As I was traveling around the United States last week, I noticed that many people were unhappy with the economy.
That was not surprising.
What did surprise me was that there were negative attitudes towards our nation's future. They were concerned that our country's best days are behind us. Unemployment remains high.
Millions of workers have dropped out of the workforce after their unemployment insurance benefits expired. To put it simply, they have given up. This is not the time to throw in the towel. We must reinvigorate our economy and ourselves if we are to turn the economic malaise into prosperity.
We can do this! Yes we can! We just need to work together as Americans to turn our nation around. And, we need to do this quickly.
I believe much of the malaise is caused by this administration's desire to divide Americans into 2 groups: the one percenters and the 99 percenters. President Obama has demonized the wealthy one percenters as "Fat Cats."
These "Fat Cats" are the real job creators. It is they who operate small and medium-size businesses, hire workers and manufacture goods and services. It is they who sell their products in the marketplace. We need these people just as we need a vibrant middle class and a strong motivated workforce.
America remains strong because Americans are willing to work hard to support themselves and their families. It is this work ethic that differentiates us from workers in many other countries. America is not crippled by powerful unions as Europe, the United Kingdom and Canada are.
Americans do not take seven weeks vacation annually as workers in Sweden do. On average, we are entitled to 14 days vacation a year, yet most of us only take 12 days a year. Americans are firmly committed to capitalism and a very strong work ethic.
In the last few years, America has moved to the left. That said, most Americans are not unionized and are capitalists at heart. This is still a country where an immigrant can arrive with nothing and become wealthy through hard work and careful investing. Our citizens have the entrepreneurial spirit.
In addition to working every day, many spend their spare time inventing new products. Every year, there are new inventions entering the marketplace. Some of these products are items you can hold in your hand such as the iPad. Other products are available on the Internet such as games that enable players to compete with each other over the Internet.
Software innovations such as investment tools give everyone access to inexpensive online stock trading. We can buy and sell stock at any time of day in an efficient marketplace thanks to these new tools. It is the entrepreneurial spirit that enables our citizens to create new products and to monetize them in a quick and efficient manner.
When President Obama demonizes entrepreneurs by calling them "Fat Cats" and using other derogatory terms, he is preventing the recovery we so desperately need. Why would a businessperson invest money in expanding their enterprise and creating jobs here in America when he or she will only be chastised for doing so?
Every other country in the world has lower taxes than we do. Smart investors are purchasing assets overseas and holding them as no American taxes due until the assets are sold. American corporations are holding over a trillion dollars overseas to avoid paying U.S. taxes. Our corporations know that it is best to sit on the cash or to use it to build factories overseas. They know that once the money is repatriated, U.S. taxes are due.
Imagine the growth we would see if our corporations brought this money home and put it to work building plants here and hiring American workers. Surely a tax holiday for repatriating overseas cash is in order.
American citizens living overseas must file a U.S. tax return even if they lived in foreign countries for decades. In the last year, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of Americans renouncing their citizenship to avoid paying U.S. taxes on their world income.
As other Americans migrate their assets overseas and take up residence in other countries, our nation suffers. By removing financial assets from our economy, our growth is slowed and our job opportunities are reduced.
In addition, there is a "brain drain" as highly skilled investors and entrepreneurs emigrate to other countries. By renouncing their citizenship, our nation is deprived of their contributions to our society as well as their assets, their ideas, and the achievements that they and their families could make.
I still believe that America is the land of milk and honey. We are a great nation and we will continue to be great for decades to come. We need to stop the downward spiral caused by our politicians and news commentators.
It is time to talk our country up rather than put it down. We are a "can-do" nation. No other country can match the freedom we enjoy or the future potential that each and every citizen has.
We must turn the negative attitudes around. We have seen the bottom and are passed it. We can only go up from this point. If we can instill a positive attitude in our people and our politicians we will speed up the recovery process.
As we move towards the elections, our politicians will promise many things. The most important thing we need right now is the hope and change that our current President offered us. He had the right message but he was unable to implement it in his first term.
We really do need hope so that our children will know that they have a future and that they can succeed and prosper. We need to change attitudes from entitlements to contributions. John F. Kennedy got it right when he said "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country."
We have too many people taking from our nation instead of contributing to it.
In the coming elections, I am looking for politicians who offer real hope and change. I want them to reduce government regulations so that new and existing businesses can invest in people, equipment and products rather than fight government red tape. I also want them to lower the tax burden on investors and working Americans.
Presidents Kennedy and Reagan proved that lowering taxes revitalizes the economy. When taxes are lowered, businesses expand and unemployment is reduced. Housing construction takes off, consumers purchase more hard goods, and businesses make more money.
President Reagan was able to increase the amount of tax collected even though the tax rates decreased. As businesses became more profitable, they paid more taxes. As workers earned more money, they to paid more taxes.
It really is a simple concept. To turn the economy around, lower taxes. To encourage business expansion, reduce the red tape. To energize the American people, give them jobs and prosperity.
All of this can be achieved very quickly if we set our minds to it. To quote the Chinese philosopher Laozi (604 B.C to 531 B.C.), "A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step."
We all know what needs to be done to rebuild the American Dream. Let's make it happen.
© 2012 Gordon Smith - All Rights Reserved