While the omicron variant is still making its way across the U.S., the worst of it seems to be over in New Jersey.
Now is the time to take a deep breath and demand what our political leaders in Washington and Trenton need to focus on as we emerge from the lastest—and hopefully last—wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
The first is getting the financial house on both a federal and state level in order. A recent Monmouth poll showed that under 30% of respondents believe President Joe Biden and members of Congress are very concerned with looking out for the economic well-being of average Americans.
As we said last week, President Biden needs to present and keep on the front burner an economic plan that grows the economy while dealing with supply chain issues and inflation that could cripple the U.S. Due to spending policies we continue to believe were correct to ensure Americans were both safe and keep the economy growing, the U.S. government now has a debt of $29 trillion. Both parties must come together, leaving ideologies at the door, to devise a plan that continues to invest in rebuilding the U.S. with a mix of increasing tax revenues and spending cuts to pay down our bills.
On the state level, affordability is the new buzzword in the Garden State. Both Democrats and Republicans need to come together to work on a plan that reduces property taxes while maintaining the same level of services for New Jerseyans.
A plan for what happens if/when the next surge in a pandemic occurs is important for our economy as well. The goal of the plan should be to ensure an open society that takes precautions to keep the spread at a low level, minimize the effect to the economy and not to overrun our hospitals and frontline workers.
We hope sooner rather than later mask mandates will be gone, especially for school children. But we must accept—and be provided with specific benchmarks from health professionals in government—when we will need to return to health protocols. Because it is better to have students in schools interacting with teachers and classmates with a mask on and fully vaccinated then at home in isolation remotely learning.
The fight over health protocols, especially over mask and vaccine mandates, has been yet another polarizing issue that attempts to drive Americans apart. As much as we are rebuilding our physical infrastructure, both parties need to tone down the rhetoric and work more toward finding common ground.
Vigorously debating the issues of the day is a fundamental part of our democracy; attempts to shut down or threaten the other side with violence because of a policy disagreement has led us to a place of driving out good people that are replaced by extremists.
The spotlight is too often given to the conspiracy theorists and fringes from our society. We need a bipartisan effort to root these actors out and are hopeful the work of the Jan. 6 House Select Committee will be the beginning of this movement.
A bipartisan economic and social roadmap to understand where we are going is an absolute necessity—not to win an election but to unite our country moving forward.