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Letter: America needs future plans for economy, jobs

The current hubbub over the "fiscal cliff" and related fiscal concerns such as the sequester and debt ceiling, are distractions from truly serious matters. They only deal with money -- who pays the nation's bills and how we can reduce costs while increasing revenues to regain fiscal health. There's nothing as far as future plans to expand the economy, create jobs, and improve living conditions here and globally.

Yet, despite the gloom, there is potential to initiate big programs that will have major positive impacts on the economy while making strides to reduce atmosphere pollution, defend against climate changes and resulting natural disasters, reduce dependency on finite fossil fuels, and engage the international community in combating terrorism -- the only real threat remaining to our national security.

The key words are "global" and "cooperation". Pollution, climate change, clean renewable energy, economies, and terrorism are global concerns. Comprehensive, long range solutions can be achieved only through international cooperation and investment. This situation is ideal for growing the United States economy through aggressive participation in international investments across problems common to every nation.

Our major economic concerns center on jobs. Political campaigns of the past few years have pitted candidates against one another on their ability to generate jobs but none has come up with long range job generating strategies that will pass thru congress. Democrats favor public/private partnership investments in major programs, Republicans favor private investment, free from government restraints.

Historically, our economy grows most robustly during periods of large scale government spending. This was true in wars (WWII, Korean, Viet Nam, Iraq, and Afghanistan) and is currently maintained at a high level to counter future unidentified threats. However, these economic spikes are short lived and leave little but debt behind. They cannot be classified as long range government investments since there is a negative return on money spent. On the other hand, major government investments in the infra-structure, (the Great Depression recovery programs, Interstate highway system, Internet, Global Positioning System (GPS), Space exploration, Health care, Public education, Energy collection and distribution grids, Environment protection ...) have returned and continue to return many times more than original investments.

Well worth borrowing the money at current low interest rates to provide the impetus only the government can do.

The major impediment to pursuing a long term global strategy is conservative, unfounded fear the United Nations and other international partnerships pose threats that outsiders can force their will on us. This attitude leads to an isolationist, do it alone strategy in a world where the U.S. has only 1/20th of the world population and has been in relative decline in many critical areas such as poverty, health care, manufacturing, economy, education, even sports and entertainment...areas which we led for decades prior to 2000.

What do we have to offer? We still have a superior scientific and engineering infra-structure leading to innovative solutions and exportable products across all nations. This is a very large global market and external revenue source for the foreseeable future. We also have is a superior military machine that, despite its might and cost, has been unable to win major conflicts leading to enduring peace since WWII. It can, however, be an exportable commodity for countries with limited resources to invest in their own security but may buy into an already dominant force structure. We would also gain international cooperation in ground intelligence gathering capability to augment our remotely controlled drones, conventional aircraft, and satellite capabilities.

Meeting the big challenges of the next century provides an endless "to do" list leading to strong, enduring economic growth and jobs while doing all we can to save the planet for future generations. -- Lee Purrier, Park Rapids