Wouldn't it be nice if …

Those seeking the presidency would discuss critical issues facing the American people instead of so many side issues.

European political leaders would finally and fully address the continent’s sovereign debt challenges.

We weren’t running a federal budget deficit this year of $160,000,000 every 60 minutes.

Men and women were from the same planet.

Members of Congress had to participate in the same health care program as the one being dumped on the American people.

We actually got serious about U.S. energy independence with a program geared to 1) conservation, 2) alternative sources of energy, 3) access to much more oil and natural gas in Alaska and on the continental shelf and 4) developing massive deposits of oil shale and shale gas across the nation.

Wall Street “high rollers” had greater legal and financial accountability for the financial market abuses of recent years.

Congress and the administration would get serious about reining in the growth rate of entitlement programs in coming years. (Note: In regard to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, we do not have to cut spending, we have to slow down the growth rate of future spending. There's a big difference!)

We would hear more about solid Mexican economic growth instead of just cartel violence.

Johnny Carson was still king of late-night television.

Our 401(k) balances would continue to rebound nicely in coming years.

The administration would stop talking about being “pro-business” and actually 1) promote pro-business policies and 2) remove anti-business initiatives that dominate its agenda.

Our kids spent more time playing outside instead of being online inside.

The game of politics in Washington, D.C., involved a little more cooperation and a little less confrontation.

The Kardashians were never heard from again.

“Government” would recognize that it is there to serve the people and not the other way around.

There was a stronger collective effort to improve opportunities in America’s inner cities.

High-quality teachers were paid better while poor teachers were weeded out.

History-making developments across the Middle East and Northern Africa would eventually lead to democracy and freedom for tens of millions of people long denied.

We could benefit more from years of practical business experience of millions of retirees rather than simply “putting them out to pasture.”

The Osbournes were never heard from again.

The Federal Reserve’s eventual attempt to unwind unprecedented monetary stimulus would be successful, with inflation staying under control.

Your garbage disposal didn’t eat better than two-thirds of the world’s population.

Some of the mind-boggling research advancements in energy production and alternative energy more rapidly made their way into the economy.

Drive-by shootings were replaced by drive-by moonings.

American corporate and consumer confidence would rise solidly in coming months.

“Nature” was much less destructive.

America’s silent majority (our parents and grandparents) received greater respect for the enormous wartime sacrifices they made to help protect the freedoms we all enjoy today.

Our kids realized sooner that Mom and Dad might actually know what they are talking about.

The Castro brothers would bite the dust and be replaced with a stronger move toward democracy.

Incompetent corporate CEOs who drive companies into the ground were not rewarded with multimillion-dollar “golden parachutes” to simply go away.

The nation’s tobacco companies would leave our kids alone.

Airlines that lack serious competition in various markets didn’t gouge the public.

Teachers received more admiration and respect from students and their parents.

More working people would save seriously for their golden years (an estimated one-third of the U.S. population saves zero for retirement).

“Far left” liberals and “far right” conservatives in the media would back off a bit.

Lindsay Lohan was never heard from again.

Politicians were elected based on experience and ability, not on who can spend the most money and sling the most mud.

We could make real progress in “clean-burn” coal technology.

The administration was more focused on providing incentives for wealth creation and less focused on wealth redistribution.

There were less irritating ways to bring buyers and sellers together than junk mail, spam, pop-up ads, telemarketing and endless TV commercials.

Market corrections of various types were a little less painful.

The national news media would run positive stories more than once every so often.

U.S. firefighters, police officers and military personnel received our respect all of the time.

We would all get more involved in enriching the lives of those less fortunate than ourselves.

Our national campaign season was much shorter and less exhausting — for candidates and voters.

American military personnel could see their families more often.

We didn’t have a $15,300,000,000,000 gross national debt.

“Old fashioned” common courtesy between people made a big comeback.

The violence and language in today’s movies could be toned down a bit.

The problems in schools today were still spit wads, gum chewing and truancy as opposed to bullying, drug use and pregnancy.

American companies would begin hiring again in an even bigger way.

Each long-term member of Congress was required to take a year off, start a new business with limited funding, meet a payroll and then deal with the complexities and hassles they have created.

The outcome of many lawsuits was determined more by the facts and less by who has the deepest pockets.

The role of “peacekeeper” wasn’t associated with so much violence.

Many spoiled and pampered athletes in MLB, the NFL, the NBA and the NHL had to get regular jobs at regular wages (at least for a while).

We would all keep in mind that despite the problems and challenges we face in the U.S., this is still the greatest country in the world.

Jeff Thredgold is the only economist in the world to have earned the CSP (certified speaking professional) international designation, the highest earned designation in professional speaking. He is also economic consultant to Zions Bank.