Categorized | Business


Cliff Hanger

By Tom Irmen

Like last month, I’ll comment on the fiscal cliff debacle currently underway in Washington prior to its resolution, regardless of the outcome.

I believe that the most looming challenge facing our nation today is that we ask our leaders to wear two hats: that of a statesperson and that of a politician. The two could not be more diametrically opposed. A statesperson, you would think, would make decisions that represented the best interest of the constituents they represent. A politician, on the other hand, would make decisions that would enhance their likelihood of being re-elected.

I believe this paradox has been harmful to our country, resulting in inequities, inefficiencies, occasional corruption, and some portion of the blame for the most recent recession, just to name a few.

My solution? Simple, actually. Eliminate presidential and congressional salaries. I believe our elected leaders should be compensated based on results. Form an independent body that can monitor results such as changes to unemployment, education, deficit, GDP, and other key indicators. Politicians should enjoy unlimited income potential, and no floor either. Their incomes would be based entirely on the results they produce.

Sound unachievable? Not at all. Millions of self-employed Americans from all political parties go to work daily, accepting that their fortunes will be based entirely on the results they produce each day. The expression often used is that “we eat what we kill.” There’s more truth in that statement than you might imagine.

Performance-based compensation could go a long way in ending many of the seemingly insurmountable issues confronting our nation. In addition, few people from any political party would likely disagree that reduced unemployment, increased GDP, and deficit reduction are not in their personal best interest, no matter how partisan they may be.

Do I genuinely believe that my suggestions will ever see the light of day? One voice in hundreds of millions? Not likely. But there are millions of self-employed Americans – democrat, republican, and independent alike – that prove that performance-based compensation provides the necessary incentive required to produce a good, product, or service that benefits both the customer and the business owner alike, and the higher the service level, the greater the reward.

Just imagine our unlimited potential if we’d all pulled in the same direction.

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