Thursday, June 23, 2011

Jobs and Deficits

As the Republican primaries start to snowball, I expect we'll hear a lot more about jobs and deficits.  Although for most American's the latter is not as big a worry as the former.  Even those of us with jobs would rather hear how our community is continuing to create new jobs than stress about our growing debt to China.

Now, I'm no economist nor am I super business savvy, but I do guzzle down my fair share of news articles and political briefings.  Staying at home has opened my horizons far beyond NPR.  I've followed these issues on the Economist, at the Salon, and of course a large array of typical US newspapers and magazines (NYTimes, Newsweek, Washington Post and Times, Wall Street Journal, etc).  

So after truck loads and truck loads of information, of which I've tried so hard to be bipartisan I've actually probably read more articles from the right and glazed over more studies form top conservative think tanks than those from my more comfortable left side, I've come to three conclusions.  Or rather, I've found three reoccurring issues I really think could help surgically repair our jobs and the deficit problems.  I'm not talking about bandages . . . I'm talking about serious surgical changes.  

Here they are:

1.  Cut defense.  Cut it deep.  Even top Pentagon officials will admit you could take away large percentages of spending and not harm our nation's safety one little iota.  I'd like to see cuts as high as 40%, but I'd be willing to accept 20%.  Now, it's true cuts of 40% would mean jobs would be lost, manufacturers closed for business.  So after these cuts we would need to make new jobs.  On to numero dos.

2.  Retrofit American buildings, find clean sources of energy, it's time to go Green.  I know this one is controversial (just wait till you hear #3) but the truth is, even if climate change isn't the real deal, going green WILL create jobs and most of those jobs will pay for themselves after 5 years of lower utilities.  Just ask the man who owns the Empire State building.  

Think Civilian Conservation Corps, or talk to the elderly who grew up during the Great Depression.  Do the trails blazed by the CCC have a daily impact on US life 70 years later?  Maybe not.  But the labor did provide a service most Americans have enjoyed at least once in their lifetime, and more importantly the work fed millions of hungry families and gave many young men skills they could later use once the economy healed itself.   We can balk all we want about the government creating jobs and spending money, but the truth is (and this is a big thought coming out of conservative think tanks) the private sector won't invest until they know people have money in their pockets.

3.  Three is my deep dark secret.  Something I've believed in for a while but never really confessed to any non-believers (except my mom and dad who will love me regardless).  But today, a Republican and a Democrat are working together to introduce legislation on it, so I'm just going to go ahead and say it.  Legalize marijuana. Stop spending money prosecuting it and start making money taxing it.  Some believe this move could wipe the whole deficit; I'm not that convinced.  But what I do know is the side effects of marijuana are not nearly as grave as alcohol or tobacco.  In fact, some of my former students performed better under the influence of a joint.  

I'm still going to preach the Word of Wisdom, and I myself will always abstain from tobacco, alcohol, tea, coffee, marijuana, and drugs; but so long as the US allows tobacco and alcohol use I see absolutely no reason they should ban marijuana. Unfortunately, I know this piece of legislation will go nowhere, but now that my secret is out you're likely to find a full post dedicated to my belief that the US needs to stop spending money and resources criminalizing drug users and start targeting drug cartels while effectively rehabilitating small dose users.  

The conversation shouldn't be about big government or small government, it's about effective government.    

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...