It’s more than likely that Congress will take a quick exit and leave town without taking action on the underlying issues of the “fiscal cliff.” While listening to the impact of the fiscal policies of tax increases combined with spending reeducations sound like notes from an arcane economics lecture, this indecision is impacting your business, customers and quality of life.
Here’s how: successful businesses don’t lurch from crisis to crisis; instead they produce forecasts and craft long-term plans. Business owners and executives work diligently to meet customer demand, focus on improving quality and plan for the future. Businesses are getting the exact opposite from today’s state and national government. Instead the message is, “We’re out campaigning, we’ll get back to you later.”
This indecision leads to inaction by the private sector. The price we all pay is lost advancement and opportunity. Every day that businesses are pensive about the future is a day where they defer their plans for growth and expansion.
I don’t lay this dollop of blame on our elected officials either. Our government is of, for and by the people. We all bear responsibility for the deadlock afflicting our economy.
Recently I came across the quote of the philosopher and psychologist William James, “When you have to make a choice and don’t make it, that is in itself a choice.”
Collectively we’ve made a choice; unfortunately we’ve continually supported inaction and delay.
During the next 50 days we will be subjected to the final stretch of “the most expensive and important election in history,” until the next one. Throughout the barrage of positive character commercials, contrast ads and outright attack pieces, we will be presented some facts, a little (or a lot) of hyperbole and poll tested slogans focused on action and change.
Instead of focusing on the policy differences we pay attention to the personality conflicts between our political leaders. We’ve fallen victim to an environment of the constant campaign.
The machinations of the campaign horse race are more prominent than open debates about what policies office holders could enact to better our lives. Unfortunately this is true at almost every level of government! It’s easier to campaign than govern, and on whole, we’re getting a lot more campaigning than governing.
As businesses and leaders in the community we can lay a wrench in this vicious cycle of inaction. If a policy is languishing for political expediency we can demand accountability.
We should talk with our employees about what standing between them and a better paycheck. We the citizens control the debate, conversation and election; not party leaders, candidates, campaign strategists and the media.
There is an old and overused joke that your business was safe when Washington wasn’t in session. The opposite is becoming truer; inaction by government may very well cost us dearly.
If we ride off the fiscal cliff and into a recession because our officials refuse to act, it should serve as a wake-up call to us that we can’t continue to survive under the governance-by-election model.
Let’s hope that we don’t have to pay the price of economic pain to obtain better results from our elected leaders.