Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Time For the President To Lead

The President will hold a press conference this morning.  The subject will be the deficit and the country’s spiraling debt. 
Will the President show leadership and outline his specific plan for correcting our financial difficulties; or will he nibble around the edges, speak in vague generalities and take the politically safe path?
What would happen if the President were to lay out his detailed plan to fix the deficit?  What would happen if he were to demonstrate the same courage in dealing with the deficit that he did in ordering the raid that took down bin Laden?  Can you imagine?
What would happen if the President were to say the following?
“Here is my plan for correcting the deficit…
The debate thus far has focused solely on cutting discretionary domestic spending.  This makes no sense.  Discretionary spending amounts to only 10% of the budget and in general terms only impact the poor and neediest of our citizens.  These cuts, which may be politically expedient, are ineffective, insufficient and unfair.   We need to do more; and the sacrifice must be shared by all of us.  
Beginning in 2012 we will cut defense spending by 10%.  We will be able to make these cuts because we will pull out troops out of Afghanistan and Iraq by the end of next year.  We will cease our operations in Libya and withdraw our troops from numerous locations around the world.  We will no longer serve as the world’s policeman.  For too long we have provided security for the world while the world has invested in their economic development.  As long as I am President, the United States will invest its blood and treasure ONLY in those instances where our national security is threatened.  Make no mistake; we will continue to maintain the best trained, best equipped finest military in the world.  And if our enemies choose to view these changes in policy as a sign of weakness then they will pay a mighty price for their error in judgment.
We can no longer continue with our entitlement programs as is.  We cannot afford it.  Therefore I propose that effective in 2012 if you are 55 years of age or under you will not be eligible for Social Security or Medicare until the age of 67.  In addition, beginning in 2012 Social Security and Medicare benefits will be frozen at current levels for the next five years, after which they will increase by 2% per year until such time as Congress chooses to amend the rate of growth.  Prescription drugs for seniors will be frozen at current levels for the next five years after which Congress may  amend the benefit based on the economic conditions at that time.  Medicaid benefits will be frozen at current levels for the next five years.  Meanwhile we will work with the states to cut administrative costs and eliminate fraud and abuse.  The problem with Medicare and Medicaid is not in the funding or the benefits.  It is in the distribution system.  We will work with the pharmaceutical companies and the service providers to find a more equitable and  cost effective way to administer these programs. 
My opponents may not feel that these changes to our entitlement programs are stringent enough to get the job done.  They are correct.  More is needed.  But I will not place the burden of fixing our financial problems on the backs of our seniors.

We cannot fix our financial problems through spending cuts alone.  Like any business we must increase revenue.
Therefore I propose that beginning in 2012 we roll back the Bush tax cuts on those making over $250,000 per year.  In addition I propose that we amend our tax code to remove the loop holes that allow major corporations to thrive without paying their fair share.  We will also roll back the corporate tax rate from 35% to 25%.  This will bring the corporate rate more in line with other industrialized countries and eliminate the need for corporations to look to foreign shores to expand their operations.  We need American companies to invest in America.  But we need them to pay their fair share.
My opponents will say that we cannot increase taxes on those who are in a position to invest in our economy and increase jobs.  That argument would hold water if in fact they were investing in America… but they aren’t.  We listened to their argument and extended the Bush tax cuts last year.  What happened?  Our corporations continued to invest overseas and unemployment in this country rose to 10%.  We tried it their way and it didn’t work.  The only thing that happened is the rich got richer and the poor and middle class got poorer.  We will no longer ask the poor and the middle class to sacrifice without expecting those who have benefited the most from our society to do the same.
Since I took office our focus has been on dealing with the debt when we should have been finding ways to put America back to work.  That was my mistake.  We will not cut infrastructure, education and research and development any longer.  They hold the key to our future.  We will make broad investments in rebuilding our infrastructure and finding new ways to improve our way of life.  We will fix our bridges, repair our roads and modernize our schools.  We will improve our transprtation systems and embrace alternative sources of energy.  We will encourage investment in America and reward those companies that choose to help us rebuild this great country.  I will start the ball rolling with by introducing a jobs bill that I expect congress to pass without delay.  We have to invest in our future and we MUST invest in our children.
We all realize that we must curb our spending and reduce our long term debt.  But we cannot shut ourselves down and let the world pass us by.  We must continue to compete with the rest of the world; but we must do so wisely.   With my plan I believe that we can invest in America today, meet our financial obligations and secure our long term financial future.
I believe in America.  I believe that if we work together we can do big things.”
Can you imagine?


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