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If I were president... by Terry Blount
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We are living in a critical time in the history of America. We have huge problems to solve. I believe there are practical common sense solutions for our problems.
First we need to consider where we went wrong.
We can talk about the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, Centralized government vs. States rights and many other political issues. They make interesting conversation but the reality is that we are socially connected by the enterprise of Capitalism.
Capitalism is a game that is played out millions and millions of times every day, at every transaction between businesses and consumers.
The role of Government is to referee the game and call it fairly for both sides. Should the government fail to establish and enforce laws that result in equal justice for all, one side gets cheated and the integrity of the game is lost.
Let's take a moment to evaluate the system. Elected officials get votes from consumers and they get campaign money and favors from businesses and special interest groups who desire access to government. Politicians realized they could get away with making bad "calls" based on their own self interest. A system evolved that is liken to referees and umpires drawing their incomes from gamblers, which would result in an outcome that would be predictable, fixed and unfair.
Politicians accepted larger donations, favors, stock tips, and lucrative jobs when they retired from office. Big business gained access to influence government to a degree that they could easily manipulate markets and cheat consumers and make larger profits.
The flow of capital, which is also the flow of power, migrated toward a very small percentage of the population. 3% of the population controlls more wealth than the ENTIRE 97% below them.
The foundation of the nation started to erode. The more the consumers were cheated when they had to pay for medicine, at the gas pumps and when they were charged high interest rates, the weaker the foundation became.
The antitrust laws there were enacted and enforced 100 years ago brought some equity and fairness to the game and it enabled the nation to survive another century.
However, savvy businesses continued to find ways to exploit weak politicians and manipulate markets. They convinced lawmakers to create thousands of government programs and even go to war in their pursuit of profit. Taxes had to be raised and more wealth and power flowed away from the citizens.
Now we find our nation 14 trillion dollars in debt and on a steep glide slope to economic failure. It is the fault of weak corrupt political leaders, and our fault for allowing corruption and not kicking them out. We'll either go where they lead or kick them out and restore integrity and save ourselves or we risk riots and tyranny... because Americans believe that liberty is more important than life.
We are facing a huge crisis, the same level of crisis that has brought down every major civilization in history.
What will enable us to prevail or even survive where all others have failed? Will it be our faith, our efficiency, our wealth, our work ethic, our bravery, our Constitution or maybe just luck?
I doubt it. If we simply take a quick look at evolution we notice that the single most important factor in survival is the ability of a species to evolve and ADAPT. Or as the US Marines put it: Improvise, adapt and overcome.
Will we adapt and survive or will we go the way of all the other fallen civilizations in history?
I vote for survival. This means that we MUST take some extreme measures to change the course we are on.
Let's consider the course we are currently on...
The sale of government bonds to foreign countries and the printing of 5 TRILLION dollars in paper money to buy our own government bonds has delayed the failure of our currency. You can't loan money to yourself and neither can any government. We all know this.
The countries holding our debt are dumping it and taking whatever they can get, meanwhile the printing presses are printing trillions more counterfeit dollars. This can only deflate the value of the dollar and cause inflation.
We must stop the printing of money and work on a plan to resolve the national debt. And balance the budget. We should ask for debt forgiveness since we used much of those funds to protect and defend the nations who enjoyed the security of our actions.
The first major consequence of inflation is higher prices for foreign made goods, especially oil. The price of fuel will rise sharply. Not only will we pay a lot more at the pumps but everything we transport will cost more when the higher cost of fuel is passed on to the consumer. Eventually the price of fuel could get so high that the wheels of transportation would stop turning.
Things could get much worse. The dollar could totally fail. If that happens you and me won't go to work because we must be paid with a currency of value. We don't have any alternative currency, to fall back on.
If coal miners don't go to work our local power plants will run out of coal to run the generators. Our lights will go out and our food will spoil.
As we learned after Katrina in New Orleans, the skin of society is only a few days thick, then there is anarchy.
If the power goes out water will soon stop coming out of the faucets. People will quickly get restless, needing food and water and then panic. Law enforcement will go home to take care of their families.
The anarchy would arise in every city and unlike plague or war, no one would die right away. Supplies would be totally depleted within hours.
