Income Inequality is a Deadly Misdirection

January 26, 2012

Income inequality has caused wealth inequality. In fact the latter is a natural result and we should not be surprised or angered by this. These are some of the reasons America has been great. Neither issue would be a problem if that income & wealth were redistributed naturally through healthy economic activity. If every billionaire found a way to live paycheck to paycheck the dollars spent would fuel corporate profits and more growth. Unfortunately for society there is a great correlation to savings rates and wealth creation. The guy who make $10mm per year can easily afford to save 50% of his take home pay whereas the guy making 50k has very little room to save anything at all. If the first guy lived more like the second, his spent dollars would find their way through the tax system via sales tax and further wage tax. Economic activity would be supported and companies would hire to fill demand.

Instead the Great Accumulation of the last 30 years has created a conundrum of sleeping capital. The top 1% of wealthy Americans control 40% of the nations wealth. They are rich beyond their capacity to spend (recycle) those dollars. They have built investment portfolios comprised predominantly of investment assets as opposed to operating assets. Many of those investments (I.e. treasuries paying 2%) are simply unproductive to economic activity.

What this country needs to do is to wake up from the dream that some utopia exists if the highest earners are “justly” taxed. This might help mitigate inequality in the future, bit it will not solve the current problem of 1% controlling 40% of wealth. While there may be a need to alter the tax code, most don’t realize that a dramatic overhaul of our current tax system to raise taxes on the new 1% would serve an ulterior if even an unintended consequence.

If you make it harder for new individuals to create substantial wealth then you will seal the doors to a socio economic class of people who will enjoy added protection of their current status. In short taxing the guy like me who aspires to be in the 1% in a manner that the current 1% has not previously been taxed helps ensure that I will not be able to join their ranks. Doing this would close the doors to the American Aristocracy, sealing the entry for would-be wannabes, and ultimately robbing America of one of its best features, the motivation for creativity, innovation, and visionary thinking.

Let’s not forget that no one has asked what we would do with all the hypothetical tax revenue if the Buffet Rule were put into effect. What would happen to the excess revenues into the Treasury’s coffers? Are we to believe that any future politician when faced with the option of implementing austerity or buying votes will not choose to buy votes? Do we need an even larger entitlement system? Do we need government to continue to step into private industry?

My suggestion is that we leave the rules of the game mostly in tact. Don’t penalize the guy who is at the cusp of massive financial success. Sure, maybe make it a little harder for the wealth gap to grow but after all, most people who have made millions or billions have more than likely created jobs. What needs to be done is we need to address the massive amounts of unproductive sleeping capital: wealth that is not getting recycled and will never get recycled until generational dilution forces a fixed pool of wealth into the hands of many generations of offspring.

Personally a major change to the estate tax would hurt me. However, the privilege of being an American is not the result of my winning the “ovarian lottery” as Warren Buffet likes to call it, but rather the opportunity to create and do anything I want to do. The American Privilege is one of being able to dream and execute your own vision regardless if your original circumstances.

An estate tax policy built upon a “you can’t take it with you” philosophy accomplishes a few things. First, it forces more of that first generation wealth to be consumed rather than saved. Second it ensures that the incentives to “win the game” don’t change so much that we alter the great American Experiment of entrepreneurship, capitalism and democracy. Third it will help mitigate the proliferation of an elite dynasty class that could permanently subvert power from the 99% by controlling the vast majority of American wealth. Fourth it helps rebalance the American opportunity with the true cost of the American economic ecosystem. Defense spending, education, public works, science and technology breakthroughs and a host of other foundations for American success need to be funded with the wealth our system currently creates AND that it HAS ALREADY created.

We also ought to rethink our current philanthropic landscape that enables tremendous amounts of capital to be separated from its highest and best use. Tax exempt endowments and foundations often support worthwhile causes and constituencies. However, left unchecked we have parked trillions of dollars with asset managers looking to earn no less than 5% but often times no more either. 5% is the required
Distribution amount for a non profit to keep their tax status, they must spend 5% of their corpus every year. They typically try to earn more to grow the asset base but their boards are generally risk averse focused first on capital preservation. In a country where wealth preservation is the driving motivation for a substantial amount of the capital base it becomes nearly impossible to reinvigorate wealth creation because risk becomes something that is controlled by the few and no longer taken by the many. This may in part explain the growing popularity of crowd sourcing and micro venture funding. Most of those who have “won the game” are now in a “risk-off” mode.

