The running log of topics, questions and conversations from my appearance on KNOX – 1310 AM in Grand Forks, North Dakota.
A little side rant on fiscal issues like the lack of deficit control. Caller asked me what I would start with and it is defense and social security but that will never get you elected or re-elected. The further policy aim needs to be increasing taxes to generate more revenue to lessen the impacts of the spending cuts. Spending cuts and tax increases are the only feasible way forward to meaningful deficit reduction at this point. The political realities of the issue are pretty clear in the sense that tough decisions about “sacred cows” are not popular and gain little traction with voters.
Global events are clearly a bigger driver now that the oil market in North Dakota is in a more mature phase. The global prices are a key driver now in a way that people do not appreciate. This introduces volatility from sources of which people are not always aware. This also introduces an issue with the economic diversification of the state. North Dakota needs more industry, and while it will likely be related to the energy and agriculture sectors at least at first, it creates more and better opportunity for expansion into other sectors.
Can we really get rid of Social Security? Would we even want to? This is the big picture question for the last segment of the show. I actually give this as a question (to fix Soc. Sec. demographically) to my graduate demography class. The end answer was to not remove the social safety net, but we should be open to the idea of changing the form into something more efficient.