How about some peace and quiet in this summer of 2015? After all, does everything in America today have to be driven by a totally distracting and all-too-early political season? Doesn’t America deserve a little peace and quiet?
This seems like reasonable line of inquiry. It’s summer time and we’re supposed to enjoy a little vacation, right? Why on earth would all those politicians involve themselves in the summer debate fray when they could be lying on the beach, hiking mountain trails or just spending time with their families?
We thought we might ask the leaders of our two major political parties a few questions about that.
Are the two parties missing a key narrative in the 2016 race for the Whitehouse (aside from not being able to read the calendar)? Is it possible that the majority of the American people just want a little break and enjoy the summer? Maybe there really isn’t a huge desire for change in America outside of a few key issues. That’s our gut feeling anyway.
It strikes us that since the 1960s and 70s, our two political parties have somehow managed to make happen most of the big changes that Americans wanted. It’s starting to look like now the parties are creating a quest for continued change only for the sake of change and may be getting a little too creative. It’s quite possible their quest for change is causing anxiety across the electorate.
It’s our sense that most Americans just want us all to take a breather and let things settle down for a while. We know the scientific, technological and social fabrics of America (and indeed the world) are changing but is it really necessary to add political chaos to those changes? We can adapt to those changes with just a little collective social objectivity, but politics don’t need to get in the way of that!
We believe a smarter approach would be for the parties to test a strategy to slow down and reduce the dramatic changes to our policies and enjoy what we have now, for just a bit at least: give some things a chance to work out. Relook the National Strategic Narrative paper we pointed to in the earlier days of the blog.
There are a few areas we could still work on but we don’t have to pursue the increasingly lengthy frenetic political campaigns, just some good governance.
We believe a smart approach to better governance would be to tell American politicians that we, the American people, have had enough progress on right and left wing goals. We now need to roll up our sleeves and just tackle a few changes where there is largely consensus.
Our recommended platform would be no new regulations and programs or laws for the next four years with the exception of:
- Address income inequality. We’re not perfectly sure what this looks like, but the top CEO and officers of companies do not need to make (or are worth) 300 times more than the average employees. Please Red: get serious about this one and pay attention to mainstream America for a change. This could be provided for by enhanced visibility of salary rates for the public and shareholders for senior officers in organizations: things will tend to work out from there. We’re not real sure what else to propose, but we believe the public would support something to start the trend towards more transparency and equality of opportunity for all to succeed.
- Contain the cost of college tuition and medical care. Cost increases in both these sectors are far above average inflation and are hollowing out the middle class. No one is bothering to explain to the rest of us why this is taking place. Both Red and the Blue should think hard about this and act together on behalf of America!
- Give the middle class a tax break by lowering the payroll tax to 5% and remove the cap on wages subject to the tax. This would provide an immediate boost to our economy and help stabilize the social security fund. Again, this should appeal to both parties.
- Remove incentives to offshore business operations, headquarters and profits. This would bring jobs and investment home. Red, we need some help on this one.
- Control our borders and provide for orderly and at least for a while, less immigration. Increase the penalties further for hiring illegal immigrants and enforce existing laws. This could possibly apply a little upward pressure on wages and help address income inequality. We’ve read that in some parts of the country summer jobs are almost a thing of the past for native born Americans because so many jobs are now taken by immigrants. We want to offer economic opportunity for everyone but America must be stable in its own right before we can offer stability to the rest of the world. Blue, you can particularly help here.
- Improve our infrastructure. Pass a long-term infrastructure bill funded by a five cent increase on gas taxes. This will make jobs and help provide long-term economic security for the country.
- Lift the ban on oil exports but place a reasonable tax on oil exports that is strictly earmarked to develop alternative energy. Make alternative energy our “space program” of the 2020s. It is the right thing to do for our economy, our future (e.g., our kids’) energy security and the environment long term. Come one, Red and Blue…get on this!
- Develop a bipartisan carbon tax law to address climate change challenges and consider a tax on importation of goods from countries that are not complying with greenhouse reductions agreements. Blue and Red: show more interest in the science here, now…please!
9) Implement a freeze on all entitlements except for Social Security. This will get people to the table to improve service delivery and change eligibility requirements. On Social Security, gradually increase eligibility ages (again) and implement a comprehensive disability re-evaluation program to reduce the number of fraudulent recipients. Both Red and Blue have an important role to play here.
Successful outcomes in tackling these nine areas would not solve all our problems, but we believe each would be valuable steps in the right direction. They would give the public a breather on at least some fronts where a delay won’t be lethal. We are confident many Americans would support most of these proposals. And it’s something we could do together regardless of political affiliation.
We realize there are a lot of issues we don’t address here, including one of the most important: fair and equal treatment for all, considering gender and race in particular. We offer no excuses for this, and will simply defer to the Principles of RAP.
What do you say…should we start enjoying the seasons now, the coming holidays included, instead of running for offices not even up for election for another year? Do this for America, you two!
Posted by Chuck Hunt and Carl Hunt, 8/13/2015