The US is at a crossroads. We must face the reality that the future can no longer mimic the past. Change is going to happen and somehow everyone will be worse off, at least for a period of time. I implore our leaders to think above the policy and above the zeitgeist so that what sits past the pain is a new utopia with new rules and new limits but with the same general sense of opportunity and patriotism that got us this far. If we continue to debate the pain, we are not ensuring that our future can be better. In order to do that we need to first debate the utopia we want to create. From there the changes and sacrifices will be clearer, more palatable to the many, and ultimately the right sacrifices to make.

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Taxation, Recession & Recovery

October 5, 2011

Excellent summary of comments from the March 8th, 2011 hearing on Principles of Efficient Tax Reform before the Senate Finance Committee.  The statement comes from a powerful group within academia, and generally offers prudent, insightful and seemingly sound advice.  In fact some of it looks very familiar given recent proposals from Washington.  These are the people you want informing decisions.

However the more I read and hear, the more I am convinced that our democratic process may in fact be fueling our economic fire.  Partisan politics will be the only thing that gets in the way of meaningful reforms in time to help get our economy back on track in time to have an opportunity to “grow” our way out of all of this.

These notes are a must read for anyone interested in knowing where US Tax Policy may be headed under Obama.  Among the proposals I favor and have written about in the past is a larger estate tax with a higher minimum for enforcement and a VAT tax on carbon in some form.  These notes argue strongly against VAT taxes in general, but with some understanding that such a tax on carbon would dually encourage domestic energy security as well as help impact the US effect on Climate Change.  I would go further to uncover more VAT taxes on other externalities that currently exacerbate misallocation of capital and resources.  Cigarette smoking is already under assault by layers of taxes and yet these high levels of taxation have not impinged tobacco company profitability due primarily to the inelastic demand of cigarettes .  I think we could find similar programs that could directly fund areas in dire need of support.  i.e. carbon related taxation should subsidize grid parity (which is now on the horizon) for a host of alternative energy sources.  Nicotine, alcohol, junk food, and even drugs provide inelastic demand that would serve as great platforms for VAT taxes to support local sustainable food development and healthcare costs directly impacted by the negative health affects of consumption of those items.

Additionally, we ought to consider taxing post consumer waste to better account for the end of life and cost of land of retiring natural resources that will never be reclaimed (in anyone’s lifetime).  A better understanding of the cost of buying, owning and disposing of consumer goods would enhance R&D into cradle to cradle manufacturing processes and indirectly incentivize both corporations and consumers to make better capital allocation decisions in a more sustainable manner.

My extrapolation from an open dialogue in taxation is that taxes ought to be used to dis incent the unsustainable economy, and used to accelerate the sustainable economy.  Rethinking taxation on debt would likely have to be a large part of that kind of thinking.

Hearing on Principles of Efficient Tax Reform, March 8, 2011

 


Rick Perry and All People Undereducated

September 29, 2011

I’m still not sure who listens to Rick Perry and believes he has half a clue. That said, I’ve only spent limited time in Texas and I suppose one could easily argue that Sarah Palin garnered more votes than I could.

I am reminded of a panel I watched a couple of years ago where two honorable representatives from the US Congress reflected on the state of economic affairs and their own understanding of them.

What hit home was that one of these representatives lamented at the amazing amount of information and data he had access to in his privileged position. He talked about how “cool” his morning briefings were which connected him to the audience. He then went on to say that when he first took office, he quickly realized his understanding of economics was rusty and his understanding of financial markets was about nil given the advent of modern financial products. Thus with all these amazing reports and classified data on his desk, none of it really told him very much.

He then went on to say that he took it upon himself to go back to school to better equip himself to understand and ultimately impact the information he was reading. After all, as member of the finance committee, that was his job.

I was stunned to hear one our representatives express his own lack of knowledge and astounded that he took it upon himself to educate himself to be a better leader.

What really blew me off my seat, however, was when he described the lack of understanding shared by his peers in the House and Senate and went on to say that among them all, he was the only one he was aware of to go back to school to learn about the things he was tasked to oversee.

Reading the growing circus that is Rick Perry’s campaign I was inspired to consider a new rule that ought to be imposed on all of our political representatives, particularly those with specific domain responsibility.

