I have been espousing this perspective for the last four years. In conversations with die-hard liberal progressives as well as staunch conservatives I have found common ground when we get past the bitter divisiveness of ideology. The election is behind us and the same partisan politics that threatens the prosperity of the greatest experiment in governance in human history persists. However, we are in new times, a new era, a new paradigm.
We are the WEB 2.0+ political generation and we are more connected than ever before. And I say we must use this power for positive impact. We must make the message clear, and we must do so with emphasis. The facts are plain and we must get past ideology, team mentality and brinkmanship. The game of politics is a game to be sure, but it is the type of game none of us enjoy playing for long, for in the game of brinkmanship, lives rest on the line, and on the line, they die in truth. This is unacceptable, and we must be about change.
My perspective has been and continues to be one of simplicity. There are four and only four areas that we must address in order to attain fiscal solvency and economic prosperity for the America of today, and our posterity in the tomorrow. All other concerns fall into sub-groups of these major groups. If we are to remove the deficit and pay off the debt we must:
1) Address Military spending and demand greater efficiency and accountability, cutting the waste from the budget,
2) We must address the escalating costs of Medicare and bend the curve backward through innovation and efficiency
3) Fiscal policy, tax reform is absolutely necessary
4) Social Security must change.
We must be clear about what addressing these areas truly means. I’ve had conversations with people who fear that we will be weak if we lower the number of nuclear weapons we have, but they can’t answer how many nukes we really need in order to assure the destruction of a potential enemy. How many nukes is enough? We’re asking the wrong questions. The nuclear system as it stands is rife with failures, and must be addressed, but we must address it and all other military issues with the utmost concern for security, safety, and efficiency of our troops and the weapons they deploy on the field. This means using our money smartly and accounting for ALL that we spend.
We must address Medicare, and if we would but stop the political haranguing around Obamacare we would acknowledge beyond the politics that it is a truly great start. We must lower the cost of production for healthcare, gaining efficiencies by right-sizing costs up the health-care stream for medicines, tools, nurses and physicians. We must increase innovation and efficiency through effective use of technology, standardization and holistic processes that eliminate needless testing and ensure that we are truly chasing healthier human beings, not profit.
We must reform the tax code, because it is onerous and wasteful as it stands. However, I have and continue to advocate what I call a Keynesian-Supply Side Surplus policy. Spending in the now in order to ensure prosperity in the tomorrow tied to strong legal constraints that readily remove spending when economic metrics show that levels of stability have been attained that allow the government to step out of the way and let private industry fill up the prosperity gap. Arguments about Big Government and the denunciation of common sense economics, is wasteful and time-consuming; and more importantly as I said earlier, people die while we dither. This is unacceptable.
Lastly, we must address Social Security. Conversations around its solvency until whatever year, and the fact that it’s not yet in trouble does nothing but push the problem further down the road. We must make it part of our efforts to get our fiscal house in order. In my opinion, we must spend energy focusing on it now, rather than later. But I’m only one man with one opinion. Still, I think we should consider it critically.
There is a so-called fiscal cliff looming, and politicians are playing games. In particular the GOP is playing games. They have no interest in addressing military spending and they have no interest in working to close the Bush Tax cuts, which were never meant to be permanent and are directly contributory to the creation of the Great Recession. Of the two parties in power it is without equivocation the GOP that is continuing to lead the charge of recklessness.
Being responsible would mean allowing for the creation of revenue by raising taxes where we can without putting the economy in jeopardy by burdening the middle-class. It would mean raising the debt-ceiling in such a manner so as to no longer make it an issue, or tool of brinkmanship. It would mean coming to the table to negotiate in good faith, as opposed to lying about having good faith on national television in order to save face and appear to be holding the line for the American good, when all they are really doing is seeking a win in the grand game of political power. This has to stop. We must grow up, and at long last act like responsible adults.
It’s time. We must call them to account. Spread the word. Spread the truth. And demand better from those we have elected to office.