As I consider it, there are many very serious issues that need attention over the next decade, and it's doubtful that even the most remarkable president would be able to fully turn "the good ship USA" around in that time on all of them. However, turning it does need, and if process can begin even on a handful of these items over two terms, then the future - which currently looks grim indeed will begin to brighten. By my count these items include:
- Global climate change initiatives - only the most idiotic "flat-world" person would argue that this doesn't exist, or need serious attention to ensure simple survival;
- National debt - now standing at around $80,000 per family and continuing to grow - this will continue to eat further and further into expenditures - a nasty "positive" feedback loop;
- Repair of the seriously decaying national infrastructure (don't do more of the "same old, same old", but consider in conjunction with point #1 above, to ensure that the right kinds of infrastructure gets built - i.e. mass transit, bullet trains, implementation of geo-thermal as standard heating for national building codes, etc.)
- Future style and cost of US intervensionism - perhaps using the military as a last resort is not that cost effective, and there are other ways to achieve the same goals, if a longer range view is taken (i.e. expect that policy decisions won't be immediately visible, but that total cost will be lower and long term results more satisfying);
- Social security and medicare reform (reform both so they are based on proper actuarial accounting, so that future users of the service are paying the correct cost today) - the current "pay as you go" isn't sustainable into the future and burdens tomorrows young people with an effective "tax" from yesterday's workers;
- Educational reform - approximately one-half of the nation’s entering postsecondary students do not meet placement standards and are not ready for college-level work and US students international performance is weak;
- Current economic crisis;
- Health care reform (any wealthy modern industrial country wherein 20% of its citizens lack medical coverage has to be viewed as a societal failure [please, think about the children before you add commentary about "choice"]);
- Growing income inequality (a major prerequisite for a long-term stable society is some level of income equality).
The current addiction to short-term fixes won't help in this instance - rehab is needed to face these challenges square on. Whether the US, collectively, is ready to look in the mirror and face them, is yet to be seen.
Well, that's my litany - for a 30 minute video from Juan Enriquez detailing some of these problems, visit this link.
The Confused Capitalist