America’s history is filled with successful compromise. That’s what makes our country so great. People of different backgrounds, experiences, ideas, and opinions coming together to debate and decide on the best path forward. And while I’m not naive, or remotely suggesting that the big decisions we’ve made in the past have been easy, I am saying that we seem to have been able to place country first. One of the most memorable quotes of all times that illustrates the importance of country first, came when Herb Brooks, the coach of the 1980 U.S. Men’s Hockey team said to his team, remember, “the name on the front (of the jersey) is a hell of a lot more important than the one on the back.” If we start with that premise, believe it, and embrace it we can begin to work toward better outcomes.
Here are 3 ideas that could help us focus on getting big things accomplished that will help the United States move forward:
- Re-define essential. A quick trip back to review our Constitution suggests that there are certain things our government must provide. Use those items as the starting point in defining what must be considered “essential” when negotiating in and with Congress. The only truly essential guarantee referenced within the Preamble of our Constitution “provides for the common defence.” Defence is defined as “resistance against danger, attack, or harm. The other five elements could be viewed as “best intentions” statements. Words like insure and promote are not guarantees. Given the brilliance of our Founding Fathers, I believe that if they truly wanted to guarantee Tranquility or domestic welfare they would have used stronger words such as ensure versus insure.
- Term limits. Politics was never meant to be a career. I’d suggest that prior to Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR), most people who entered political life held the view that they would serve for a period of time and move on. In fact, at our country’s founding, many of our first leaders gave up significant riches to serve in America’s political arena. Prior to John F. Kennedy’s presidency, U.S. Presidents paid for parties thrown at the White House out of their own pocket. I’d propose setting an 8 year term limit across the board. For those in Congress, it would provide 8 years should they have presidential aspirations to accomplish big things…it would create a sense of urgency to really showcase leadership and negotiation skills… required elements of our government leaders.
- Adjust corporate tax rates. The United States has the highest corporate tax rate of any developed nation in the world topping out at 39.1%. This level of tax rate results in U.S. based companies expanding elsewhere, foreign companies avoiding U.S. shores, and domestic companies parking huge sums of cash offshore. Just look at Apple’s balance sheet as an example. Currently Apple parks more than $100 billion dollars in offshore accounts. To bring these dollars back to the states would result in huge tax assessments to the company that would have a negative effect on all of Apple’s stakeholders from employees, to customers, to stockholders. This capital is sitting idle when it could be placed to work or deployed in ways that create new jobs, drive new innovations, and grow our economy.
None of these 3 ideas are completely new concepts to consider. However, I’ve often found that during times of uncertainty when line of sight is obstructed, the simpler the idea is, the quicker the road to improvement.