Thursday, February 11, 2010

Come Together – Right Now ….

Previous posts have discussed the government’s inability to deal with our current economic problems. While libertarians will argue the government should stay out of the process, others will say the severity of the situation dictates federal action.

I believe government has some responsibility to improve things since it was partially responsible for the financial crisis. Government is supposed to act in a security function to prevent overzealous capitalists from greedy exploitation. In this case, our guards resembled Barney Fife (one bullet, so many crooks) and Sergeant Schultz (who could easily be bribed by chocolate bars).

With unemployment near 10% and the economy just starting to heal after the worst recession in over 60 years, we need our best and brightest people in Washington working closely together as a team to develop the solutions that will lead us out of this mess and into prosperity. This is what we need, but it is not what we’re getting. Here are some reasons why:

1. Economic Problems – Political Solutions

Politicians are experts at getting re-elected, not solving economic problems. They apply politically based solutions when faced with any issue. The health care reform bill wasn’t even finalized and there were already three deals made to essentially “buy” votes. Do you really think the deal making regarding health care was going to end when the bill was passed? It was only the beginning.

It is great when the business networks interview small business owners and get their opinions on the impact of various government proposals (healthcare, jobs, cap and trade, etc). These people are very intelligent because have to understand all facets of their business and are also close enough to their employees to understand the concerns of the average worker.

It would be more productive to have 20 small business owners get together and write legislation that impacted commerce. Then have the politicians vote on the bills without the endless political posturing and deal making.

2. No Teamwork

We are facing the biggest economic crisis of our time and fighting two wars and our political parties are fighting each other. This is insane. We don’t want the Democrats to get together and develop a “Democrat Plan” and we don’t want the Republicans to form a “Republican Plan”. Just get together, develop the best solution available, and then vote based on what is best for the people without regard to party loyalty and lobbyists.

Sometimes good ideas are rejected because the “other party” came up with them first. This reminds me of my difficulties of counseling my mother. She will reject any solution I come up with just because it came from me (remember,if someone has powdered your butt, they won’t take your advice).

There needs to be an attitude adjustment soon. Our politicians often resemble junior high brats rather than educated adults. When you have old ladies attending tea parties in the streets instead of in the parlors, there is something seriously wrong.

3. Limited Political Debate – Unlimited Name Calling

Calling your opponents names is not a substitute for political debate. It would help if we could actually have televised debates on some issues with skilled, objective, moderators forcing participants to give real answers.

The political commentators are not helping this process. As the political conflict intensifies, advocates from both sides are intensifying the rhetoric and making more inflammatory comments. It helps their ratings, but it may prevent productive debate.

It would also help if reports of good economic news were not immediately disparaged by some commentators for partisan purposes. This also goes for causing unnecessary fear about “what could happen”. Remember, there is a psychological element involved in recovering from a recession and scaring people doesn’t help the process.

4. Keep it Simple

The healthcare bill was much too long and complex and tried to do too many things at the same time. Doesn’t it make more sense to just focus on reducing healthcare costs first? If you are successful at lowering costs, you improve things for the vast majority of people and businesses. By driving down the costs, you give more people access to affordable insurance and it becomes much easier to devise a plan to help the rest.

And regardless of your opinion of the healthcare reform bill, the problems still remain and need to be addressed soon. I agree with the president, something needs to be done and the status quo is not acceptable. But it needs to be the right thing. Maybe a team of small business owners working with the stakeholders in the healthcare industry could come up with a plan.

“One thing I can tell you is you got to be free.
Come together, right now …”

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