Let’s Send Congress & The President on Unpaid Leave!

November 30, 2011

G’Day!

Let’s face the truth. Our government is doing nothing to solve our country’s economic problems and has actually made the situation worse in the last two and a half years. While not practical, perhaps the best way to create jobs and improve our economy would be to send Congress and President Obama on an unpaid leave of absence for 2012. Certainly neither is accomplishing anything of benefit and paying Congress to do nothing and President Obama to campaign for his reelection is a waste of their time and our money. Also, my real concern that they will continue to do even more harm through Executive Orders or will create new regulations that further restrict our businesses and prolong the political uncertainty that is at the heart of our economic stagnation. Since they are not doing anything meaningful, preventing all new government action in 2012 would give business the certainty of “status quo” and no further damage would be done prior to our national vote on economic policy. Withholding pay is a logical penalty for our current do-nothing government representatives and would have the benefit of reducing the deficit. Since their priority is reelection, this would give them the freedom to try to convince the electorate that they support policies that will protect our freedoms, promote jobs and economic growth, and deserve to be retained in office.

To be fair, let’s review a few of the major government results since the 2008 election. Our total deficit has increased by $4 trillion and the annual deficit more than doubled from $500 billion to $1.3 trillion/year. Government spending has increased from approximately 20% of GDP to 25% of GDP. National Debt has now increased by nearly 50% to an estimated $15 trillion, nearly 100% of GDP. New entitlement commitments through “Obamacare” was passed against the desires of the majority of American voters and will further increase deficits and debt in the future. The Dodd-Frank Financial Regulations Bill was passed, which significantly increases regulations over the financial services industry and has currently added to the turmoil, confusion, and stagnation in our banking system. The Energy Department and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have virtually shut down domestic development and exploration of fossil fuel resources, have wasted billions of taxpayer dollars in support of noneconomic renewable energy companies (Solyndra et al), and have again delayed the proposed pipeline from Canada (Note: Canada is now threatening to sell the oil to China). The Department of Justice (DOJ) tried to bring the terrorist prisoners back into the US to be tried under US laws, supported the sales of guns to criminals and is delaying business mergers, which will improve the competitiveness of American companies. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has joined with DOJ in attacking the proposed merger of AT&T and T-Mobile. The pro-union activist National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is attempting to stop Boeing from finalizing its new “Dreamliner” plant in the Right-to-Work State of South Carolina and is attempting to change voting rules to eliminate the requirement for secret ballot for unionization in a company. The do-nothing Democrat-controlled Senate has passed no government budget for approximately three years and has blocked attempts by the Republican-controlled House to pass fiscally responsible legislation. Not an appealing set of accomplishments.

President Obama is and has been in re-election campaign mode for months and has virtually abdicated leadership to resolve our unsustainable deficit and debt crises. In fact, Obama has significantly added to the magnitude of these problems by his uncontrolled increases in government spending, Obamacare, and the overall anti-business attitude of his administration. Obama ignored the excellent recommendations of his own Bowles-Simpson Debt Reduction Commission, which addressed all areas of the deficit and debt crises including increased revenues through tax reform, entitlement reform, and decreased government spending. Obama has also provided no apparent advice or leadership for the failed “Super Committee” and it now appears to have been designed to fail in order to create a political issue for the next election. As Governor Christie of New Jersey said this week regarding Obama’s lack of leadership, “What the hell are we paying you for?”

Enough is enough. Given the stalemate in Congress and an absentee President focusing on his own reelection, we should, if we could, send them all home on unpaid leave until the next election. Unfortunately, we need to have this election ASAP and not a year from now. The will of the American people needs to be determined regarding whether free market capitalism and individual freedoms or redistributive socialism and big government central planning is preferred. Personally, I vote for individual freedom, free markets, sound fiscal and monetary policy, economic growth, and limited government.

The Old Guy PhD


Debt Crisis – Whatever happened to Bowles-Simpson?

November 10, 2011

G’Day!

The bipartisan Debt Reduction Commission co-chaired by Democrat Erskine Bowles and Republican Alan Simpson completed and submitted to President Obama in February a rational and comprehensive approach to our country’s fiscal and debt crises. I posted articles praising the work of the co-chairs and the commission members on April 1, April 16, and July 22. (See “Bowles & Simpson Have it Right!”, “Obama Ignores Bowles-Simpson Debt Reduction Commission – Again!”, and “Debt Reduction: Bowles & Simpson Have it Right – Redux!”) To date, President Obama, the Democrats and the Republicans in the House and Senate have fundamentally ignored their proposal. Why their recommendations have been ignored by our government, and especially by the President, who established the commission, is a “puzzlement”?

The final Co-Chair’s proposal, “The Moment of Truth”, included both long and short-term government actions to resolve our fiscal and debt crises, contains nearly $4 trillion in debt reduction over 10 years, and was approved by eleven (61%) of the eighteen bipartisan members of the commission. As stated in Guiding Principle #2 of the draft report, “The Problem is REAL – the Solution is Painful – There’s no Easy Way Out – Everything Must Be On the Table – and Washington Must Lead”. Their proposal is comprehensive. It includes cuts and caps on discretionary spending and revenue enhancements through major tax reform to broaden the tax base, simplify the code, reduce tax rates, and cap revenue at 21% of GDP. It reduces spending for entitlements including healthcare and social security and eventually caps total spending at 21% of GDP. The proposed plan stabilizes the debt by 2014, reduces debt to 60% of GDP by 2024 and 40% by 2037. What’s not to like??

As noted above, it is a mystery to me why this proposal, developed and approved with bipartisan support, was shelved by Obama and ignored by Congress since it was formally delivered to the President nine months ago. While these are difficult and trying times, we should expect and demand that our President and Congress put partisan bickering and reelection concerns aside and act for the benefit of the American People. Time spent on campaign fundraising does not reduce our debt or improve job creation and economic growth. We deserve rational behavior from our elected representatives and should demand the compromise and cooperation necessary to correct our economic problems and return our great nation to a path of growth and prosperity. Admittedly, the Co-Chair’s proposal is controversial. It is also realistic, responsible, comprehensive, and should be receiving the immediate and serious attention of our President, Congress, and currently the “Super-Committee” (who are looking for a mere $1.2 trillion over ten years).

Every sensible citizen knows America has an unsustainable debt crisis that, if not corrected quickly, will lead to financial and economic disaster for our country. Socialism does not work. Greece is not a role model for government in America. Our current government is too large, too oppressive and is out of control. Economic growth is based on opportunities not restrictions and lower tax rates not higher regulations. Escalating government spending must be halted and its intrusion in our lives and businesses reversed. Tax reform to broaden the tax base, simplify the code, lower rates (especially corporate), and increase revenues is essential. Our government MUST be business friendly and promote the entrepreneurial spirit necessary for economic growth and global competitiveness. We need to bring back the constitutional freedoms and personal liberties that led us to be the greatest nation on earth. The Bowles-Simpson proposal is a good start.

The Old Guy PhD