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Posts Tagged ‘fiscal cliff’

As I began to write this post – I found myself writing an open letter to the President – here’s what I’d say:

Mr. President, your campaign is over.  You ran a well run campaign, demonized a good man, fired up your supporters, and won an election some might say was against the odds, given your record.  Some might even say your supporters went a bit overboard (as in the Hamilton County, Ohio voter who was proud to get to vote for you multiple times).  You received significantly more votes than did Mitt Romney, but it was not a landslide (you really only received about 29% of the vote based on the total eligible voters – not just those who came out to cast a ballot).   But you did win, and you now are the people’s President – including mine.  As an American, I appreciate the differences in this vast land that builds our character – who we are.  There are many views that mix all together and make this country great.  But I have a problem Mr. President – I’m concerned that there is much hard work to do to help make this country remain the exceptional nation it has always been – and yet you choose to continue campaigning, rather than lead.

Remember Mr. President – you were elected as the President of the United States, serving the people of these United States – NOT, as it seems of recent, just those who voted for you (remember, only 29% of the country).  While I’m perfectly fine with your need to rile up support from your party in an attempt to win an election, now that you have won, it is time to serve ALL the people.  Of course this is not an easy thing to do – you must listen to others views, thoughtfully consider these, and weave them into how you lead the nation.  It means rolling up your sleeves, facilitating rigorous discussion, and compromising on your views, considering your ideas might not be the best approach.  Leading this nation based on fear and one-sided thinking is hurting our country – one we both love and care for.  Always placing blame on others is not leadership – it is “victimship”.

The Sequestration was an idea you pushed for – thinking these indiscriminate cuts would drive both parties to work hard to avoid them – Congress bought into the idea – sure it was the “easy” thing to do – pass a bill saying if we can’t figure this out over the next 12 or so months, these nasty tax hikes and cuts will automatically go into effect – kind of like MAD (Mutual Assured Destruction).  But what did YOU do to help drive a solution that would solve this problem – well, OK  you were busy getting reelected.  When it was time for America to go over the “fiscal  cliff”, everyone kicked the can down the road a few more months.  You already won the election, so it was your time to lead the country – to take republican and democratic leaders and bring them together (why not a great week at Camp David).  Facilitate a discussion to identify common ground, compromise on certain principles, and develop a solution that addresses ALL American views.  Do this hard work to reform tax code, reform entitlements, find ways to make the government operate more efficiently – do even more with less (it can be done).

As my President, that is what I expect you to do.  Under NO circumstances do I want you to take a partisan approach to solving our nations problems, and then spend my money to run around in perpetual campaign mode, trying to convince those you’ve pushed away that it’s your way, or the world collapses.  If you want the government to take a bigger role then its supposed to do – then find ways to do it that will reduce our spending.  As my President, I expect you to bring this country together to solve our problems, to protect our interests, and to be a good steward of OUR money.

Mr. President, I’m disappointed in your leadership skills, your ability to understand our economy, your lack of business skills, your lack of concern about the views of a significant portion of this country that you should be listening to, and your inability to bring congress together to solve the challenges we face.  In the remaining years of your last term, I pray you find the wisdom to correct your shortcomings and the strength to face the tough challenges head on.  Creating and environment of fear, and then blaming someone else for this fear is simply immoral.

Best regards,

A Concerned American

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First of all – Happy New Year!  We survived the end of the world (Dec 21, 2012), and now have been led to the edge of the cliff, had one leg and one arm over it, and then were pulled back.  But did we really?  If you really look at what we’ve accomplished – I’d say it amounts to about nothing, especially when it comes to spending.  The reality of the situation is we actually jumped off the cliff on November 6th.

Much to the false claims of Obama – taxes will be going up on at least 77% of all Americans (not just the 1%.  Obamacare is laden with hidden taxes here and there.  The balanced approach Obama speaks of must mean that for every additional cent he can grab in revenue, he’ll balance that with a cent of increased spending – to hell with the 16 trillion we owe.  Now that he has been re-elected, he can exert his will to accomplish his far left ideology – destroying the country as we know it.

This country has a spending problem – not just a little problem, but an enormous problem.  WE MUST STOP SPENDING!  We can not afford to continue to allow every government program, including entitlements to continue to grow willy nilly. The government – ALL of it, needs to redefine what the word “cut” means, what “balance” means, and what “debt” means.  Reducing the rate of growth in spending is NOT the same as cutting spending.  This madness must stop.

The President has little comprehension of leadership, which has led to the most divisive congress I’ve seen in my lifetime.  The buck stops with him and how he handles leadership.  Our country failed to elect a leader – it instead chose a crafty politician who is putting his own radical ideas into play, rather than providing the leadership this country so desperately needs.  Leadership of all Americans – that means it is important for the President to work diligently to lead both parties to work together – bringing together good ideas from both sides and blending them into solutions that work for all.

