A Societal Conundrum in America

BlackboardWhy is it that in our sophisticated society we don’t have blueprint for economic success?
It occurred to me that we have rules, theorems, how-to’s, etc. for everything except how to keep our economy thriving (a major exception is perhaps how to be a good parent or if one is ready to be one so let’s leave that aside). This seems so basic that a 5th grader would get it but here we are 200+ years later, the greatest nation on earth, and we’re still tinkering with what works to bring the most prosperity to all. I surmise that we’re going backwards not forward.

If you think about it, we learn math, reading and writing as children but most never learn Economics 101. There are laws of nature, physics, math and science that we learn and mostly they are absolute; you can’t argue with them as there is only one definitive answer. OK again, science may have different outcomes with variable inputs, plus science covers a range of disciplines but it’s not true to say that the earth is flat. We know that an oak tree has acorns that produce more oak trees, three feet equal a yard and E=MC2 but since I was never good at physics, I’ll leave it at that but you get the point.

Luckily we are unique individuals with different thoughts and ideas and we process input differently, otherwise it would really be a boring time on earth. Most people tend to agree on what is true and what is false if it’s a non-political subject. Why then is it political to have a economical framework that works for most Americans? Most agree that the government is too big and spends too much. Yet, asked if we should reform social programs we hear keep your hands off my benefits. Why? For too many, they were made false promises by politicians and they DID pay into the system that made them promises like SS and Medicare and even state pensions.  So quit the false promises and tell the truth to the younger generations.

There is only one way out. As this president likes to say over and over ad nausea, we can’t go back to the ways that got us into this mess. But he’s wrong! Socialism has never worked in hundreds of years nor serfdom or the class system. Why don’t we follow our own blueprint of capitalism and free-enterprise that has lifted more from poverty than any other system on earth! It’s mind-blowing that we keep going down the road of failed policies that constrict growth and economic freedom!  True, economic conditions change and America is not an island, but we should be able to level out fluctuations regardless of events or party in control with a known prescribed policy. Sometimes it will take longer to overcome events but at least we go in the right direction instead of digging a bigger hole from which to emerge.

Sure Democratic leaders want to hand out more goodies but it’s at the detriment of economic development and just a ploy to get more votes; yet Republicans are just as complacent and go along to get along. We have huge swings from Keynesian to supply-side economics every 4-8 years depending on the party of the president. If we ever needed a law enacted, it would be a set of guidelines that have been tried and tested and known to work:

  1. Less government in all areas of our lives- less regulations, worthless laws, intrusion for not
  2. More reliance on oneself, family, church, etc.
  3. Fewer taxes that take away from the private sector and individuals; save for yourself.
  4. The fewer government departments and layers the better; government is a beast that has to be fed with the fewest dollars possible in order to maintain its primary function of national security, fair commerce across state lines and law and justice for all.
  5. Government doesn’t create jobs. Quit manipulating the market by flooding it with worthless dollars. The economy will have dips and peaks and it’s a normal correction course.
  6. Don’t spend more than you take in.

It’s inexplicable that our politicians haven’t learned Economics 101 and continually argues over what’s best for the country depending on which party is in power. We need a plan and then they can tinker on the edges. Let’s not forget that our founding fathers never intended for a politician to be a lifer. Go enact laws that are required to keep the nation and people safe, create a budget, pay the bills and then go home. I like Rick Perry’s quote the best: “I’ll make the government as inconsequential in your life as possible”.*  That’s the way it should be and yet we’re watching our government play chicken with our lives, knowing they’ll be fine regardless of the outcome. After considerable observations and analysis, I postulate a new theorem: Political Science + Elected Politician = Junk Science. (No offense to any PoliSci majors.)

Lastly, while these are not absolutes by any means, I would like to propose a few ideas to ponder. First, we elect folks to govern. We shouldn’t have to listen to someone for 2-4 years campaigning and raising money for their next election the day after they get elected. I propose that all politicians get six months to campaign and another six after the primary candidates are chosen. After the primaries, each final presidential candidate gets 100M, 90 days and may the best candidate win; level the playing field on ideas and not money so more citizens can serve. We must end the perpetual cycle of campaigning instead of governing.

Every bill needs a clause that points to a specific section of the Constitution that supports its legality and a politician should be fired if they break the oath they take to defend and follow the Constitution. That should clean house in a hurry! A bill enacted should be effective immediately with a two year term limit including budgets. Those that pass a bill should own the consequences knowing that the next Congress isn’t accountable for previous year’s bills. They can be extended if the next Congress voted in desires. No more cuts now with empty promises of savings over 10 years’ time and no more baseline budgets.

Lastly, if we can learn anything from the Brits, it would be their style of parliamentary procedures. I personally would like to see the president jostle with the House and Senate and answer their questions on the spot. How can the people or the Congress know what’s on the president’s mind, let alone the press who gets a couple appearances a year without real debate? I want to know exactly what will this president do with the extra 9 days’ worth of tax rate revenue he wants to extract from the Republicans? Does he think that raising taxes will help the economy because I recall he said it’s not good to raise them during economic slowdowns? Will more federal dollars towards green energy help the economy or just his best contributors? Since he said the stimulus bill wasn’t really shovel ready, why does he want more and does he think that by repeating that line over and over it will really create infrastructure jobs? Why does he  hate successful people that create jobs for the middle class that he claims he wants to help? And lastly, exactly what does he mean by fundamentally changing America? What, you don’t like America even though you got to be president of this great nation? So many questions; so few answers.

A conundrum is exactly our plight right now but it shouldn’t be our way of life. We need a blueprint for our government that ensures our God given rights of life, liberty and happiness remain intact, regardless of the party in power. Oh yeah, we have one and it’s called the Constitution. If only our elected officials would adhere to it. We’re at a precipice and we shouldn’t have to be given our intelligent society.

*The Texas Legislature meets just once every other year.