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Where is the leadership?
The financial crisis that our country is facing is no small problem. We have seen similar problems in several foreign countries — notably Greece and Spain — and in our own country — California and New York, where bankruptcy is potentially in the offing. In each of these cases it is mainly the result of unsustainable welfare programs and/or the burden of public employee compensation and benefits that has grown beyond supportable levels and is substantially higher than comparable private-sector jobs. In the U.S., there are a number of states with very large under-funded pension obligations that will challenge or exceed their available financial resources.
This financial crisis is tantamount to a state of war in its consequences. As such, it deserves the attention of everyone and a sharing of some necessary sacrifices. It also requires leadership that is not afraid to speak out on these important issues to help people understand and to gain the support of the majority.
Where is the leadership? We do not see anyone in the halls of Congress and the White House who is really providing leadership. We have leadership in the Senate that advances legislation with thousands of “earmarks” and spending far beyond the ability of the current generations to pay. They would saddle our children and grandchildren with debts for programs that benefit only the current generations.
The Senate does nothing more than “kick the can down the road” when it comes to the funding of Social Security and Medicare. These programs illustrate the lack of management expertise and efficiency on the part of government. The House leadership seems to be working on a strategy that would assure the voters that future legislators get the blame for today’s problems. They too are afraid to confront the costs and liabilities relating to our social welfare programs. The reform of a tax system that inefficiently consumes huge resources just in compliance gets very little attention. Neither the House nor the Senate is responding to what would be considered a very strong message provided by the recent election.
Who among us is going to respond with a willingness to sacrifice for our country when our leadership in the White House has time and again failed to talk with pride about our great country? Although the United States is not perfect, there is no need to apologize for our successes and willingness to lead in a troubled world. Our country is interested in a peaceful world where people are treated with respect and where people are free to prosper.
The commission that the president appointed to solve some of these problems came close to providing a modest start to resolving some of these financial issues. Once again, the leadership in Washington “kicked the can down the road.”
Where is the leadership?
Robert L. Stamp