After a disappointing and dysfunctional set of years, I was finally presented with the opportunity of choice. Decision day had arrived. I had performed extensive research on the two main candidates, exhaustively considering pundit commentary and debate performances in order to arrive at an informed conclusion. While one side put forth nothing more than similar qualities to that of the status quo, I felt passionately that an exciting adjustment was necessary. Ultimately, with a mindset of hope, I chose the latter prospect of jaunty change, yielding features of astounding opportunity. Of course, I am referencing my choice to purchase an Android device over an iPhone.

Complete with ‘4G LTE’ connectivity, a 4.3-inch display (with 480 x 800 pixels), Adobe Flash support, 768MB of memory, and an 8-megapixel camera, my Android device possessed features that had never before been offered in a cellular device. In contrast, the iPhone 4 (the latest iPhone at the time) offered a mere ‘3G’ connectivity, a 3.5-inch display (with 640 x 960 pixels), 512MB of memory, and a 5-megapixel camera (all without Adobe Flash support). However, the one significant area in which the iPhone excelled was battery strength, as when compared with one another, it was noted that the Android, “could only get about 6 hours total before the battery died and required charging” while the iPhone 4 “still had 50% of battery after using the device most of the day, and we didn’t have to charge it until the following evening after another day’s use.” Perhaps like other Android users, I was too enthused by the primary features to permit any hindrance to my purchase. I would quickly learn the significance of that mistake.

Like using applications or said breakthrough features on the Android, America’s ability to maintain its offering of safety nets and other necessary programs is fully contingent on the longevity of its fiscal battery. Consider for instance the usefulness of a cell phone that cannot turn on; once out of power, the lightening-fast speed of ‘4G’ or the inclusive experience of Adobe Flash instantaneously bears no significance, and all that remains in one’s pocket is a three hundred dollar paperweight. Expand such a dismal and irrelevant fate to the world’s most powerful nation, and I fear tremendously for the intended recipients of the very same governmental programs draining our fiscal battery. Demoting the fate of programs such as Medicare and Social Security to the level of a paperweight is both deplorable and unacceptable. Ultimately, we must recognize that regardless of how advanced the technology or how helpful the program is promised to be, an entity is only as powerful as the bars of battery displayed on the top of the screen (or in the digits of the national debt).

For the revival of America’s prosperity, we cannot ignore the warning to connect our charger. Though unfortunately unlike the Android or any other cellular device, America’s fiscal battery cannot simply be recharged at the nearest outlet. Instead, our opportunity to fiscally recharge takes place at the ballot box each November.

After a disappointing and dysfunctional set of years, we as Americans are finally presented with the opportunity of choice. When considering the prospect of the two candidates, Americans are presented with a deep ideological contrast as to how our battery is to be recharged (if at all). Beginning with President Obama’s big government approach, Americans have witnessed an administration that has, as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie suggested during his Republican National Convention keynote address, chosen the regrettable path of attempting to be loved over attempting to be respected. Whether through a draconic $716 billion Medicare cut, a failed stimulus, or unjust tax increases, the President’s attempt to garner sentiments of love among his liberal base has resulted in policies that have purely failed the American people. I would also complement the governor’s words by noting that President Obama has not sought love through his actions, but rather love through his class-warfare entrenched rhetoric. One who robs from Medicare does not love the elderly, one who borrows and spends for corporate welfare does not love the taxpayer, and one who raids income via tax increases does not love the middle class.

Further, the president’s problem (and thus the American people’s inherent burden) is that not only do love-inducing policies fail to recharge our fiscal battery, they act to further drain it (by the trillions). For instance, with Medicare, each election cycle the Left chooses to offer a quixotic, love-intended approach in lieu of serious reforms, an indispensable opportunity is lost to stop the Medicare Trust Fund battery bar from running out of power in 2024. President Obama and his big government advocates have kept America’s screen brightness to capacity, refused to close idle applications, and have irresponsibly left on our 4G, GPS, and Bluetooth in the name of being loved throughout these last three and a half years. Thankfully, in addition to the highly anticipated release of Apple’s newest iPhone, the upcoming fall season provides voters with what will be perhaps our final opportunity to recharge America’s fiscal battery.

Conversely to the above approach, the conservative governing style that would be enacted by Governor Mitt Romney and Congressman Paul Ryan will favor necessary governmental reform over growth, and fiscal discipline over negligence. Once more returning to the iPhone, Apple could have easily doubled its screen size, incorporated a faster network speed, added Adobe Flash capability, and heightened the ability of its camera. However, Apple understood that while it must never limit the extent of its technological innovation, it too must never compromise its primary focus – producing a phone that will first and foremost turn on, and remain powered throughout the day. Similarly, the success of the Romney Administration will stem from its unshakable commitment to ensuring the ultimate, long-term sustainability of America’s battery. Once achieved, perhaps the United States Government can once again have more cash on hand than Apple, Inc.

This November, we Americans must ask ourselves if a bigger government offering bankruptcy-prone programs of glam is preferable to a smaller, smarter government offering solvency-bound programs of moxie. We Americans must turn our eyes away from the powerful sun of government that has too often blinded the most vulnerable of citizens and again expect a government that favors solvency over electability.

This November, we  must again reclaim our civic responsibility by learning to respect public policies before we love them and we must again connect our charger, and act with urgency to replenish our fiscal battery while we still can.

Parker Mantell | Indiana University | @ParkerMantell