Monday, January 7, 2013

What the U.S. Needs Now ... Truth Telling and Responsible Talk and Actions by Both Government and We the People

Now that we've raised taxes on the millionaires and billionaires and "solved" roughly 7% of our nation's trillion dollars in annual spending to receipts shortfall, what about the other 93%?

The political games in Washington will now shift to the debt ceiling issue, but that will get resolved "technically" after the appropriate theatrics have occurred. When the dust has settled on the next charade, the pols will agree on our behalf to keep spending money we don't have on things we don't need and borrowing from the Chinese to get the money to continue to do so. A sigh of relief will occur and it will be back to business as usual. And here's what that means.

After much back-and-forth confrontational and heavily media covered B.S. from the government knows best gang, the politicians will raise the debt ceiling by a few more trillion dollars while pledging to get sensible in the future. Then we'll go on borrowing 43 cents of each dollar we spend. Until we need to raise the debt ceiling again. How's $20 trillion sound? It's all nuts.

A timely, hard hitting and truth telling commentary on all this is contained in More Risk-Taking, Less Poll-Taking:

"President Obama, by his own admission, focused his campaign almost exclusively on the need to raise taxes on the wealthy, and the Republicans focused theirs on lowering them. But neither one offered the country what we need most: a description of what world we’re living in, what is new, and how we maximize our ability to compete and grow in this world — and then offering up a comprehensive, detailed plan of appropriate phased-in spending cuts, tax reforms and investments in research, infrastructure and early childhood education to create more good jobs and the workers to fill them.
What world are we living in? It’s a world in which we face three major challenges: responding to the merger of globalization and the information technology revolution, which is changing every job and workplace; dealing with our mounting debt and entitlement burdens, driven by steadily rising health care costs and unsustainable defined benefits; and, finally, developing energy sources that can grow the world economy without tipping it into disruptive climate change. (At one point last week, the Senate approved a $60.4 billion aid package to help New York and New Jersey recover from Hurricane Sandy. If fully implemented, that would mean we’d spend on one storm all the new tax revenue for next year that the House and Senate just agreed to in the fiscal-cliff negotiations.)
What each party should be saying is, “Given this world, here are the specific tax reforms, spending cuts, investments and policy innovations we need to grow our middle class, sustain our retirees and shrink inequality.” Instead, we have no leaders ready to trust the public with the truth, so both parties are shooting themselves in the foot and our future in the head. As Matt Miller, author of “The Tyranny of Dead Ideas” noted in The Washington Post, “Republicans haven’t identified anything remotely equal to the savings we need. And because many liberals haven’t thought through the long-term budget implications, or wrongly assume that taxes can rise indefinitely or that the Pentagon can be shrunk to something less than a triangle, they resist sensible steps to slow the growth of Social Security and Medicare, not realizing that this course will assure before long that there isn’t any new money to spend on, say, poor children.” . . . 
Maybe Obama has a strategy: First raise taxes on the wealthy, which gives him the credibility with his base to then make big spending cuts in the next round of negotiations. Could be. But raising taxes on the wealthy is easy. Now we’re at the hard part: comprehensive tax reform, entitlement cuts, radical cost-saving approaches to health care and new investments in our growth engines. This will require taking things away from people — to both save and invest. A lot of lobbies will fight it. The president will need to rally the center of the country and the business community to overcome them.
He’ll have to change the polls, not just read the polls. He will have to take on his own base and the G.O.P.’s.
Obama has spent a lot of time lately bashing the rich to pay their “fair share.” You know what? There are definitely some Wall Street bankers and C.E.O.’s who deserve that bashing. But there are many successful Americans who got their wealth the old-fashioned way — by risk-taking, going into debt to start a business or pursue a dream. It’s time for the president to do some risk-taking — to stop just hammering the wealthy, which is so easy, and to start selling the country on a strategy to multiply them. We need to tax more millionaires, but we also need more millionaires and middle classes to tax. The president was elected to grow our national pie, not just re-divide it."
Summing Up
We very need to unleash private sector led economic growth.
More than that, we need to start telling each other the truth.

To get the problems we face as a nation fully in view for all of us so that we can make the hard decisions, we need to insist that politicians start telling the truth about our nation's precarious financial situation and the difficult tradeoffs and choices ahead to genuinely bring things into "balance."
In other words, we need to start making decisions with the future ramifications of what we're doing in clear sight for all to see.
As a country, we must stop acting like a bunch of fools and do what's right for the best interests of not only ourselves but future generations as well. Each generation needs to start paying its own way, and mine hasn't done so.

Finally, we can't realistically expect our politicians to talk and act responsibly if we aren't first willing to talk and act responsibly ourselves.
Thanks. Bob.

No comments:

Post a Comment