The Real Election Issue Won't Be Debated

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In 1992, we went from 6% budget deficits to 2% surplus in Jan. 2000. Due in no small part to the reductions in defense spending, the Clinton administration and Chairman Greenspan of the Federal Reserve Board, saved our nation from potential economic demise in the years 2000 to 2004, when our society underwent huge shocks to our economic system.

Also, during the 90's, a balanced Senate between the political parties and a bi-partisan President willing to accede to some Republican conservative fiscal policy while expanding social programs to grow work forces and update education and worker qualifications allowed workers in large part to meet employment demands, and helped grow federal revenues during the nineties along with the tech bubble.

Kiss those days Good Bye, folks. Our options to deal with deficits and national debt which threaten every American's quality of life over the next 10 years to some extent, and 20 years to a huge extent, are becoming very limited. Where in the 90's we could reduce defense spending to turn deficits into surpluses, the 21st century will see dramatically increasing defense spending as a percent of GDP over the next decade and likely beyond.

In the 90's the tech bubble emphasized a huge growth in technical innovation and capitalized on a large growth in educational resources bent on high-technology disciplines. In the current decade, some foreign countries like India and Japan are growing their educational resources and innovative technology at rapid rates far exceeding our own, while American education is failing to produce the work force that will be necessary to compete.

President Bush announced in August political ads fostering the notion of an ownership society. Sounds great! But, there is one simple and hard tacked question that must be asked about Bush's proposal. Where is the money going to come from to create this ownership society? President Bush wants to pull federal funds now going into the Social Security program and allow workers to invest that money in private investment accounts.

Now look, that action has one very simple effect, it reduces the funding for the pay as you go Social Security program just a couple years before the baby boom generation is about to increase the demand on that program for decades to come. That means only one of two things. Either the Social Security system must cut back benefits and/or increase the retirement age to make up the short fall, or, the U.S. government is going to have to increase deficit spending and national debt already projected to be 10 trillion dollars by the end of this decade. Watch very carefully fellow voters, you will not hear this specific issue addressed in the upcoming debates.

President Bush, however, at least has proposed a non-solution solution. Sen. Kerry has not yet developed a policy on Social Security. This gives voters a choice between an incumbent whose answer is not an answer, or a challenger who so far, has not even proposed an answer.

But beyond the election, former Secretary Peter Peterson has posited that economic problems and solutions are theological in nature. The Republican conservatives have a theory based on capital formation and success trickling down to benefit all members of society. The Democratic liberals hold that consumer driven demand and increased disposable income will drive and support growing capital formation and corporate success in fulfilling that demand. These positions are beliefs, strongly held, fiercely defended, and uncompromising in their positions in the halls of Congress. This makes for a political climate that will for all intents and purposes yield no answers and no benefit to the American people.

What is needed is leadership focused on pragmatism, on historical facts, and on realistic non-ideological assessment of our present and future options for dealing with these difficult problems facing our nation. But, such leadership is not represented in the 2004 election race (Ralph Nader arguably excepted). Congress has something like a 90% incumbency rate which means the very folks who have failed to address our nation's economic situation are going to be reelected to take these difficult problems and make them intractable.

It matters little, with regard to our economic dilemma, which candidate becomes President in 2004. The President in 2005 is not going to be able to appoint a new Congress willing to set partisanship and economic theology aside to devise long, and very long term comprehensive economic policy which government can, and will adhere to resolve America's national and trade debt debacle.

And let's be clear about one other point. Economic policy absolutely will refuse to turn quickly. One thing nearly all economicians agree upon is that to steer a course for the economy 10 years out requires course adjustments at the helm today. Our economy is like the largest of all oil tankers on the high seas. To avoid colliding with a hurricane developing 1000 miles and 2 days away, the captain must alter his course NOW! In order to avoid deep, deep and very widespread poverty amongst the elderly in 15 years, we must make some non or bi-partisan decisions about Medicare and Social Security TODAY. To avoid foreign and domestic investors pulling out of the bond markets abruptly in 5 or 7 years, destroying our currency and the purchase power of our dollar, we must make non or bi-partisan decisions about our deficits and debt TODAY!

We can debate until the cows come home whether the U.S. should be world cop and oppressed people's savior, but, it is an impotent discussion if our nation undergoes economic demise over the next 5 to 10 years. Without a strong economic platform, the U.S. will be incapable of acting militarily on the global stage. What bankrupt nation ever successfully waged broad military campaigns? And it is an act of national suicide if we allow playing world cop or oppressed people's savior to become the straw that broke the economy's back.

Nothing is going to change or improve in America until the voters realize the wisdom of arming themselves with anti-incumbency sentiment BEFORE irreparable damage is done to our nation's future. Millions of Americans will vote anti-incumbent on November 2, but, unless it becomes a ground swell movement, political divide will only lead to national demise. Throw enough incumbents out of office, and the newly elected will get the message that voters expect results; not political bullcrap. As sure as taxes and death, this biggest of all issues will not be discussed in the Presidential Debates. It is up to the voters. Stay the course, or demand a change.

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This page contains a single entry by David R. Remer published on September 26, 2004 11:08 AM.

Group Wins Battle Against Bush Admin. Secrecy. was the previous entry in this blog.

Intel. Reform - The Enemy Within is the next entry in this blog.

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