Simply, we ought to keep our 4 year election cycle but move to a 5 year service cycle in which upon election all public leaders spend one year in school learning everything from the basics of flawed public finance, to leadership, ethics and markets and to take electives related to any committees they may need to serve on.

We spend a lot of oxygen touting the importance of education in the US. We talk about educating our children, have requirements of higher education for most highly skilled professions, but yet any schmo from Texas with an affable personality and some financial backing can grab a soap box and lead our country. I think we’ve seen the dangers of that before and I don’t think the US just needs a rinse and repeat.

After all, the political vacuum is great at dishing out rules for everyone else to follow. Why not at least require they have half a clue of what the fuck they are talking about?

Ben Bernanke, ‘Money-Printing’ Would Be Out at Fed: Perry
CNBC.com | September 29, 2011 | 08:28 AM EDT
Ben Bernanke no longer would be the Federal Reserve chairman and the central bank would be out of the money-printing business under a Rick-Perry-run White House, the Texas governor told CNBC.

The Republican presidential candidate has not hid his disdain for Bernanke, and he reiterated during a live interview that someone else would be in charge of monetary policy should Perry unseat President Barack Obama in the 2012 election.

“The statement towards Chairman Bernanke needs to be very clear to him, that making monetary policy to cover up bad fiscal policy is just bad public policy,” Perry said. “What we’re seeing is a Fed that is getting involved in things that frankly it does not need to be involved with. Printing money doesn’t do anything at this particular juncture except make the dollars in our pocket worth less money, plus it puts us in jeopardy of greater inflation in the future.”

Perry’s star has faded somewhat over the past week or so after turning in less-than-stellar performances in Republican candidate debates.

The fiery Texas governor has found himself criticized on the right for his immigration stance, and the left for his hard-line stances on social issues.

He has been especially rough on Bernanke, drawing criticism at one point for suggesting that if the central bank chief ever came to Texas he would face retribution for this actions.


The American Jobs Act Review (Part I)

September 19, 2011

Living Within Our Means and Investing in the Future: The President’s Plan for Economic Growth and Deficit Reduction

Below I comment on on the first few pages (7-12) of the Presidents Plan for Economic Growth and Deficit Reduction .  This is a dense document and my review is neither complete nor my analysis based on sharp political knowledge.  As my blog indicates I focus on anecdotal evidence.  What struck me, having never read such a dense piece of policy, is the transparency of bad and self-serving ideas.  I do not mean for my own biases to negate otherwise good ideas that are also included.

There were a number of good ideas, bad ideas and self-serving ideas layered into the document with lazy political acumen. Below I offer some high-lights, low-lights and some “grow-lights” that seem engineered to increase votes into help Obama’s reelection campaign.  My review starts in the American Jobs Act but stops short of the unemployment insurance section and before the discussion on Mandatory Savings, Health Savings and Tax Reform.  Clearly this list will be expanded when I have more time. I hope to post a Part II in the next day or so.

High-lights – Potential solid policy ideas with opportunities to create longer-term sustainable growth/deficit reduction

Provide a payroll tax cut to businesses, with a focus on small employers: Engineered to adversely help America’s small businesses.  Sadly the GOP will fight all the bad stuff, and ignore all the good stuff in an effort to stonewall into the campaign trail.

Help entrepreneurs and small businesses access capital and grow: One of the more interesting ideas engineered to stimulate entrepreneurship.  Items include: accelerated government payments to small business contractors; establish a framework for “crowdfunding” programs in concert with the SEC to help small companies raise capital; increase in guarantees for bonds to help small firms compete for infrastructure projects (this one smells like special interest handouts like Solyndra, not so good).  Whitehouse could probably raise substantial revenue by Trademarking “crowdfunding”.

Offer tax credits and career readiness efforts to boost veterans’ hiring: Returning Heros Tax Credit of up to $4,800 for unemployed veterans, and a Wounded Warriors Tax Credit of up to $9,600 that will increase the existing tax credit for firms that hire unemployed veterans with service-connected disabilities.”  I’m not sure of the message sent by quantifying the additional $4,800 on for wounded warriors, but the effort by the administration to help our amazing veterans is an excellent idea.

Improving our airports: While in one sense this might fall into the Low-light category due to the State Aid back door issue, this is a real area of need that can create meaningful efficiency improvements for commercial and passenger air traffic.

