Monday, December 15, 2008

We Gotta Get out of this Place

I watched most of "Meet the Press" yesterday.

I want to be an optimist- I really do. I don't like banging my head against the wall because it hurts, but watching the show made me even more frustrated by the lack of clear vision of what our country needs to do to get out of our economic mess.

They had a panel consisting of:

Mitt Romney, Carli Fiorini (former CEO of H.P.), Eric Schmidt (CEO of Google, Obama Economic Advisor and Forbes Magazine's 129th Richest person in the World), Jennifer Granholm (Governor of Michigan), and Mike Duke (CEO of WalMart).

Only Romney and Fiorini made any sense with a call to cut corporate and personal income taxes in order to spur economic growth. They also pointed out the crisis in confidence that's out there-- hinting at the uncertainty of an Obama administration who has promised higher taxes and more regulation on business. Fiorini repeated the fact that we have the 2nd highest corporate tax rate in the world. How do you grow from there?

Romney also expressed frustration with the lack of action in Washington NOW- why are we waiting until February? Why aren't the Republicans putting forth any plan?

Schmidt and Granholm were all about "roads and bridges" projects and "green technology investments" --in order to create growth. But these require more spending and we don't have money!

Granholm has been a failure in Michigan- keeping it in it's dismal state of no-growth. She's a staunch supporter of the Auto Bailouts (of course) but insists on the overbearing environmental regulations that hurt Detroit.

Schmidt's solutions were battery-powered cars and new energy alternatives that could be "housed in" empty warehouses. (All projects paid for by the government). Liberals really believe that spending x billion on green energy ideas is going to pull us out of a recession? Here's what would pull us out and wouldn't require one thin dime of taxpayer money 1. Allow new nuclear power plants to be built 2. Allow full exploration and drilling for our own resources. How many great blue-collar jobs would be created by these two simple steps? And it just takes a couple votes in Congress to make it happen. But it won't happen.

All the participants on the panel were respectful of each other (except when Granholm put her hand on Mitt to tell him to "talk to his friends" if he wanted to help). Mitt is such a class act. His dad was the head of a Detroit Car Company- he knows Michigan back and forth and he knows economics, you just know he was thinking "this woman next to me doesn't have a clue", but he was so pleasant with his game-show host smile.

The other participant on the panel- Mike Duke frightened me the most though. Be afraid- be very afraid- when the CEO of WalMart is calling for comprehensive health care reform and saying they want to be a partner with the Obama administration. Who do you think will benefit if there's an expansion of government-subsidized health care plans? Duke and Wal Mart. The Walton family occupies 5 of the top 15 spots on Forbe's Richest people in the world list. Where are the liberals who hate big corporations when you need them? They won't be anywhere if Wal Mart is on board with government-subsidized health care plans.

And don't people see throught marketing? Wal Mart's CEO is brand new- the left dogged them for supposedly unfair work conditions- so now they're singing in the choir of Obama-backed health care reform which- by definition- means more government spending. Don't people understand that corporations save money if the government picks up the tab on healthcare and makes money when they sell consumers over-priced "green" products?

We still need immigration reform to ensure that nobody who is coming here illegally is getting any form of welfare. We need a worker program to ensure that jobs are going to Americans first. We need health care reform that enables the markets to set the price for services- not the government. We need individuals to buy their own health care so that insurance companies and health care providers are dealing more directly with the consumer and have to answer to the consumer for high costs. This can be done by shifting tax credits away from corporations and to the individual. We need to cut student loans to help drive down the cost of tuition. Universities are only going to be able to charge what they can get. And of course we need an energy policy that realizes that "alternatives" are only 15% of the solution right now.

Cut taxes. Cut spending. Drastically reduce Earned Income Tax Credits so that everybody has to pay at least something into the system. And maybe a new Hollywood profit tax for celebs who bank over $10 Million in a year. One can dream, right?

None of this is going to happen with Obama in the White House- we wait with great anticipation for his $500 Billion "Stimulus" package with more checks redistributed out to people. Short term solution for a very long term problem and Bush already tried this- it did nothing!

Republicans must start articulating specific ideas and solutions and stop with just babbling about ideology. They have to lead- they have to give Americans some ideas for how things can change. Maybe they won't buy it the first time, maybe it takes ten sales calls just to close for an appointment with the American people. Maybe they won't buy our product today. But if we don't make people aware of an alternative (and we haven't-- we haven't for a long time), then what chance to we have at all? Yeah- we lost this election. We lost big time. We didn't have a chance with the money and machine behind Obama- we didn't have a chance with that charisma verses our 72-year old Washington-insider. But I'm still not convinced that America bought their product- I think they just bought their salesman. There's hope yet.


Cool Gal said...

Right on, Sheila.

Great post.

Jim said...

Only $500B? Maybe for the first year and then again a few months later. If it's "only" $500B, that's not very stimulating. He'll have to try for closer to a trillion to "shock and awe" our economy back into prosperity, then it'll be "mission accomplished" a month later as we get high on the irrational exuberance of the new "green" bubble. Nothing can possibly go wrong.

Better yet, have the government dump $300B into green tech in the first three months, then $400B during the next three months, then another $500B, and so on forever. My pal, Bernie Madoff, said it's a good plan and he likes how you are able to have a "pyramid" of perpetual growth.

Spend our way to prosperity! Happy days are here again!!

Pay no attention to the second pile of mortgage defaults behind the curtain.

P.S. You make some excellent points in your post. "Cut taxes, cut spending." The latter being the critical point. Without spending cuts to balance the budget, we are making our "entitlement obligations" into a giant Ponzi scheme that makes Madoff look like a child. Tax increases to continue to fund the scheme are not a solution. We need to ween people off of government dependency, not put more people on the dole with handouts or fake jobs that some central planner thinks are needed and the free market does not.

Goose said...

I don't know either, we are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Obama hasn't said boo about Social Security, which is a mutli-trillion dollar issue and dwarfs these here and now issues. If I was a Republican politician, I would be saying something like this:

"I realize there are big problems facing us right now, but the mark of a leader is to address issues before they are a crisis. A much bigger issue for taxpayers than the financial market problems and Big 3 auto malaise is our unfunded obligation of Social Security, which is and will be much more painful than today's issues. I believe the American taxpayers are more willing to vote their tax dollars to fund and restructure this important program, than to bailout the financial institutions and car companies."