Stan Crader

Author & Lecturer on Writing About Rural America

Deficit to Surplus

Don’t you hate it when someone brags about having read an entire book the night before? How could anyone read an entire book in one night, you wonder, or at least I do. Books are to be enjoyed, not gobbled up like last year’s Halloween candy. Fast reading is not a sign of intelligence, or so I say.

Well, here goes. “I read the book From Deficit to Surplus last night. And I had lunch with the author today. “Wow,” you say, or at least I hope you did. More than likely you’re gagging, or worse yet, have exited from the blog and trying to figure out how to unsubscribe. Please don’t, remember, I had to bribe you with a free book offer to get you to subscribe.

Authors are like stray dogs–we tend to seek each other out. It’s not an exclusive club by any means and could more accurately be described as a support group for the misunderstood and frequently ignored. Most of us write books to get attention—sometimes it works—too often it doesn’t.

Oh yea, the book—it’s twenty four pages from stem to stern, including a hand drawn graph. I’m guessing it’s less than eight thousand words including the dedication to the author’s father, a financial advisor. That’ll be our secret.

There are two reasons to read this book, enjoyment isn’t one. The first reason is to be able to casually mention over and over the following day that you read a book the night before. Watch with envy as those who only dream of reading a book, people with small kids at home, gaze with envy. The second and more important reason to read the book is to be provoked into thoughtful consideration about the future of America. Therein lies the reason for this blog. Enough of the funny stuff–I was trying to be funny, by the way.

I don’t agree with every detail of the book but I do agree with the general principal, which is the need for significant policy changes regarding taxes, healthcare, social security, and federal contracts.

The author suggests taking the middle bid for government contracts. While his description of the process is a bit over simplified, we discussed over lunch more precise details with which I agreed. Having been a part of building a couple of large warehouse buildings, one on which the lowest bid was accepted, and one on which the best bid was taken, I can attest that paying more up front costs less in the long run, much less.

By definition, social security is already or is rapidly approaching what could be described as a ponzi scheme. While everyone is absorbed and distracted by healthcare, retirement for millions of American’s is at risk. Nobody would invest their life savings with the same strategy which social security funds are invested. Social security was originally designed to supplement one’s retirement for a few years. Today we’re living longer and social security benefits have been expanded well beyond that of supplemental retirement income. Change is inevitable.

As for healthcare, the author and I drew attention from other patrons at the restaurant when we argued the basic tenants put forth in the book. He suggests a single payer system–I’m for personal responsibility. The more I listened, the more sense his idea made. I never gave him the satisfaction of agreeing to a single payer system, and don’t, but do agree that keeping the government out of healthcare or healthcare insurance is a better answer, which is his point.  What he describes is a single payer hybrid that does call for the start of what could become personal accountability. It’s a start, we finally agreed, and the stares subsided.

The book is truly a one-nighter. Read it–get provoked. At least it will give you points with which to write your congressman. You can be sure that others, who don’t have your best interests in mind, are contacting them on a regular basis.

We only know what we read and are told. Read and tell.





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