We have around a trillion-and-a-half-dollar annual mismatch between government revenues and expenses. Nearly 20 million Americans are out of work or underemployed. Our oldest allies and NATO partners face a financial meltdown. And Iran, the most fanatical regime on the planet, is on the verge of acquiring nuclear weapons.
And what are the candidates for our country's highest office, the world's most powerful position, talking about? Taxes! We have the "Pizza Tax," Herman Cain's 9-9-9 bid for the brass ring. Do I hear "8-8-8"? We have the "Flat Earth Tax," a 20-percent offer from the evolution-denying Governor of Texas, Rick Perry. And we have the president's "Teeny Tiny Tax," as described last week by that noted financial sage Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader. How any of this nonsense is going to help close a gargantuan spending gap, put our people back to work, restore our capability to serve as leader of the free world, or stop these nuts in Iran from getting hold of the big one is anybody's guess.
Now it's true that our politicians are providing a lot of great material for Jon Stewart, Steve Colbert, and our stable of late-night talk show hosts, but isn't it time we cut the comedy and usher these clowns off the national stage?
Apparently partisans are willing to raise a billion dollars to reelect President Obama and avail themselves of four more years of his leadership. Other than to prevent the possible election of one of the seven Republicans currently seeking the office, I have a hard time thinking why anyone would pay to see a rerun of this debacle. Don't get me wrong, as a card-carrying member of the 1 percent who has been personally very fortunate, I wouldn't contribute a buck to see any of the current slate of Republicans replace the president, either.
I have done pretty well in my business career by looking at the status quo, comparing it with changes in the economic, social, and political environment, and simply identifying the inevitable. It has been properly said that the cure for what ails democracy is more democracy. Our two major political parties have failed so miserably to develop and present the American people competent and responsible leadership choices that they will be radically restructured and their duopoly ended.
The spontaneous rise of citizens, who formed "tea parties," joined the "occupy" movement, No Labels, and other non-party-affiliated political action groups are already challenging the leadership and ideology of the two parties. The newly formed Americans Elect presents an even more direct challenge. In 2012 Americans Elect will hold a series of Internet-based national primaries. All American citizens over 18 will be eligible to vote and choose a candidate for president and vice president that will be guaranteed ballot access in all 50 states for the November 2012 presidential elections. This is a game changer.
Help is clearly on the way. The hegemony of the two extreme and corrupt political parties that have undermined our national unity is coming to an end. This was inevitable.
Al Checchi is chairman of Join Together America, the former chairman of Northwest Airlines, and a former candidate for Governor of California. His new book is The Change Maker.