Secondly, as reported by the New York Times on Feb. 16th, there is an interesting response of congress to "paying for" the impending payroll tax cuts: "The measure would be a rare instance of the government compensating private companies with the proceeds from an auction of public property — broadcast licenses — once given free."
When we have a need for congress to do their most fundamental job in attempting to negotiate a solution, their solution is for both parties to avoid the pitfalls within their respective constituent groups and now step into a private market to sell a "product" that has always been free...never mind the fact that even though the "market value" of this product won't be verified for 1 to 2 years (we only know what it is worth when someone is willing to buy) and the govt is calling these payroll tax extensions "paid for" right now.
Thirdly, it looks like America will hit the debt ceiling again, but with some debate as to when, but it appears to be around august. Folks, the debt level IS NOT SUSTAINABLE. Part of my focus at Harvard Business School and Harvard Kennedy School of Govt is finance. We must have a real solution...but to date we just have members of congress (republicans included) who won't get our spending under control
And just for fun...the Senate haven't passed a budget, in quite a long time...even though that is specifically there job.
Just to summarize where we are:
- When we lose trillions of dollars of investments in the financial crisis, very little is done Dodd Frank), and no one is prosecuted.
- We still don't have a budget to fix our unsustainable levels of debt...even though that is the Senates job.
- The Payroll Tax Cut problem was "solved" by govt stepping into what appears to be a private market to "sell" a product which will theoretically raise most of the necessary funds...in 1 to 2 years
- We will likely hit our debt ceiling before the election, perhaps in August. Then what???
We desperately need a reality check in Washington. Fake finance is fake finance. Smoke and mirrors will ultimately reflect empty space. They are touting bipartisan work, but they actually haven't created any real value...they are only projecting value. I can't build a business plan on those type of assumptions. I certainly would take someone else's money on that bet.
Keep in mind for those that would like to blame "liberals" that this "solution" for the payroll tax / long term enemployment benefits funding "solution" was created by both parties in congress. Unfortunately, our congress is deadlocked. I'm not in those meetings, I don't know specifically what the other options are, but I have a hard time not looking at this as another example of empty budgetary gesture. Theoretically the benefits need is paid for something that may receive the hoped for value which will be realized in 1 to 2 years...and that pays for hard numbers today.
We elect representatives to work together to make a decisions about what should or should not be govt business, and then execute that business while stewarding American tax dollars well.
Among my colleagues at Harvard, from both Democratic and Republican party, we share the sentiment that we just want to get things done.
America needs a generation of policy makers (not politicians) who aren't as concerned with getting re-elected as they are for doing their best for their constituents and our country. Notice I said OUR country. Our country holds dreams for people all along the political spectrum.
I think most of our parents have sat out while other people ran for office, while for the most part doing nothing about it. It was fun to blame politicians (still is), but I think if you are reading this, you care enough to take action. Please find something that aligns with your political beliefs, roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty.
My Mom can barely stand it that I've always voted Republican and that I'm very conservative. My dad could hardly believe it before he passed away, but we did agree that the point was to work together (both parties) to get the job done well.
I believe in the creativity of Americans, particularly from those in college. Get creative, find your voice, and look for where you can help.
If I can help you, please let me know. I will do my best.
President, Harvard Tea Party at Harvard Kennedy School