Letter: Do something for the future
My letter today concerns our inability to act. Simply does the cost of doing nothing exceed the cost of doing something? Late in my career (term used in the last century), I was trained as a financial black belt—in other words, a person who finds savings through process improvement. This required looking at data and letting it lead you, not policy or special interest. I would like to apply this to our current mess.
The economy and jobs—One would wish it was as simple as we lower taxes and all is well. Lowering taxes to small businesses is relatively painless and may convince some to startup or expand. The downside is the temporary drop in revenue (I am sure you don’t think revenue from small business is immediate). Corporate America, on the other hand, has more cash today than they have had for decades, yet no expansion. Must be one of those invest versus expand decisions. I too would pick to invest in an environment where there is no demand for increased products/services. I’m always in favor of income tax rates lowering, helps me but long term not the economy. This has to do with me buying stuff made outside our country and money’s long if non-existent trip back into our economy. Point is, lowering tax rates does not have the effect it did years ago (we are global now). Whether it costs or saves money, it may well be a requirement given the political climate. Innovation costs money up front, but makes more over time (think the auto, computers, Google).
The argument has been made that there is too much regulation of business. They are right. Where is the fine line? Most regulations were developed after people were killed or hurt. Some are outdated or intrusive and they need to be removed. Letting industry regulate itself never worked throughout history and neither has an iron hand. This costs money but saves lives.
Education—I find it dangerously scary that this even makes my list. Listen stupid, and you are stupid if you believe there is no correlation between how we prepare our youth and our rapidly declining place in the world. And by the way, I mean children of all economic levels. This is not about class warfare, it is about survival. This puts a lot of money in our economy and allows us to compete globally.
Infrastructure—If you know the definition of this word, you should understand that you cannot be "World Class" without communications, transportation, and power that are "World Class," to mention a few. This enables business to make money and our lives easier.
Paying the bills—must be done. The trick for whoever leads this country will be to take the pain right now. We can’t cut our way or spend our way out of this mess, but just like your family and mine, debts must be met and investing for the future is not a nice-to-have but a necessity.
Back to my theory, "is the cost of doing nothing higher than the cost of doing what we should?" I bet my and your grandchildren’s future we should do something. How about you?