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Tom Finneran: What Romney and Obama Must Show the American People

Friday, September 07, 2012


Tom Finneran, GoLocalWorcester MINDSETTER™

The Republican National Committee’s convention in Tampa is now in our rearview mirror. The Democratic National Committee’s convention is alive and kicking in Charlotte. Labor Day has come and gone, students have returned to school, and vacationing adults are heading back to the salt mines. Political thoughts—and questions—begin to take shape.

Here’s a September questionnaire for the candidates:

1) Can Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan embrace aggressive spending plans for NASA (space exploration), the NIH ( fundamental health science), FDA (food and drug safety reviews and approvals), and renewable energy?

The common thread in these areas is to push the boundaries of science in pursuit of America’s economic interests. We, the American people, should be the masters of all science. The private sector avoids these fields, due to enormous cost, until new discoveries begin to emerge and then they pounce to apply that new knowledge to improvements in our lives.

It’s the right balance—government spending on fundamental scientific research begets scientific discovery, and the private sector brings those discoveries to bear in the marketplace. Consider NASA and the race for space against the former Soviet Union. Consider also the Manhattan Project of World War II. Consider computers, communications, and medicines, along with a myriad of things that have transformed our lives and our nation’s place in the world.

2) Can Barack Obama and Joe Biden acknowledge that annual federal budgets which must borrow 40% of the total annual outlay are appallingly reckless?

Can they further acknowledge that the elimination of these deficits cannot, politically, and should not, economically, be accomplished by raising tax rates? Can they, will they, reduce spending………ever?

3) Can Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan promise to lead a search and destroy mission on the corporate welfare loaded in the federal budget and federal tax code?

Yes, the phrase “corporate welfare” is subjective and therefore somewhat in the eye of the beholder. Apparently ethanol subsidies are urgent and divine national priorities in Iowa. How about the interests of the other 49 states?

In fact, my gut tells me that Mitt Romney might be particularly well-suited to this task. His business record shows an ability to separate hard fact from feel-good fiction. And, to the extent that he can be aggressively successful in this effort, he could reduce our annual deficit or reduce corporate tax rates. Either outcome is preferable to the corporate welfare we ladle out each year.

4) Can Barack Obama and Joe Biden take a page or two from Newt Gingrich’s idea of changing the EPA to the Dept. of Environmental Solutions?

The mission, and therefore the mindset, of the EPA is to protect our nation’s land, air, water, and natural resources. Certainly it’s a noble goal, and the EPA has done much that is good for the nation. All of us are the clear beneficiaries of the EPA’s vigilance. However, more and more frequently, the EPA mindset reflects an overt hostility to economic growth.

Basic public infrastructure projects are held up for years and years at a time. Private projects have environmental mitigation measures piled on them so steeply that the projects simply wither on the vine. When there is no investment there is no growth. And no growth means no jobs. Are we incapable of finding a balance between environmental protection and economic growth?

The President’s “shovel ready projects” really weren’t shovel-ready because it takes forever to get a permit to simply pour a piling. The President should have Newt come over for a friendly chat, or maybe even a Cabinet appointment on this issue.

An extra credit question for the candidates is a shared one, and you can play too. Give us your favorite civilian definition of a trillion dollars, and put it into the context of the federal budget—i.e.—you could spend more than 416 billion dollars in an hour, for an entire day (24 hours) and still have plenty of money for lunch.

Or, you could spend more than 6 billion dollars each minute of that same day and still do some fine and fancy dining.

The word trillion is far too easy to say and much more difficult to fully comprehend. So I’ll say it this way—we are screwing our kids and our country. Our debt and deficits are a national scandal written by hundreds of millions of alleged adults. One of these two candidates must take it on more honestly than they have thus far. If they don’t, you can turn out the lights for America.

I’m doing long division on these calculations while visiting someone in the hospital and there are so many zeroes on the paper that I’m quickly losing track. Check my work and let me know how I did. And pray for your country. 


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