Mort Zuckerman is no leftie. As one of the leading businessmen in America today, everyone should listen when he speaks. I recently read a column he wrote for the Financial Times about the Free Market. I frankly struggled with the stark realities that he laid out, even though I have also written here and in OV’s sister sites about the realities of Main Street.
When he wrote this back on October 19, 2009, the updated unemployment numbers had not come out yet. The latest reports on the US Federal Deficit had not been announced. The continued fiscal bloodbath in States and Local Governments was yet to be announced for the month. Yet, he told us that “…The Free Market is not up to the job of creating work…”. (Source: http://www.ft.com., retrieved 11/20/2009). The stark realities he laid out in his comments lays out the reality of the utter failure of the so-called free market as it has been laid out over the last number of years. For those who advocate more of the same, they have to realize that, “…..this is the only recession since the great depression to wipoe out all job growth from the previous business cycle….” (Source: http://www.ft.com, retrieved 11/20/2009). So, what is there to be done?
What I find very clear is that the traditional way of doing things is not going to work. The Fed has done some very creative things to at least insure that the economy did not fall off a cliff. That has to continue. Although, it appears that Congressional Sharks are out to strip the Fed of its’ authority in some crucial areas of the economy that has helped it weather the political storm. I also like Mort Zuckerman’s idea of a 100 percent tax credit for businesses for their increase in research and development. This should appeal to all those tax-cutting folks who push for incentives to help jump start research and innovation. I also am emphathetic about the need to truly transform our schools beyond the so-called Charter Movement which seems to be the fashion of the day. Teachers have to be free to teach, students have to be free to learn and the best tools have to be provided to them. I talked about it in my “Smart Schools” proposal for the New America Foundation. It seems to me that when the Country of Uruguay can see to it that the entire K-12 student population (some 360,000 of them) is equipped with a laptop with all the necessary curriculum on it, why can’t America muster the courage to go beyond the now in how it educates its youth?
There are truly serious challenges that we are facing as a nation. The stark realities dictates a reawakening in all aspects of our lives. I wonder if we have the courage to go beyond the simple slogans and really come together to address the challenges and stop being mad. Do we have the courage to prove Mort Zuckerman wrong? I wonder….