August 7, 2011

Here's the way forward - step one

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With a downgrade of the nation's credit rating, the reverberations are being felt around the world.  Israel's stock market nosedived, China is saying the world will abandon the dollar, and all eyes are turning to the Asian markets for Monday morning to see how bad the bleeding is going to be.  Standard and Poors says there's a 1 in 3 chance another downgrade will occur in the next 2 years from AA+ to AA.  In light of that frenzied panic, and/or coming panic for some, certain things are going to have to happen at this potential inflection point in American history.

Firstly, the people of the United States have to do a gut check and determine if they want to continue to be the world's preeminent superpower or allow the accelerating decline of geo-political power and their own standard of living into a European also-ran status.  Unfortunately, not all Americans realize they are at this moment of choosing.  Far too many believe everything will be okay and the people in charge will get things under control.  If you are reading this you probably already realize that's far from being the case.

So what are the next steps?

Mobilize.  We need to make sure that everyone understands the situation and votes accordingly next year, and also works towards keeping the feet of the Congress and the president to the fire right now.

Those of us aware of the issues need to change our focus from arguing about who the best GOP candidate is, or arguing about the latest Democrat talking point being ridiculous.  All of our efforts need to focus hard and fast on finding those who are ill-informed and explaining to them what is at stake and what the fate of the nation as a result of inaction and complacency will be.  Perhaps all of us aren't all that skilled in the art of persuasion, and dialogue and perhaps even all of the intricacies of what needs to be discussed.  If you aren't brush up on them.  Yes, I'm asking you to do work, but this is about the future of what has been the greatest nation in history on the face of the earth as far as liberty and justice and opportunity for all it's people.  This is bigger than just the nation, this is about the future of humanity.  

Without the continued strength of the United States, there is a true possibility of a global degeneration into another dark age.  That is no overstatement - with despotism and freedom eschewing nations around the globe, the United States as an also-ran is  the death knell of liberty.  Here's a concrete example, there's an easy path for the United States to solve a couple of problems simultaneously.  With the balance of trade so negative, with jobs off-shored at an alarming rate and unemployment so high, with a deadened demand and consumer debt so high, why not take a huge step back from free trade 'temporarily' and start imposing massive tariffs on imported goods?  Stop buying cars from Japan, stop buying oil from the Middle East and drilling domestically, and stop buying pencils and coffee makers from China and start making them here in America?

That sounds like a plausible short term solution to get things back in balance, right?  It would lower the balance of trade, it would require companies to hire to meet the unfulfilled demand and it would put the unemployed back to work and spur demand and strengthen GDP.  That sounds awfully good, doesn't it?  No downside?  Well, there is the problem that consumer choice is limited.  There is no incentive to be competitive and build better products at better prices because the industries are protected from competition.  It impacts prices causing them to be generally higher and that ultimately impacts demand.  In other words, free trade helps America in particular and the world in general.  So without a strong voice for rational decision making - one that understands long term and unintended consequences - things here would devolve into a legislative environment driven by fear and protectionism.  That example has worldwide implications as well as domestic ones.  Worldwide, the economy minus an engaged America would be characterized by chaos and a spiral of protectionism elsewhere.  Domestically, an environment of protectionism serves those who hold the wealth by helping them protect their own stockpiles at the expense of others. 

As an aside, wealth redistribution is not a bad thing - as long as it happens naturally, and not by government dictate.  That's where Obama got it wrong.

Getting back to the next steps, conservatives need to engage independents and the disengaged in general.  We need to approach them with a solid case on why the debt matters, without hyperbole but a solid explanation that the consequences of these times are very, very serious.  We need to lay the groundwork now for a broader mobilized rational electorate in 2012, and we need to start doing it right now.

That leads to the next step (two) of engaging for victory next year, and laying the groundwork for the conditions for the turnaround that is required.  The turnaround itself is step 3.  You don't start a race at the finish line.  Get engaged, get organized and get to work.  Do it locally.  If you can change one or two votes now, you are making a bigger difference than you know.

Just do it.

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