Thursday, January 7, 2010

It snowed a lot...

It snowed about six inches today, so I am stranded at home with the opportunity to wax less than poetic. I cannot get out to run today so yes, I found my soapbox. A flyer from a major political party came in the mail earlier this week and it listed 14 major issues that it asked our household to prioritize in order of importance for being addressed by the Federal Government. These items included the following (in the order they were presented, I will talk about priorities later):

• America’s Economic Situation
• Regulation of Financial Institutions and Markets
• Lowering Unemployment
• Dealing with Iran
• Health Insurance Reform
• Fighting Terrorism
• Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan
• Improving Race Relations
• Nuclear Proliferation
• Improving Education
• Energy Independence
• America’s Image in the World Community
• Dealing with North Korea

Let’s first look to where these issues overlap. America’s Economic Situation revolves around getting Main Street back to work making products that are competitive in the global marketplace, reducing the operating deficits and paying down the national debt. With an expanding economy, the financial markets will look to participate in the expansion of the economy by funding new businesses instead of tinkering with transaction structures to maximize profits at the margins. This will, in turn lead to more cooperation between Financial Markets and the Government when it comes to regulation. An expanding economy will Lower Unemployment. Fuller employment will lead to improved race relations. Competition for employees in an expanding economy will motivate employers to offer health insurance and small businesses will be dealt a stronger hand in negotiating with insurance providers as their employee rosters grow. The rising economic tide at home will show the world that we are consistent when it comes to reconciling how we may defend rights abroad and how we treat our own citizens; thus improving our image in the World Community. Much terrorism directed at the United States is driven by our foreign presence in the search of resources; primarily oil. If we are not viewed as interlopers, the motivation for hatred is reduced; in turn reducing the risk of terrorism. Iraq and Afghanistan need to see examples of success of a CIVILIAN SURGE to push economic development to turn the insurgents away from warfare as their only hope. An example of consistency between how we treat our own citizens and the face we present to the world is essential. If we can win hearts and minds by being an example instead of shoving something down the throats of a people, our stay overseas will indeed be shorter. Iran and Korea need to be exposed to the world as the oppressive regimes that they are and let their own citizens lead a domestic uprising to accomplish the change that is needed. In order for US to be the beacon of liberty and freedom in the world, we need to lead by example.

I have dealt with 12 of the 14 “National Issues” by showing how they are inter-twined with economic expansion and being an example at home. We can accomplish the 12 by concentrating on the 2: Improving Education and achieving true, long term Energy Independence. Energy Independence for the long term must concentrate on new and evolving technologies in sustainable sources. Solar, Algae, Wind, Hydrogen, Tidal Energy, Geo Thermal, Cellulosic Ethanol (corn based ethanol only drives down food production and drives up food costs) and other technologies will lead America to independence from foreign sources of fuel in the short term and freedom from fossil fuels in the long term. These technologies can create millions of high paying jobs that will MANUFACTURE products here and export them to the global marketplace. Well trained employees will earn competitive, life supporting wages with quality affordable health care benefits and those employees will pay taxes on those wages to balance the budget and pay down the national debt. To develop these new technologies and provide the manufacturing labor to build these technologies, we need a jump start. That jump start can come from billions of dollars of government co-investment in technology development, loan guarantees and technical assistance as well as looking at education in a new way. It is time to privatize the education system. Let schools compete for both students and educators. Accountability and performance pay for education systems should be based on job placement and secondary education placement; not test scores. If schools are going to be required to develop young people who compete in the global marketplace, let them be evaluated as such. A voucher program to be used at secular schools staffed by educators who have actually spent time working in the market at a job directly related to the subject matter they are teaching will help prepare students for lifetime success.

I will flesh out the details in later posts, but I truly believe that the key to solving a myriad of ills is to see where they are inter-connected and deal directly with a few issues to cure many more. Oh well, snow plow has come through, I may head to the office.

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