Tuesday, February 26, 2008

There's No "Straight Talk"

I'm rooting for Obama, but he, Hillary, John Mc, and The Huckster are all telling big fat lies. There's no "straight talk", and the electorate is being treated like a bunch of dumb sheep, as usual.

Hillary and Obama are competing to describe health care programs that are virtually universal, "state of the art", and affordable. They're also competing to see who can trash NAFTA the hardest. They're both being disingenuous at best.

McCain is vowing to keep the Bush tax cuts and eliminate the Alternative Minimum Tax, even though he would start his term with a huge deficit budget. That's not "straight talk", it's a trip to dreamland.

The Huckster thinks God directs us. If so, we don't need the Huckster to find our way.

The fact is that the incoming president will face the most serious challenges of any president since Franklin Roosevelt in 1940. What are they? A costly and intractable war in Iraq, a recession at home, Social Security and Medicare going broke, health care costs going out of sight, a broken education system, a pot-holed infrastructure, global warming's mandate to switch to alternative energy and conservation, a huge national debt, and a declining currency.

If I was an enemy of the United States at this moment, I would play a waiting game. If we don't act radically, we will run out of the money needed to defend the country before too many more years have passed. The new president, whether Obama, Hillary, or McCain, already knows this. They just don't have the guts to tell us.

The answer to most of these issues is simple: do more with less, or simply do less. Less war. Fewer entitlements. Caps on health care for chronically ill oldsters, persons with terminal conditions, and those who fail to manage their own non-healthy behaviors (such as obesity). Innovative educational methods and stronger sanctions on those who ruin other's opportunities for education. A comprehensive energy strategy with no holds barred. All of these require a trashing of the status quo and the handcuffing of special interests. The president must be the best leader since Roosevelt if he or she is to achieve progress on these intractable problems.

Can any of the candidates begin to tell the truth after they're elected? Not likely. The emergency already exists, but they're ignoring it and creating expectations they can never deliver. That is why, even though I like Obama's ability to inspire, I'm a pessimist about his and all the other candidate's ability ability to succeed in the job unless the straight talk starts during the campaign. Not much chance of that, though.


Ron Davison said...

I think it's true that we've got serious problems but we also have some amazing possibilities. Compared with a Cold War, WW2, Great Depression, and stagflation, we're in pretty good shape, I think. The good news is that we don't face any really pressing short-term problems. The bad news is that we face longer-term problems of the sort that we've never quite figured out how to solve through a democratic process.

Life Hiker said...

Well,Ron, I think our short term problem is getting to work on our long term problems. They all work like compound interest - the longer we wait, the worse they get.

The headline in our Rochester newspaper this morning was "Government predicts health care costs will be one-fifth of economy by 2017". There is no way we can devote that percentage to health care. And that's just the tip of the problem iceberg.

I'd love for you to write a post explaining your optimism for the mid and longer term.

1138 said...

I suggest you consider the advice of Ben Franklin it's no do more with less or simply do less the other solution is to earn more.
Only taking the two you choose is giving up.
America can be a producer nation and needs to STOP being a quitter nation.
Protectionism needs to stop being a dirty word, we put locks on the doors of our homes to protect our children we need to put some protections on our country, some.
You don't invite the molester to live in your daughters room.