Election: Crisis of Confidence and Judgement

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As always, elections are about variables so myriad as to make polling effective only in trend for some elections, and entirely unreliable in others. It appears to me this 2008 election however, is about a crisis in confidence toward authority and the presidential winner will be the person having shown the most credible judgement.

Crisis in confidence.

Consumer confidence just reached an all time low. What began as a crisis in confidence toward U.S. presidents during the LBJ and Nixon administrations, has reached unparalleled proportions in the George W. Bush administration. And in between, there have been all manner of assaults upon the confidence of the American people toward authority, such as:

  • The Oil Embargo of the 1970's and failure to move away from import dependence thereafter
  • The Savings and Loan crisis of the 1980's which cost taxpayers $324.6 billion dollars, and Americans more than a half trillion dollars
  • The cultural issues crisis over 2nd Amendment rights to bear arms, abortion, religion in schools and government, and of course, the defiling of the Oval Office by a promiscuous William Jefferson Clinton
  • And in the first decade of .the new century, the pedophilia crisis in the Catholic Church and American schools, the growing crisis of deficits and debt, and the current mortgage and credit crises.

The American people, while not recalling this specific litany of historical crises in the U.S. and world, are nonetheless responding to their cumulative effect. The Republican government, which was to bring America fiscal sanity, smaller and lower cost government, and a reduction in corruption of values, politics, legislation, and policy, disappointed the American on all these fronts. There is a crisis in confidence toward authority figures. It appears in the polls as less than a 65% favorable polling toward Obama, a dramatic and rapid drop in approval of Sarah Palin as McCain's VP choice, even amongst segments of Republicans, and serious doubts regarding the judgement of the veteran Senator and war hero, John McCain.

Approval ratings for Congress are near all time historical lows. The American people have lost a great deal of faith in their government and those elected to run it. Who can blame them? Yet, the American sense of hope for the future is a quality not easily diminished nor snuffed. A majority of American voters and the Electoral College will select a president in four days, in whom they will again invest their trust and hope for a better future. There can be little doubt that a measurable portion of this hope and trust comes from voters under 30, who are intrinsically hopeful and trusting, and they may well prove to be the numbers needed to put Barack Obama into the White House.

Whether Obama or McCain wins, however, there are challenges facing our nation, which if ignored any longer, will spell the ruination of a hopeful and confident America going forward. In September of 2003, I wrote here at WatchBlog:

The United States National debt, now approaching 7 trillion dollars, will be in the 10 to 12 trillion dollar range in 10 to 12 years.
and:
The Perfect Storm, was partly about an historical convergence of a hurricane, a cold front, and a low pressure center, if memory serves, which created a storm of such magnitude that it could not be entered and survived by normal vessels. Such a storm is growing on the economic front and the convergence of three main trends will occur in the next 8 to 12 years resulting in a wave of devastation across the American economy and possibly the world economy. The three trends are growing U.S. national debt, the retirement of the baby boom generation, and the incredible growth of foreign economies.
I confess to being wrong about it taking until 2013 to 2015 to arrive at 10 trillion dollars of national debt. But, over the years since 2003, I have, in many other articles here, updated the debt projections in light of actions of the Bush Administration and Congress to reflect this shortening of the calendar.

Standing before the next president is an additional 44 Trillion Dollars of debt in the form of unfunded mandates via the Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid programs. There are at least two ways to deal with it, the simple minded stupid way, and the vastly more difficult and challenging intelligent way.

The Simple and Stupid way, the McCain way, is to privatize these programs and let those who can't afford to self-insure their health care and retirement, suffer and die of poverty in the 10's of millions, which will sow the seeds of civil war or revolution in this country. It is incomprehensible that anyone today could believe that so much suffering by the parents of the shrinking middle class would not result in a revolt after witnessing their parents and grandparents suffer the pain and misery of poverty, having paid a portion of their earnings throughout their lives to the government to insure against such poverty.

