Month: April 2016

President’s Day 2016

Mt._Rushmore wikimedia commons

The theme of the current presidential campaign might be “Let’s Make America Great Again”.

The citizens who are going to elect the next leader of the United States should consider three questions:

  1. When was America Great?
  2. What made America Great during these golden years?
  3. Which candidate is most capable of making us Great again?

America was certainly not great at the start.  It is probably safe to say that America was not great until some time in the twentieth century.  America emerged from World War I as a dominant power.  But was she great?

It seems fair to say that our country got very wealthy by staying on the sidelines and supplying goods to the actual combatants.  The Roaring Twenties which followed WWI were a high point in our history.  The Great Depression followed.  This is generally considered a low point but it was also a period of testing that showed out mettle.

World War II gave us the Greatest Generation and another shot at wealth and high living.  We faced our greatest enemy in the Soviet Union and lived through a fearful period of nuclear armament and mutually assured destruction.  In spite of those pressures, America continued to grow in stature.  Our industries dominated the world.  We had cars and the freedom to go anywhere and do anything.  We launched satellites and a mission to the moon.

America was unquestionably great in the middle of the twentieth century.  The zenith was reached sometime in the sixties.  Then an ill advised foray into Vietnam exposed our weaknesses.  The country did not collapse but things started going wrong.  American society oozed wealth but greatness was slipping away.  Our great industries were in decline.  Venerable industrial giants closed up shop in the face of competition from overseas.  Japanese automakers were climbing past America’s big three.  The aerospace industry was consolidating.  A sign at the exit from Seattle requested that the last person to leave, “Please shut out the lights.”

A careful review of Twentieth Century American History will show that we had fallen a long way by the time George W. Bush took office in January of 2001.  Even at that point, making America great again would have been a daunting challenge.

America had been great because of the people who lived there.  It was a country of immigrants who were willing to sacrifice and work hard to achieve a better life.  It was also a country that followed George Washington’s advice and avoided foreign entanglements.  Dwight Eisenhower’s  Military-Industrial Complex had not yet come to dominate the lives of its citizens.

If America is going to be great again, it is going to have to return to its roots.  The American People are going to have become a group of hard working producers who are willing to sacrifice for something worthwhile.  We have to set our sights on producing something more substantial than the next killer app.

Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter had us  on that path.  Then along came Ronald Reagan with his message of debauchery.  When Reagan took office in 1981, America was the leading lender in the world.  By the time he took office for his second term in 1985, America was the world’s leading debtor nation.  Remember the day the Japanese bought Rockefeller Center?

The tipping point for the price of a gallon of gasoline in the United States is four dollars.  When gas gets that expensive, Americans start looking for ways to conserve.  The last time I was in Ireland, I paid five dollars a gallon. If the Irish, the British, the French and the Germans can live with those prices, why can’t Americans?

We are going to pay taxes.  We may pay more taxes under President Sanders.  President Rubio’s national sales tax is still a tax.  The real question is whether we are getting our money’s worth.  The Republican candidates are complaining about the decline in our military.  We have the largest, best equipped military in the world.  In business terms, it is a cost center.  It produces no revenue.  We need to do what any sensible business person would do – cut costs wherever possible.

One cost area and security concern that needs to be addressed by the next administration is the national debt.  When are the candidates in this year’s race for the White House going to  put forward a plausible plan for reducing our national debt?

Pick your candidate and ask, “Is this person really going to make America great again?”

If your candidate is not going to demand sacrifices from the American people, you can confidently answer, “No!”

If you candidate is unwilling to cut back on the foreign entanglements and bring our troops home, you can confidently answer, “No!”