We are 1 month away from when the Government of the United States of America will either increase its debt ceiling or default on its debt. I emphasized Government, because the United States of America does not lack the means to restructure its debt, raise capital, issue new debt, cut spending, invest strategically, devalue its currency, etc. The Government of the United States of America lacks the political will to do the right thing; and why is that? We have all seen or have been directly involved in an argument or debate when both sides were 100% convinced they were in the right. Now take that ‘he said/she said’ and multiply it by 14 trillion because both sides are convinced they are right and both sides believe public opinion is on its side. But what if there actually aren’t two sides. What if there are three and ½ side: The Democrats, the old guard Republicans, the new Tea Party wing of the Republican Party, and the President. Presumptively, the Liberal democratic leadership won’t budge on Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid, and other massive social programs. Presumptively, the old party Republicans want to protect corporate cronyism. Presumptively, the Tea Partiers want to end all public and corporate welfare. Presumptively, the President will push for some deal that improves his reelection chances.
What are we to think of this mishegas? Everybody is wrong and everybody is partially right and leadership is sparse across both sides of the aisle. The fiscal solution will require something along the lines of the Simpson/Bowles or Rivlin/Domenici plans that include spending cuts and tax increases. It will require something along the line of $3Trillion in deficit reductions made up of $2Trillion in spending cuts and $1Trillion in tax increases, and these numbers are not draconian by any measure. When all sides get entrenched in their beliefs of no changes in spending or no changes in taxes the President must step in and take the kids behind closed doors and smack them upside the head. In public he should make statements that are less petulant than those last week and more adult such as:
“As President of the United States, elected by this nation’s citizens and speaking for its citizens, I say enough is enough of the politics. We have real problems in this country, and if you thought the Great Recession was bad, the collapse of our debt rating will lead us back to the Great Depression or worse. I have cleared my calendar for the next two weeks and the leaders of both parties will do the same. Congressional leaders and the Executive team will hammer out the details of a 10 year fiscal plan based on the findings of my Deficit Reduction Panel chaired by Bowles and Simpson. All sides will give, because that’s what responsible adults do when faced with difficult decisions. I am not exempt from this necessary tough medicine that must be taken by all of us, and therefore I am willing to do the right thing, not the politically expedient thing. Proper public policy isn’t driven by public opinion polls or political preferences and safety, and that is why everything is on the table and why we will present a 10 year plan that is not driven by talking points. This country has a history of doing remarkable things and rumors of its demise are premature. Around the globe we have fought and defeated evil, we have invented and developed great technologies and scientific advancements, we have improved the quality of life for our citizens, and we have become and remain the greatest nation on earth. We have sacrificed in the past, we will sacrifice in the future, and we must sacrifice now; and we means all of us no matter our station in life or whether we are an individual, a business, or a multinational corporation. For too long politicians and pundits have told the American people what they want to hear and not what they needed to hear. That time has come and gone, no more I say to you. Now Reid, Pelosi, Boehner, and McConnell, get your asses up to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., and pack a bag and grab a Snickers, it may take a while. Good night and God Bless America.”