Funding for innovative transportation: I know this one is controversial primarily due to the call for high-speed rail.  I have seen worse expensive ideas.  The real issue is where we we are going to buy the technology from.  I’d be happier picking a battle that could be levered at least in part to American manufacturing.  Last I checked the Germans and Japanese have this market tied up.  What about retrofitting our transportation sector for electric and natural gas vehicles?  (neither were mentioned under this header)  At least those dollars would go to Ford and GM.

Establish a National Infrastructure Bank: Another controversial idea.  The devil will be in the details.  However, leveraging tax payer money with private investment is generally a winning combination.

Expand nationwide wireless Internet services for the public and the first responders and reduce the deficit: This is progress you can build on.  This is an excellent idea, and NEEDS to be advanced smartly.  These types of investments enhance national productivity while paving the way for REDUCED government expenses.  “The plan includes reallocating the D Block for public safety (costing $3 billion) and an additional $7 billion to support the deployment of this network and technological development to tailor the network to meet public safety requirements. This is part of a broader deficit-reducing wireless initiative that would free up public and private spectrum to enable the private sector to deploy highspeed wireless services to at least 98 percent of Americans, even those living in remote rural and farming communities.”

Grow-lights – Potential spam policy designed to provide short term stimulae to directly affect the 2012 election outcome.

Establish a complete payroll tax holiday for new jobs or wage increases: “CBO has identified this type of job creation tax cut as one of the most effective ways to help accelerate job growth.” Has the additional benefit of feeding the hope that POTUS gets reelected.  Tax holiday’s do nothing for long term sustainable growth.  They attempt to help politicians get reelected.

Extend 100 percent business expensing through 2012: “Extend 100 percent business expensing through 2012. “The President is proposing an extension of the 100-percent expensing provision that he signed into law in 2010, which rewards firms for making investments by allowing them to deduct the full value of those investments from their tax obligations through 2012”  Anything applied to 2012 explicitly automatically must be red-flagged into the campaign finance bucket.

Investments in making our Nation’s highway systems safer and more efficient: This one reeks of the job creation crack pipe.  A quick jolt, followed by a pronounced feeling of emptiness and wasted effort.  Has anyone ever been on a highway that is not currently under construction?  They are always under construction.  Try I-95 any day of the week.

Repairing transit systems and improving our rail systems:  Ironically this did not get labeled the Buffet Bill.  Somehow I wonder.

Expediting high-impact infrastructure projects: Government should not expedite anything that costs lots of money.  Unless of course there is a pending election.  That would be like having a 12 year old rush out to buy a car.

Low-lights – Potential counterproductive ideas that either stifle growth/spending reduction or are so absurd as to assure better policy measures get stonewalled in partisan politics.

Prevent teacher layoffs and keep police officers and firefighters on the job: These are the hand outs that the GOP cannot afford to fight against.  This is the “feel good” wasteful spending policy.  I in no way want to imply that these aren’t areas of dire importance and need, but they way this is framed it reads as backdoor aid to States which the GOP would never approve. I firmly believe that we need to invest in teachers, police officers, fire fighters, American Flags and apple pie.  That goes without saying.  What I can’t stand is the lemonade stand run by kids living in a McMansion.  Don’t patronize me to believe that dollars earmarked here will actually end up appropriated to the constituency being exploited to raise the funds.  If this passage turns into a backdoor blank-checks to the states, we will NEVER see this idea fulfill its intent.  It is noble in its spirit, but probably will fail in practice.  When 50 states chime in, this one is poised to end up to be so messy its never gets done and certainly not in the spirit it intended.  I’d be willing to bet that if this gets through a beleaguered Illinois may wind up with the best public schools in the country :)

Modernize at least 35,000 schools: ibid above.

Opportunities for all in the transportation sector: Always be suspect of any small numbers in a $4 trillion dollar plan. “The President’s plan will invest an additional $50 million in 2012 to enhance employment and job training opportunities that will benefit minorities, women, and socially and economically disadvantaged individuals in transportation-related activities, including construction, contract administration, inspection, and security. His plan will also invest an additional $10 million in 2012 to help minority-owned and disadvantaged business enterprises gain better access to transportation contracts.”  Also be suspect of any language that says “for all”.  This implies “for all voters”, and is so transparently engineered to buy votes in swing states.  What we need to is have this $60 million included in the campaign finance budget, as this is really what this item will be used for.

