Investing In People, Not Spending Cuts, Key to U.S. Future!

As a nation it is imperative that we assess, across the full spectrum of our diverse population, how well prepared we are to address the incredible challenges facing not only the U.S. but humanity as a whole in this ever-more complex Twenty-first Century.

The key, we believe, is increasing revenue not reductions in spending but we are not talking about tax increases. From public education, the poor, healthcare, the environment, and our nation’s crumbling infrastructure, anyone who believes spending cuts are the solution is living in a fantasy world.

All businesses face challenging times. The most common strategy of a business in financial trouble is to cut costs and, sometimes, it is an unavoidable necessity. Businesses do have another option, however and that is to increase sales revenues. This can be done by adding new customers and also by increasing sales volumes to existing customers.

Increasing revenue is almost always the preferred option but it is also the most difficult. One of the reason why increased revenue is the preferred option is because deep cuts can have a significant, adverse impact on a business’s capacity to produce and its ability to innovate. Very often, the outcome in these situations is business failure and when this happens, everyone loses. Businesses that lack foresight often do not even contemplate increasing sales, so challenging is the prospect.

Governments are often faced with similar decision points. More often than not, the option of choice for governments is to cut spending because tax increases are one of the quickest ways to insure that an officeholder is not re-elected.

Just like businesses, however, tax increases are not the only option to governments operating at a deficit. Another way to increase tax revenues in a way that need not involve increases in tax rates or adoption of new taxes is to increase the tax rolls; the number of people paying taxes. Consider two over-simplified examples:

• By taking a person who exists on a government subsidy and helping them find a job, you not only increase tax revenues but you reduce entitlement liability.

• Grant amnesty to an illegal immigrant and then help them find a job and become a taxpayer.

One of the ways to get a business to consider a sales increase strategy rather than cost cutting is to help them view their employees as assets rather than liabilities. Governments can do the same thing. All it requires is a paradigm shift in which the focus switches to pulling people up rather than cutting them out; inclusion rather than exclusion.

Children attending our most challenged public schools, most of whom are failing, provide a great example. They represent one of the two best untapped natural resources available to the American people. We simply must abandon the “politics of abandonment” that are destroying public education. The inevitable outcome of our current educational reforms are destroying the faith in the American dream for the students of our public schools and their parents.

The other great untapped natural resource for the United States are the millions of illegal immigrants who are desperate for the American dream and who risked everything they have to get here. These men and women want work so desperately that they will stand on a corner seeking day jobs from passersby. How ironic is it that some of the people who believe most fervently in the American dream are denied amnesty.

Welcome to The Leader (Thinking Exponentially: Leadership, Education, and the American Dream)

Thinking Exponentially: Leadership, Education, and the American Dream is a blog by Mel Hawkins, a writer and retired leadership consultant.

The mission of this new blog, which will be replace The Positive Leadership Blog and the Reconstructhealthcare Blog,  is to encourage its readers to think exponentially (outside the box) about the challenges facing the U.S. in this new Twenty-first Century. The blog will focus on the issue that the number of Americans who have lost faith in our democracy and who no longer believe in the American Dream has placed our nation in the greatest jeopardy we have faced since the Civil War, almost 150 years ago. Articles on positive leadership, education, healthcare, and the American Dream will be offered.

Literally tens of millions of Americans have lost their hope and faith in the American dream and no longer believe that they have control over their lives and destinies. These American men and women are becoming disenfranchised and they are disengaging from active participation as productive citizens at a time when our nation can least afford it.

Liberals argue that it is unconscionable to cut these people off. They push to find new sources of revenue in order to continue to support the poor and the disadvantaged. They suggest that such revenue must inevitably come from the increased taxation of affluent Americans. Under this leadership, federal spending continues to rise.

Conservatives counter that we need to shut these men, women, and families off because the nation can no longer afford to leverage our children’s future in order to care for the dependent. These men and women campaign against any and all tax increases, preferring instead to make drastic cuts in such programs as unemployment compensation, Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security. That most Medicare and Social Security benefits flow to Americans over 65 years of age who have labored over their lifetimes to earn such benefits is nothing short of tragic.

Sadly, neither the liberal nor the conservative strategies of the past will work in the Twenty-first Century. They are as outmoded, today, as the horse and buggy were a century ago.

When Governor Romney, during his 2012 candidacy for the presidency, suggested that 49 percent of Americans are dependent on the government, he was referring not only to the disenfranchised but also to that segment of the population that hovers treacherously close to the line that separates the hopeful from the hopeless.  What does it say about a society that is perfectly willing to write off virtually half of its people as not worthy of our concern and attention?

How can we possibly think we can compete effectively with the China and the other players in the international economic arena if we are literally dragging half of the American people along behind us?

What we need, instead, is to find a way to re-engage the disengaged. We need to get them off welfare and into decent paying jobs with which they can support their families. We need to re-sell the American dream to these Americans so that they will not only strive to achieve the dream for themselves but will also encourage their children to pursue it. We need these mothers and fathers to teach their children the importance of an education so that those youngsters arrive at school with both a motivation to learn and with parents who are prepared to stand behind both their children and their teachers.

We need to find a real solution to the problems of access to quality medical care rather than the well-intentioned but impossible Affordable Care Act.

Even though China, Europe, India, Japan, and other Asian rim nations are challenging us on every front, economically, educationally, and politically, our enemy is not the people of other nations. Our enemy resides within our own hearts and minds, and we must find solutions in those same hearts and minds. Our problems as a nation flow from our prejudices and our fundamental assumptions about the universe and mankind’s place therein. Our enemy exists within our unwillingness to embrace our diversity whether measured by the color of our skin, the languages of our cultural heritage, by our religious faiths, or by our view of the universe. We must challenge one another to embrace our diversity. That diversity is and has long been our nation’s greatest strength.

You are invited to:

Subscribe to this blog,

Read the articles on positive leadership, education, healthcare, hope, and the American Dream.

Read the books by this author that lay the foundation for a strategic plan,

Make a commitment to become an active advocate for positive strategies to transform our society, and

To invite your families, friends, colleagues, and associates to join you in this commitment and to begin by also subscribing to this blog.


It is not our futures we are talking about. We are talking about the futures of our children, our grandchildren, and our children’s grandchildren.

None of us can accomplish much by ourselves but if we come together there is nothing on this Earth that can stop us.