For 3 years, a partisan spitting match has dominated Congress and the White House, while consumers experience painful challenges daily; jobs, government spending and low growth. Instead of effective solutions, our politicians demand extremist-inspired remedies then demagogue anyone who objects. They cynically try to hijack our basest emotions as a way to boost their own job approval levels. They float talking points on TV spots but we are not seduced by those focus group scripts as they offer no fix for real problems.
No law requires politicians to have competence in anything, and it shows. Consumers know that the economic hijinks of politicians drain our wallets. We’ve been saddled with a “green at any cost” sentiment that halts development of the domestic oil and gas we have in abundance. Americans are forced to pay $477 Billion/yr to import petroleum, much from nations that hate us and use the money to nurture future terrorists. If we permitted aggressive domestic development, much of the $5 Trillion, 10-year total would stimulate the US economy without help from taxpayers. The “green at any cost” lobby is costing American jobs, weakening America’s future security and wasting taxes, but politicians consider pandering to it stylish.
A titanic economic calamity is breaking through the political fog — the Affordable Care Act. Now that the bill has passed, we can see what’s in it. Instead of first chopping unit costs then adding more people to the covered pool, politicians first added more people then failed on cost containment. Sequence matters! Cost reducers are obvious. Tort-reforms to halt defensive medicine can save $124B/yr. The premium subsidies cover too many who don’t need help. Insisting that patients pay some part of each procedure would curtail waste. Requiring patient medical information systems would save $77B/yr in efficiency and hundreds of thousands of lives. These cost reducers won’t dumb down to a TV sermon, but they could thwart bankrupting the US, by cutting $2 Trillion in spending over 10 years.
Our politicians still stuff legislation with pork. They spend an average of $278,000 for each job in their stimulus programs. Each federal contract costs 12-18% extra in patronage for unionized labor. If bribing unions were made unlawful it would save taxpayers $10.5 billion over 10 years. Politicians profess interest in new jobs unless they are non-union jobs. Eagerness to waste more taxpayer money on Solyndra (beyond the first half-billion) was thwarted only by Solyndra’s own bankruptcy. They seem baffled by how to motivate American businesses to repatriate the $2 Trillion stashed offshore safely beyond reach of political kleptocrats.
Congress and the White House ignore massive cost savings and free economic stimuli in plain view. Our current politicians are focused on burnishing their chances of reelection and admiring their own refusal to compromise. They have abandoned the work we hired them to do. Why would we renew their contract?
Alan Daley is a retired businessman living in Florida. He follows public policy from the consumer’s perspective.