Rehab Candidate

America's fallen and it won't get up without enacting five surgical reforms.

The human rotator cuff consists of four tendons in the shoulder that allow the arm to move and the shoulder to turn without pain. When it’s torn, it’s painful as hell — crippling, even. Thousands of rotator cuff surgeries are performed each day in the United States to allow sufferers to return to normal activities, but it takes time, requires eight weeks in a sling and months of physical therapy to get better.

The United States has torn its rotator cuff. It hurts to move; surgery and rehabilitation are imperative.

The impasse in Washington, D.C., and the economic pain our country suffers can be fixed, but it will take a good surgeon and lots of therapy. The best surgeon will be a new president. The rehab can come from a new Congress and a fresh government with support and encouragement from the family of Americans who love the patient and want a return to good health. Ignoring the pain and avoiding surgery will hold America back and damage our long-term prospects for a better life.

The Obama campaign essentially says, “Give us more time,” but time’s up — we’re hurting too much. The national debt is $16 trillion and growing. Unemployment is 8.2 percent, but in too many states, it’s well over 10 percent. Class warfare won’t relieve our pain, nor will higher taxes, massive health care system overhauls or endless deficit spending. Our chief surgeon has committed malpractice. America needs a problem-solver.

Here’s some surgery and rehabilitation a new president can prescribe:

First, propose a constitutional amendment for House members to have four-year terms to coincide with a presidential term. That way, a new president can be judged every four years, along with that specific House of Representatives, based on what they have or haven’t accomplished during their period of service. A four-year term for House members will produce a maximum of good work for the nation and a minimum of fundraising. Today the ratio is about 50-50 — a year of work and a year of fundraising and campaigning for re-election. A four-year term offers a 75-25 ratio.

Second, a new president and a majority of congressional Republicans and Democrats should adopt a four-year budget plan — not the one-year process we have now — and then stick to it and be judged by it when election time rolls around. Each year, the president’s budget is released — and then dismissed by Congress. The Senate hasn’t adopted a budget, contrary to existing law, for more than four years — a disgrace by any measure. Most major countries of the world adopt long-term budget plans (China, soon to be the world’s largest economy, adopts at least five-year plans) and so should the United States. Annual budget plans haven’t worked. Congress and the president merely adopt irresponsible continuing resolutions that delay decision-making and irritate the public.

Third, the new president should invite major American companies — the job creators — to the White House to adopt a handful of specific measures to assure that American business will start hiring. President Obama can’t do that. He’s already vilified American business. His administration has ruled and regulated against business, stifling job creation, and his natural inclinations are toward those in poverty. A new president should ask business leaders, “What will it take from government to get you hiring again?” Then he and Congress should pass such measures and hold business leaders accountable for their hiring record. At the end of four years, voters should have good reason to elect, or dismiss, the president and the Congress that adopted the rehabilitation plan. Hiring incentives should lapse if growth is not forthcoming.

Fourth, a presidential challenger should meet privately and often with Hispanics, African-Americans, teachers, professionals, laborers and others who make up the rich fabric of the United States, and truly seek their advice. Make a public list of promises to those needing help, and then stick to it — and, again, be judged by it at term’s end.

Fifth, Congress should be in session all five days of the week, getting to know each other and adopting the four-year plan. Congress should be an engaged partner for American renewal, fully aware that surgery will be bold and recovery painful and slow at times.

But the patient will recover and be stronger, and will need support and encouragement during the rehab. Surgery and rehabilitation require lifestyle changes and accountability. Surgery can improve long-term health. Rehabilitation makes patients stronger. It requires discipline and effort.

Failure to try means failure to recover.

American Inheritance: Unpacking World War II @ Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture

Tuesdays-Sundays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Continues through May 23
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About The Author

George Nethercutt

From 1995-2005, George Nethercutt was the Republican Congressman from Spokane. He contributes to the commentary section of the Inlander.