"It is time for accountability to be forced by we the people."
Cover picture above– U.S. Air Force Thunderbird pilot, Matt Modleski's book "The American Dream and What We Must Do to Secure Our Children's Dreams."
Matt recently wrote an article for ROC Newsletter outlining some thoughts about what we need to do as a country to move forward. We share it below.
Random Thoughts On Our Country and Our Path Forward
By Mathew Modleski
I asked [ROC editor} if I could share a few thoughts with all of you this week and he graciously said yes. Many of these thoughts are related in some fashion and in my book I more fully explain some of that interconnectedness. Thanks for the chance to contribute to the dialogue on ROC.
The $29 trillion dollar illusion
Unfortunately the illusion is our US standard of living as it has been propped up by credit for more than 40 years. I heard Mitt Romney say that if we cut spending by a trillion dollars in one year we would go back into a deep recession or perhaps a depression as the GDP would shrink by 5%. Let’s turn that math around and look at it this way. We are borrowing and spending $1.5 trillion this year to sustain the illusion and using Romney’s math, instead of our GPD growing at an anemic 1.8%, it is really shrinking at about 5%. That means without the illusion of borrowing and spending we are actually in a steep recession or maybe a depression already, aren’t we? Math is math, and no matter how it’s spun, it doesn’t lie (statistics can be manipulated to lie; basic math is not subject to that same problem).
Let me ask you this. Let’s say you make $50,000.00 per year. You have borrowed and spent $70,000.00 and pay interest on that amount in order to live a lifestyle that you’ve grown accustomed to. Each month in order to “live that lifestyle,” you borrow 40% more than you make and you spend it? Would your life appear better than it actually is in terms of sustainability? That’s what we’re doing in America.
It is time for accountability to be forced by we the people. Please vote out of office anyone who serves you in government who has been there for more than 6 years, they have mismanaged our country so badly they don’t deserve the honor of continuing to serve (notice I wasn’t party specific).
Where are our Leaders?
Albert Einstein said, “Setting the example isn’t the main means of influencing another, it is the only means.” When you look across our great nation, do you see anyone that you would want your children to emulate who is serving us? If the answer is no, ask yourself why you can’t find a single leader in public service that you would have your children emulate? Then, please find men and women of character to send to Washington, D.C. this year, because when the illusion comes crashing down, we are going to need people of character to lead our nation. We may have to wait for the crash to see these people stand tall and serve us. More than likely they will not be a byproduct of establishment politics; if there is a crash the country will want something very different.
College and High School Graduates-Get Skilled, Not Simply Educated
For most of the last 20-30 years a college education meant opportunity for a good job in America. Even as our reliance on borrowing and spending at both the household level and federal level spiraled out of control, there was always a job for college graduates. Those times are over in terms of the “automatic” aspect of jobs for people with academic knowledge. We will now have to have graduates who have learned how to “do something” with their knowledge or said more simply, they will have to be skilled. Knowledge is wonderful, but you wouldn’t want your airline pilot to be chock full of knowledge and have no skill. You would want them to have taken the knowledge they have accrued and then turn that knowledge into the skill of flying your airplane. Our children have been lead to believe that six figures waits at the end of the party called a bachelor’s degree. We’d better communicate that the party is over and skills are going to be required to succeed in the new America (the one that comes after the very hard landing that’s now inevitable). Skills are learned through practice and repetition, there is no shortcut to becoming skilled.
There was an interesting article a year or so ago that made the point that Military Academy graduates go on to achieve more with their lives than Ivy League school graduates. It seems pretty simple to me when trying to discern why. Academy graduates must learn skills that they apply everyday to solve real problems where lives are at risk. Ivy League graduates aren’t forced to learn skills that have those same consequences. Even M.D.’s errors result in someone else dying, not them or their surgical counterparts. The same cannot be said of a combat leader who has to be skilled. If they make mistakes, they pay with their lives or those of their friends.
Skills will be required in the new America; knowledge has been overpriced in our run-up of borrowing and spending in almost every aspect of our lives. (Just as an aside, most of the people in the current administration are “academic experts”).
So What is the Plan?
One of my biggest knocks on the right is the unwillingness to put forth a plan based on the truth and then lead its implementation. My knock on the left is simply they won’t do math in public, a simple yet basic tenet of problem solving. So, based on my lack of patience for those who won’t put a plan forward, here is one aspect of my plan to address the crisis we’re in now.
Let’s cut spending across the board for the next 5 years. We’ll reduce it 8%, 7%, 6%, 5%, 4% for each of the next five years. The first two reductions include Presidential and Congressional pay, it’s time DC felt some sort of sacrifice for the good of the nation. For those who want to know how much money each of those reductions would result in, it’s roughly $288 billion, $264 billion, $250 billion, $230 billion and $200 billion. At the end of those 5 years we would still be borrowing money each month, but a revision of the tax code will close that gap. In 5 years we will have stopped digging the hole we’re in, and will have balanced the budget. We can then begin to pay off our debt which by then will be more than $20 trillion dollars. Once the budget is balanced we should index Medicare spending and Defense spending as a percentage of GDP so that both parties can take care of their constituents by focusing on one thing, a healthy US economy.
The time for apathy has long since passed; most of America simply hasn’t realized it yet.
Visit Matt's website– http://www.mattmodleski.com
Visit Matt's website– http://www.mattmodleski.com