2011-04-22 / Columnists

Commentary On Things Present

The Double E’s
By Peter Stubben

In school did you play football?...or maybe soccer, or basketball, or baseball or volleyball? Were you inspired by a great coach?

In the classroom teachers focus directly on the student and seek to add and improve their students’ talents for deployment later in life to - hopefully - great success. On the pitch coaches seek a duality: they build a plan or strategy, then as teachers they demand player skill improvement through obsessive training and practice, but they also demand a singularity of purpose. They require a melding of player skills into a unity of action. They seek not a superior performance by one, but a victory for all.

Here in New York it seems to me - although it’s still a bit too early to tell - we have a winning coach. Andrew Cuomo ran and won on ‘no new taxes’ and ‘cut spending.’ Coach then sat down with his players in the Assembly and in the Senate; explained his plan; and demanded that they get there.

In DC, we have no coach...or rather we have two competing coaches. Coach Obama - the 44th President of the United States - offers up a Girl Scout recipe of s’mores...more spending and more taxes, coated & sweetened with a $400 M Defense cut. Coach Ryan - R, Wisconsin - offers up the Cuomo plan of ‘no new taxes’ and ‘spending cuts’.

Magisterially, Coach O says that if the deficit persists thru 2014, he will take action. Doggedly, Coach R says we gotta start now.

Today DC spends 24% of GDP, while taking in revenues of 18% of GDP. That gap is enormous and deadly to the nation in the long run. “Borrowing 40 cents out of every dollar we spend,” says Senator Dick Durban (a self-described Progressive from Illinois), “is unsustainable.” Coach O seeks to continue spending at this elevated pace (excepting Defense) and boost tax revenues to 20-21% of GDP. Coach R seeks to cut spending to 20% of GDP and improve revenues - thru reform - to 19% of GDP.

The debate, as I understand it, is between Entitlements and Enterprise...the double E’s. We were a nation of astounding Enterprise, with few Entitlements. Today, we are a nation of bubbling Entitlements and declining Enterprise. Congressman Ryan worries that a rising tide of Entitlements crowds out Enterprise. President Obama does not.

The Coach in the White House was succored on the diet of elite intellectualism that believes it is morally right and necessary for the few to support the many. The Coach in the Congress was succored on the diet of Buffalo Bills quarterback Jack Kemp that the astounding American Experience was built on the unfettered hard work of the many.

Paul Ryan hears and fears the bells of despoliation, Barack Obama does not.

Where do you stand? Do you hear the tolling of the bells? On whose team do you believe Rockaways’ DC reps should play...on the O team of aloof empathy and a diet of s’mores, or on the R team of practical and difficult solutions?

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