Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A National Economic Restoration Plan Versus a ”Grand Deal” for Deficit Reduction

What was the Administration thinking when it asked congress to present a “grand deal” for controlling the deficit in return for the increase in the national debt ceiling? The plan had Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security as “on the table”. What a morale killer for an already demoralized population!. They learn that their leader wants a plan for full retreat that threatens what little support they have left. They certainly don’t need a bean counter driven plan of retreat that discounts the national potential we would have if the system would only let us work.

Does the administration think the current special interest controlled congress is even capable of developing such a “grand deal” of retreat for the country? No one else in the country does.

In any event I am tired of listening to the Republicans and Democrats talking right past the citizens. They then negotiate with each other for final results that always seem to satisfy the special interests and shortchange the citizens.

Addressing a real problem, the “grand deal” we need is one directly with the citizens to develop and really implement a comprehensive road map for Americas’ economic restoration. The plan would assemble our total talent pool and make both the economy and the American spirit soar again. Its progress would be completely transparent to the citizens.

Nothing of this nature will come from the bean counters. Retreat is in their DNA. Not only will the bean counters say we can’t do it-they will say we shouldn’t even try. They support the sure path to mediocrity.

This is America. Our greatness is not due to bean counters. Don’t let them set “the things that need to be done”.

Restoring our economy is the only acceptable way to cut into the deficit-but more importantly it is also the only way we can remain true to the American Dream.

Unfortunately we have voted in a Congress that is pitifully inadequate, both organizationally and talent-wise, to lead us down this path. They are proving this every day. Somehow we must identify the few competent and honest members of congress and vote the rest out.

It is critical that the plan make use of the extensive citizen talent pool that has blessed this country. The sections of the plan must be explained in understandable English to the citizens and progress completely transparent. Congress has to be prevented from injecting special interests at the expense of the country. All elements of the US economy must become dedicated to its success.

Elements to be resolved are: trade balance, manufacturing deficit, constructive employment of our citizens, an honest and stable financial system, energy policy, and an efficient political system.

Sound impossible? Not as complicated as going to the moon. And extremely important.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

When Your Leadership Causes the Problems

If you are looking for a perfect example of a society that makes its own problems look no further. You are living in one. Being blessed with abundant natural resources, an innovative population, and a tradition of freedom you could expect our success in the basics of life. We have a booming agriculture that feeds other parts of the world as well as ourselves. We have a defense so strong that no other country dare threaten us, and a historical gift of basic principles of governing from our founders. Yet somehow, here in the early 21st century we find ourselves in a shameful and innocent mess of national governance. It has robbed our citizens of their national pride and disgraced the American dream. This situation was not brought on by nature or military invasion, but by the efforts of our elected leadership.

So what happened? If you take a broad view, and don’t get bogged down by all the hot air, it is a pretty clear picture.

The national debt was not caused by the American working population unable to directly supply the services and materials from their own work. The farmers continue to plant crops and the factory workers continue to work and generate real wealth wherever allowed. Over the last 25 years, however, the elite ruling class and their bean counters have focused on moving large amounts of that wealth to themselves through worthless financial ploys. They have now greatly overplayed their hand and killed the golden goose by selling much of the nations real wealth creation capabilities overseas.

So the producing members of the economy, who are the only force that can create new wealth along with the basics of living, are now faced with not only fixing the productivity machine but also with addressing the debt that was carelessly accumulated while they were stealing from us.

What have we got to work with? First we have to understand that the “government” is really two organizations. There is the political half which consists of elected leadership plus the special interests that finance them. Their only qualifications are the ability to sell the voting public that they should be elected. Then there is the operational half which carries out the policies and legislative actions set by the political half. This is made up of workers who are a typical cross section of Americans. Their positions have technical qualifications which must be met by the employee. These people are faced with implementing the changing and inconsistent requirements of the elected and their appointees who are election winners of our two party election process.

