We’ve been through a cycle where the spirit of cooperation between the two major political parties is a joke. It’s hard to tell if they’re more interested in their party’s welfare or the country’s future.
In terms of where I am economically, I believe we should only obligate government to what it can afford to pay. I’ve been very distressed by us spending 40% more in recent years than what tax revenues bring in. But I freely admit that I don’t know the exact right answers to right our country’s economic ship.
I know some of the problems, just like you do: Record levels of debt among households and individuals, with government at all levels borrowing and spending too much. Then on top of it, you had the reckless behavior of our banks that practically brought the world financial system to its knees.
In the aftermath, we’ve done a little dabbling with stimulus packages from the government and quantitative easing from the Federal Reserve. But none of it has given any real lift to the economy. Even my core philosophy — paying as you go rather than on credit — hasn’t seemed to work.
I’ve spoken in the past about the British and how they have chosen to tough it out with dramatic cuts in spending, coupled with temporary tax increases, to balance the budget. The idea in doing so was to give the world a new level of trust in the U.K. economy and government. Unfortunately, their economy is going nowhere fast, with high unemployment still being among their problems.
My point is we are at time when politicians have alienated themselves from each other and from most of the American people. They’re talking only among themselves, not realizing that wisdom comes from many places. Nobody has a monopoly on wisdom. I don’t care if they’re a Nobel Peace Prize winner.
We are in dicey economic times. We need a long term financial plan that has real credibility. We must address Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and we’ve got to do it as Americans, not as Democrats or Republicans.
If you look at polling data right now, Americans have a very low opinion of capitalism, political parties and institutions of any kind. That trust was lost because of very bad economic policies, crony capitalism and the bailout of financial institutions.
But we have to rebuild that trust and rebuild America. It will require experimentation. Nobody has the exact right prescription to heal our economy. We have to collaborate and experiment to make America strong again.