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What's the solution?

November 13, 2008 - John Stack
So, what should we do about the banking crisis and its other fallout? I do have my BA in Economics (which helps in my day job as a real property analyst), but put 5 Economists in a room, and we’ll come up with 5 different solutions. Luckily, I also have a minor in Philosophy, so this just means I have training in arguing. As Letsroll also has a minor in Philosophy, it just goes to show it rains on the just and the unjust alike.
            But, what solutions are there out there? The presidential race really was lacking in specifics on how to solve our economic crisis long term. There was lots of talk of new types of programs and the like. There was little on how to pay for them (other than the Winker’s plan to fund Autistic research by cutting earmarks). Now, Palin at least had a small bit on actually trying to pay for a program, although this was a new cost and another expansion of government. And earmark reform may be a place to start, but it is like raising cigarette prices a nickel and expecting people to quit smoking.
            I do get a steady stream of emails and such mocking or predicting what will happen with an Obama administration. From some calling Obama a Marxist/socialist/communist to over simplified anecdotes, Like Jim McCulley’s Beer story on his blog. But, these problems are very complicated. The NeoCons favorite tool was of course the ‘CUT TAXES and get your hands off businesses’. Looking at a recession/depression and American industrial and financial giants dropping daily, it seems like this macro experiment didn’t work. Just raising taxes will nilly of course won’t accomplish a quick turn around. Plus, who do you tax, how much, for what and for how long?
            There is also cutting back on spending/ decreasing the size of government. This is one of the three pillars on classic conserativism (the other 2 simplistically being cutting taxes and a more public role for religions). This is the one the NeoCons chose to ignore. But now, how do we cut? The federal budget is 3 trillion. The national debt is 10.6 trillion and growing. Our debt service right now is over 400 billion. Social Security is 670 Billion and Defense is about 640 Billion. The biggest part of the budget is social services at between 700 and 800 Billion. Much in the budget is truly untouchable (debt service, social security, most of our national defense - that’s more than ½ the budget!)
            An answer is not ‘Obama and his ilk will destroy America and tax us to death’. If his way is wrong, what is the solution? At the federal level it isn’t like in kindergarten, and you get points just for trying. We need to get something done.
            Please, give me some suggestions that don’t include what will happen if we continue on the same track. It sure is easier to criticize than to come up with a solution, and stand by it.
            Pool League tonite. The Pine Street Irregulars are cleaning up, mostly due to my better half. The Moody Pond Marauders are at the bottom of a Obama like avalanche. That’s what you get for allowing a McCain/Palin sign to desecrate my old homestead!


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