It is easy to pinpoint which group is to blame for our sorry state. The elected representatives have severely failed in their obligations to the citizens. Their corruption and incompetence have created the serious problems that we now face. Although the operational workers do sometimes make mistakes they do not have the embedded corruption of the elected elite. It is the elected elite that must be decisively improved. People who rail against “the government” without understanding this distinction are misguided.

The only tools we have for correction are the election process, our numbers, and our thoughtfulness. As we have posted many times we must somehow reintroduce ethics, truth and intelligence into our elections. These traits are not common in either party. It will require much closer attention to the quality of political candidates. The citizen voter must make the difficult effort to sort ethical behavior from dishonesty, truth from lies, and intelligence from stupidity. There is no single ideology to substitute for these basics.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Our Two Political Parties Need Real Competition

One very important subject that is well understood but rarely mentioned in the media is the fact that the two party political system as now practiced is a disaster that is destroying our nation.

Permanent political parties did not play a significant role at the time of the formation of our country. They are not even mentioned in the Constitution. As pointed out in a previous post, however, (June 13, 2011) we were warned against the concept, by several Founding Fathers. Unfortunately, we foolishly disregarded their warnings and are now attempting to live with the results.

The two parties have:

Created a ruling elite that have loyalty to their party beyond that toward our nation.

Exhibited typical elitist behavior by creating many special privileges for themselves that are not available to the citizen.

Limited the voters’ choice of candidates almost entirely to loyal party members.

Done a disastrous job of managing our economy

Allowed their servitude to the special interests that fiancé them to create a warped tax and economic environment that is severely harming American citizens.

Because their only competition is the other party they operate under a very low bar for competency. The parties struggle to accomplish even the simplest of legislative tasks and fail to address serious issues. The latest poll shows Congress with a favorable rating of only 17%.

In a truly competitive situation the parties would either reform or be replaced. Both parties are so entrenched, however, that they can ignore the citizens and still survive. It is unbelievable that we have turned the governing process of our democracy over to two self-serving organizations that focus almost solely on their own power.

These multiple defects are now deeply embedded in current practices. Although the failings have become even more obvious during the recession there is no evidence that the parties are seriously attempting correction. With over 150 years to rig the system in their favor there is not much hope for significant change in the near term.

There is always the fantasy that a new party standing for all the right things will somehow be formed and have sufficient funds to give the competition needed to spur reform. Unfortunately, because of the organization and funding requirements third parties have not had long term success. Our best hope is a conscience epidemic that results in serious reform in one of the existing parties.

If we don’t set a course for correction of the problems of the current system we can expect to silently watch the American dream disappear. We must have a major improvement in our Congress.. This could be done if we could somehow open up the selecting of Senators and Congressmen to match the quality and dedication that was present at our founding. This is difficult because the only new candidates we see are products of the current parties.

The country now has 300 million citizens. We can surely come up with a better mix of candidates and leaders than the current population of career politicians and lawyers that characterize the two parties. We have to increase the talent pool available to give the major parties competition.

One step in this direction would be to greatly simplify how qualified citizens who are not affiliated with a political party could more easily seek office. If the voters could judge and vote between better qualified candidates the quality of congress should improve. This would be possible if there was a third set of primaries to select candidates from a talent pool that is not affiliated with a party. We need a state registered non profit organization, similar to the League of Woman Voters, dedicated to supporting the administrative overhead of the electoral process for unaffiliated candidates. This would not be a third political party but an advocate for equal and fair treatment of all unaffiliated candidates by the system. There would be no promotion of a specific candidate. That would be the job of the candidates themselves.

The parties could continue as now, except they would have real competition. The competition should force them to move in the direction of reform and offer better candidates. Unaffiliated voters would have the same input level on candidates that members of a political party now have. In the general election voters could choose from Democrat, Republican, or Unaffiliated candidates on an equal footing.

Could this happen? Not likely. But we must continue to push for major reform at every opportunity. It will not happen naturally.