With a deadline just days away, congressional leaders and The White House STILL cannot reach an agreement on how to move forward on reducing U.S. debt. All when the U.S. global credit rating is at stake amidst a capricious economy and the Treasury Secretary and leading Economists warning of the catastrophic nature of the U.S. default on its $14.3 trillion debt. The stalemate is due to lawmakers inability to make long-term decisions for the country, over old, ideological positions among political parties. Republicans are refusing to raise revenues (taxes) and Democrats are refusing to make policy changes to programs like Social Security and Medicare.
The American public understands the gravity and demographic nature of the challenges and wants long-term solutions to the U.S. debt. It will take compromise from both parties, especially away from their old, dogmatic stances supporting policies derived in a different era. Moreover, walking out of talks is not becoming of an elected official – making tough choices is what the American public elect and expect you to do.
It is startling that we are at a place where the U.S.’ back is virtually against a wall and we have known about these challenges for years – at least those of us who are students of the late Dr. Peter F. Drucker. If our “leaders” would have made long-term decisions earlier to crawl out of the debt hole we have been in, then our decisions today would be much easier and perhaps not looked upon as capitulation from the old guard in the political parties who support the antiquated stances of their political parties.
In his book “Management Challenges for the 21st Century”, released in 1999, Drucker explained, “…we also know how to deal with the problem. It will be difficult, painful, turbulent and terribly unpopular, to be sure. But within the next twenty to thirty years the retirement age in all developed countries will have to move up to around 79 or so, seventy-nine being the age that in terms of both life and health expectancies corresponds to age 65 in 1936, when the U.S., the last Western country to do so, adopted a national retirement plan (Social Security).“ With incredible foresight Drucker goes on to forecast, “In the U.S. there may still be enough young people to postpone radical changes until around 2010.”
If both political parties developed 21st Century policy platforms then, long-term decisions that need to be made today for future U.S. prosperity would likely be less considered as capitulation. To address 21st Century challenges today the U.S. needs to:
- Reform the U.S. tax code so that it provides incentives for 21st Century businesses and enhances their global competitiveness.
- Overhaul entitlement programs for ages 25-45.
- Create a favorable environment for research and development.
- Increase educational standards and attainment levels.
- Enhance job training incentives for businesses.
- Invest in U.S. energy policies that reduce dependence on foreign oil.
- Continue scouring government programs at the local, state and national levels for redundancies and inefficiencies.
- Create incentive-based government regulations as opposed to enforcement-centered regulations.
The budget, U.S. debt and over-reaching regulations create uncertainties among US businesses. As long as this uncertainty remains, investments and innovation will remain stifled.
While the politicians deal with the issues, businesses need to prepare for the days beyond the budget crisis and how they intend to capture some of the benefits that will undoubtedly pour out of Washington targeted at jump-starting the economy.
Cansler Consulting is an experienced lobbying and consulting firm that can use our expertise in economic development, federal budget, trade negotiations, and our relationships on Capitol Hill to help you influence federal policy makers.