Choosing A President

The criteria for the best presidential candidate is one having experience, character, an understanding of the problems facing the country, is living family values and will not sacrifice what is best for the country to improve his chances of winning in 2016. Barack Obama is the only candidate meeting this criteria.

He made mistakes early including allowing health care to side-track focusing on the economy, not recognizing the need to build coalitions with the Republican leadership in the House and Senate and failing to capitalize on the work done by the Bowles-Simpson Committee; even though he recognizes the need for a balanced approach to solving our debt problem.

We are better off than we were four years ago. With hindsight we know we were deeply involved in a sub-prime mortgage meltdown that almost brought on a depression. This meltdown was partially brought on by relaxing financial regulations and allowing institutions to get to big to fail.

In November 2008 everything came to a head. Without quick action by the Federal Reserve, during Bush’s term, we indeed would have revisited the 1930’s. Much of the large spending icreases the Republicans complain about resulted from the errors made during the Bush years. Frpm 2000 to 2008 consumer debt increased by 163% as shown by the chart to the left from the Federal Reserve.

The truth is economic hangovers hurt and they take years to correct. The recession officially started in 2008; however, much of our growth in the last decade resulted from excess consumer debt and the housing bubble. We borrowed from our future and are now paying the price.

At the same time, we were involved in a war in Iraq that should never have been. Thanks to Obama we are now out of it. Some will say we left too early. I say we went in too fast. It cost us much in life and treasure, while getting very little in return. In addition, Osama bin Laden is dead and al-qaeda is in disarray.

The President recognizes the need to invest in our future through education and building and repairing infrastructure. The Republicans have blocked every attempt to do so by demanding other programs must be cut while not agreeing to any tax increases on the wealthy.

We have an economic system that is not fairly distributing income. Our “Free Markets” are broken and no one is fixing it. Free markets can be harmed by over regulation by governments. The same markets can be destroyed by over zealous companies controlling markets and destroying free enterprise. The result is economic power becomes concentrated as does income and wealth.

Will a candidate, Republican or Democrat, please step forward and address this issue?

2012 Agenda For Politicians

American politics is one of the few jobs where you are allowed to hunt for another job during 98%  of normal working hours and continue to be paid for your present position. WE CANNOT LET THIS HAPPEN THIS TIME!

“Republicans hope Mr. Obama’s pronouncement that a full-year extension of the payroll tax cut was the last “must-do” piece of legislation for the White House will work in their favor, making them look as though they are trying to create jobs while Mr. Obama is busy campaigning.” Boehner Faces a Restive G.O.P. and New White House Attacks, Jennifer Steinhaurer, New York Times, January 14, 2012

In 2012 we have the following items that demand national attention: the presidential and congressional elections, the Afghan war,  Iran building a nuclear weapon, high unemployment, a teetering economy and a national debt with no plan in place to solve it. These are just the items on the top shelf.

Our elected officals are going to try and do the side-step to avoid confronting anything other than their reelection. This is where they make their money and get their power and influence. They would rather wait until after the election when they have raised more money and consolidated their personal power. Both Democrats and Republicans will play the delay game. Each side may bantor some for the cameras and the press; however, in the end they only have their power retention objective in mind.

No one knows how long the world will give us to develop a plan that corrects our deficit problem over time. The consequences are too great to find out; just look at Greece and much of the rest of Europe. We need a plan now. We can begin its implementation later, but give us the plan.

Unemployment cannot wait. There are too many citizens not working and too much work to be done to build and fix infrastructure. Money is cheap and there is an excess supply of labor. What are we waiting for? The election? Families need work now.

It is time for our politicans to go to work rather than spend time and taxpayers money to solidify their next job.

Super Committee & Sequestration

The Super Committee has failed resulting in automatic cuts of $600-billion in both defense and non-defense spending beginning in 2013. This sequestration provision demonstrates how thoughtless lawmakers really are. They agreed to $600-billion in military cuts without forecasting our military needs in the future.
Military spending is not discretionary. It is necessary in this world for our survival. Before answering what must be cut we must first identify what we need. The President is just as guilty of jumping the gun by saying he will veto any attempts by Congress to try and reduce the required military cuts. First, let’s determine what is needed.

