Thursday, July 17, 2014

Towards.... a New Day

Of course, you ought to know I am getting old and some might even say, senile.  But I vividly remember those days when people really cared for one another - more than just a posting on FaceBook, or Tweeting, or whatever form of "communication" seems to be popular these days.  There are times when I recall those ancient comments about the pending fall of Rome - and others, and wonder, does anyone realize, that unless we get serious about our tomorrows, the life we leave behind could become a torment to the next generation?

Enough, I don't like to complain but I really was disturbed when I forwarded a reference to our future with possibilities and realized, no one responded.  OK, they didn't understand my interest.  For the next few days, I plan on copying the quotes I forwarded and offering my response.  It might be like standing up against a wall and allowing others to shoot at me, but that's OK as well .  Let's see if we can get started on some serious debating.

The reference I forwarded came from the Hoover Daily Report ( under the heading, "Ideas for Renewing American Prosperity".  First up is a voice that used to be heard with regularity in a time when our leaders were actually serious about our future, yours and my offspring.  I have been amazed about George Shultz since the days when he was heading up one of the several divisions of the Bechtel Corporation in California.  I was in recruiting at the time and had an applicant who had just returned from the Middle East where he had held responsible positions with two major engineering firms.  I had no idea who George Shultz might become, but on the day when we talked about possibilities for my candidate, he was most gracious and a careful listener as I related the items on my applicant's resume that I thought might interest Bechtel.  At that time, there was no interest, but he let me have his personal office phone number in case I had others that I thought might qualify.  Then, of course, he went on to greater opportunities.  Now, let's review what he has had to say recently

"Let's get back to governing in the way called for in our Constitution.  In the executive branch, this means the President governs through people who are confirmed by the Senate and can be called upon to testify by the House or the Senate at any time.  They are accountable people.

Right now, the White House is full of unconfirmed and unaccountable people responsible for various subjects and all too often, the cabinet officers work through them.  The right way is for the President to regard his cabinet as part of his staff.  That way, you have access to the career people - something unavailable to White House staff.  I have had the privilege of leading four units of government and, believe me, when you work with career people, they will work with you and they have lots to offer. Among other things, management will improve, something that is sorely needed today.  Of course, for the system to work, Presidential slots must be filled, so the Senate should give nominees a prompt up or down vote.

Don't you think it's about time Congress lived up to its Constitutional duties derived from the power of the purse.  Continuing resolutions are a total cop out.   The way to build a budget is to set a framework and then work from the bottom up.  Hold hearings, understand what the departments and agencies are doing, and help set priorities.  That way, the budget will be up-to-date, and such a process, which in large part is operational in character, will get everyone into more of a problem-solving mode.  So, better budgeting will also reduce knee-jerk partisanship. 

Our country's prosperity and self-confidence will improve when when we see an Executive branch that can set sensible policies and execute them: management matters.  And we will be better off f Congress does the hard work involved in executing the power of the purse."

OK, let's hear come Sherwood-speak.  As I typed those words, my mind went back to the days when we had some actual "debates" on the power of the Presidency vs. the accountability of the Congress. We used to elect a President on the basis of his popularity and a Congress by their pre-determined interest in representing the people of their State or district.  It should be obvious that it is not the people who are uppermost in the minds of our legislators, but the dictates of their political persuasions.  We have a President elected by the so-called liberal Democrats and a Congress yearning to make certain he is the last of his kind.  I used to think it. was a racial issue, but as we see more and more minorities being elected to the Congress, I have the feeling that race is no longer a factor.

Shultz makes a valid point.  The Congress should give the President a prompt "up or down" vote on his nominees.  That has not been the case, regarding many of his appointees.  This, in my opinion, is why we have the impasse.  The President recognizing his responsibilities has had few, if any, other options. I admit, I am prejudiced in favor of the President for far more reasons that just the impasse with this Congress, but my reasoning has more to do with the intransigence of the Congress.  As soon as his opponents get wind of a probable nomination, sheer politics takes over.

I would like to point out that this President inherited a deficit unheard of in our history and within the six years he has held office, we are well on our way to a full recovery and the future seems brighter than at any time in our history, but I won't.  And I expect you will respect my decision.

I am listening....

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