these are hard times; necessities call for good leaders

Making America Competitive in a Global Economy

“These are the hard times in which a genius would wish to live. Great necessities call forth great leaders,” Abigail Adams, in one of her letters (during the early months of us succeeding from Great Britain and the founding of our country) to her husband John Adams who would eventually become our second President of these United States of America. There was so much uncertainty during those early years from 1774-1800, only a third of our nation at the time wanted to succeed and create our own nation. A third wanted to stay a colony with England and a third did not have an opinion. What then was apparent to our founding fathers will of leadership to think we could split all sovereign relationships with the greatest military power on this globe at the close of the 18th century? I would suggest that it was the context and setting at the time that not only allowed these founding fathers the ability to successfully lead, but more importantly they understood that at that time in history this was the time to take action.

Without going into an in-depth history analysis of Western Europe during the same time period; our founding fathers and leaders understood that the context and setting of Europe and our nation. They knew if we could extend the War of Independence long enough we would eventually wear down England’s taste for rebellion due to the distance between our continents along with more perilous conditions existing on the European Continent itself; the expansion of Catherine the Greats Russia and the brewing turmoil in France. More importantly in our country today what is it that relates to Abigail Adams statement above and our economic and more importantly our political conditions of today? Economically these are hard times we are facing if you are middle, working or part of the poverty classes; the usual economic tools used to move us through a recession do not seem to work in this recession. The other related circumstance is how our leadership on both sides of the aisle has not been able to tap into the middle and working classes of America and serve their needs. These three classes make up 90 percent of our population but yet they do not have the strength politically to create a consensus between the two major parties in developing a plan to remove us from the perils of this recession and more importantly to create a national economic plan for the future success of our nation.

We need to create jobs now to work our way through the recession. Once we have put at least 2/3rds of the 7 million Americans who lost their jobs due to no fault of their actions we can start to implement policies to further pay down the debt. What are our political leaders listening to today when they go out to their districts? Do they hear pay down the debt, is it more job creation, or is it something different like we want more opportunities to invest in foreign emerging economies to grow our portfolio. Over half want and need jobs, less than 10 percent want to have better investment instruments for their portfolio and then there are those who believe the debt needs to be addressed in the most draconian measures and must be paid for now on the backs of the unemployed, underemployed, impoverished, students and elderly.

If we do not take some rational approaches soon we really won’t have to worry about being an economic power much longer. Our perception to the rest of the world that we cannot create the policies that stimulate our economic growth for the future will make us a bad investment in their eyes. Our dollar will deflate and more than likely one of the emerging economic nations like China will become the monetary system of choice. All because we lost our prime tasks as leaders and mishandled the economic protection of the middle and working classes of our nation.

In context to when we were under similar economic dilemma s like after WW II, when our debt was 124% of our GDP, our political leaders did not eliminate the social programs and safety nets that were in place because of the Great Depression. We had millions of GI’s coming back home that needed jobs and they needed an education to do those jobs. Our leaders understood that the setting was right for sending these brave veterans back to college and vocational training on the government’s dime. We had businesses that saw all the foreign opportunities to manufacture and supply the goods and services for the recovering nations in Europe and Asia. Businesses invested in their plants here at home, they hired American workers. These manufacturing workers built quality products and close to half of them were members of trade unions that made sure that these workers made a good wage that they worked in safe places of business, they had the ability to save for retirement, and they could send their children to college. Our country had reached a point of equilibrium between the private business sector and the working middle class of America. Those that did not work in a union shop benefitted by the competition that they could move to a union shop, therefore, their wages and benefit packages had to be competitive for these businesses to have an educated quality work force as well. Everyone and every organization made money, were profitable, the Harriet and Ozzie American Dream was alive and well.

When our political parties are willing to create plans that our morally ethical, based on principled fairness and equality for all, which is when you will begin to witness the resurgence of America’s economic might on a global scale. Our leaders must develop new networks of constituencies from both parties that include middle, working and poverty class citizens, that create the policies to allow these classes to lift themselves up from their present condition to a better economic way of life. Our legislature and executive branch both federal and state must set out to achieve results that are equitable between all classes. This will require coalition building between groups in our country that may not normally have been considered part of that political party’s noteworthy electorate group. It will call for the 10% in this country with close to 90% of the wealth to either state opening through the platforms of their party they elect to power that they are for equality within our nation or if maxing out on personal profits by continuing to support the emerging economic powers in China, India and Brazil is more important than their economic patriotic duty to America.

