I think by now everyone knows the US is in a financial bind. Too much debt, too much spending that increases debt, and many other problems. Why don’t they do something we keep asking?
One of the best classes I took while at Norwest 30 years ago was a class in problem solving and decision making. I like logic a lot and got a lot out of the class that I still use.
One part of the class was on dealing with a mess. The key in the course was to identify the problems and then address each one separately and fix it. I have used this technique countless times in my career and it really works.
I think we could use this approach in our government too. It seems we have three recurring issues, taxes and debt, spending and entitlements. Most of the solutions presented seem to try to solve them simultaneously, I think that is the rub. I suggest we break them down and get moving.
Taxes: Quit bickering about fairness and let the Bush tax cuts go away.
• If we truly all benefit from the government we should all pay a bit more. If the government needs cash we should all share in providing it. If one is paying taxes today, it should be a hardship they can manage.
• Address restructuring a tax structure that folks can agree is fair. Doing this separate from the above people will welcome a change.
• This is the only way I can figure out to find out if people really want a big government
Spending: Assuming the increased revenue takes some pressure off the budget, now seriously address all spending.
• There would be more pressure from the tax hikes to do this, and folks will support it to get their taxes reduced some time
• Separating the issue brings more focus to solving the spending problem
Entitlements: Review and restructure as necessary using many of the ideas that have been discussed for years.
• Most people want security in their social security for example, and many are concerned if it will be there for them when they retire. There are many solutions to this problem and for the sake of security must be addresses. People need to be able to plan their future and this is an important piece. Knowing for sure what will be there may be more important than less dollars for them.
• Take a rational look at healthcare and Medicare. The politicians have confused all of us I think, and I, for one, do not understand the future financial impact. As with social security, the result may not be pleasant, but could be certain.
I don’t claim to have all the solutions and recognize that what I have set forth here is irritating to both extremes of our politics. I do believe that unbundling the issues will help get solutions for the future.