Are you pining for 1992 again? Do you miss those ginormous ears and that gangly gate? Do you not get your fill of charts and graphs sitting around conference tables at work? Well fear no more, Ross Perot is back. No, no, don’t worry. He’s not running for office. But he does have a new chart deck available.
Take a gander at the presentation at perotcharts.com. It’s a little dry, but it’s really very well done. It illustrates quite plainly the economic problems we face as a nation in the coming generation. The legacy we are leaving our children. The reality is that the big three entitlement programs (Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare) are going to eat our lunch (and dinner, and breakfast, and our after school snacks as well). It also makes clear that while Bush Jr. certainly didn’t help, he didn’t really cause the problem either. This train has been chugging down these tracks for a very long time. But now that we can feel the rails rumbling, maybe it’s time to think about moving off the tracks.
What the charts don’t say is how brain dead it is that none of the Presidential candidates are proposing any substantive plans to address the gathering gloom. Perot has done a nice job of simply illustrating the problem. There is no partisan message, no solutions offered, just a light shone into the dark. He offers that there are no painless solutions, and he’s absolutely right. Which is, of course, why neither Obama or McCain are going anywhere near the issue. It’s political suicide to offer painful solutions. I’d like to think that once in office, either of them would take these issues on. But that seems unlikely as well. Despite how clear the problem is, it is not imminent. Until the issue threatens to cripple us within the window of the next political term, I don’t think any substantive changes will be made. The other really thorny issue here is that almost any solution will require the Boomers to vote against their own self interest. This is not something the me generation has ever really excelled at.