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Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014

Few embrace report findings

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

When the floods, the hurricanes and bin Laden fade from the news - as they will - we will return to the political dialogue of addressing a flawed economic model that threatens the very foundation of this country.

Trying hard to avoid the obvious political rhetoric, this economic tsunami has been long in the making. Blame it on wars or terrorists or bad decisions, it matters less how we got here than it does on how we are going to solve this issue.

I took time recently to review the Moment of Truth, the document outlined by the President's Deficit Reduction Commission, in their final report on the state of the economy. I held high hopes that this blue-ribbon group could cut through the politics and face our urgent needs.

And to their great credit, this Simpson-Bowles Commission did just that.

But alas, few were eager to embrace their recommendations.

To me this illustrates two truths about our government: first, nothing of substance can or will be done in a political campaign environment; and second, the value of commissions of any sort is highly overrated because more often than not, their findings are universally ignored.

And by the way, that often applies to commissions at all levels including local government.

To solve the growing issue of Social Security, the Simpson-Bowles Commission had two substantial recommendations - first, slowly over time increase the age of eligibility for Social Security and, second, tax more income for Social Security above the current level.

Now to me, these are common sense, logical recommendations. And if implemented, they would assure the solvency of SS for our future.

Yet instead of seizing the opportunity to solve a problem, their recommendation gathers dust.

Why is that so?

Here's the pressing issue that must be addressed during the 2012 campaign: give us specifics on how to address this economy instead of some generic raising of taxes and reduction in spending. Put true numbers and honest proposals and let the American public decide.

Though it may be political suicide to threaten cuts in dearly-held programs, it will take that level of leadership to make those tough decisions for the future of this country.

If the President and his cohorts want to talk "shared sacrifice" let's just make certain that we all share in the pain in some equitable fashion.

Michael Jensen
Michael Jensen