Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Open Letter to President-elect Barack Obama

There have been many challenging times for our country in my lifetime. The first that I experienced was the last years of the great depression. Being born in 1928, all I have is a general feeling that something was not right. I can’t actually claim that I experienced hunger because I don’t believe I did. My father held down two jobs and my mother also earned income in addition to being a housewife. The second, of course was WWII. It started when I was 13, so my memory is still vivid. Then after that came the “police” action in Korea, the Cold War with Russia and by the war in Vietnam. All of these were disturbing times. People with means built bomb shelters, vast expenditures on armament took away funds that could have been used to better our people and others around the world. I won’t say it was wrong, but usually after a war is ended there is a peace dividend. For all of the reasons listed above, no dividend was granted. Deficit spending increased year by year. We totally departed from any semblance of fiscal responsibility. When OPEC raised the cost of oil in 1973 from $4/barrel to $40/ barrel, the entire civilized world’s economies were thrown into disarray. Being the manager of a tire factory, I and others close to me were punished by this event. Before things settled down my company was nearly ruined. The installation of missiles into Cuba could have resulted in nuclear war. Desert Storm was a successful war against Iraq supported by many countries including Arab States. Then came 9/11 and a whole new chapter opened. Now we were at war with an enemy without borders, an idea, not a country. A new war was started which will cost in excess of one trillion dollars. All the while this is going on; China grew exponentially taking millions of jobs and industries from our country, creating astounding negative balances of trade. President Reagan had a number of accomplishments but one of them created the beginning of our current financial crisis. That was de-regulation, which was right to do, but corporations didn’t self police themselves as he had expected. As a result it has been deemed necessary to “bail” out huge mega banks to the tune of $700 billion dollars with more on the way.
This is where we find ourselves as President-elect Obama gets ready to accept the authority granted to him by the majority of voters in the last election. When he ran for this office, his theme was change. There were any number of issues he enumerated that were to be enacted, most of which I agreed with, which is why he received my vote. Now he will find that much of what he hoped to achieve will not be possible as he is forced to take our country deeper into debt, so deep I question whether it will ever be possible to regain solvency. Printing more and more dollars merely cheapens the currency in circulation now. I know it is worthless for me to suggest a course of action because my thoughts will never be seen except by those few I am in contact with. Never the less I feel compelled to try.
We have all seen the oratorical skills Obama possesses. I still believe that deep down most of us are patriots who would sacrifice if they believed it was for the common good. This is his time. He could, if he is willing to take the risk, be one of our all time greatest presidents, but to accomplish this he must be bold and include the best ideas from both parties. McCain didn’t lose on Republican ideas. He lost because the Republican Party has lost their ideals of limited, frugal government. I would like to see Obama incorporate the old time Republicanism with Democratic Party concerns for the working people and those in need. The following items are just a few thoughts to illustrate what I mean.

1- Reduce or eliminate entirely business tax for corporations and businesses in this country, at the same time increasing taxes on corporations doing business overseas. This would have the immediate effect of increasing jobs for Americans. The costs might balance out, but even if they didn’t, putting our people back to work with decent wages would be a good expenditure of funds, far better than the billion dollar giveaways to huge corporations. They would be able to fend for themselves rather than ask for handouts. It would probably have to be fazed in gradually so as not to disrupt the system, but if corporations realized it was happening they would adjust. Think about it. Wouldn’t this be better than the current policy of providing incentives to move our jobs offshore, and by this I don’t only mean manufacturing jobs but also service jobs?
2- Take over the cost of health care so that this unfair burden is removed from American or foreign businesses operating in our country. This again would greatly increase our competitive ability to compete.
3- With the first two enacted, jobs would be created in all fields of endeavor not just road and bridge repair. Most needing employment do not possess the skill or physical ability to perform these construction jobs.
4- Instead of appropriations for infrastructure use increased gasoline taxes instead. Give a corresponding tax deduction other ways to counter this increased burden. Only in this way will we ever wean ourselves from oil dependency.
5- Drill, drill, drill. This was the slogan for the other party. It was not wrong. High taxes is the reason the oil companies have searched the world over when it is well known there are proven reserves in Alaska, N. Dakota, Colorado and off shore. Most people are upset with the exorbitant profits of the oil industry so this will be a tough sell. To compensate merely increase their foreign taxes as stated in #1 above. I, of course, support all other forms of energy still in the beginning stages of being successful. Proper financial incentives will get them going in a hurry. It could be exciting to watch.
6- Enact strict regulations to curb the abuses in finance that triggered the current crisis. Break up the mega corporations to smaller less disruptive and powerful than are in existence today.
7- Remove all political positions from the agencies so that they will be free as they were, before this last administration, to carry out their mission as they were legislated to do.
8- Remove all signing statements President Bush added to legislation passed which had the effect of stating he could ignore if he felt it would restrict him from doing what he wanted.
9- Reverse the many anti environmental directives Pres. Bush has enacted which are detrimental to preserving our wilderness, wildlife and environment. He has been pushing hard these last few months to reward the fat cats who benefit from degradation.

I could go on but when you try to do too much it all gets lost so I will end here except to say, please bring our troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan as soon as possible.

Jack B. Walters
3961 N. Hillwood Circle
Tucson, AZ 85750
(520) 722-2958
January 15, 2009

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