Thursday, 20 November 2008

Music to My Ears

Listen to our new Chief of Staff talk about how this terrifying financial crisis finally affords us a real opportunity to solve the underlying problems that led to it.

The five areas he cites where we need bold action are:

Healthcare - reducing costs and providing more coverage
Energy - independance and alternatives
Taxes - fairness and smplicity
Education - effectively training the workforce
Financial Regulatory Overhaul - transparency and accountability

I think that's about right. And I would add that those (including John McCain) who believe that this crisis should be resolved through a freezing of government spending are quite literally offering NO solution at all to the country's problems. Firstly, we need to claw ourself out of the hole that we are in right now - and that's going to mean staunching the bleeding in the financial sector and restoring investor and consumer confidence. That means we are going to have to spend serious money. But equally importantly, we need to address the systemic weaknesses that have caused this crisis and, in a larger sense, made America less competitive than our first world competitors.

If we had succeeded in delivering universal healthcare when Rahm Emmanuel was first in the White House, GM, Ford and Chrysler would not be threatened with bankrupcy right now - a huge portion of their liability is in worker benefits, which in Germany and Japan are dealt with in a healthcare system that is non-employer linked. (And by the way, their healthcare systems are also NOT "government run".)

Let's not muddle through this crisis without seizing it as an opportunity to put us back on track to global competitiveness. We're going to spend unseemly amounts of money to dig our way out of this ditch - let's invest it in our future rather than just blowing it on the mistakes of the past.

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