I can already hear the keyboards out there clicking away, writing letters to the editor about how I have finally lost my mind. Hold that thought for a minute, you may be right, but hear me out.
No, I am not looking for the next murderous, genocidal, national-socialist leader to nominate for president. Nor am I looking for a mass murdering, genocidal, communist leader to run as vice president. No, what I am looking for is someone who is prepared for, and strong enough to take on, the worst kind of vilification yet to be seen in modern politics. Someone who is ready to be described as Hitler, Stalin, Satan, and even worse, the second coming of George W Bush.
To fix this nation, we need a president with the courage to endure relentless character attacks at the hands of the media, big labor, the beltway pundits and even those in their own party. Someone who will have the strength to tell Americans the unvarnished truth, and be able to take the heat for it. Let me unpack this for you.
Did you enjoy the three weeks of political theater that went on during the debt ceiling crisis? I didn't think so. Let me explain in very simple terms what just happened last week, why we were downgraded, and what it will take to fix this mess we are in.
The federal government is borrowing forty cents of every dollar it spends this year. Let that sink for a minute; forty percent. If the government were a family, they would have a household income of $55,000. However, they would be spending $96,000 a year. They would also be putting the difference, $41,000 (their deficit) on the family credit card. That family credit card (the federal debt) already has a $366,000 balance. Now let me ask you, do you think this family is a good credit risk?
But what about the debt ceiling deal? Didn't that fix everything? Nope.
What happened was the family said they would cut HBO from the cable TV package, but then went out and bought new iPads for everyone. In short, they are going to spend more next year than they did this year, just not as much as they wanted to. To put it another way, this was an ace bandage on a broken leg. No wonder our credit rating was downgraded for the first time in our history.
As disappointed as I am in the Republicans for agreeing to spend more every year than the one past, I am really disappointed in the current batch of Republican presidential candidates. In the weeks leading up to the debt ceiling debate, where were Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty or Michele Bachmann? Anyone who wants to lead this nation in the next four years better have a real plan, and be willing to share it, early and often.
I am sure their handlers, media advisers, and strategists were telling the GOP hopefuls to keep their heads down, let the congress and the president sling the mud and take the heat. That is a huge mistake. What Americans are craving right now is real leadership. What they want is someone to tell them the truth, and to be very specific. We are up to our eyeballs in talking points, generalities, platitudes, class warfare, and slick speeches.
What we need is a presidential candidate to explain how we get from taking in $55,000, spending $96,000, and bringing those numbers into balance. President Obama and the Democrats want to tax the American people up to the $96,000 level, and even higher. The current crop of Republicans seem resigned to keep the built-in levels of increased spending and occasionally trying to take bits and pieces off that growth.
We need a president who will lay out his or her plan to directly to the American people. That plan must be in two parts.
First, we are going to cut government spending back to its historical levels, about eighteen or nineteen percent of our Gross Domestic Product. Every department is going to get a haircut, and it's about time we eliminate some government programs all together. For those of us under 55, the retirement age for Social Security will have to be raised to keep the program solvent, and Medicare will have to be means-tested to continue into the future.
Secondly, we must do everything in our power to get government out of the way of America's small businesses. The private sector must get back to hiring new workers, building new factories, and expanding their markets. The only way we are getting out of this mess is to grow our economy through the private sector. Just think of what a five or six percent unemployment rate would do for our economy. We have done it before, and we can do it again. Like I've said before, you can't print jobs, the vast majority are created by small and medium sized businesses.
We must also simplify the tax code. We cannot have Exxon under Bush, and General Electric under Obama, pay no federal income tax because they can hire better lobbyists than the local pizza shop owner.
None of this is going to be popular with the media elites, newspaper editorial boards, public employee unions, democrats and even some leftover, big-government Republicans. The outcry that will come from these groups will be viscous, backed by hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign cash, and absolutely unrelenting. The Hitler and Stalin labels will only be the beginning of the character assassination heaped upon the person who makes this case to the people. Paul Krugman, Jon Stewart, Chris Matthews and the rest of the gang will be foaming with outrage. But then again, how long can you be wrong, and have people listen to you?