Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Politics:  100 Days

There is no way that America can remain a great country if the opportunities for meaningful reform are reduced to either market- or and climate-induced crises and 100 working days [after the President is sworn in] every four years. We need a full-time government, and instead we've created a Congress that is a full-time fund-raising enterprise that occasionally legislates and a White House that, save for 100 days, has to be in perpetual campaign mode.

To get elected today, politicians increasingly have to play to their bases and promise things that they cannot possibly deliver (5% annual growth for a decade) or solutions to our problems that will be painless for their constituencies (we'll just raise taxes on the rich or we'll just cut taxes even more) or to keep things just as they are even though we know they can't possibly stay that way without bankrupting the country (Social Security and Medicare benefits).

The truth is, we need to do four things at once if we have any hope of maintaining American greatness: We need more stimulus to keep the economy from slipping back into recession. But we need to combine that stimulus with a credible, legislated, long-term plan for cutting spending and getting the deficit under control — e.g., the Simpson-Bowles deficit-reduction plan. And we need to raise new revenues in order to reinvest in the sources of our strength: education, infrastructure and government-funded research to push out the boundaries of knowledge.

For more, see 100 Days by Thomas L. Friedman, June 21, 2011 at NYTimes.com.

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