Yesterday, President Obama was reelected for another four years in office. The House remained in the hands of the Republicans and the Senate is still controlled by the Democrats. What this means is that America’s world military and economic dominance is officially over. China’s rise will eclipse America’s power on her descent. The troubling notion about all of this is that no one is bothered, the United States has lost her robust confident character, and into mediocrity we fall.
Obama has acknowledged he wants to accommodate China’s rise, and they have been behind him. The last thing they want is to pick a fight, and the Syria conflict put them on the hot seat, but due to the election no push back could be given. Jobs continue to be shipped to China, as our economy continues to lag, and more and more talented people in science and business are moving out of business in the US and into hot markets like China, Brazil, Russia, and India. Why would they stay? As those countries modernize and the US crumbles, very little incentive to stay remains and with the current trend of attitude in the US, these go-getters don’t want a bleak landscape to do business.
America’s outlook on how things should be has drastically changed. Gone are the days of meritocracy where hard work and expertise translated into a well paying job and comfort. The confidence in working for your wage and earning the benefits that come with it have vanished. Instead, the idea has warped towards the European standard of coming to expect and feel entitled to government programs and funding (just look at the state of Europe’s economy and the EU for any sense of how well that works in the long run). Poorer people, acting in their own self interest as any economic model would predict, have made great gains that entitle them to have handouts paid for by people making an honest wage. Do all poor people perpetuate this? No, but as the incentives dwindle so does the proportion of struggling Americans who see that hard will pay off. Why not sit around and wait for Uncle Sam to send the checks?
Taxing the rich (and its not just the rich) to pay the poor seems like a morally righteous thing to do. Problem is, it doesn’t work, poor people have no incentive to get off the couch and do anything when the checks keep arriving. “But the rich have more money than they need!” cry out liberal opponents, to which I say, “Who cares?” Didn’t they earn that money? Even if it was in investments, isn’t that their prerogative to do with THEIR money what THEY want? Who are we to demand they give their money away? You would like to discourage investment in business that might turn a profit for wealth Americans so that poorer people can continue to be disincentivized to find work? I don’t understand how this is sustainable.
Taxing and taxing and taxing only can keep things afloat for so long. It seems nice to have all these government programs to give out all this free stuff, but it cannot sustain itself in the long run. Many young Americans will never see a cent of the social security they have been paying into. Trying to flatten the socioeconomic curve only acts to hamper any kind of innovation or incentive for talented young people to try and make a change. It is inherent in any political-economic system that people will be divided based on their socioeconomic status. Some of this will inherently unfair, but that is the nature of the system and the best alternative is to have as many opportunities, incentivized in the right way, to reward those who choose to work hard, and will sadly leave behind those who decide to get fat, live off measly food stamps, and burden the healthcare system.
The change we need is a change in attitude. Obama has no idea what he is doing. Why would he? He was a one term Senator that spent most of his time campaigning for the president. He isn’t going to make things better and he isn’t even going to implement many of the promises he made to the liberal contingent that elected him. He doesn’t know how and when the enormity of the job hit him, he faltered, accomplished nothing with a supermajority in Congress, and floundered trying to moderate his policy to the dismay of everyone. He will not help America return to greatness, he will be the gatekeeper of our fall.
The Congress isn’t helping much either. While they need to stand for their principles, they also have to work to find a solution. Standing tough on social issues like gay marriage and abortion are outdated antiquated notions that no longer have any relevance. As long as the Republicans continue to be the party that is guided by God and makes decisions based on these fantasies, we will certainly not face the hard reality the choose to ignore. The time of organized religion has waned, its not coming back, and the Republican party needs to reorient itself to this change if wants to be relevant again.
How to fix all these issues? At this point, I honestly believe it is too late to make a substantial impact, it will mostly revolve around damage control:
Taxes: Fair, flat, simpler taxes. More people will be willing to pay when the service is easy to use and transparent. Look at Netflix – no rental fees, no late fees, easy to use, streams in high quality straight to any device (including phones!). Do not raise the taxes on the rich to feed the poor, make the taxes easier to understand and incentivize people actually paying them, and increase revenue without a hike
Deficit: Cut it. Now. It stings having to get rid of things we like for free. Sorry but where these is no money you can’t simply keep paying for things we don’t need. The budget is bloated and clunky. Speaking of which, no new budget has been passed because Obama doesn’t want to cut anything. When your family is a little low on cash and you need to pay rent and utilites next month do you go buy a huge flat screen TV? No. Why ? Because it makes no sense. You WAIT until you have the financial stability to begin to invest in extraneous things. Same deal here.
Education: The easy access to low interest rate loans has exacerbated a trend of obliterating any worth in a bachelor’s degree. College is a great thing, but by allowing anyone in, you water down the prestige and therefore it turns into just another checkbox. Increase requirements for college entrance on aptitude and promise, make the hard work mean something. Increase community college presence for those who didn’t do the work for the grades, who just simply fell into college because it was that easy.
Social issues: Federal level provisions will not be able to affect any change here. The problem stems from the older generations sad cling to outdated antiquated ideas of religion. The modern era is upon us, and religion is on the way out. Sure people can be spiritual but the place of moral righteousness in determining who other people can choose to love and what women can do to their bodies is absurd. This is the real problem with the Republican Party, if you want to maintain solvency, you will have to get with the times. Rick Santorum and Michelle Bachmann reciting verses from an extremely old, ambiguous book is a turn-off to just about everyone. Gay marriage legalized, abortion made safe and effective where needed, contraceptive use made easily accessible, and the reduced societal impact of organized religion will help end this entrenchment.
China: Time to get tough. They have us in a stranglehold and time to fight our way out of it. No, not using military force, but starting to confront them on international issues like Syria and Pakistan. If they want to play with the big boys they will need to make a stand. We also need to increase our cyber warfare capabilities. Also do everything we can to make friends with everyone in the region (Korea, Japan, Indonesia) so that their growth in stunted and military might diminished.
Iran: Time to get real. No military strike will be undertaken by the US. We don’t need to. Covert destruction of progress towards the bomb plus tighter sanctions will bleed them dry. They can only have the bomb and maintain such foreign pressure for so long. The Israelis could also strike, solving the problem, but possibly causing conflagration in the region. Problem is, no other country in the region wants Iran to have the bomb, Iran isn’t even Arab. The Saudis, Jordanians, and especially the Iraqis have a vested interest in keeping it out of Tehran’s hands.
Foreign Policy (in general): Reassert out presence worldwide. This doesn’t mean stationing more troops. This means protecting our interests, even to the detriment of other countries. Realistically, we cannot all live in perfect harmony never treading on each other’s interests. Apologizing for all the mistakes has been done. Engage other nations, reduce the nuclear weapon count, make sure favorable governments find their way into Arab Spring nations, and cut down on the pervasive infiltration of Russia/China into Africa and the Middle East.