Put people back to work rehabilitating homes, businesses, and communities:  Not a fan of this one.  “Many regions with concentrated home foreclosures also have concentrations of vacant commercial structures that weigh on property values and make it less likely that new businesses will come into the community and invest new capital.”  On the plus side its an attempt to help depressed communities revitalize and proposes a public private partnership to do so.  Conversely, many of these geographies were over leveraged and over developed.  Beautifying defunct towns and sweeping empty streets wont do much without a natural job-base.  If residential and commercial real estate are defunct, there is a good reason.  We need to allow some ghost towns to become tourist traps.  I don’t say this without real empathy for those who may still be living in these areas, and substantial regret for their situations.  This kind of investment only rewards speculators.  Spending precious tax dollars in unsustainable communities is not the best and highest use of our nearly depleted fiscal stimulus.  For a fraction we could probably help remaining residents relocate to areas of the country where there are jobs, and help those communities enhance local infrastructure.  We need to be wise, not smart in how we do this, and to leverage investments that can create innovation and productivity, not social assistance.   This falls into the 2012 jobs for re-election bucket.  It’s also a back door bailout of regional banks.


Ron Paul Asserts Wikileak Cable That Says H.W. Bush Lied About First Iraq War

September 4, 2011

“Once it becomes acceptable to equate truth with treason we are no longer a free society.”

http://rixstep.com/1/1/1/20110905,00.shtml


Y’Obama, Consider This

August 20, 2011

Lower the corporate tax rate across the board to 15%. What we need in this country are jobs. Lowering corporate taxes will reinvigorate domestic investment by US and foreign companies. Make America THE place to do business again. We have a great labor pool, excellent infrastructure and amazing technology. We do not have cheap labor, but we can make up for that by lowering corporate taxes. It will also encourage companies to create domestic profits which encourages hiring, and domestic investment.

Raise the marginal income tax rates at the following breakpoints. Above 1mm AGI tax at 40%. Above 5mm tax at 45%. Above 10mm tax at 50%. And above 25mm consider significantly higher rates. Back in the 1970’s the highest tax bracket was 90%. We don’t need higher tax rates just to prove a point, we need higher tax rates to discourage excess savings. A family in New York earning 500k is most likely spending the majority of that income to pay for lifestyle. The “problem” occurs when the folks making 10mm only spend 1mm and then save the rest. That excess money is not allowed to affect velocity and does not work it’s way back through the system, likely never being taxed again at least not meaningfully. Don’t worry, the people generating income from legitimate business will be offsetting those taxes if they leave it in the company which would only need to pay 15%. We need to reconfigure our economy from consumption to production. If you make it cheaper to produce than to consume you will do just that.

Focus on energy security, energy independence, and energy safety. Let’s create energy infrastructure that will reduce our dependence on foreign imports (which underpins out trade deficits). We have abundant natural gas resources, and the capability to build global preeminent alternative energy and transportation industries. Turning-points for the American economy have always centered around paradigm shifts. Whether the automobile, the space race, computing telecommunications, or the internet. Energy infrastructure is the next great shift. The race for cheap, clean energy will allow globalized economies to keep their boarders open, reducing the spread of protectionism, AND it will create new domestic industries, keeping dollars home, and creating a renewed sense of American ingenuity. At the moment the Chinese are laughing at us. We can turn them on their heads by lowering corporate taxes and creating cheaper and cleaner energy sources which are a growing problem for Chinese industrial companies. Let’s build so much sustainable energy infrastructure that great global companies have to have operations in the US.

Phase out Social Security payments to individuals whose net worth and/or income exceeds a level whereby their social safety-net payments are laughable. There are retired Americans living off savings or income that exceeds their social security check by 100’s of percent, if not 1,000’s. These people always poke fun at the fact that the country is in dire straights and they are getting a check for a couple of hundred bucks. They don’t need it and most don’t want it. This is a unique country that gives people tremendous opportunity. We should all have to pay into the system. However, those who succeed certainly don’t need to take from it, as they effectively already did.