You get the idea. Things could get very bad, very fast. And there won't be any solutions in the short term future.
The chances of the situation getting this bad are small and like everyone else I would hope we could muddle through the bankruptcy of the Federal government.
Even if we manage to get by, we see the trend for the future is not good. Almost a third of parents have remortgage their home to fund adult children 18 to 30 years old because they can't find meaningful employment.
Can we make a few minor tweaks to the system and expect everything will somehow turn out fine? Minor tweaks to a few programs makes about as much sense as rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
We need to do whatever it takes to restore integrity to the system.
It won't be easy because congress is spineless and will not "man up" and restore power to the people.
The only non violent solution is to put a qualified accounting firm like the IRS in charge of regulating all Federal spending with the power to VETO waste, fraud and abuse BEFORE checks are written. We must begin immediately to reduce government and all Federal spending and reserve our resources.
Next, congress must expand and enforce new antitrust regulations to limit profit MARGINS on all businesses that provide ESSENTIAL goods and services.
Utility companies have had profit margin restrictions for 100 years and our lights are still on. Businesses will survive. They can make more profit by growing their customer base... just like the utility companies make billions while operating under profit margin regulations.
Businesses will protest strongly but how can we ask our finest young men and women to make the ultimate sacrifice and die for our country and not ask businesses to reduce profit margins and return power to the people and shore up the foundation for survival of the nation? The health of our economy is a GREATER matter of national security that the threat of terrorism.
I'm NOT against business. I know businesses have to make a profit in order to succeed and stay in business. I also realize that businesses are also hijacked by the government and a lot of the influence they are buying through bribes is actually a kind of protection money to keep government off their backs.
The latest proposal from the current government is to levy a $15 billion dollar windfall profit tax on oil companies. Ultimately these prices show up at the pump and consumers have to pay. Government is double and triple taxing the citizens through these schemes. AND everyone, including the poor, sick, elderly, disabled, children, veterans and yes, even the homeless pay these taxes because the transportation industry has to pass them on to the price of goods that are delivered to processing plants then to stores. It is an evil empire. That's probably why 80% of the people who took my poll say that they feel the government is their ENEMY.
Next, we have to stop policing the world. 60% of the federal budget is related to military spending. It's not reported that way because of tricky bookkeeping that puts interest on the national debt that the military incurred, and veterans benefits in other categories.
We have to learn to negotiate and reserve our resources. If our currency fails, we won't have ANY national security at all.
Next comes your turn. We must take steps to stop the flow of our nation's wealth to other countries. We have been running a trade deficit of about $700 billion per year.
We have to establish trade neutrality policy like several other nations have done. Tariffs will be needed to insure that other nations import the same value of goods from us as we import from them. Trade neutrality will also help put our citizens back to work. Prices will go up in the short term but when they do our citizens will realize the potential for profit and pick up the slack. Countries we do business with will either lose a valuable customer or buy more of our products.
It's time to think outside the box. ADAPT and negotiate if we must but we need solutions and actions, even if they are unconventional. I'm pretty sure the first dinosaurs who learned to fly were most unconventional, yet birds are the only descendants of dinosaurs that survived are still living.
Think about the crime rate. Since 1995 we have been spending more on prisons than on public colleges. Maybe we could plot a course to reverse this trend by bringing our military home and training our own citizens? Several countries as well as religions have learned the benefits of training their young people in public service. Young people should enter a public service program where teamwork, self discipline are taught and drug use would not be tolerated.
We should consider steps to improve health care. First, studies have shown that for every dollar that is invested in prevention $36 dollars are saved on treatment. That's more than twice as good as the old saying that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Tort reform is essential because even though less than a half of one percent is paid in malpractice settlements, the cost of running extra tests and duplicating tests and performing unnecessary procedures and the malpractice insurance that every doctor and hospital have to pass onto patients adds a huge waste to the system.
Write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and contribute your ideas.
I hope that the corrupt politicians who have made bad decisions for their own self-interest will see the waters subsiding and will head down to the shore to see what's happening.... just in time for the Tsunami of voters to wipe them all out in the next election.
It's time to gather the tired, poor, huddled, soon to be homeless masses, yearning to be free and build a nation based on real justice for all.