What Americans Want?

When you hear a politician, Congressperson or Senator use this phrase, it oftentimes is followed by extreme rhetoric rather than more reasonable discourse. It is standard phrasing for people who have tended to not do their homework. So, usually I am skeptical of the next sentence following this phrase.

Whether it is Senator McConnell, Senator Reid, Speaker Boehner or Congresswoman Pelosi matters not. Senator DeMint used this phrase again yesterday before he recommended severely gutting programs that would help people in need. This phrase was used on both sides of the political spectrum when the Super Committee on Deficit Reduction failed to the do their job over the past few months.

I cannot speak for the American people, but the legitimate polls I have seen reports on or read about tend to say the American people are extremely dissatisfied with Congress and say the number one issue by far is the economy. To state the obvious, Congress includes all 535 people representing their states – Democrats, Republicans and Independents. It is a collective failure and I look to their leaders on both sides to find a remedy. It also includes the White House as well, so the President needs to be included in the mix.

The other issue that the polls say Americans want addressed is the economy. That does not mean spending time deciding on whether “In God We Trust” is our motto or pushing forward pet issues on either side of the aisle. It means we want our leaders to discuss openly and constructively how can we get the economy moving again and how can we create jobs for our unemployed citizens.

This American would like our leaders to do their jobs rather than worry about keeping their jobs. I do not care where the idea comes from, but good ideas need to be solicited, welcomed and discussed. Oftentimes in brainstorming sessions, the most elegant idea is the not the first one thrown out – it may be the one spawned by an idea mentioned by someone else. I do not care who gets credit for the idea. I do not remember the source, but I read once that a great leader actually defers credit to others. The one who wants to show others it is his or her idea would run counter to that premise.

Brainstorming is a collaboration of ideas and idea creation. The art of collaboration holds the keys to our problem-solving. Those who do not collaborate are being short-sighted and may be missing out on the best solutions. So, when I see the lack of collaboration or when pundits advocate for such, we need to kindly ignore them and restate that a vital part of the job of our leaders is to do just that – collaborate. At least that is what this American wants.

5 thoughts on “What Americans Want?

  1. The problem with that is that the government, by and large, can’t create jobs. They can only stand out of the way and let industry do so. And that’s just not a statement that a politician can make, now is it?

    • Jonolan, thanks for your comments. For the most part, what you say is true. Yet, the solutions that are long term in nature where the need to make a business scalable, there is a history of private/ public partnerships to get this done. A good example in front of us are renewable forms of energy. Solar energy is currently less cost effective, but we must strive for ways to make it scalable. We also have to make wind, the various forms of hydro energy (ocean and river currents, e.g.) more scalable and rely less on nonrenewable sources. Also, say what you want about the GM bailout, but that saved over 1 million jobs. If GM went down, the echo effect would have been debilitating. This is why I harp on collaborations.

      • Wind and solar are both going to take serious scientific breakthroughs in order to make them actually viable – if we continue to prop up centralized installation power generation. Propping up the companies use those techs now is just going to waste taxpayers’ money.

        That’s pretty much what private-public partnerships do. They prop up politically viable but commercially worthless businesses and the subsidies never go away. Look at “Big Oil.” Look at “Big Agro.”

        As for GM – It would have hurt a lot for them to go under but I think it should have been allowed to happen. By bailing them out we told GM and the UAW that they both had a license to be irresponsible and stupid, just like the banks.

        Do you think that they’ll fail to learn that lesson?

        Also, be very careful about public-private collaborations. Down that same road is Italian Fascism and the eventual state control by proxy of all major economic segments.

      • Good comments and I appreciate your perspective. Thanks for sharing. I am all about ROI, so I want mutual investments to succeed. Like you, I am not in favor of political sponsorship of efforts. I do know American business is being left behind in the alternative energy investment, yet we need to invest there to make the viable solutions more affordable. Having worked in business for 32 years, they will tend to be less patient about longer term investments, as the shareholders want accretive earnings sooner and CEOs get fired if earnings targets are not achieved. On the GM investment, I see your points, but if we let an icon like that fail, it would have been very damaging to America and all the related jobs. I am no fan of GM, as they built poor cars in the 1970’s and could have dominated the electric car market back in 2003, so part of me would have said they deserved what happened.

      • I too am strongly focused on ROI but I may be taking a longer view than you are, which is interesting since you brought up the issue of short term thinking by investors (A Huge Problem).

        I really worry about the, shall we say, TCO incurred by America for buying the continuance of these failing companies. In the short term it might look like a good investment but what happens in the long term?

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