I personally believe we can find more than $600-billion in practical cuts to our defense budget, however it must be reviewed.  For one thing, we need to stop being the military for other parts of the world including Germany, Japan, Korea and the rest of Europe.  They either need to pay part of our defense budget or get their own armies. By subsidizing their defense, we are subsidizing their economies. No wonder Germany and Japan are kicking our butts when it comes to exports.
It is time our politicans do things right. It is not time to stop legislating and start campaigning. It is time to get things done by doing it right! More:

Super Committee Sham!

The Congress and the committee are playing with the American psychic and this is abominable. It was never about finding a solution to the deficit. It was all political.The Republicans deserve most of the blame. It was more important to keep their promise to Grover Norquist than their fiduciary responsibility to the American people and the country. The reason is simple; Grover is a big fund raiser.
Some Democrats, rather than looking out for the long term interest of the country, are more interested in keeping the votes of existing seniors and those on social security. They are willing to sacrifice the future of the country for this constituency.

Now it is coming to light that the November 23rd deadline was really no deadline at all. Nothing is enacted until 2013 so Congress will have a full year to keep the country and world on edge. What a sham! No wonder the rest of the world is scrambling to be friends of China.
Our elected officials look at their positions as a high paying prestigious career path; not as a calling to serve their country. This needs to change. A constitutional amendment needs to be passed prohibiting corporations and unions from making campaign contributions. Further, their salaries and perks need to be reduced. All Americans must sacrifice; including our “Royalty”. More:

Obama: Spending Cuts & Program Cuts!

Our government should be making spending cuts now while Congress is debating program cuts. We have a huge federal budget. Intuitively every American knows there are billions of dollars, that  if cut, would not affect the various programs.
We should be making these cuts now.
There is a divide in America between those who want a smaller government and those who want a more active, and thus larger, government. The issue is what is governments role. This will dictate the size of government.and spending
The Preamble of the Constitution says:
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

There is little debate that the role of government includes assuring domestic peace and providing an army for defence against foreign tyranny. The quarrel between liberals and conservatives centers around how large should our military be and what to include in defining general welfare. The dispute is in the center, with the extremes being a small contingent of the American people.
The moderate liberal and conservative does not want government to take anymore of their income and distribute it to others in the form of welfare programs.  They also want to curtail borrowing. When liberals say we should help the needy, they are suggesting the help come from someone else. The middle class conservative is unwilling to have government take any additional wealth of theirs for the needy.
We need to go through the complete budgeting process outlined below.
  1. We must define what is meant by “general welfare” as referred to in the Constitution.
  2. We must decide whether the nation still has special obligations to our black citizens as a result of allowing slavery for more than 200 years and discrimination far beyond that.
  3. We must decide whether government has a role in protecting small business from big oligopolies that destroy free markets and jobs.
  4. We must review all departments, agencies and programs and cut back or eliminate any that are not warranted.
This will not be easy and there will be disagreement; however, it must be done. We do not have unlimited resources. Further, the answer to many of the issues will be subjective rather than objective. I cannot recall any department, agency or program created by government that was eliminated. There must be some; however, there are not many. Surely there is allot of fat to cut. Here is an outline to do that.
Simultaneous with the above process our current and next years budget needs to be reviewed and developed.Many opportunities to reduce expenses will be glaring and agreed on before clearly defining what we mean by general welfare. Thees cuts must be made immediately.
Over the last half century our budgeting process was to first determine what we wanted to do and then figure out where we get the money to do it. This is backwards and needs to Change and here is a good approach.
  1. Calculate projected revenues for the fiscal year
  2. Calculate projected expenditures for the fiscal year, including any pay-down of existing debt.
  3. Do one of the following
    • If expenditures exceed revenues, ascertain what expenditures to cut.
    • If revenues exceed expenditures, decide what to do with revenues.
Washington focuses on new laws and it is weak on implementation.  No company would exist very long if its senior executives created a plan but had no means of controlling and reporting on the implementation of the plan on a continuing basis.
Roger Wagoner, former CEO of GM, must be tempted to call all member of Congress to Detroit and have them explain how they got into this mess. No Congressman would be allowed to fly a government jet to the meeting.
There will be some reading this who will say “hogwash”. We should just start cutting where we can without understanding what is trying to be accomplished. That would be an unfortunate approach; however, that is exactly what we are telling these 12 individuals to do.  The reults will be a mess.