As 2011 comes to an end, a massive can has been kicked into 2012. The fact that nothing got done this year is indicative of an ‘Occupy’ movement -- the occupation of Washington DC by a group of self-serving and unqualified people who are somehow elected through a lack of quality choices to represent the very people who do not approve of them.
A government shutdown looks to be postponed for a few months, again. Since the 1968 lumping of social security into the general budget by President Johnson, our politicians have been spending future generations’ money to keep themselves elected.
The payroll-tax cut is another example of future generations paying for short-term fixes. The cut is a Band-Aid at best; if it is so good to cut why not just get rid of the entire payroll tax? We have no long-term strategy for taxes in this country and this allows these short-term fixes to push off responsibility to pay for re-election measures. Someone, hopefully, in the future will find a way and will to manage our finances correctly.
We had a jobs bill that would have kept jobs for teachers and police until after the next election, when whomever is the next president and with Congress would have to either let those jobs disappear or find a way to keep funding them off the back of future generations.
The Post Office is looking to shut 3,700 local post offices and lay off at least 100,000 people with a further 100,000 in future layoffs due to attrition. The USPS is projected to lose $14.1 billion next year, and it has said they must cut $20 billion in expense by 2015.
This is a political nightmare for a country with no long-term plan so the option is to not fund future obligations, much in the same vein as President Johnson, and keep jobs until hopefully after the next election.
The administration has postponed a decision on the Keystone Pipeline until after the next election.
The decision on fracking in the Uttica Shale in Ohio, which has the potential to create 200,000 Ohio based jobs, has been postponed. Drilling in the Chuchki Sea has been delayed for political reasons.
We have no long-term energy plan, the only developed country in the world without one. This lack of planning enables politicians to give favors to their base, Democrats help pick winners and losers in green energy instead of building the infrastructure and letting free markets work. If, for instance, true “shovel ready” jobs were used to build DC lines to connect remote areas for renewable energy coupled with a comprehensive long-term energy plan then the option of providing political favors for re-election is off the table because the free market would decide winners and losers.
Republicans, in the same way, give tax credits to fossil fuel providers to garner support and protect their re-election. Both sides politically don’t want a comprehensive energy policy because it would force them to do things in the best interest of the country and not themselves. With a comprehensive energy policy, favors would not be as easy to give.
The tax code is likely to never be corrected and is why an LLC in NYC pays over 50% tax and a large tech company will pay below 20%. It is all about loopholes and special interests. If this country went to a flat tax or something simple, then the ability of politicians to buy votes by providing loopholes and favors goes away, which is political suicide for our corrupt system and our corrupt politicians and is why nothing gets done that is meaningful.
Meanwhile, the fact that trading stocks on inside government information is somehow legal by our Congress is one more example of how these folks are somehow “above the law” and above the interest of anyone but themselves.
The answer? Demand long-term plans and if that fails then, as the latest book to expose the crookedness of DC says, “Throw them all out.”
John Layfield, formerly known as JBL, was the longest reigning WWE Champion in Smackdown television history, retiring after 17 years of pro wrestling. John, a former collegiate All-American and pro football player, is a lifelong entrepreneur who has worked as an investment banker, is series 7 and 24 qualified, and is currently an active private investor. His Internet radio show can be heard at www.JohnLayfieldShow.com.