Category Archives: Broken in the USA

guns & gas

Resurrecting Respect

I apologize in advance for this self-serving post. I also apologize to my Sophies Soapbox Facebook readers since this will be a partial repeat of a prior Facebook post. I recently had a book published and much of the material was taken from prior posts to this blog. The book is titled Resurrecting Respect.

Our country has fallen from a position of leadership and respect that it had earned after WW II. What made the U.S.A. the example for the rest of the world has eroded. The reasons are complex and not the work of any one political party or faction. The “blame game” runs rampant and as a result, we have not been willing to work toward reclaiming our status. This little book attempts to examine the issues with an apolitical view. While the first part is essentially a “moan” the second part offers many practical solutions.

All of the opinions and solutions in the book support the following principals:

  1. In the USA, our citizens and permanent residents deserve freedom of speech, worship and freedom from want & fear, affordable quality healthcare, and an affordable education.
  2. Over time, many of our past successes have eroded and now require evaluation and change. There are many areas where we were once an (if not “the”) world leader, but are no longer. Changes will be required to make the U.S.A. great again.
  3. Our founding fathers intended to create a system where the common people ruled and not the “Royals.” We have created a new class of Royals, if not in the title, but for certain in practice.
  4. Service to country (and the earth) is more important than individual gain.
  5. Individual freedoms are sacrosanct as long as they do not infringe on the right’s other individuals
  6. Short term benefits should never unduly mortgage future generations.
  7. Government spending should be accountable to the taxpayer, and borrowing obligations should be “transparent” both in terms of current deficits and future “unfunded” liabilities. Both areas should be subject to reasonable limits that congress would not have the ability to override.
  8. Unskilled and semi-skilled workers should receive, at a minimum, the compensation required to provide the entitlements in #1 above.
  9. When the economy (real GDP) is growing the middle class deserves its fair share of this growth. The middle class is paying more than their fair share to fund our government.
  10. Persons and families in need deserve our support. We should give those in need the opportunity to maintain their self-respect. Everyone should have the opportunity to “contribute” to the country commensurate to their abilities. All subsidies should have limited terms except in cases of ongoing and legally documented disability. 
  11.  The role of money in our election process and determining the outcome must be reduced.
  12. Least government is the best government. Citizens in service to the Federal Government will be paid fairly, but not overpaid. By that, I mean their total compensation should be in line with comparable positions in private industry. Where possible, productivity standards should be in place for all government workers.
  13. The time available for election campaigns requires reduction. We need more time governing and less time campaigning.
  14. Capitalism is the preferred economic system as long as it provides for most of the citizens to participate in owning capital. Participation in capitalism should include all classes other than those requiring subsidies.
  15. Taxes come in many forms. For example: When your government chooses to support an inefficient and costly system when cheaper and better alternatives exist, then you are being taxed.
  16. Worldwide free markets are most efficient in the long-term, fostering innovation and productivity
  17. Growth for the sake of growth is not the best measure of economic viability. Productivity ultimately determines effective resource utilization and well-being. This measure becomes even more important for countries when their internal population is declining. Measures like GDP per capita are a better economic measure of success.
  18. Our elected representatives should play by the same rules as the voters that elected them into office regarding benefits and entitlements.
Resurrecting Respect: True Patriotism

Entitlements & the four Freedoms

Entitlements & the four Freedoms

The following are a few excerpts from FDRs address to the 77th members of Congress. The entire address is well worth the read and I encourage you to view it. You can easily access it via a google search:

“A free nation has the right to expect full cooperation from all groups. A free nation has the right to look to the leaders of business, of labor, and of agriculture to take the lead in stimulating effort, not among other groups but within their own groups.

The best way of dealing with the few slackers of trouble makers in our midst is, first, to shame them by patriotic example, and, if that fails, to use the sovereignty of Government to save Government.

Certainly, this is no time for any of us to stop thinking about the social and economic problems which are the root cause of the social revolution which is today a supreme factor in the world.

For there is nothing mysterious about the foundations of a healthy and strong democracy. The basic things expected by our people of their political and economic systems are simple. They are:

Equality of opportunity for youth and for others.
– Jobs for those who can work.
– Security for those who need it.
– The ending of special privilege for the few.
– The preservation of civil liberties for all.
– The enjoyment of the fruits of scientific progress in a wider and constantly rising standard of living.

These are the simple, basic things that must never be lost sight of in the turmoil and unbelievable complexity of our modern world. The inner and abiding strength of our economic and political systems is dependent upon the degree to which they fulfill these expectations.

Many subjects connected with our social economy call for immediate improvement.

As examples:

We should bring more citizens under the coverage of old-age pensions and unemployment insurance.
We should widen the opportunities for adequate medical care.
We should plan a better system by which persons deserving of needing gainful employment may obtain it.

I have called for personal sacrifice. I am assured of the willingness of almost all Americans to respond to that call……………………………………….

 ………………………The Four Freedoms:
In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.
    * The first is freedom of speech and expression – everywhere in the world.
    * The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way – everywhere in the world.
    * The third is freedom from want – which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a     healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants – everywhere in the world.
    * The fourth is freedom from fear – which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor – anywhere in the world.

That is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a definite basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and generation.

To that new order we oppose the greater conception – the moral order. A good society is able to face schemes of world domination and foreign revolutions alike without fear.

Since the beginning of our American history, we have been engaged in change – in a perpetual peaceful revolution – a revolution which goes on steadily, quietly adjusting itself to changing conditions – without the concentration camp or the quick-lime in the ditch. The world order which we seek is the cooperation of free countries, working together in a friendly, civilized society.”

Source: The Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1940: War and Aid to Democracies.

Healthcare Revisited – A simple solution to 2 problems

  • Healthcare Revisited – A simple solution to 2 problems

As the Democratic contenders vie for the nomination “Healthcare” is again one of the more significant topics. Medicare for all, private option and other variants are being proposed. My view is that no candidate is willing to confront the real issue with our broken healthcare system. I strongly believe that healthcare should be a right of citizenship and permanent residency. However, as a fiscal conservative I cannot support a solution that adds to our out of control National Debt.

When searching for solutions to any problem I favor two approaches. First, start by working “upstream”. By this I mean search for the cause of the problem. Once you determine that cause keep working on additional factors that are contributing to the it. The US has by far the highest cost of healthcare, per capita, of any country in the world. Our costs are almost three times the average for the EU countries without the corresponding benefit of better quality of care. What is causing the problem and why are we not addressing solutions?

There are several factors that contribute to out of control costs. Among them are the role of insurance companies, drug costs, hospital costs, physician compensation, obesity rates and legal factors. These areas have been thoroughly addressed in several earlier posts on this topic.

The second method that I advocate for problem solving is a technique called “base-lining”. What this means is to investigate other systems that are yielding positive results and learning how to benefit from the experience of others. There are several countries’ systems that are worth investigating that have a higher quality of care at less than half the per capita cost.

Solving the cost issue would more than cover the cost of proving healthcare for all and would also significantly reduce the out of balance national budget deficit. One solution to improve, if not solve, two problems.