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Posted: March 03, 2011

A political wish list

Here's mine -- what's on yours?

Jeff Thredgold

Wouldn't it be nice if...

...history-making developments across the Middle East and Northern Africa would eventually lead to democracy and freedom for tens of millions of people long denied

...our 401(k) balances would continue to rebound nicely in coming years

...American companies would begin hiring again in a big way

...Wall Street "high rollers" had greater legal and financial accountability for the financial market abuses of recent years

...some of the mind-boggling research advancements in energy production and alternative energy more rapidly made their way into the economy

...the game of politics in Washington D.C. involved a little more cooperation and a little less confrontation

...we didn't have a $14 trillion gross national debt

..."far left" liberals and "far right" conservatives would back off a bit

...high-quality teachers were paid better while poor teachers were weeded out

...the Congress and the Administration would get serious about reining in the growth rate of entitlement programs in coming years (Note: In regard to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid...we do not have to cut spending...we have to slow down the growth rate of future spending...BIG difference!)

...we would all get more involved in enriching the lives of those less fortunate than ourselves

...we could benefit more from years of practical business experience of millions of retirees, rather than simply "putting them out to pasture"

...the Federal Reserve's eventual attempt to unwind unprecedented monetary stimulus would be successful, with inflation staying under control

...fewer people were killed each and every year in the name of "religion"

...our illustrious Congressional representatives actually knew what was in various bills they voted on

...the violence and language in today's movies could be toned down a bit

...your garbage disposal didn't eat better than two-thirds of the world's population

...drive-by shootings were replaced by drive-by moonings

...American corporate and consumer confidence would rise solidly in coming months

...the Administration would stop talking about being "pro-business" and actually a) promote pro-business policies and b) remove anti-business initiatives that dominate its agenda

...men and women were from the same planet

...America's silent majority (our parents and grandparents) received greater respect for the enormous wartime sacrifices they made to help protect the freedoms we all enjoy today

...our kids realized sooner that Mom & Dad might actually know what they are talking about

...members of Congress had to participate in the same health care program as the one being dumped on the American people

...the nation's tobacco companies would leave our kids alone

...airlines that lack serious competition in various markets didn't gouge the public

...incompetent corporate CEOs who drive companies into the ground were not rewarded with multi-million dollar "golden parachutes" to simply go away

...teachers received more admiration and respect from students and their parents

...more working people would save seriously for their Golden Years (an estimated one-third of the U.S. population saves zero for retirement)

...America's Vietnam War veterans would finally get credit for serving their country

...there was a stronger collective effort to improve opportunities in America's inner cities

...politicians were elected based on experience and ability, not on who can spend the most money and sling the most mud

...there were less irritating ways to bring buyers and sellers together than junk mail, spam, pop-up ads, telemarketing and endless TV commercials

...market corrections of various types were a little less painful

...the national news media would run positive stories more than once a generation

...U.S. firefighters, police officers and military personnel received our respect ALL of the time

...our national campaign season was much shorter and less exhausting...for candidates AND voters

...the unique combination of liberals, moderates and conservatives elected to Congress last November could actually work together to address this nation's ills

...we actually got serious about U.S. energy independence with a program geared to 1) conservation, 2) alternative sources of energy, 3) access to much more oil and natural gas in Alaska and on the Continental Shelf and 4) developing massive deposits of oil shale and shale gas across the nation

...American military personnel could see their families more often

...solid Mexican economic growth would provide more good jobs at home

...Johnny Carson was still king of late-night TV

..."old fashioned" common courtesy between people made a big comeback

..."government" would recognize that it is there to serve the people and not the other way around

...residents of the Middle East could get along with each other

...we could make real progress in "clean burn" coal technology

...each long-term member of Congress was required to take a year off, start a new business with limited funding, meet a payroll and then deal with the complexities and hassles THEY have created

...the outcome of many lawsuits was determined more by the facts and less by who has the deepest pockets

...the role of "peacekeeper" wasn't associated with so much violence

...many spoiled and pampered athletes in MLB, the NFL, the NBA and the NHL had to get regular jobs at regular wages (at least for awhile)

...we would all keep in mind that despite the problems and challenges we face in the U.S., this is still the greatest country in the world

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The Tea Leaf is a weekly economic and financial update by Jeff Thredgold, economist for Vectra Bank Colorado. He has been writing an economic update every week for the past 31 years and is the only economist in the world to have received the designation of CSP, or Certified Speaking Professional. Republished with permission from the Tea Leaf by Jeff Thredgold, whose site address is www.thredgold.com/html/leaf.html.
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Readers Respond

Annie --- there is one 1st you left out. We have the HIGHEST incarceration rate of any country in the world, including dictatorships. Yes, we have a very long way to go. HOWEVER...we can still say that we are the greatest country in the world with a straight face. While I agree with you that people who believe we are first in everything are just plain ignorant of reality, we DO have the mechanism for real change that does not exist many other places in the world. I'm afraid what we may NOT have is the willingness to make the personal sacrifices and hard choices necessary to restore our nation to greatness. And it won't get there as long as the Dempublicans blame the Republocrats and visa-versa. The hyper-partisanship in Washington (and many other places) makes it impossible to do anything. So, Jeff...I have ONE thing on my political wish list. I wish that people would sit down, have rational discussions with one another, and make decisions for the good of the community as a whole rather than to a). simply decrease their taxes, no matter what the cost to the community, b). line their own pockets or c). simply get re-elected. We have serious problems in this country and need serious answers...as well as serious people. I'm sick of the partisanship and fighting..and politicians being owned and operated by corporations and other special interests. How about the rest of you (other than the hyper-partisans who see everything as a "Liberal" or "Conservative" issue)? What do you think? By John Heckers, MA, CPC, BCPC on 2011 03 03
Jeff, All those things COULD become true if we would stop believing your last statement..."despite the problems and challenges we face in the U.S., this is still the greatest country in the world" Once we stop lying to ourselves that we ARE the 'greatest' country in the world, then we can actually get down to work and BECOME the greatest country in the world... The "greatest country" in the world would not possess these current statistics: The US health system is ranked 37th (not 1st) in the World 43+++ MILLION (over 14%) of Americans live in poverty (this figure is growing as I am typing! The US is ranked as 18th among 36 industrialized nations in EDUCATION! ( NOT 1st) The US dropped to number 7 in the best country to live in for overall 'quality of life' BUT....here is where we ARE "FIRST" and BEST: According to a recent United Nations Survey the US is rated #1 in overall crimes, #1 in rapes and #7 in deaths by GUNS- By Annie on 2011 03 03

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