As the field of potential presidential candidates rounds out for the 2016 election, we at Chartwell West wanted to offer an early endorsement to our candidate. This candidate comes not from a specific party and holds no specific ideological outlook. Instead, this candidate will come with an outcomes based plan to address five strategic initiatives. To give credit where credit is due, three of these come directly from The No Labels National Strategic Agenda. No Labels (www.nolabels.org) is a movement aimed at bi-partisan, results based government action. Their concept of a results based strategic agenda is important. It’s important because effective organizations have outcomes based goals that guide their long-term strategies. Ask any Fortune 100 company executive leader what their strategic initiatives are and they will rattle them off without hesitation. I know I can name mine because it’s what I organize my thoughts and work around. Like successful corporations, the federal government is an important organization and important organizations are clear on what their priorities are. I don’t mean to minimize the power of being principled and let ideology influence your opinions. But if that’s all you have and you bring no real substance to the table on how to fix these important problems, than you have not sufficiently stated your case for candidacy. Here they are, in no significant order:
Create 25 Million new jobs over the next ten years: The economy of making things is dead. The economy of doing things is fast upon us. As the earth cooled after the violent destruction of the great recession, we’ve awoken to realize that many jobs that previously existed are never coming back. The good news is, we’re quickly approaching the science fiction future that we all assumed would be here by now so there’s a lot of new industry on its way. If you are the head the executive branch in our country, you are on the hook for this. We’re less interested on your principled view of how the economy works and more interested in an outcomes based plan. China has to come up with 10 million jobs a year. You are on the hook for 2.5. That seems fair.
Balance the federal budget by 2030: People live a lot longer than they used to but can’t work a whole lot longer than they used to. This is a fact. Medical care that didn’t exist 20 years ago does now and it costs money. This is a fact. Pensions no longer exist and we presently are the only military power on the planet capable of effecting stability in regions other than our own. These are two more facts. This last one is also a fact. Our effective personal and corporate tax rates are lower than they have been in over 35 years. Consequently, our budget is not balanced. Top down economics, bottom up economics, that argument doesn’t matter. Not overnight, but within the next few decades balance the budget. We need to start talking about the math behind it and not just the principles. Principles are good, but model it out and set a goal to execute like any other institution that cares if it is fiscally viable does.
Make America energy secure for another 75 years: Being dependent on another sovereign country to keep the lights on in your sovereign country is a lot like being in debt to the mob. It makes you do strange things that you wouldn’t do if you weren’t in that situation. In July of 1941 we froze all Japanese assets in the United States. We had a good reason. They were invading other sovereign countries in Asia. The result was that we deprived Japan of 88% of their oil. Which was a problem for them so they started a war with the most capable industrial power the world has ever seen. Because being dependent on another country for energy makes you do stupid things. I have personally spent years of my life in the Middle East as a part of the blunt instrument of our foreign policy. Some of those policies were without question influenced by our dependence on foreign energy. So lets fix that and get back to making decisions independent of where we get our energy.
Secure entitlements for 75 years. This is Social Security and Medicare. It also includes health care in general. In 1935 the life expectancy of a human being in America was 62 years old. It is presently 79 years old. That’s an increase of 17 years. During that same time, we have increased the full retirement age for Social Security a whopping two years. Since the average person actually died 3 years before they were able to receive full retirement benefits when we created the bill, and now they live a full 12 years, on average after full retirement we have an increase of…..well, infinity….mathematically speaking. So something has to change. As for healthcare, it saves more lives annually than the police, fire and public safety services combined. 200 years ago, or so, when we were setting the norms for what we expected our government to provide, if we had anything that resembled our modern capabilities to heal and prolong life, we wouldn’t be having this debate today. If you’re not a fan of Obama-care, fine. Give me an alternative. But people get healthcare. Non-optional.
Eliminate Areas of Urban Neglect by 2025: We have parts of our cities that have no place in a first world country. I’m not talking about your garden-variety poor neighborhoods. I’m talking about places that most of America would not actually believe existed unless they saw it with their own eyes. And most never do. Places like Sandtown-Winchester on Baltimore’s west side; Freddie Gray’s neighborhood to be exact. Areas like the U Street Corridor before it was rebuilt less than a decade ago were burned out in the race riots after the assassination of Dr. King. That’s right, 1968. We have neighborhoods still burned out since the race riots of 1968. The consequences of this institutional decay are exhaustive. In Baltimore an estimated 30,000 people are suffering from lead poisoning because they still have lead paint falling off the walls of the row houses that no one thinks people still live in. Freddie Gray was one of them. I call out lead poisoning not as a root cause for social strife, but as an unacceptable phenomenon in modern America. My father taught in a neighborhood like this in North Philadelphia. He took me to work with him one day when I was 13. I wouldn’t see that level of physical and societal decay again until I served in war zones in Iraq and Africa. This isn’t singularly about crime, education or employment. This is about areas that have been left behind by our country and beyond the capacity of local or state governments to fix.
These are not easy problems to solve. But they are the problems we have. Clearly, the other branches of our government will have to cooperate in order to accomplish them. But here’s the honest truth. Over $7 billion was spent on the 2012 presidential election. Is it asking too much for a candidate to invest in something other then rhetoric? Is it too much to expect for a candidate to have a detailed plan on how they would address our serious problems.? The answer is no. So here’s to our candidate. The one who does just that.