cicerone imposter wrote:
So, what's your solution to upkeep our infrastructure and our schools - all necessary to remain competitive in the world marketplace? All I hear are complaints. We need solutions - and money to fix the problems. They don't come for free!
I believe the core problems are the poor current performance of our economy and our dangerously high public debt, combined with a predictable demographic collapse of our entitlement programs, from social security, medicare and medicaid, coupled with state pension plans. All the other issues are derivative and dependent on these.
The best solution is quick, certain action to reduce our long term entitlement problem by raising the elegibility age for social security and medicare, and curtailing medicare and social security disability fraud, both of which are rampant.. That will significantly ease the long term debt problem and give us time and debt wiggle room to address the current performance of the economy by various means. Unfortunately Obama refuses to even associate himself with these issues. No chance with him in office. He stupidly calls for new taxes which will quickly cancel any benefits he may get from new spending.
To stimulate the economy I would delay the new EPA rules on coal fired powerplants for three or so years, expand gas & petroleum extraction from domestic shales, approve the keystone pipeline and end the ridiculous subsidies on biofuels, wind and solar power. In all of this I would take definitive action involving committments to policies and dates. The reason is electric utilities involve huge investments and they need confidence and near certainty that the rules won't change before they can get a return on the needed large investments in new capacity and a better electrical grid. This will stimulate immediate large-scale investment in cheaper energy providing sharp job and investment growth and will lead to cheaper energy, making our exports cheaper, further increasing economic growth. The delay in the coal rules will give utilities to do an orderly phaseout (instead of the panic we have now) of the 50% of our electrical energy that comes from coal. Finally I would the end of the subsidies on wind and soplar power precisely to renew the sorely needed incentives to mase both cheaper and more reliable. Subsidies merely reward inefficiency and are a negative incentive for investment in improving these technologies.
Our schools are among the most expensive in the world. They just don't produce a very good product. I believe instead of more money we need radical reform of the system involving parental choice as a way of eliminating failing schools; accountability for teacher and principal performance; and a two tier system with a test of proficiency in (say) eighth grade and subsequent two track curricula focused on either university or job skill training.
With all that done, I wouldn't object to a little extra money for road and bridge repair. Though I also believe the hype on that need is a bit overblown.