Candidates have become a necessary evil. Issues are what matter. I’ve blogged about this, and I’ve prattled on endlessly on this since the 2004 lesson. (It was in that brutal, painful election that I saw how pointless the candidate-focused type of campaigning was. I’ve since reformed, and now spend all my time discussing the issues, never a particular candidate.) I’ll cast my vote tonight (mail), and, appropriately, wanted to blog about some of the issues that matter to me.
1) Tax policy: We need massive tax reform. Simply put, as a country, we need to return the tradition of fiscal prudence that is strong in American history. Why? Because we’re running a ridiculously drunken budget. Ideally we need to cut spending and cut taxes to put it to work in the private sector. Most of America can’t afford a dime more in taxes. However, given the structural problems in both our budget and economy, we’re faced with the more realistic choice of needing to find, a way, any way, to put the budget back on the tracks. I’m shocked that this is even up for discussion. Most of us wouldn’t run up a credit card bill, and then leave it as the inheritance to our kids. Most of us were raised by parents that would find that unconscionable, and a government that would do it has my extreme enmity.
2) Education: We need to rethink our education framework from the ground up. Focus on the math & sciences which have, throughout history, been the driver of a nation’s long term economic standing. We need to rebuild education in our poor areas– starting with pre-K in order to save large swaths in this country. Factories have left America in droves over the past two decades, and if education doesn’t step up to save our industrial centers– fat lady, please sing. Again, education is the #1 issue for America’s future. Everything else is built on it. We’ve had a crisis in education for over 2 decades (formerly declared during Regan’s presidency). This can go on for say 10 pages (it does in the book). Bottom line: if we don’t fix it now, we’re screwed. Full stop.
3) Alternative energy: We need something. America has to make something the world needs. Because guess what, what we’ve made for the last few years for the world, they ain’t buying anymore: all that toxic financial crap. No more. So if we don’t quickly build an industry, or a series of them, that can produce something that the world needs, the future isn’t going to be pretty. Everyone says that clean tech/alt energy is it. I hope so. But guess what? Nearly every other developed (and many developing) nation is also sprinting to own this niche. We need to make this a priority, and double down.
4) Infrastructure. We’re headed for a massive recession. Duh. The government needs to rebuild our infrastructure for a few reasons. One, because it’s immediate spending which will stimulate the economy and put American’s to work. Two, without a healthy national infrastructure, you can’t have a viable economy. How do you transport goods between states when your highways & bridges aren’t functioning or get to work when there isn’t public transportation? If you can’t do this, “natural” economic growth slows and dies. Three, in a severe recession the gov’t can’t institute a massive contraction in federal spending because on top of already declining employment, etc this would put us in a death-spiral. Facing this hideous, dastardly choice, we have to make sure that what we’re spending our money on is at least an investment in the future. Investments in our infrastructure, educational system, industrial strategy, etc.
OK, that’s about it. I’m going to go back to writing about this stuff in the book now. Good night, good luck, and please vote.