The current hubbub over the "fiscal cliff" and related fiscal concerns, such as the sequester and debt ceiling, are distractions from truly serious matters. They only deal with money - who pays the nation's bills and how we can reduce costs while increasing revenues to regain fiscal health. There's nothing as far as future plans to expand the economy, create jobs, and improve living conditions here and globally.
Yet, despite the gloom, there is potential to initiate big programs that will have major positive impacts on the economy while making strides to reduce atmosphere pollution, defend against climate changes and resulting natural disasters, reduce dependency on finite fossil fuels, and engage the international community in combating terrorism - the only real threat remaining to our national security.
The key words are "global" and "cooperation." Pollution, climate change, clean renewable energy, economies, and terrorism are global concerns. Comprehensive, long range solutions can be achieved only through international cooperation and investment. This situation is ideal for growing the United States economy through aggressive participation in international investments across problems common to every nation.
Our major economic concerns center on jobs. Political campaigns of the past few years have pitted candidates against one another on their ability to generate jobs but none has come up with long-range, job-generating strategies that will pass thru congress.
Historically, our economy grows most robustly during periods of large scale government spending. However, these economic spikes are short lived and leave little but debt behind.
The major impediment to pursuing a long term global strategy is conservative, unfounded fear the United Nations and other international partnerships pose threats that outsiders can force their will on us. This attitude leads to an isolationist, do it alone strategy in a world where the U.S. has only 1/20th of the world population and has been in relative decline in many critical areas such as poverty, health care, manufacturing, economy, education, even sports and entertainment...areas which we led for decades prior to 2,000.
What do we have to offer? We still have a superior scientific and engineering infra-structure leading to innovative solutions and exportable products across all nations. We also have is a superior military machine that, despite its might and cost, has been unable to win major conflicts leading to enduring peace since WW II.
Meeting the big challenges of the next century provides an endless "to do" list leading to strong, enduring economic growth and jobs while doing all we can to save the planet for future generations.