An Open Letter to My Son

I have been in and around politics for the better part of two decades but a father for less than two years.   In that short time there has not been a day gone by when I have not felt as though I have failed my son as a parent – that I have done enough to alleviate the crushing debt being heaped upon his generation and those yet to be born.

 
In a broad sense, what both parties are doing regarding our fiscal situation is both immoral and unconscionable.  I know the political game well and have seen it from the inside for a very long time.  As such, I know as much as anyone in the business about strategy, messaging and how to navigate political and policy minefields.  I expect I’ll take some heat from my friends for this posting but that won’t bother me in the least.  What we are doing is wrong and we must stop going down the path on which we are traveling.

 
As it now stands, the voters are equally to blame for the fiscal landscape.  While we talk a good game about the “need to rein in spending” our actions often tell a different story.  Over the past year or so we have witnessed a renewed focus tackling the national debt but when it comes to the difficult work of dealing with entitlement reform there appears to be no room for courage – political or otherwise.  Why should we expect our elected officials to show backbone in presenting innovative and out-of-the-box solutions when we, the electorate, have an “anyone but me” attitude?

 
Until the electorate, candidates and policymakers get serious about dealing with entitlements; Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, defense and interest on the national debt we are only nibbling around the edges.  Although there are always areas where discretionary spending can be reduced, it means nothing if we as a country don’t grow up and tackle the crumbling foundations upon which our fiscal imbalance has been built.

To my young son, I am truly sorry what we are doing to you and your generation.  You don’t owe us a thing.  We, on the other hand, owe you a responsible approach to a seemingly impossible situation.  However, there are no unbeatable odds.

 
The daunting challenge before us is not about individual agendas or political gamesmanship.  My generation needs to do more than talk a good game.  We have to stand up, make the difficult decisions and stop mortgaging our children and grandchildren’s future.

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6 thoughts on “An Open Letter to My Son

  1. We have become a “I want it so will have it at any cost” society. My theory for me and my family has always been, “you want it?~work for it and pay cash for it.” This attitude itself would help pull America up by the bootstraps and get back to work.

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  2. Amen to that, Dave. I would add that in addition to cutting spending (the first response), we should also look at ways to encourage development and growth. If we can find ways to let businesses grow, rather than inventing ways to hold them back, then we can increase revenue. Stop spending-cut the outflow, and encourage growth-increase income.

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  3. Enjoyed your post, Dave. My husband and I have been talking about the willingness to endure the discomfort of fixing our country’s fiscal problems. Here in Montana, we have no sales tax. Instead our property taxes are outrageous, etc. It’s a hot button topic for the state’s governor race and to native Montanans a sales tax is horrendous. Coming from Minnesota and DC, sales tax is not a turn off for me. I would even be willing to see a 1% national sales tax in order to work away at our $16 Trillion debt – people can contribute relative to their consumerism. Since having our son (who will be 2 yrs in January) we, too, are thinking beyond our lifetime.

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