Examples of the Broadening Consensus about American Society

By November 26th, 2013

Coloring Within the Lines — But Not Connecting the Dots; The Growth of Consensus in American Society; Eight Federal Actions Which Are Needed to Increase American Competitiveness


The Hard Facts and Real Data About the State of Current America

by Mack W. Borgen

“Stimulating, refreshing, and original…” Wayne S. Bell, Chief Counsel, CA Dep’t of Real Estate, Sacramento, California

“…(A)stonishing undertaking…” Brigadier General Dulaney O’Roark, (Ret), Louisville, Kentucky

“…(R)e-opens the doors to civil dialogue, Martha Lange, The Aspen Institute, Santa Barbara, California

A Set of Two Companion Books:

Vol.1 – The Relevance of Reason – Business and Politics (408 pp) (2013) 

Vol.2  The Relevance of Reason – Society and Culture (438 pp) (2013)



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Examples of the Broadening Consensus about American Society

Despite the passionate drumbeat about the level and subjects of disagreement and dissension in American society, there are more and more examples of consensus — useful and broadening consensus.  While the substantive nature of these examples of consensus may themselves be disheartening, the mere existence of consensus can be viewed in almost all cases as constructive; as a place from which to finally begin.

There is, for example, a broadening consensus that America’s problems are numerous, compounding, and inter-related. There is broadening consensus that our political systemic is dysfunctional. More and more Americans are reaching the conclusion that our problems are not going to be corrected by the electoral arrival of a unifying political leader, by a crop of new faces, by the improved behavior of our existing leaders, or by the occurrence of some epiphanous enlightment. Similarly, we cannot await bursts of brilliance or rely upon moments of accidental honesty. Instead, we must use and build upon this shared consensus and adjust to the reality that without our action, America’s electoral and legislative processes are not going to readily change or quickly improve.

There is also a broadening consensus that our economic system has become too Darwinian. Many now believe that the disparate allocations of income, wealth and opportunity  (and similarly their downstream benefits such as financial and personal security, the acquisitive consumerism and objects of art, ease and enjoyment, and even access to high-quality education and health care) may be counter-productive to the long-run success and safety of our country. These are matters of fair debate, but most Americans believe that it is unlikely that our economic system is going to correct itself by the free run of market forces or by the application of either more or less regulation. The American economy has not been hijacked, but as a matter of strategy, too many aspects of our economic system have become a mere part of the political grudge match currently in play.

There is a broadening consensus that our society has changed in other ways as well. Many of our traditional behavioral restraints have been diminished. Many of our communities have been re-defined; others have been dangerously weakened. Anxiety, fear and pessimism have become pervasive forces. Good people fight for their jobs. Good parents fight for the education of their children. And even though data is everywhere, perceived accurate information is terribly difficult to find. In conglomerate frustration, it seems as though we Americans can color within the lines, but we are having trouble connecting the dots.

Lastly, our senses of personal and civic responsibilities have been affronted by the disappointing acts of some of our leaders and by the media’s continuing obsession with rating, celebrities, New Jersey housewives, ice road truckers, pawn shop owners, and of late — anyone living remote in Alaska. Half of America knows Lindsay Lohan’s next prison date. And that itself is a problem.

Adapted from The Relevance of Reason – Business and Culture (2013), pp. 21-22 and The Relevance of Reason – Society and Culture (2013), pp. 21-22.

The Eight Actions Which Need To Be Taken by the Federal Government

Within the Next Tw0-Three Years  To Restore U.S. Competitiveness

The eight federal policy actions which are most needed in the collective opinion and based upon a 2012 survey of 10,000 Harvard business alumni are as follows:

1. Ease the immigration laws with respect to highly-skilled individuals.

2. Simplify the corporate tax code.

3. Adopt territorial taxation, the international norm, and tax overseas profits only where they are earned.

4. Address trade distortions (open access to consumer markets, protect intellectual property rights, and reduce trade and investment restrictions in services).

5. Simplify regulations, however, don’t lower standards but regulate more intelligently focusing upon outcomes rather than compliance methods and adopt cost-benefit analyses.

6. Enact a multi-year program to improve infrastructure focusing upon those improvements which will boost economic growth and increase the use of public-private partnerships.

7. Agree on framework for developing shale gas and oil.

8. Create a sustainable federal budget which includes both revenues increases and spending reductions.

The Relevance of Reason – Business and Politics (2013), p. 129, citing The Economist’s United States Competitiveness Project at The Economist, The World in 2013, p. 50  (Note: The cited article notes that matters such as especially K-12 education and health care must also be addressed, but they were not deemed compatible with the 2-3 year focus of the survey).


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