Democrats).
That many voters seem to be doing the opposite suggests one of two things: 1.) That they are willing to sacrifice their own good for the good of the country’s, or 2.) They are misinformed.
Let’s just hope it’s number 1.
• • •
As a manager, I constantly have to balance compliments and criticisms to my employees.
This week, I have experienced other end of compliments and criticisms for skills that I am still learning – cooking and swimming.
For Valentine’s Day, I decided to make pad thai, an Asian meal that essentially involves mixing rice noodles in a spicy sauce with shrimp, chicken, vegetables and egg. It requires a lot of ingredients and steps, and thus, a lot of organization.
While I had the best clean-as-you-go intentions, that practice quickly eroded in last 30 minutes or so. My spouse was not impressed with the piles of dishes and food packages all over the counter, and food on the floor, and told me as much.
Yet, when I finally put the food into my mouth, it tasted, well, good, and based on the compliments I received, everyone agreed.
Later in the week, I swam next to a guy a few months ago bluntly told me that my crawl stroke was “terrible.” Considering his swimming skill, he was right in saying so. On Friday, however, he noticed that, at least for some parts of the swim, I was swimming faster than he. After, he pointed out that, “if I could swim the entire triathlon the way I did for 25 meters, I could come out of the water first.”
Essentially, it was a compliment and criticism at the same time, suggesting my stroke had significantly improved, and now I needed to work on my endurance.
In both cases, I felt inspired. It’s a lesson in management that I will take to heart.
Joel Myhre is The Journal’s Publisher. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org