How To Resolve the National Debt and Increase Jobs In One Fell Swoop
Dear Mr. President, and esteemed members of Congress:
For years, this U.S. citizen has watched our government run a paper chase around one very simple fact: We don’t MAKE anything anymore. Without a product, we cannot expect to make money within the country or within a global economy. That simple fact cannot be avoided.
Now I see a second attempt to throw money at the problem (during the Obama administration,) and simply cannot be silent any longer. As Guy Kawasaki pointed out in a recent blurb, no entrepreneur has ever decided not to engage his idea because there would be taxes or competition. Cutting the payroll tax isn’t going to motivate, and a tax cut for hiring the long-term unemployed may mean well, but companies should be free to hire based on merit and suitability for the job that needs to be done. All of these machinations are just that — another impotent paper chase. What we need is to solve the aforementioned root problem.
Our nation’s best days were isolationist. That may not have been a philosophy, but it IS a reality, and those who do not learn from their mistakes are destined to repeat them. Without getting into a long history sermon, suffice it to say that we cannot afford to be policing the world or building empires — and neither of these capitalizes on our strengths. First things first. Military spending is huge, and largely unnecessary. Before you “tighten the belt” one dime on benefits that U.S. citizens need for the basic promise of Life (and health *is* part of Life,) cut back on all the money being spent lobbing bombs and the like. Sure, every bomb dropped is a spur to the military economy, but that’s not PRODUCING anything, ladies and gentlemen. At best, that’s throwing the clothing in your closet onto a bonfire so you can go out and replace them. In reality, it’s worse, because that bonfire makes us more enemies and harms others… but I digress. We cannot afford to be “charitable” with our military presence. We can’t even pay our own bills, so the simple reality is that it must stop. And what of all those soldiers? Put them to work PRODUCING something. Once again, we’re back at the simple reality that we will have a GNP once again — when we get up and get making.
Other countries, from our near neighbors in Mexico, to China and Bangladesh, sell us just about everything that can be found in most stores we spend most of our money at these days. It’s not just Walmart. (Target is nothing more than a SLIGHTLY upscale Walmart anyway.) It’s ALL stores. Try finding even one major chain that’s selling all U.S.-made goods. The only place you’ll find selling all U.S. goods is a place selling (or marketing) only their own wares. Since foreign goods hurt us, both by taking our money out of the country and by taking away jobs from U.S. citizens, the playing field has to be leveled — immediately. I truly am sorry if that means some family in Bangladesh will not have the boon they’ve been enjoying. Perhaps when we’re back on our feet, we can afford to be charitable while enjoying tourism there. In the meantime, it’s nothing short of insane to be shipping things halfway around the world and STILL calling it “cheaper to buy abroad”! Importing corporations are making relatively short-term gains, while our “Rome” burns. They don’t care that the economy has fallen off the precipice and is now diving into the abyss, because they’re making Theirs today. This needs to stop, right now.
Import duties must be increased immediately. They’ve already been enjoying very cheap goods for years at our expense (and by They, I mean the profiteering US corporations.) They neither need nor deserve advance warning. Increase the duties. Double them immediately, and ramp that up over the next 2-3 years so that those goods made abroad cost as much IN THEIR HOME PORTS (before transport) as goods made right here in the good ol’ U.S. of A. Don’t bother listening to the ranting and railing and wailing and gnashing of teeth. Of course they’re going to object. Their high-profit free ride is over. In the next 3 years, our own manufacturing will come up… and people will have work, and money to pay for things that are made here in the U.S.A. We will even be able to export goods again, because the work integrity that caused us to become a great nation in the first place will be back.
We won’t be getting fat on Big Macs. We’ll be busy DOING something. Kids won’t be crying “I’m bored” while sitting before 900 channels and 3 different gaming systems. They’ll be out being industrial, mowing lawns or inventing the latest U.S. innovation, DOING something. The rest of us will, too. Even if we’re not playing lumberjack or steel worker, we’ll still be out there being employed PRODUCING, rather than being part of a meaningless paper chase, so we’ll be able to be proud of ourselves again, instead of feeling like an irrelevant cog in a wheel that does nothing more than push paper from one side of the room to the other. In short, we’ll have REASON to be proud to be “American” again.
This nation’s problems started when we became a service industry. Think back, those of you old enough to remember. Check the history, the rest of you. Steel mills began closing… and Bruce Springsteen’s music was given fertile soil in which to take root. We can be the world leader again. All we have to do is give ourselves a reason to believe in ourselves, and start walking the talk.
We are a nation of rebels and innovators. So let’s get to work, doing what we do best. The world needs to wean itself off of fossil fuels. We can make electric cars. We can make passive energy technologies, and figure out ways to be profitable doing so. (A 14-year-old recently demonstrated how using a leaf’s methods of photosynthesis will increase solar cells’ output by 20-50%. The best days ARE ahead of us.) We can make furniture that lasts, out of real, sustainable materials… and there ARE buyers for them, both here and abroad. American-made guitars are a classic example. Sure, Korea, China and the others make cheap instruments, and have learned to do so surprisingly well. But EVERY advanced and professional musician in the world is buying a Taylor, or a Martin, or a U.S.-made Ovation… Europeans come here to buy them and bring them back. Harmony guitars taught America to play when I was a kid, just 40 years ago. They were made here in the States, they were affordable, and unlike the foreign junk, they are STILL in good shape and playable today. It’s a MYTH that we cannot compete. On a level playing field, our standard of excellence will lay waste to the mass production concepts of products made abroad — and all of that will be bolstered by the simple fact that we will not be making those goods for someone “over there.” Truth is, those in the know already clamor for our well-made products. What’s more, we’ll have the home court advantage; We’ll be making quality products for our friends, our neighbors, our fellow “Americans”… and we WILL recover. We WILL get out of this slump.
Mr. President, esteemed members of Congress, you have been hired to do a job. I have just laid out the means by which you can do that job. Stop playing politics, stop advancing the paper chase. Do the job you were elected to do; Bring this nation back to its true and proper standing. Take the steps and provide the leadership that will make us a legitimately proud nation once again. Start by leveling the playing field. As to those foreign relations? Let the chips fall where they may. We have our own household to tend to first, before we can afford to be charitable abroad. THIS is what you were hired to do, so get busy. You do that, and we’ll get up off our duffs and start acting like real Americans again.
from → Social Issues