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Tom Watkins

Tom Watkins

A Shared Vision and Common Agenda

November 16, 2012

The presidential election is now behind us—let’s all breathe a collective Whew!

We now know that Barack Obama returns as president for another four years.

While half the country has been partying the last week, the other half is licking its wounds.

Regardless of whether or not your guy won (Yes—once again it was a race between two men) it is now time for us to come together as a nation. We need to find a way to put the political battle behind us, rally around the flag and country, and find ways that will get us working on multiple levels again.

The facts are that unemployment remains too high, home ownership is a struggle, middle class wealth has been swept away through home foreclosures and depleted 401k’s.

All the while we continue to live in a time of transformational change, living in a world where knowledge, talent, creativity, and innovation rule –even as jobs and knowledge can, and DO move around the globe effortlessly.

None of these things has changed: we continue to be a nation mired in debt to the tune of $16 trillion dollars even as we mortgage our children’s and our grandchildren’s future.

We must address our financial Armageddon—a fiscal cliff staring us straight in the eye which our national leaders have yet to get serious about.

At issue is the full expiration of two rounds of major tax cuts enacted during the Bush administration and automatic spending cuts on defense and domestic programs that are scheduled to take effect—punishment for the failure of last year’s deficit “super-committee” to produce a deficit-cutting agreement.

The failure of Congress and the President to act, imposes almost $1 trillion in cuts to agency budgets over the coming decade. These imaginary cuts will become very real for both domestic programs and real people who depend on them, including our military.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report (www.cbo.gov/publication/43262) says that the economy would shrink by 2.9 percent in the first half of next year if the government is allowed to fall off this so-called “fiscal cliff” next year –not to mention higher tax rates and more than $100 billion in automatic cuts to the Pentagon and domestic agencies.

The CBO believes this would create an economic meltdown “similar in magnitude to the recession of the early 1990’s”, costing the nation 2 million jobs.

A Shared Vision and Common Agenda
Can the national agenda be forged out of a bruising, hyper-competitive, nasty, political campaign where half of the nation voted for change and the other guy?

Quite simply, we must.

America’s problems will not be solved, unless, not unlike an alcoholic, we first admit we have a problem.

Now, OUR president must set a course that clearly requires more sacrifice, convincing the American people to believe in the direction he wants to move us—forward.

Republicans cannot afford to revert to their political corner plotting revenge on the winning political party. We are not, as the media likes to label us, the Red or Blue States of America, instead, we must become the UNITED STATES of America once again.

Not Democrat or Republican—but AMERICANS! The election is over—we need to come together to move OUR country forward.

The only question that remains—will we?

Tom Watkins has been a participant observer of the political process for over 3 decades. The former Michigan State Superintendent of Public Schools is a US/China business and educational consultant. He can be reached at: tdwatkins88@gmail.com

November 15, 2012 · Filed under Tom Watkins Tags: , , ,

7 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Steve // Nov 16, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    True, Republicans should not revert to their political corner to “plotting revenge” (interesting metaphor considering the President’s remark about voting.)

    Yet you say nothing about the Democrats showing a modicum of restraint and perhaps some outreach towards bipartisan solutions.

    Sadly, as long as the “losing” party is expected to take their 48% of the electorate and lead them to the sided of the enlightened 51%, as if there are only two shades of gray in this debate, nothing will change.

  • 2 roger march // Nov 17, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    Bravo Watkins… Again you hit the nailon the head for taking broader look at critical issues we face….

  • 3 mike williams // Nov 17, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    It is too bad we cant send this story to every person working in federal goverment. It would be so helpful if they would put politics and their political futures aside and work to help the people who put them there — the people!

  • 4 Amy Walsh // Nov 30, 2012 at 10:55 am

    Watch us go over the fiscal cliff!

    Where are the leaders?

  • 5 joan // Dec 1, 2012 at 10:52 am

    I feel moe pessimistic since the election about our financial situation… The forest and the trees.. our leaders will get caught up in minutia as we fall over cliff… too bad

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