We need to stop subsidizes businesses that pay the lowest percentage in taxes compared to GDP in our nation’s history (1-1/2 percent of GDP in 2010), we need to reallocate the billions of dollars over the next 10 years for ethanol and petroleum subsidies (something like $30 plus billion dollars) and direct that money into rebuilding our sea and air ports for exports and imports as well as our sustainable future energy sources. We need to develop a light rail system throughout the 360 some major metropolitan regions of America in order to slow the affects of global warming and to consolidate our built environments into more mixed use regions of activity. We need to make our bridges and overpasses safe, we need to rebuild right now 12 percent of these structures or we will be liable for the deaths of thousands of people as well as hinder the growth of our national economy or we will continue to move in the opposite direction of competing economies.

Our water the most precious commodity and the most essential to the survival of a human being is so far in the weeds of decay that we could start today and it would take at least twenty years to repair, fix and rebuild our delivery systems for our nations survival. We also need to stop selling our public sector highways, buildings and other assets to the private sector for the quick buck now. The Governor of Indiana signed a contract to sell the states toll roads for 38 billion dollars about eight years ago to a Wall Street Bank. The Wall Street Bank then sold it to a foreign country. Tolls have been doubled, the state cannot expand other highways that run along or feed into these toll roads and the state cannot build light rail to off-set traffic and or cost of petroleum for at least 55 years without paying off the investment in full which comes to about 140 billion dollars. Something is wrong when selling our national infrastructure to investment banks to cover deficits because of previous government mismanagement.

The constituencies of the different groups that make up our great nation must also take responsibility for who we put in these political leadership positions. The political leaders that paid off our debt after WW II understood the context and setting for where America’s position in the world could become. They understood the needs of the working and middle class returning from war and graduating into the work force. They created the programs that allowed our countries citizens to become a part of the growth in American dominance with the private sector jobs needed to supply our country and the world of our products and services. Now we are living under different circumstances; millions of manufacturing jobs are now being performed in these emerging economies for pennies on the dollar for what they would cost in wages in America, the multinational corporations and their shareholders interest are only profit driven, what is good for our nation is not a part of their business plan.

The fact that when open trade globally gained legs in the early 1980’s our country had no economic plan for the future (remember government was the problem President Reagan kept telling us), no plan to educate the future generations for the 21st century, in fact government got out of the insuring the education business when it came to grants and loans turning this over to Wall Street, now most 4 year students have $50 to $80 thousand dollar loans to pay-off for an education that has not prepared them for the future economic needs of our country.

Legislators today have it no different than previous decades; they must be a part of the club, they can not show up and expect to rock the boat if they want to accomplish their agenda. They must also form coalitions with other legislators; they must become experienced and develop partners in supporting their agendas, but over the past thirty years accept for Social Security and Medicare (until recently), the economic plan in a free trade global economy did not include the vast majority of Americans, the working and middle class.

Now the voters of our country have an easy decision in 2012. You have the ability to create the setting by demanding your representative and executive of your state and country to create a state and national economic plan that will create jobs immediately, increase the governments revenue by reverting back to the Reagan Tax rates, demand the creation of our own countries infrastructure private-public sector investment bank, begin rebuilding our infrastructure and create good paying jobs immediately, identify specifically what American workers and the middle class can produce for the world markets that the emerging countries are not capable of producing (medical, bio-tech, to name a couple of industries), develop and expand K-12 to be K-16 and in some instance K-14 plus two years of vocational training in specialized fields and make this a part of our investment cost as a country, students should not have to pay for their education, a democracy needs to provide a quality education for its citizens to succeed. The 21st century requires more education then the 19th or 20th centuries did.

We can turn the economic malaise around 180 degrees if the 90 percent out there will take it upon themselves to demand their economic needs to their political leadership. It will not matter what party in the long haul fulfills these needs, the middle class only needs to unite with other working, middle and impoverished voters to control the majority voting bloc, now is the time to demand equality in the market place. Who said constituencies could not influence their leaders?

JND

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