This thing ain’t over. The Dow crossed 10,000 a few weeks ago? Big deal. It means nothing. Unemployment is over 10%. Commercial real estate defaults are rising. The nation’s personal debt is still sustainably high. As I wrote in July, this will be a W recession, not a standard V, and we need to batten down the hatches for that likelihood.
But this isn’t all bad as it needs to lead to a re-prioritization of government.
Here’s my philosophy: In 1980 Ronald Reagan was elected based on a great economic experiment. The experiment was that if we cut taxes on the wealthy, the money they saved and spent would go toward services and the revenues would “trickle down” to the other classes.
It didn’t work. What it did do was amass huge amounts of government debt and widen the gap between the wealthy and the poor to levels never seen before in the country. George H.W. Bush tried to reverse this, raising taxes, setting up the Clinton’s balanced budget, and contributing to the greatest economic expansion in the history of this country, all of which was reversed under George W. Bush.
Now I believe it’s time for our government to forge a new contract with the American people. The daddy state will have to be paired back, as the costs of social security and medicare will bankrupt the country. We need to reconsider our roll as military foundation for the world. As India, China, and other countries step up economically, they also need to step up militarily and do their part.
It’s time for a new conversation, one that starts with these basic issues:
- A national discussion about basic services and what we should all get and have funded out of tax dollars
- What our role in international military issues is
- How, as a government, we need to ensure open markets where everyone is working from an even playing field
- How government spending can be focused to provide the biggest bang for the buck, particularly in regards to infrastructure and education
If the U.S. has lost its edge, its that it is no longer the land of opportunity. The saying went that anyone could come to America and become wealthy, anyone could pull themselves up by their bootstraps.
Now it feels the deck is stacked against everyone who doesn’t already come from money or have the right contacts. It’s time for us to recapture the magic.