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ELECTION DAY/ Samples (Cato Institute): A libertarian view of the candidates

JOHN SAMPLES, of the Cato Institute, analyzes the differences between the two presidential candidates and the reasons why none of them raises particular excitement among the voters

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As Election Day gets underway, the polls are showing a close race between incumbent President Barack Obama and his challenger former governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney. The final campaigns focused on the few remaining swing states, and especially Ohio, the so-called bellwether state, which has predicted the winner in the last 12 elections. While the world is focusing on these two candidates, many in the United States are disappointed with both, feeling that Obama has not lived up to his promises and that Romney is not be trusted. With the way the American system works, however, there is no room for third parties, though candidates are running from several third parties. Ilsussidiario.net interviewed John Samples, a libertarian of the Cato Institute, for his opinion on the two main candidates, and which is the best option.

What are the main differences between Obama and Romney in terms of foreign policy, especially towards the European Union?

I do not think there is a big difference between them in terms of foreign policy. Romney has claimed that he would be more forthcoming in defense and support of Israel, but it is not clear that he would change much. In terms of Europe, it is hard to image that they have great difference. The only difference could be that Romney is much less popular in Europe than Obama is, but that is a difference in atmosphere. It is hard to see how that would translate into policy differences. After all, the President will care about Europe to the extent that the President thinks that Europe matters for American interests. Even if Obama sees Europe as a constituency that likes and supports him, I do not think that would change his behavior.

Do you think that the European welfare state could be a good or bad model for the United States?

The conservatives have made the case that it is a bad model, but the liberals are not making the case for it being a good idea to follow the European model. Maybe they assume that that is what the United States should do or has been doing, but they do not explicitly say it. Interestingly, there is some sense that some parts of Europe, for example Sweden, where they use vouchers in the school system and where they have privatized the pension system and reformed it, could be actual models for the right in America, but once again, no one is talking about it. Here we have the usual line-up.

Does the left have their own model for a welfare state?