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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Debt Commission Report

November 11, 2010
Debt Commission Report
The President’s Deficit Panel threw some cards on the table yesterday by releasing a “preliminary report” on how to make our nation’s economic infrastructure sustainable. One had to be encouraged that both the far right and far left hated the commission’s ideas. That’s a good start. The bad news is that President Obama and Congressional Republicans failed to offer any support. Wonder why (tongue in cheek)?
From what I can discern the commission’s recommendations deserve to be taken seriously. There is honest debate to be had on some of the finer points to be sure, but over all a good start was in evidence. The political realities in America however, make a serious, constructive conversation impossible. The only element of the debt crisis more dangerous than the debt crisis itself, is America’s political inability to make hard decisions until they are forced upon us. The commission’s report is a most poignant case in point.
Every politician running in the mid term elections caterwauled that the focus of our government should be “on jobs.” Democrats want to create jobs with more government spending while the Republicans want to provide tax cuts for businesses in hopes they will start hiring with the extra money. Both of these approaches are damaging to the deficit (the much larger issue) and are frankly out of the Constitutional preview of government. But that campaign stump speech doesn’t draw a crowd, at least not a pleasant one.
What we have now is not much different than the apparatus that centrally planned the Soviet economy into ruin. Congressmen are primarily lawyers who refuse to acknowledge their ability to manage the economy is equal to their Constitutional mandate to do so. Congress‘ job is to past laws to protect our freedoms, not manage the economy. Paradoxically, if they would stick to that mandate jobs would be created. But Americans just don’t get that concept. It is not comprehendible by an electorate epitomized by Jay Walkers on Leno’s late night gig.
I am convinced America’s greatness will be compromised because our leaders have strayed so far from this basic concept which was the very thrust of our founding documents the revolutionary movement that spawned them. Ironically, it is the one that made us great in the first place. How did we stray so far from what made us great?  
All I can say to the Debt Commission is good luck. If their proposal is implemented in total America might have a chance. More likely, it’s fate will be a disembowelment by special interest groups, addicted to the power and money emanating from Washington. In the latter case America may not be delivered from the choke hold of the nation’s debt, but it’s most ardent enemies, on the far left and far right, will be outed. 

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