Home > posts > It’s the (Grand) Narrative, Stupid
February 14th, 2010 5:19 pm
It’s the (Grand) Narrative, Stupid

John Ellis (no relation) has a terrific op-ed today at Real Clear Politics. Taking a step (or rather, several steps) back from tactical issues like how Democrats can better communicate their policies, or which Republican newcomer is best suited to run for president, Ellis points his rhetorical finger at the real issue driving Tea Party-type angst. He labels it a two step issue: the Reckoning and the Restructuring. The first is confronting the mountain of national debt and spending; the second is deciding how to get it under control. On the latter point, Ellis has some thought provoking comments.

The Reckoning requires restructuring. Restructuring is not avoidable, it is inevitable. The sooner we do it, the less painful it will be for all concerned. Specifically, we must decide how to make our pension system (Social Security) and our current national health care system (Medicare and Medicaid) sustainable. We must restructure our debt. We must get 15% more performance out of our military on 15% less budget. We must get 25% more performance out of all other government services on 25% less expenditure.

In addition, we need to think about what taxes to raise, whether we sell land, whether we acquire nation-states or territories (Africa states? Siberian land?), whether we merge with Canada to form a more robust (and energy independent) mega-nation. These are the big issues of US restructuring. And they are all on the table.

Except they are not. The Obama Administration keeps talking at us like its 1998 and we can have a “green” jobs program and national health insurance and “cap and trade” legislation and $250 million criminal proceedings for homicidal Islamic psychopaths in downtown Manhattan. We don’t have $250 million for the KSM trial in Manhattan. Everybody knows that except, apparently, the Obama Administration.

Putting aside merging with Canada or national annexation, the absence of this kind of serious discussion is unworthy of a president who sees himself as an historic figure willing to be a one-term executive if it means accomplishing something great (and hard). Taking on the Reckoning and the Restructuring would certainly qualify.

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