I wish I could say the the intelligent but challenging way is the Obama Way, but, we simply don't have enough information from Obama to make that determination. This way however, does incorporate Obama's single payer health insurance plan. But, it must go much further. And there are no guarantees that a more intelligent threading of the needle on this issue will be successful. But, to not even try, will spell the economic and political collapse of our nation within 30 years.

The intelligent way includes:

  • incentivizing not-for-profit health care delivery clinics, hospitals, and private practice partnerships, in which doctors, nurses, administrators, janitors, and all the other personnel in the medical care field continue as they do now, earning a competitive living providing health care, but, without shareholders and execs skimming profits of the health care dollars spent.
  • Halt the influx of illegal immigrants. America can no longer afford to continue its practice of mandating health care to those in need by law, and provide that health care to uninsured illegal immigrants in the 10's of millions.
  • Incorporating voluntary healthy lifestyle promotion in schools, work places, neighborhoods, and empowering the FDA with truth in advertising enforcement with teeth.
  • Establish smoking cessation check-in clinics at the cost to the smoker of the smoker's budget for cigarettes. This could incur a tax payer expense up front, but, successful programs would return tax payer benefits in reduced long term smoking related illnesses. This could also be partially, or fully funded by current taxes on tobacco products.
  • End the war on drugs (except toward toward sellers to children): redirect 25% of the current budget for drug law enforcement into clinics for drug users to quit. The savings here of the other 75% could be redirected to pay for single payer health insurance lowering taxes for this purpose.
  • Force the pharmaceutical companies to sell Americans prescription drugs at the same cost they are being sold overseas and stop their discrimination against American consumers.
  • Establish medical review courts populated by retired judges and doctors/RN's, to screen out frivolous medical malpractice suits from entering our court systems, and make public all records of complaints regarding malpractice claims against hospitals, clinics, and medical personnel both for purposes of screening malpractice suits before entering the court system, and providing consumers with the power to research, shop, and compare their health care provider choices.
  • Relieve all businesses of obligations to provide health care insurance, and enact a tax on all businesses employing more than 50 people to help fund the universal health care insurance system, at a fraction of what businesses would otherwise pay to provide health care insurance themselves to their employees.
  • Allow the U.S. Government to negotiate royalty rights, at a fraction of a percent, for any, and all patents, resulting from tax payer subsidized research and development. This one simple step could, over the course of the baby boom generation, generate trillions of dollars in revenue to offset the costs of Medicare/Medicaid.
  • Lastly, put to bed forever the notion that unregulated markets will self-correct without incredible harm to the American people. If this current crisis and previous ones prove anything, it is that unregulated market bubbles in an interdependent global economy are no longer to be tolerated or allowed.
This is not a comprehensive list, but, includes some of the major initiatives that could and would drive down the cost of health care in America to more manageable levels, and shave trillions off the unfunded mandates for Medicare/Medicaid.

Crisis in Judgement

Of course, all of these ideas and solutions are meaningless, unless increasing numbers of voters hold their own representatives accountable for enacting such solutions. Reelecting incumbents who fail to enact such solutions, for whatever reasons of incompetence, corruption by lobbyists and campaign donors, or ideology, will only compound the current looming crises into actual crises in coming years. And that means the voters must hold our next president to the same standard, making them a one term president if in their first 4 years they are not out in front using the bully pulpit to push the Congress toward these tough solutions which will be fought intensely by corporate and wealthy special interests.

America's future was never intended to belong to the wealthy special interests. Our founders overthrew the King and his aristocracy to insure that America's future belonged to all Americans. It is time Americans fulfilled that great promise and exercised its democratic process of, by, and for the people. Vote!

People in power will use that power to keep themselves in power. The vote is unnecessary for those in power to remain in power. Our founders understood this about King George. It is time Americans exercised their vote for the purpose it was intended, to remove politicians from office when it appears they are serving their own interests instead of the people's. Vote Out Incumbents Democracy is working to make the latter a reality, for this election, and those to come. Do your part, and vote to replace at least one ineffective, incompetent, or corrupt incumbent politician in this election.

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This page contains a single entry by David R. Remer published on October 31, 2008 5:05 PM.

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