Blame ourselves

As much as we all appreciate the President’s trip to Japan, I personally find the current discussion about going to Japan to “get jobs, jobs, jobs,” off the point. Our economy is in a shambles and I find it hard to believe it’s all Japan’s fault. It’s not. I disagree with the likes of David Duke and others that claim our current economic woes are “Made in Japan.”

Japan’s industry and government have a cooperation unlike what exists here in the United States. Japan also has a national health care policy, an energy policy and a national pension policy so their industry doesn’t have to foot these bills directly through higher prices. We don’t seem to have any national policies that address the issues currently plaguing our economy.

When our industries (like the auto industry) try to compete with Japan, they get clobbered because industries in the U.S. have the pay pensions, health care costs and constantly budget for an unstable energy market.

There’s no question about it, this nation has to get it’s act together, and it’s no mystery about how. It’s not by bashing Japan, and it’s not by introducing protectionism. We have to reduce the amount of interest we pay on the national debt, develop a national health care system such as Canada’s and begin to reduce our health care cost.

We need to begin planning ahead for an increased demand on the Social Security system when the “baby boomers” begin to reach retirement age in year 2010, and of course, develop an energy policy that makes use of resources that are here in this country.

That’s not to say we shouldn’t invest in education and other programs that are vital to our competitiveness in the future. This country can be the most creative and forward thinking in the world, bar none. We are the last of the Super Powers, and I’m proud to be living here. But we have to stop the downward trend that began when we went from a creditor nation to a debtor nation in the mid-eighties.

This means biting the bullet and meaning it. If a tax is developed to specifically reduce the national debt, wouldn’t you be ok with that (as long as the rest of the budget continued to be balanced). If I could see something being done to specifically address the increasing debt, I would sleep better at night.

I’m tired of the smoke and mirror tricks of the past two administrations. Let’s all write to our representatives and tell the AMA and other special interest groups “no.” Remember the “Just say no” program? Well, just say no to higher costs.

If our politicians can’t work together and make rational choices, I have a suggestion for that too. For every year the national debt increases, we decrease their pay by the same percent. If my wage and earnings are going down and I have less buying power, I’d like to share that with them. On the other hand, if my standard of living goes up, I’d share that with them too.

Thomas Langham

Graduate Instructor