The 2012 election is no more than a 24/7 entertainment program. It distracts us from our government’s most important challenges:
- Manage public spending
- Manage the financial sector
- Eliminate government corruption.
Manage public spending includes:
- Ongoingly raise sufficient revenue to cover the cost of ongoing services, e.g. the military
- Issue debt to fund infrastructure investments that can only be made by the public sector, e.g., the interstate highway system
- Increase taxes to fund large unforseen expenses, e.g. wars
Fundamentally, it means MANAGING the top and bottom lines, not letting them drift. It does not mean managing them to an ongoing level. The electorate can change what services are publicly provided. Infrastructure investment should vary as opportunities (and threats) arise. Public spending must be managed in the context of national strategy, which will change. The mess we’re in now requires a turn-around plan.
Manage the financial sector includes:
- Prevent private financial institutions from taking risks insured by the public, e.g. dismantle the TBTF banks
- Prosecute finance executives who broke existing laws
- Regulate the derivatives and other currently unregulated markets
Dodd-Frank etc will not prevent another collapse triggered by financial executives who will be made whole by a traumatized public.
Eliminate government corruption includes:
- Eliminate political influence via campaign contributions
Arguably, this is the most important of all “to-do’s” because good governance is paramount no matter which direction we want to go. Public spending is not being managed because our governing body is corrupt. There has been no meaningful reform of our financial sector for the same reason. Elected representatives should represent all constituents, not favor those who contribute to their election, i.e., we want the reality of one person one vote.
There will always be a spectrum of opinion about matters of culture. I have opinions about those but they’re not on my list because I do not expect everyone to agree. I do believe everyone will agree with the 3 “to-do’s” above although not necessarily their relative importance or even that they are the most important three. What do you say?