My ideas of the major issues facing our country in order of importance:
Updated November 2012
1. Illegal immigration – This issue has several points.
a. Because of misguided policies and decisions like Plyer vs Doe 1982 which forbids states from denying education, services to illegal immigrates, some reports suggest that the US government and the state governments spend more to support Illegal’s than the war in Iraq is costing. The documented cost to California alone is greater than $10 billion a year. The documented cost to the US government is about $26 billion a year. Estimates run to about $150 billion a year total for states and the federal government. According to the CBO we are spending about $9 billion a month or $108 billion a year on the war in Iraq.
b. We need to seal our border with Mexico to prevent both people and illegal goods (drugs being the biggest) from moving into the US.
c. We are creating a Hispanic population decended from illegals the will be able to dominate many States politically in the next few years. I have no problem with Hispanic peoples, but they need to enter the country legally. This block of voters was evident in the 2012 election.
d. Illegals have a higher crime rate than legal residents, both violent crime and non-violent --- mostly identity theft so they can produce documents allowing them to work in the US.
2. Supreme Court – The president sets the tone of the Supreme Court by nominating candidates. Since the Warren court in the 50’s the Supreme Court has increasingly set legal precedents that have undermined the congress and legislatures rights and abilities to make laws in this country. One example noted above is Plyer vs Doe. While the court has moderated in the last few years, the process needs to continue.
3. Energy – The oil crisis of 2008 underscores the fact that the United States needs to have a comprehensive energy policy that will work towards ending our dependence on foreign oil. We should
a. Open drilling in Alaska, the continental shelf, and the Bakken Shale formation.
b. Begin to build Nuclear power plants again. We have not built a nuclear plant in the US in the last 20 years. See argument for: Unfortunatly the histeria surrounding nuclear power overshadows the benefits.
c. Continue to develop alternative power sources. Solar, wind, water, geo-thermal, et al. unless there are great advances in technology, none of these are capable of supplying the needs of the US either by themselves or in conjunction with each other.
d. Build more oil refineries in the US so we will not have to import gasoline and diesel fuel. There have been no refineries built in the last 20 years. This way we don't have to import gasoline and diesel fuel.
e. Build plants to covert coal into gas and diesel fuel. This technology has been available for many years. With oil hovering around $100 a barrel the return on investment will more than justify the expense and such measures the price of oil will make its way back to more than $140 a barrel. See information:
4. National Security – The United States has been beset by external threats for most of its existence. Today is no different. The militant Islamic groups that have sprung up since the Carter administration abandoned Iran to them in the 1970’s are growing into more of a world wide threat now then ever. Many of the ideas promoted by the militants were part and parcel to the ideas and policies of the fascists who took over several governments in the 1930’s. Because the French, British and the US did not react to this threat when it could have been stopped easily, more than 40 million people died in World War II. If we do not aggressively pursue the militants all over the world, we could easily be faced with a conflict that could double the deaths in WWII. I don’t want such a slaughter on my conscience. I do believe that the US needs to spend it's money more effectively and work on reducing deplication and "empire building" in it's defense programs.
5. Economy – The recovery from the recession of 2008 has been slow. Many of the problems with the economy are due to the misguided policies of the United States over the last 50 years. We have artificially stimulated the economy and have allowed our huge manufacturing base to dwindle to second rate status. In the short term companies are not hiring because they don't know what the US Government is going to do with regards to the regulation of business. We need a consistant plan which will stimulate the economy, and give industry a reason to move manufacturing back to the US. In addition we need to get back to a balanced budget. My proposal is to freeze the total expendatures of the Federal Government for 5 years. Any increases in any programs will need to be accompanied by the same size cut in other expendatures. According to the Congressional Budget Office the projected revenue will catch up to the current spending in 5 years. Then we can reasses the Budget needs.
The Housing and Urban Development bill passed by the Carter adminstration in 1977 put a great deal of pressure on the mortgage companies to take more risk in making home loans. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Community_Reinvestment_Act). We are at a crossroads for the contuation of the American Culture as a world leader. We need to spend less money on entitlement programs and more on research and developmet of our industry. This will create good paying jobs for Americans and will feed the economy in the future. Here is a link to a good article on the Great Depression: http://www.shambhala.org/business/goldocean/causdep.html
6. National Healthcare – This is a thorny problem for the United States. Complete national heath care would require standard clinics and would be similar to the way the VA works. Most Americans will not accept that. While the VA care is pretty good, people are very used to having the choice of what dotor is going to take care of them. I don't know the answer to this question. Reinsurance by the Federal Government for catstrophic claims and a national electronic data exchange system would reduce the risk and overhead for insurance companies thus reducing costs and insurance companies reluctance to insuring high risk people and previous conditions. In addition we need to address the these issues:
The amount of paperwork doctors and hospitals are required to provide to both the government and insurance companies. This administrative burden is passed on to the patients and their insurance companies.
Insurance companies should be restricted from excluding people (or charging rates that discourage people from signing up) due to high risk or previous medical conditions. The reinsurance proposal will help here.
The number of tests required by medicare, medicaid and insurance companies before approving treatment needs to be reduced.
We need to reform the malpractice situation in the US. One of the major issues is the lack of guidelines for malpractice claims leading to outlandish awards. Another point is the over charging by insurance companies for malpractice insurance. This link gives a good overview of the situation: http://www.circ.ahajournals.org/cgi/content/full/109/24/2939
7. We also need to go back to running Social Security as a non entitlement program. We should once again segragate the money for Social Security from the rest of the Federal Budget like it was before the Johnson Administration. We also need to revamp the funding process. Currently employees pay 4.2 % and the employer pays 6.2 % of the wages up to $110,000. The race was reduced in 2011 by 2% so people would see an increase in their take home pay. Perhaps it's time to make this a progressive tax and have income greater than, say 80,000 taxed at 8% to a limit of $500,000. Or perhaps just remove the "temperory" reduction and raise the limit to some higher number.