November 4, 2012

Education Is Part Of Defense

Washington needs to implement a plan reducing our debt over the long term and avoid the automatic cuts that are due to take affect on January 1, 2013. President Obama must nurture a more cooperative environment in Washington and become an expert at using the bully pulpit. The excuse that Congress refuses to do so is not acceptable.

There are two mistakes to avoid during the budget talks:
1) Do not allow the automatic cuts that are scheduled to take place at years end and,
2) Do not do something just to meet the deadline.
The core problem is the expected future growth of the economy is slower than the expected rise in expenditures and repayment of debt. The culprits for the expected rise in expenditures are medicare, medicaid and social security. The solution must be long term in nature. It must include a stimulus package up front to reduce unemployment and increase growth. The appropriate action is to pass a resolution allowing an extension of the deadline to March 31, 2013. This is what should have been done in the first place.

The nation must first agree on some core issues.

1) We must agree on what is meant in today's world to "provide for the common defense". At the creation of our constitution our Founders surely meant that the federal government must have the ability to defend the nation from physical attack. In the 21st century a major threat to the livelihood of our citizens is economic as well as militarily. As many nations in the world are converting to democracy and free markets, the planet is much more economically competitive than anytime in history. We are falling behind other nations relative to our quality of education and basic research. 
World War II gave us an economic jump start on the rest of the world. We were the last industrialized country standing and we had no competition. That is no longer the case. If we wish to maintain and improve our standard of living we must step up and spend more on education, research and infrastructure. Just as it is not realistic to leave the task of physical defense to the states, we cannot ignore education at the federal level. If we choose to do so, we will loose out on the next Einstein who is impoverished, black and living in Detroit. She looses, however so do we.
2) We have always been a generous nation. Now with limited resources we must collectively decide just how much are we willing to help our less fortunate citizens. Further what demands should we place on those who are less fortunate to help themselves dig out of poverty? Everyone agrees that each individual should provide for themselves whenever possible. The debate is going to center around "whenever possible". 
At the same time the nation needs to fix its tax code so it is fair for everyone. The tax code should no longer be used to interfere with how free markets work.

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