While the results are not yet certified, it has become readily apparent that Joe Biden will be the next president of the United States. While the commentariat is focused on whether President Trump will ever admit defeat, the more relevant question is what happens after the horse leaves the hospital?
Waiting for Biden will be an economy still hampered by a pandemic, a $27 trillion national debt, and a divided congress that has shown zero aptitude for cooperation or advancing much of anything besides their own political careers.
But Biden and our leaders in Congress must overcome their shortcomings to meet the massive problems that have been festering under the radar during our nation’s prolonged shouting match.
Entitlements are careening towards insolvency. The Pentagon budget is as bloated as it’s ever been. Duplicative programs are still strewn throughout the federal government. Billions of tax dollars are still frittered away on waste, fraud, and abuse. The tax code is still riddled with loopholes. Add it all up and our annual deficits have entered into the permanent trillion-plus category with no end in sight.
Needless to say this course is not sustainable. In fact the federal government has put out an official report to say so.
The good news is: solutions are readily available.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO), the Inspectors General, the Congressional Budget Office, and scores of outside groups have published thousands of reports with recommendations to Congress and the executive branch on how to reform major programs, consolidate duplication, and curb unneeded spending.
Here is a starter pack of suggestions for Biden and the 117th Congress to work on:
- Work with the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to take on high-risk areas (some of which have been on the list for decades) and to tackle the hundreds of billions of dollars in duplication, fragmentation and overlap.
- Review Inspectors General reports to address both long-term, systemic inefficiencies and new, blatant problems that arise in the executive branch.
- Study the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), not only to learn about the bleak fiscal course our nation is charting, but to review a long list of deficit reduction options they put out each year that can help dig us out of our fiscal mess.
- Look at the Social Security and Medicare Trustees actuary reports and start taking on Social Security and Medicare reform to ensure that these programs are a source of stability for our nation, not the source of mass generational theft and economic insecurity.
Will the current class of DC politicians continue to ignore the plethora of outstanding proposals and allow younger generations to bear the total cost of these runaway problems or will Biden and a divided congress finally rise to the occasion and proactively meet our challenges head-on?
If they do choose the latter, the hyper-partisan naysayers to bipartisan compromise will certainly squeak and hope to get the grease they have come accustomed to receiving from their respective parties.
But now’s not the time to grease the squeaky wheels with an engine that is about to burst into flames.
Biden frequently proffered on the campaign trail that “our best days lie ahead.” It’s going to take more than a catchphrase for that to come to fruition.