"Same Old, Same Old" is Getting Just Plain Old

by Brian Johnson on December 1, 2009

old-ideasAs Americans, you and I are part of a country with a great history of overcoming obstacles.  However, that history has always been rooted in the basic understanding that during extraordinary times, we are called to extraordinary courses of actions.  In order to overcome the problems we have faced, we have had to reinvent ourselves and the manner by which we handled our problems.  When our economy crashed in the late 1920s, we pulled ourselves up by our bootstraps, organized work projects and made our nation strong enough to engage in combat against the threat of world-wide fascism.  After decades of isolation following World War I, when America was called into action by the attack on Pearl Harbor, we rose to the occasion waging a new kind of war in Europe and the Pacific.  When it became clear that the fascist forces of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan posed new kinds of threats to the peace and stability of the world, we met that threat by creating the atomic bomb.  When our country was faced by civil unrest, when the edifices of our nation’s governance proved unequal to its nation’s citizenry, we changed the manner of our laws and even our society to work towards civil rights and equal opportunities for all people.  We are a nation composed of people able to make drastic changes to meet our extraordinary circumstances.

It is, therefore, disheartening to hear the Thanksgiving affirmations of our nation’s leaders.  President Obama promises to extend unemployment benefits and secure national health care.  Meanwhile, we borrow money in record amounts and 1 out of every 10 Americans is unemployed.  Speaking on behalf of the GOP, Representative Mike Pence (R-Ind), offers that the answer to our economic issues is to cut taxes. Neither side provided any original answers.

We stand, now, at a crossroads.  We cannot afford to meet these extraordinary circumstances with the same old line of thinking.  Reduce taxes?  Increase spending?  We are failing miserably to solve our nation’s economic problems.  No one is denying that our economy needs help, but randomly injecting money into our economic sector is a bad answer to this problem.  In the end, we need to be working towards a project that allows America to rebuild its industrial possibilities and that will make us competitive again in the global economy.  At Wallet Blog, we have, in the past, called for a plan for energy independence — the kind of technological advances that promote American jobs and international marketability.  We need a stimulus that will not only give America the kind of economic power it will need to pull itself from this crisis, but will also allow America to emerge stronger than before.

The old answers, cutting taxes or increasing spending, are not working.  Like President Obama, I too, “hope that next Thanksgiving we will be able to celebrate the fact that many of those who have lost their jobs are back at work and that as a nation we will have come through these difficult storms stronger and wiser and grateful to have reached a brighter day.”  Unlike President Obama and the GOP, though, I see that becoming stronger, wiser, and grateful means making some kinds of changes to the way we deal with our national troubles.  We need to focus our efforts on a serious solution to our troubles.  We must target our stimulus towards a project that will help us grow and reinvent ourselves in such a way that we can begin to address our problems.

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