Allow private insurance for the same pool of people noted above. These people have two options in retirement. They can use Medicare or they can pay out of pocket. Do you know what they do? They use Medicare when it’s convenient and they pay out of pocket when it’s important. This creates a useless burden in what is supposed to be a social safety net and stifles innovation in both the insurance and medical technology fields. Wealthy retirees would gladly buy private insurance if they could. With lifespans increasing, particularly for this demographic, I am certain that an insurance business would develop. In addition, with more demand for private insurance and a higher quality of care from a wider pool of people (presumption is that private insurance will make private healthcare more accessible to lower wealth bands, increasing the size of participants), there would be greater demand for expensive new technologies. The wealthy are usually the Guinea Pigs for medical advancements and they can afford the higher prices required to bring new solutions to market. Let’s put to bed concerns over a split system. A split system will benefit everyone in the long run. Besides if we lower corporate taxes we will have more entrepreneurs who are paying into the system and not taking out.

Look for easy and smart ways to improve the quality of life for working people without onerously attacking the wealthy. One idea I’ve been begging for in New York City is an automobile, gas and/or garage tax that is specifically earmarked for the MTA. I could not think of a better way to reduce traffic and encourage ridership than to make drivers pay for the publics commute. $100 month to go to and from a low paying job is a large tax on the working class in New York. I am certain there are other ways to do this throughout the country not necessarily all geared towards transport. But we can look at taxing the behavior we would like to eliminate and subsidizing the behaviors that create sustainable growth.

Don’t unilaterally attack big oil. Just incentivize them to finally figure out that they are in the energy business. If you are going to raise taxes on carbon, at least give them a chance to earn it back in alternative energy solutions.

Tie the marginal tax increases above to specific areas. For instance. Take all the taxes raised by the increase for people earning more than 10mm and earmark it towards education. No one wants to pay more taxes, that will always create a fight. If you tie it to a program, however, you undermine their defensiveness. In addition anyone making that kind of money did not do it without the help of well educated individuals. Philanthropy in this country is astounding, but individual pet projects have not solved our biggest social problems. We need government for that, one way or another and without two party politics.

The list goes on, but Mr. Obama, we elected you as our spirited pragmatist, not as a dogmatic fool. The guy who preceded you won and lost on dogma. Our country is full of hubris, and so lacking in practical reality. If we are to avoid the fate of Rome we are going to need to think and act differently.


Dear President Obama

August 5, 2011

Dear President Obama,

– There are trillions of dollars available to Americans on the balance sheets of US multi national corporations.

– Our balance sheet will not permit us to authorize another extensive liquidity program like QE2 without massive adverse consequences. And even if we could it too would prove impotent in achieving real growth.

– Out jobless recovery is not sustainable without real employment growth and corporate investment.

– You want to raise taxes on wealthy Americans, both to fulfill your campaign promise and to help accelerate the reduction of our deficit.

– You have largely lost the independent voter and have eroded your core constituency for a variety of reasons. Ultimately you have indirectly given power to the GOP and as a result to the Tea Party.

– Next year is an election year which is notoriously bad for markets, which in the current environment could aggravate the real economy and continue to build friction for your reelection.

– You are no stranger to bold statements and bold actions.

Please consider looking at opportunities to win over big business, level the regulatory framework and reduce corporate taxes. There’s an easy shell game to win whereby you could probably convince Republicans to raise personal income taxes if you lower corporate taxes. Corporations represent the only sustainable path from here for us to rebuild out economy. Growth will create jobs, raise national receipts, spur investment and new technologies and will help you win back the middle. What you lose from your core base you will pick up from the moderate GOP base who have grown to separate themselves from the Tea Party.

A good dent in unemployment will help you too. The drop for 9% to 7% will be a lot more rapid then for 7% onwards. If you become more fiscally conservative you will force more splintering in the GOP likely pushing a Tea Party candidate into the limelight which would in full circle push your original base back into your camp (less of two evils from their perspective).

If corporations can see a clear horizon for doing business over the next five years they will invest. They will not invest just because you ask them to.

If we lower corporate tax rates we will likely attract more direct foreign investment and a fair number of off shored jobs could come back to the US. What we give up in corporate tax receipts we can make up from higher marginal tax rates, additional foreign investment, and possibly VAT taxes.

The only way our country will have a sustainable economy is if our output base is more symmetrical. We need to make more stuff and sell it to the world and we need to buy less stuff which further exacerbates our currency issues as all those dollars flows out of the US into the hands of terrorists, unfriendly sovereigns and into economies with huge surpluses.

I encourage you to be bold again. You ran on a platform of change. Make that platform your justification for your own ability to adapt in the best interest of America.