We have a spending problem – you fix a spending problem by looking at ways to eliminate waste, refine processes to improve efficiency, and by driving continuous improvements.  That does not mean that services must be eliminated or even reduced – just executed more efficiently.  We have a spending problem – freeze all levels of spending at some baseline rate – be it 2008, or even 2010 levels (and remove unusual one time expenditures – like wars).  Now – do everything possible to maintain or increase the levels of services based on this baseline amount – I guarantee you that waste and other inefficiencies will be found, and more can be done with less.  This is the attitude our entire congress must adopt.  That is what a leader would do – take on the real problem head on – not just add to it.  If our government was a business, the board of directors would have ousted the entire lot and brought in new blood to get the job done.  Unfortunately, emotions and blatant misinformation has led America to already jump off the cliff.

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I’m not sure what has been going on around Washington DC of late, especially in the back rooms were all the heavy negotiation is going on, but it’s clear what President Obama wants.  Obama does not seem to be seriously negotiating for anything.  He has been dangling offers here and there, attempting to portray he wants to compromise – but there is no indication he’s negotiating seriously.  But Why?  He doesn’t want the country to drive off the cliff – does he?  Let’s think about this – hmmmm, significant cuts in defense spending, tax increases for all – more revenue to spend…AND, he can blame the Republicans for the mess it creates.  Democrats have wanted to reduce defense spending for years, and think of what they could do with all the additional revenue – more programs to deploy to get more Americans dependent on the government.  But what about a second recession?  Well, first, it’s all the republicans fault anyway – and it’ll run its course before the next election cycle, doing no harm to democrats in office.  This is the democrats best chance to cut defense and have the blame fall on the republicans.

It is clear there is little interest at this point to solve the economic crisis we face – the crisis is government spending.  The crisis is also related to the beliefs in congress of the meaning of the word “cut”.  Merriam-Webster defines “cut” as “reduce amount”.  In congress, this really means, “reduce growth”.  BUT, then, Pelosi goes out and claims these so-called “cuts” are now going to take food out of children’s mouths…UUGGHHHH!  We have a bunch of spending addicts in Washington – and no one who knows what work must be done to reduce spending, improve efficiencies, reduce waste, and drive economic expansion.

When will the political posturing end!

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So this is what we get – this is what America chose – What were we thinking?  The election is over and the business of running the country is at hand.  However, the consequence of choosing a professional campaigner is now leading us to the edge of the “fiscal cliff”.  The problem is simple, the decisions that need to be made are difficult, and it takes a real leader to be able to pull this together in a way that will bring us back from the brink.  Negotiating by being completely intransient is, well, just obtuse.  So Obama sends his lap dog Geithner into negotiate with Boehner and delivers a proposal which in essence is dead on arrival, a plan similar to what not a single democrat in the House or Senate would approve – but OK – a starting point.  Boehner then submits a counter offer, which is a more reasonable offer with some compromises on the revenue side – but the President quickly rejects and stands pat on the position of increasing tax rates on the wealthy.  Not that anyone expected Obama to accept with open arms. So what does Obama do – CAMPAIGN (see previous post – President or Perpetual Campaigner).  First a photo-op with Mitt (see I’m reaching out), then a Twitter feed (tell us how a $2000 tax increase will hurt your family), then a campaign stop at a toy factory (wait – I thought the campaign was over) – Are ads next?  That is NOT leadership.  This country is not in very good fiscal shape and we needed a leader who would use his skills and talent to bring both democrat and republican to the table – to hash out ideas, figure out a solution both sides could work with.  Make the hard decisions to accept compromise, even on fundamental campaign promises.

So here are a few suggestions Mr. President.  First – bring together key leadership from the House and Senate, from both parties.  Go to Camp David, or other suitable quiet location, with zero press corps, take away cell phones, and limit contact to the outside world (meaning  lobbyists).  Second – spend the first two days developing a clear problem statement (no discussion of solutions).  It might go something like this – Government is spending too much money, government has efficiency issues, the government has specific obligations it must uphold…something along those lines.  Third – invite  several successful businessmen or women (try to keep a good mix of political affiliations) to the party to participate in identifying some clear goals.  Keep them high level – like… need to generate x billion in revenue, reduce spending by y billion – put time limits on it.  NOW, brainstorm on ideas – again, reject nothing – spend a day on this – keep the ideas in categories – revenue ideas, spending reduction ideas.  Assign values to the ideas.  Use the business folks to run some sanity checks on the ideas and the values assigned.

OK – we are about 4 days into this process.  Next comes the fun part – separate into mixed teams of 6 or 7 (democrats, republicans, businessmen on each team)  Give them 24 hours to take all of the ideas presented, with the values agreed and develop a proposal they will have to defend as a team.  Pick enough from the revenue column, and spending savings column to equal the agreed goal numbers.  I’m assuming you might have three or four teams.  At the end of the 24 hour period, they come back together and present the solution to the entire group.  Then everyone gets to, by secret ballot,  force rank these solutions – then choose the highest ranked solution.  Bring this back to the full House and Senate and hash out details, put into lawyer speak – crisis averted.

What is that – one week?  Please tell me WHY that approach wouldn’t work?  Think about it…

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