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William McGrath

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Now for the Hard Part

Posted: 09/24/2012 1:45 pm

Judging from the polls and avalanche of political commercials, you would expect the upcoming presidential race to be down to the wire. Maybe you can call it a healthy sense of skepticism but a close race really seems unlikely. And it is not because one candidate is particularly stronger than the other. It really boils down to the fact that the Republican party is in the midst of trying to find itself.

No one cherishes being the protector of angry old white guys and folks that have been predestined to rule by God but that is where the Republicans have landed. As a reasonable American how could you ever in your right mind vote for a party who represents that? I think the Republicans should take the next four years redefining and moving more to the center. If they fail to do so, I think the American political scene is ripe for another political party and one that is very far center. Good luck Republicans.

So that leaves us with Barry Obama. Barry, now known as Barack to cash in on the African American angle, has had flashes of brilliance but he still leaves much to be desired. He struggles with leading and worries too much if people like him. Barry, I will vote for you again but please be a leader this term. We as Americans will love you if you rally us and clearly define our direction and agenda. Also, please stop the rich and everyone else talk. It plays well in the press but is really divisive. Remember, the American dream still involves a level of success so do not paint success as evil because it is not. And also remember that most of the reasonable successful people understand that people need assistance and that those of us who are more fortunate should help pay. That almost goes without saying so stop saying it.

Now for the hard part! We are broke. I am not talking a little behind on payments, we are BROKE! And the worst part about our current financial situation is it is getting worse by the minute. I am somewhat pained that people are causal about amounts like $16 trillion dollars of debt. A simple pop quiz? How many zeros in a trillion? Answer is 12. How many zeros in a million? Answer is 6. How much is $16 trillion divided by 312 million? The answer is just over $51,000. So every man, woman and child in the United States is in debt fifty one thousand dollars. That is not a per family number, that is a per person number. If you have a family, multiple $51,000 by the number of people in your family to figure out what your fair share of the national debt. Now I hope we are a little more focused.

So what does it mean? It means we have a crisis and no one is admitting to it. Instead each party is busy trying to blame the other and recommending either small government or big government to solve the problem. Somehow I think we are beyond that. We are in desperate need of a budgeting exercise. One where we put all the programs on a piece of paper and then calculate what each one of these will cost. Since we do not trust each other anymore in this country, I recommend we get an independent accounting company from the UK to come in and do this for us.

Second, we need to list all the revenues we collect as a great nation. We then match revenues to cost. The gaping hole between the two should focus us all on the matter at hand. Then we go down each program and decide what it is we can afford. I would even recommend that once a program has been shaped and costed, we send it out for vote across this country. This way no one can say they did not have a say in what and what not we are going to support with our collective money. We should do the same for new tax proposals. Oh yes, taxes are going up.

Sounds easy but there will be pain. It is almost assured that those who are more fortunate will pay more and those who are receiving benefits will get less. That equates to pain and sacrifice and that is never easy. So Barry, I mean Barack, it is time to lead us. Stop acting like this is all easy and wonderful, it is not.

You need to challenge us to be great again. Make it something akin to landing on the moon. In 10 years, the debt burden will be half where it is now and it will be zero in twenty years.

As for the rest of us, we may be collectively tired of foreign wars and thankfully they are drawing to a close. But the fighting has just begun. We now have to fight against the forces that put us in such a horrible financial situation. And yes, I have seen the enemy and it is ourselves.

 
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