Nelson Hoffman: Guest Opinion | AspenTimes.com

Nelson Hoffman: Guest Opinion

Nelson Hoffman
Special to The Aspen Times
Aspen CO Colorado

Would you care to join me in creating a true forum – in the historical Greek sense of the word? A place where unfiltered propaganda isn’t allowed but a place where vital issues can be aired.

Why such a forum? We live in one of the wealthiest towns in the world. Local politics that affect our day-to-day lives are well covered. The local newspapers do a great job of keeping us informed of local affairs, while TV brings us news from “outside.” In election years, the signal-to-noise ratio is nearly intolerable. In the past week, the TV political ads pitch distorted pictures of each candidate’s position on the trade deficit, China, offshoring and in-shoring, and they distort the extent of job loss attributable to the opposition.

But our national news is dominated by the propaganda that wealth can purchase, and the very powerful have gained hugely from Asian labor replacing domestic jobs and wages, particularly those of private enterprise first and now public payrolls. And after the Supreme Court decision on Citizens United, the demon of unrestricted spending to buy elections and dictate issues has become unstoppable. The court exacerbated what was a great problem to begin with.

It seems to me most of us are sick of negative TV political ads. The feeling of unease is unique in my 79 years. If we are to believe these ads, neither the president nor Mitt Romney has the character, performance or plans to improve the nation. I have spent the past 20 years studying the impact of the loss of our manufacturing sector, where I spent 40 years of my life. And so are hundreds of other residents who live here because they worked in making the goods we consume, but no longer. I realize we are a resort community where real estate, recreation and entertainment provide the backbone of our local economy. But the macro effects of the national and international agenda still have the dominant influence.

So if you think a local forum from Rifle to Aspen might be fun and constructive, please email me the issues you think are germane to this election and, more importantly, changes that start creating a better future for our children and grandchildren. We must demand more rational governance. In a highly competitive global struggle, we need a stronger leader in charge.

My agenda is pretty simple:

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1) Disqualify or recuse the Supreme Court judges who are being paid to speak to extreme groups on either side – starting with Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas – and then reverse Citizens United. Long-ignored election reform is critical.

2) The president, after more than three years in office, has finally recognized that Chinese and South Korean imports are responsible for 20 million to 30 million unemployed Americans with no paychecks. Too late!

But have you heard one word of specific action? Are there any specific tax or tariff changes to address the import/trade-deficit issue? The misnamed stimuli have been a pinprick. That deficit is what drives our $2 billion hemorrhage of national assets – our future financial stability.

Neither party has done anything substantial to restore family buying power to stimulate the economy, pay off student loans or save for college or retirement.

3) Take the income tax structure of the Eisenhower presidency, and put it in place until federal deficits are ended. “To those whom much is given, much is expected.”

4) To put some teeth in energy independence, tax all windmill, solar and alternate-energy components made offshore at 50 to 75 percent, or ban imports altogether. It makes no sense to substitute dependence on Chinese Solar panels while their pricing aggression bankrupts domestic producers, in order to simultaneously remove dependence on foreign oil.

5) We bailed out banks that didn’t have the sense to make sure they could cover their dumb bets! We’d be out of town from Las Vegas in minutes if we were that greedy and dumb. We want justice and vengeance for the banker/mortgage gangsters that endangered the global reputation of our financial system.

Our founding fathers sought to create a new, unique democracy. Now, I think their plan has been grossly distorted and disregarded. Thomas Jefferson said we need an informed electorate to sustain democracy. Maybe talking together won’t really help the nation fix its failings soon enough, but like the people who rushed to Bunker Hill to form this nation, perhaps we valley folk can join together in recapturing the dreams of the founding fathers.

We seek to live by reality, not manipulated beliefs that are the product of power brokers. Does that TV ad about beliefs bother you? I think it should.

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