Blogs » Politcs Plus » It's serious but a fix is doable



This is the second time I have deleted my portfolio settings from my desktop. The first time was in September of 2008. I couldn't concentrate looking at the sea of red, as the stock market dropped 634 points. My blood pressure was trending the other way. The White House, pundits, and politicians can dismiss the drop in our credit rating because of the source, but the skittish traders reacted to their message. That was half of it but the European markets already had them scared. It's ironic because after the pullout, the traders put their money in treasury bills. That's where most experts think is the safest place, despite a downgrade by one of the three rating firms. Outgoing fed Chairman Alan Greenspan said our treasury bills continue to be revered currency around the world.

The presidential candidates did the obvious, by blaming the president for the downgrade. They obviously didn't read the part that stated "S&P's contention that "the majority of Republicans in Congress continue to resist any measure that would raise revenues" to help ease the country's fiscal problems." There's plenty of blame to go around but this is not a time to point fingers, blame the past administration or forget the actions of the past administration Even outgoing republican secretary treasury Hank Paulson thinks tax increases should be part of the solution.

This morning a lot of the talking heads on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" said that President Obama's speech was flat yesterday, and the market went down several points when he was finished. Really, are we down to the significance of speeches? They went onto praise FDR and Lyndon Johnson for their ability to get things done. One lonely voice brought out the fact that both presidents had a Democratic-controlled Congress. I do think president Obama needs to stop trying to be the great mediator. The opposition does not want to compromise, so he needs to treat them as a lawyer would treat a hostile witness. They said the president should call the leaders in; to work out the details of the grand bargain. ($4 trillion cuts, revenues, and entitlement reforms.) What if they refuse to come in? What's wrong with the four leaders volunteering to come in? They mentioned the bad optics of the president going to fund raisers while the country burned. Again, we have to go back to President Bush going to a fundraiser while Katrina drowned the city of New Orleans. It's a total waste of resources to use all our energy on the finger pointing. Presidents have to go on fund raisers if they expect to get reelected.

The president could try to shame Congress but only the speaker can call them back into session, unless we have a national emergency, I think we have a national emergency, but if they are coming in with the same lines in the sand mentality; they might as well stay on vacation. As I said before, Congress could pass some bipartisan trade agreements, extend unemployment benefits and work on a jobs bill. I think the president could start thinking about a way to bypass Congress with a private sector infrastructure bank and enlist the help of the Federal Reserve. Poll after poll state that the American people think, jobs and the economy rank ahead of the debt. The debt is extremely important, but we still have time to work on that when we start to recover. We have already cut discretionary and defense spending almost to the maximum, so we need to work on the elephant in the room; Social Security, Medicare, tax reform, taxes, and Medicaid reform.

We need to be upfront; republicans do not want tax increases to be part of the mix because spending cuts will force the weakening or the eliminating of Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid. Representative Paul Ryan's budget bill lays out the plan. Does anyone think that a person 55 years old will be able to obtain an affordable private Health Insurance plan in 10 years? Does anyone think that states will use their block grants from the Federal government for Medicaid, to help the needy instead of balancing their budget? The democrats need to consider reforming the entitlements. I would like to see them raise the caps on Social Security, raise the age limit requirement, and consider means testing. Medicare has a lot of problems that can be solved by eliminating waste and duplication, but they need to do something about prescription drugs. I've heard that Lipitor has risen by 50% in four years. We should be able buy prescription drugs from Canada and Mexico or least as part of a bulk purchase plan.

I know that is not in the best interest of the opposition party to help this president get us out of this financial mess, but a president Romney will inherit whatever Obama leaves him. The minority party democrats will then become the party of NO, and the cycle will start all over. We need to start on solutions that will benefit both parties such as taking the debt ceiling negotiation off the bargaining table and start taking steps to reform campaign finance laws. It will be a shame if the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq. Libya are not at the top the list of campaign topics. We had a tragedy over the weekend where 30 Special Forces died, yet there was very little coverage. Those wars are import parts of our domestic and foreign policy.

It's not a time to be frightened, it's a time to be part of the solution.