Leaders lead, not follow popular opinion

I hear President-elect Obama and his transistion team are taking experiances, thoughts, and ideas from all Americans on how things are going, and more importantly now, how to deal with America’s problems.  Well below is something I submitted and notes expanding my views.
The video does a good job at outlining a rough draft image and sentiment needed to reassure people but, with all due respect, it does very little to give long range goals, milestones, or achievements in a tangible and quantifiable definition to reassure confidence and inspire the risk and sacrifice necessary to make it work.
The 2 year plan to create 2.5 million additional jobs does little to reassure people outside the construction, education, alternative energy, and auto industries of job security and economic stability.  There is no talk of job training, education assistance, or how to address those who lost jobs in financial, service, or manufacturing jobs.  Domestic appliance and household purchases are down due to our national obsession with burrowing against the future to live in the present.  The time to pay for these decades of economic foolhardiness is here and this is the sacrifice the American people need to be made aware of and asked to make.
People are scared, they will not go out and spend extra money at this stage but will horde.  We need to educate them and inspire them through bold and telling leadership.  Remember, leaders are those willing to do the unpopular thing at the time to bring people to a better place in the future, driving them unwilling out of the current state into a new and better state.  I propose the government lead by example.  Enact a 30% pay cut for Congress and the Supreme Court.  Make all civil servant positions provide 3 days free work per month.  Cut all electric usage in governmental buildings by 30% for 1 year.  Stop all catering at non diplomatic meetings.  Require Congress to cut all wasteful spending immediately for the next year.  Lead by example by showing the American people how to sacrifice and that the government is willing to do so they should as well.
Jobs need to focus on future industries we, as Americans, do well and can’t be copied easily overseas.  Entertainment industries, Research and Development industries in medical, space exploration, IT, communications, environmental protection, etc.  Forget mass manufacturing, we can keep special manufacturing of heavy equipment, aerospace, shipping, and automobile but we need to limit the union’s influence and approach into ALL sectors to keep jobs, industries, and investors able to grow the economy.  Gardens need more then water and light.  Throwing cash into a failing system is just throwing water at a plant.  Rhetoric is light.  We need to weed out unions, cultivate the plants that can grow in the current soil, and coach the people tending the crops how to care for them better and more efficiently to have lasting success.  We need leadership that inspires and that can only be done my example and action.
I am not sure how much space is allowed for thoughts, and as I am very long winded I left the short version above. Here are the main points and topics that need to be considered.
  1. Lead.  This is the most important part.  Tell people what YOU are going to do and then do it. 
  2. Lead by example.  I think the government has plenty of waste that needs cutting.  Show the people you are serious by making Congress take pay cuts to save tax dollars.  Cut any and all wasteful daily operation costs in the federal government. Use less electricity, heat, A/C (in summer), and make it very public on what is being cut and how much it is saving the tax payers.
  3. Outline a clear path to creating jobs.  Unions are the cancer that is killing the auto industry and hamstringing others.  We need to have unions with less power and influence now when companies are weak and unable to meet most of their outrageous demands. We need to shift our labor force into a more mobile and higher technical work pool.
  4. Education needs to improve now, for kids, young adults, and job training and transition adults.  Building roads and bridges is great for architects, designers, day laborers, and low level managers, but not good for 50% of the people who have been losing their jobs over the past 6 months.  Part time and short term jobs are not going to cut it.  Laid off college graduates need to be evaluated for teaching and those who are right need to be added to our pathetic public school system, minus all unions of course.  All government jobs need to be 100% union free.
  5. Cultivate innovation and next economy industries through tax breaks, grants, and incentives on all levels, local and federal.  Tap into this vast pool of unemployed we now have for more then just temporary positions in dead end jobs.  In stead of just repairing or replacing bridges and highways how about spawning new solar cell and water capture/purification industries.  Help industries like Intel and Boeing by getting them in touch with those out of work but able to help them innovate.  Help educate people who have the desire and need to work, those who had 2 to 4 part time jobs, help them get full time jobs in recycling, plants, urban mass transit systems, and other industries that can not be off-shored in the future.

People are getting scared.  Fear is a great motivator; if you don’t tap into it then you become a victim of it.  This problem is huge, complex, and I for one do not have hard and definite answers, but the opinions I have, and have shared, are common sense approaches that I feel are a good start and way of showing people they have a future and we as a nation have a future and are not past our prime or peak.  I did not mention this above but it needs to be added.  Educate people on what risk is and what obligations are.  Let the banking system work through this mess so they implement more sound lending practices and then get people to save BEFORE they buy something.  Credit is used wrong in America and this is the outcome.  Stop using credit cards, home equity, and loans as shortcuts or ways to live beyond your means!  People need to be told the American dream IS NOT found on the TV in movies, or song lyrics, trying to live like fantacy lifestyles in made-up universes.  The American Dream is getting ahead through time, hard work, tough effort, sacrifice, and dedication, period.  Wait to get something until you can afford it.

Obama has stated the Bush tax cuts will stay in place until 2010, when they expire.  Save tax money by cutting out the real fat in the budgets. CUT FEDERAL PAY AT THE TOP LEVELS!  This will save hundreds of millions and make requests for regular people to sacrifice more realistic.  CUT FEDERAL OPERATING COSTS!  Show people how to save by using 1/2 the lights and power for heating and cooling.  Show people the reality of living that has been lacking for the past 30 years of idealistic "keeping up with the Jonses" and Madison Avenue Marketing consumption that is killing our economy and us.  Show the people you can’t spend what you don’t have.  The government needs to step up and lead by example, show us sacrifice and dedication, hard work and strong will.  It won’t be easy but our leaders need to lead on these topics and I for one will stand up and applauded loudly if they do so.  Cut the fat, kill the unions, and re-educate the unemployed to future jobs in industries that can not be taken overseas.  Please do this now and not later.

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2 Responses to Leaders lead, not follow popular opinion

  1. Bobbi says:

    Thanks for the great blog.  Obama is trying to reincarnate the Lincoln strategy of keeping your enemies close.  He is choosing not only Democrats for his staff; but, Republicans.  By selecting Hillary for Secretary of State he hopes to keep her from running against him in 4 years, which just might work.  I\’m really disappointed in his selection of high-ranking staff members.  They are experienced from the Clinton administration; however, they are from the Clinton administration.  If the crime rate here in the U.S. was not so high, your ideas might just work or at least help.  However, people here are not just afraid of the economic hardships, they are afraid to go out on the street, and really terrified of stopping to help a stranger. I have been trying to find where any other president-elect has taken over running the government before he was sworn in and I can\’t find any.  Would you know of anything like this previously in American history?  It\’s like Bush has just quit working and let Obama take over. 

  2. Brian says:

    As usual you have attacked things very comprehensively. I wonder if any of Obama\’s new world collectivists will actually bother to consider what you have submitted.
    If they actually respond, please keep us updated!!
    Best regards,

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