Every four years we have presidential elections and just as regularly, the nominees from both parties make promises which they must know they cannot keep. And so it is with this, the 2008 Presidential Elections: both Obama and McCain promise lower taxes for the majority of us; they both promise better health care, better security for the elder; blah, blah, blah. Yet both acknowledge that our economy is weak, we have too large a national debt, and our reputation abroad is weak.
How can we take these characters seriously? Our economy is indeed weak. Our national debt is greater than 9.5 Trillion dollars (each man, woman, and child in the U.S. now owes more than $31,000 dollars - more than a year's worth of the average US salary!) With so much debt, with so little GDP growth and demand for our products overseas at an all-time low, how can the American people be promised *MORE* and *BETTER* things?
Both candidates claim they will be able to do so by eliminating waste and unnecessary programs. But neither explicitly identifies what exactly is up for cutting. Rightly so. Since neither knows what they will be able to cut - that depends on the holders of the purse strings: Congress. And the politicians there are all beholden to their masters: the voters of their respective states. And nobody wants to give up their pet benefits and/or subsidies -a.k.a. "pork". The farmers in the farming states will not let their congressmen eliminate the federal farm subsidies - despite the fact that farmers are making more money than ever before; large multi-nationals will not let the congressmen in their pockets (via lobbyists) eliminate the large tax breaks they enjoy....the only programs that end up getting cut are those that have no powerful constituencies....which are also not worth cutting, since they don't cost much!
The problem is moral corruption. Politicians, never held in that high a regard in the first place, have hit new lows with regards to their level of integrity and honor. Not only are their services (i.e. their votes) for sale, but their personal ambitions now always completely overshadow the needs of the community/country. Added to the corruption of politicians is the ever growing army of parasitical public servants: folks that see service in the federal or state governments not as a priviledge, but as a means for the easy life - a place where they can get paid, get excellent benefits, vacations, pensions, etc. and where they're essentially immune from being fired (thanks, there to our "great" Union laws). Since they can't be fired, many don't even bother doing any useful work. Since work *does* need to be done, more and more federal and state agencies are turning to private consultants to do the real work...which, of course, costs alot of money.....but, that is never a problem, since taxpayers can always be fleeced for another tax dollar.
So, what can the next president actually do to help this morally bankrupt nation? To be honest, I'm not sure. The only thing I can think of is public humiliation of those that oppose his proposals. How would this work? It seems to me that the president could put up a Web site on which he posts a very specific list of things he wants to get cut, including when these proposals will make it to Congress, and, if it does not get approved, who voted against it. The president should go on TV, during prime time, and announce that Congress denied one of his proposals and read out the names of the people that voted against it - and urge the voters to vote these people out of office. Sounds extreme? Perhaps - but it's really the only way I can think of to make those politicians listen to the people!
Of course, this *solution* presumes that the president is honorable. But assuming the moral integrity of one person is alot easier than believing the piety of all of Congress.
What do you think? Would something like this work?