Welcome to this blog which is dedicated to providing a forum for a civil discourse on a variety of issues to try and make our society a truly better place for all. While the views expressed are strictly my personal opinions, please feel free to join in on these conversations accepting the premises that every attempt will be made to ensure that nothing but the truth be spoken and the truth be heard.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Moment of Truth - A Missed Opportunity?

As the current discord over debt, taxes, budget and jobs goes on, it makes me wonder what certain members of our congress think they were elected to do.  Obfuscate?  Destroy?  Play games?  Position themselves for the 2012 election?  How about they just do their job and protect the true interests of all Americans by passing a comprehensive bill to put our country on long term sound financial footing that would eliminate the confusion and angst that now exist, and position the United States to expand its economy and regain world confidence.  Right now we are being compared to Greece because of rampant political posturing and paralysis in Washington.   Yes, it will require compromise on both sides which is at the center of all landmark legislation.

From all I have been able to glean from very knowledgeable journalists including Ezra Klein, Paul Krugman, Nicholas Kristof, David Brooks and Henry Blodget (yes, that Henry Blodget), it is without question time we address these issues head on in a comprehensive manner and not "kick the can down the road" which seems to be modus operandi of some in congress.  My concern is that it may be too late.  However, before that process can begin each side needs to quit blaming the other for being the responsible party who created this mess.  In truth, both Democrats and Republicans did, so admit it and move on.  The next step is for both sides to realize that there are merits to both cutting spending and raising revenue, and for those 236 Congressmen and 41 Senators who signed that silly pledge to never do the latter to tear it up.  The Economist magazine called such a position "economically illiterate and disgracefully cynical".  And, finally, if bi-partisanship is what will make a comprehensive plan acceptable, then there is one on the table right now that should be adopted and passed as written - i.e. the proposal submitted last December by The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, often referred to as either the Bowles-Simpson Commission or the Simpson-Bowles Commission, depending no doubt on one's political affiliation, but take your pick.

In essence this report, sub-titled "The Moment of Truth", minces no words in clearly laying out the challenges of adopting its recommendations, as well as  the perils if we do nothing.  Of course there are things each side will not like which is what makes it so acceptable in my view.  But it really tackles the spending cuts and added revenue divide that has stopped all progress thus far and could well be applied to the "The Mother of All No-Brainers" conclusion David Brooks wrote about in the New York Times on July 4th, wherein he also labeled a White House proposal to cut $4 trillion in spending as "the deal of the century".  In short, this report clearly lays out its mission to address the "looming fiscal crisis" by succinctly outlining the principles and values embraced to meet its mission to balance the budget by 2015 and improve our long-run fiscal outlook by addressing the following six main categories of concern:
1.  Discretionary Spending Cuts
2.  Comprehensive Tax Reform
3.  Health Care Cost Containment
4.  Mandatory Savings
5.  Social Security Reforms to Ensure Long-Term Solvency and Reduce Poverty
6.  Process Changes
It is a remarkable document which should serve as the blueprint for President Obama's written plan the Republicans constantly call for him to submit to congress, and should be quickly adopted by both chambers.  As such, I strongly urge everyone to read about The Moment of Truth in its entirety at http://www.fiscalcommission.gov/sites/fiscalcommission.gov/files/documents/TheMomentofTruth12_1_2010.pdf and, hopefully, avoid a missed opportunity.

ARTISTS - Visual and Musical
Laura Raborn at http://paintingsofhome.com and http://claygifts.com 
Jim Johnson at http://yessy.com/jimjohnson/gallery.html 
Russ Powell at http://powellphotos.com 
Linda Flake at http://lindaflake.com 
Tom Herrin at http://tommysart.blogspot.com 
Matt McLeod at http://matt@mattmcleod.com 
Artists Registry at http://www.arkansasarts.org/programs/registry/default.aspx
Sandy Hubler Fine Art at http://sandyhublerfineart.com
George Wittenberg at http://postcard-art-gallery.com  
Will Barnet at http://www.google.com/images?hl=en&expIds=17259,17315,23628,23670,24472,25834,26095,26328,26562,26637,26761,26790,26849,26992,27095,27126,27139,27147,27178&sugexp=ldymls&xhr=t&q=will+barnet&cp=9&um=1&ie=UTF-8&source=univ&ei=xpfETMT1O4L6lwf66ugE&sa=X&oi=image_result_group&ct=title&resnum=2&sqi=2&ved=0CEkQsAQwAQ&biw=1350&bih=501
Barry Thomas at http://barrythomasart.com  
Sherry Williamson at http://meowbarkart.com
Julie McNair at http://juliemcnair.com  
Phoebe Lichty at http://phoebelichty.com

Local Colour Gallery at http://localcolourgallery.com
Chroma Gallery at http://chromagallery.com
Cantrell Gallery at http://cantrellgallery.com
Greg Thompson Fine Art at http://gregthompsonfineart.com
Red Door Gallery at http://reddoorgalleryonline.com 
M2 Gallery at http://m2lr.com
UALR Gallery Program at http://ualr.edu/art
Gallery 26 at http://gallery26.com 
Boswell Mourot Fine Art at http://boswellmourot.com