Op Ed: Peter Pinkham shares his thoughts with NHJ readers

I’ve watched the performance of our elected representatives over this past year with the growing feeling that they are incapable of saving this country from disaster. Both Democrats and Republicans can find nothing more constructive to do than blame each other for what’s gone wrong instead of working on a plan that will get us back on track. I am deeply disappointed with the performance of those in office at this critical time.

Many economists say we’re headed for complete collapse. Measures to avoid it are said only to make it worse. In fact, there seems to be no way this country is going to stage a recovery, and switch the voices from negative to positive, unless ordinary people make themselves heard loud enough to overcome the political squabbling. That means the (impossible?) task of getting together Independents and those Republicans and Democrats that are also disappointed with what’s been going on, and see if we can’t agree on a few simple steps to get the country back on track. We would need to show flexibility rather than posturing. I am not a politician (6 years selectman and 4 years town moderator in the Town of Conway, NH are my limit) and am not the one to draw up the steps to be taken. However, should they not include the following?

1) Jobs. This may be the most difficult place to start, but without more of them we don’t recover.

2) That means finding a way to encourage small businesses (which account for some 64% of the total business in our country), to give them the confidence to expand and add jobs.

3) To obtain funds to do this, either adopt a flat tax, or at minimum remove the ways high income people have of avoiding taxes. According to a recent mailing, nearly 47% of people earning $250,000 or more pay zero taxes. Even if the writer is off by some percentage points, the fact is there are a lot of dollars not being taxed (and income derived), as even wealthy individuals like Warren Buffett say they should be.
4) Bring back jobs that have fled the country by cutting taxes on the larger firms (the second highest corporate taxes in the world) so they will be encouraged to move back and hire in this country, rather than moving to a low tax haven as so many have, taking the jobs with them. Firms that are still based in the U, S. would also be more comfortable expanding. Yes, some executives will just pay themselves a lot more money instead of expanding the economy. But see paragraph (3) above

5) Stabilize Social Security by increasing the income taxed for it to (say) $1,000,000 – perhaps over a period of time if necessary.

6) Don’t get tied up with side issues or personalities. Stick to the goal of recovery.

Does this make sense? How does one start such a movement? Are there New Englanders of like mind, respected in their home states who would write letters to the media in their area on such a simple, constructive plan? And perhaps circularize a petition with the outline of that plan? In NH, if such obtained a substantial number of signatures it could go not only to politicians, but the campaigners, Face book, and the other social media. With the current mood of most voters, might it balloon to where it could not be ignored by Washington?

Is this all pie in the sky? Can we make a difference? If we can’t, maybe there’s a lot less hope of recovery anytime soon.

Peter Pinkham
North Conway, NH

Author: Peter Pinkham

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