The Pocketbook Issue

The mid-term elections are fast approaching. And, as with SOME of our candidates, the campaign rhetoric is long on generalities and criticisms but short on specifics and lacking in solutions. And in signs of early despair, the campaigns are going negative quickly. The American public is wiser than that and they deserve better than that. Americans are looking for intelligent discussion of the issues, concrete proposals and useful strategies to unlock hopeful future possibilities.

Most assuredly, there are a number of hard hitting issues on the minds of most Americans. To name a few, let us hear plans for protecting Americans against terrorists and winning the frightening war against Islamic radicalism and terrorism. Let us hear concrete proposals for providing the adequacy of affordable health care and meeting the needs of the shortage of health care providers. Where are the workable formulas for safeguarding Social Security, building excellence in our educational institutions, and instilling integrity in our judicial system? What we DO hear from some is, "soft on terrorism" rhetoric and moral equivalence rather than moral clarity. Then, there are those who propose tax and spend as their so called economic strategies. There are some candidates who call for increasing taxes, expanding government regulations and increased entitlement spending as their strategic plan for the expansion of a solid economic base for economic growth. Now that is voodoo economic theory.

In our last column we dealt with the Social Security issue. Today, we probe into the economic growth issue. And within the next several weeks, your columnists will deal with other pressing issues as we see them.

People at work are what bring vibrancy to our economy. Nearly 144.3 million people are employed in America today. 128,000 new jobs were created in August of this year and our economy created more than 1.7 million jobs over the past year. And more than 5.7 million new jobs were created since August, 2003. Our economy has now added jobs for 36 straight months. What a credit to the American work force and to the American economy! Recently, we have heard much about how Americans are hated and despised. Is it because Americans are working?

Our economy remains strong. Employment increased in 48 states over the past 12 month. And over the first half of this year, our economy grew at a strong 4.2 percent annual rate. Productivity has grown at 2.4 percent over the past four quarters. That is well ahead of average productivity growth in the last three decades and that is faster then any other major industrialized Country in the world.

Our economic growth is the strongest in the world. Per capita disposable income has risen 9.2 percent in real terms since 2001. Total wage and salary income increased at an annual rate of 3.3 percent and manufacturing production has risen 5.6 percent over the past 12 months. These figurers are phenomenal. These historic economic events only occurs when there are provisions to make it happen and a strategy for its continuance.

Where is the campaign rhetoric when dealing with economic issues and safeguarding economic growth? The economy grows when Americans have more of their own money in their pockets to save, spend, or invest. Cutting taxes on capital gains and dividends and creating new incentives for small business as well as reducing income taxes for every American are significant places to start.

Further, we suggest that our candidates in their dialogue suggest ways to control spending. Passage of the line-item veto, which would allow the President to target wasteful pork barrel spending in large bills, is a place to start. We believe, too, that America can compete economically with any nation as long as the rules are fair. We must look at expanding free trade and lowering trade barriers to the sale of U.S. goods and services. And we must reduce our dependence on energy from abroad, tap into our own sources of natural energy and promote alternatives to oil. Where do our candidates stand on these issues?

And silent also is the campaign rhetoric on frivolous lawsuits, tort reform, and excessive jury awards. There is no question, but that the excesses in jury awards alone have a way of limiting access to health care by driving providers out of many communities and increasing patient costs by forcing physicians to practice defensive medicine. Medical liability reform is a must. In its absence, harmful damage is occurring to the economic vibrancy of our Country and to the physical health and well being of Americans everywhere.

In light of all of our concerns above, and along with falling gas prices at the pump, the American economy is strong and vibrant. Particularly in light of the fact that the vast majority of Americans have faced with dignity horrific natural disasters such as Katrina, the terrors of 9/11, huge defense against the forces who have designs to annihilate us, excessive discretionary spending and runaway entitlements. Where else but in America with its free enterprise system can one face such demands and yet show such remarkable growth and surging economic vibrancy? Thanks to the rank and file freedom-loving American people! And, by the way, the American public does have a right to know where the candidates stand proactively not just reactively on these and other issues. That is how we see it FROM OUR PERSPECTIVE.