Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Posts Tagged ‘reform’

Sen. Lindsey Graham on SCOTUS pick: “I want you to use my words against me.”

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, September 20, 2020

“I want you to use my words against me:
If there’s a Republican president in 2016,
and a vacancy occurs in the last year of the first term,
you can say ‘Lindsey Graham said,
‘Let’s let the next President,
whoever it might be,
make that nomination,”
and you could use my words against me,
and you’d be absolutely right.”

– South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, to the Senate Judiciary Committee March, 10, 2016

https://www.c-span.org/video/?c4907933/user-clip-sc-sen-lindsey-graham-judiciary-committee

BACKGROUND: Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia had earlier died unexpectedly during his sleep while on a hunting trip in Texas on February 3, 2016, thus creating an opening on the nation’s highest court. Within an hour of the national notice of Justice Scalia’s death, Senate Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY) had issued a statement to the effect that he would not grant any consideration (floor vote) to any nominee from President Barack Obama.

Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, had made his intentions known that he would follow the so-called “Biden Rule,” which referred to then-Delaware Senator Joe Biden’s speech on the Supreme Court confirmation process, given June 25, 1992 on the Senate floor. [C-SPAN linked video]

NOTE: Senator Biden’s verbatim remarks on Thursday, June 25, 1992 may be found in the Congressional Record, Volume 138, part 12, beginning on page 16307, and continuing through to page 16321. At that point, Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina began to make his responses, all of which are found on page 16321. The file may also be downloaded from this site here: Congressional Record Senate 6-25-1992 Biden–Reform of Confimation Process speech aka “Biden Rule”

In that speech, Biden argued that then-President George H.W. Bush should wait until after the November General Election to put forth any nominee to any potential Supreme Court vacancy which might arise during the summer, or if not, should establish a precedent, and nominate a moderate whom would be acceptable to the then-Democrat-controlled Senate.

Republicans later began to refer to that concept as the “Biden rule,” though Biden reiterated that he had always thought that the President and Congress should “work together to overcome partisan differences” when considering judicial nominees.

South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, (R)

Linked above from C-SPAN are South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham’s full remarks (approximately 6 minutes) to the Senate Judiciary Committee on March 10, 2016 on the matter of consideration of SCOTUS nominees in an election year.

In his remarks, he noted that he had voted FOR Elena Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayor NOT because he agreed with them ideologically, but because he thought they were qualified.

In those same remarks, he also warned also of an increasing tendency of the Senate toward rancor, like in the House of Representatives, and of ideological partisanship accompanying judicial nominees, some of which COULD in the FUTURE be significantly detrimental to the nation because of a nominee’s unfitness for the bench, and an ideological unwillingness of the controlling party to compromise, or for an unwillingness of dissenting members in the controlling party to vote against an unqualified candidate put forth by the controlling party.


C-SPAN VIDEO DESCRIPTION: The Senate Judiciary Committee held a business meeting on whether to hold a hearing on a Supreme Court justice nomination to replace Justice Antonin Scalia. Committee Chair Chuck Grassley (R-IA) said Read the rest of this entry »

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To Reboot the Economy, $pend on Economic Infrastructure!

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, June 7, 2020

This is nothing new, per se.

The American Society of Civil Engineers has been saying this for quite some time, as well, which is that throughout America – coast-to-coast – we need to repair, enhance, and expand American economic infrastructure.

And, I’ve been saying that what we TRULY need to reinvigorate the economy since the onset of economic woes via the novel coronavirus, aka COVID-19, began to take its toll on our nation’s economy, is a wholesale reinvestment – top to bottom – in a repair, and expansion of our nation’s economic infrastructure.

While the “bailouts” for the individual citizens was good, and some of the Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses was also good, we STILL need to do MUCH, MUCH MORE!

And there’s something else which – of necessity – must be done. And that is, to CHANGE the Income Tax structure for ALL Americans, to expand and increase the Personal and Corporate Income Tax brackets (which since about 1980 has been compressed and reduced, so that now, the net effect is a flat tax), and to increase the rates upon the rich, wealthy, and well-to-do, and to lower, or eliminate them upon the impoverished, and disabled. And that includes ELIMINATING the Income Taxes Reagan imposed upon Social Security, and the “Paris Hilton Tax Cuts.”

Such a measure WILL “pay for itself” through enhanced, and expanded economic capability and capacity, and will prepare America for the next 50 or more years.

Oh!

And one more thing.

In 2016, the ASCE published a document titled “Failure to Act: Closing the Infrastructure Investment Gap for America’s Economic Future,” which stated in part the following:

“The cost of deteriorating infrastructure takes a toll on families’ disposable household income and impacts the quality and quantity of jobs in the U.S. economy. With deteriorating infrastructure, higher business costs will be incurred in terms of charges for services and efficiency, which will lead to higher costs incurred by households for goods and services due to the rising prices passed on by businesses.

“As a consequence, U.S. businesses will be more inefficient. As costs rise, business productivity falls, causing GDP to drop, cutting employment, and ultimately reducing personal income.

“From 2016 to 2025, each household will lose $3,400 each year in disposable income due to infrastructure deficiencies; and if not addressed, the loss will grow to an average of $5,100 annually from 2026 to 2040, resulting in cumulative losses up to almost $34,000 per household from 2016 to 2025 and almost $111,000 from 2016 to 2040 (all dollars in 2015 value).

“Over time, these impacts will also affect businesses’ ability to provide well-paying jobs, further reducing incomes. If this investment gap is not addressed throughout the nation’s infrastructure sectors by 2025, the economy is expected to lose almost $4 trillion in GDP, resulting in a loss of 2.5 million jobs in 2025.

“Moreover, workers who are employed will earn lower wages, and in the long term, many higher paying jobs in technology and other leading sectors will be replaced by jobs that fulfill needs brought on by the inefficiencies of deteriorating infrastructure.

“Closing each infrastructure investment gap is possible, and the economic consequences caused by these gaps are avoidable with investment.”

You can read that, and other entries associated with economic infrastructure, on this site by searching for the term “economic infrastructure.”

A final, parting thought:

We aren’t out of the woods yet… not by a long shot. Such economic prognostication is shared by many within, and without various universities, educational institutions, economic think-tanks, governmental, and non-governmental agencies throughout this, and other nations. And economic infrastructure spending would be like putting the country on a defibrillator, and giving it steroids, all at the same time.

The Chinese have.


Rebuild the Stalled Economy With Infrastructure Investment

By Scott Paul
Scott Paul is president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing.

There are two discussion topics that federal policymakers should be having right now: relief and recovery. Relief, for the estimated 40 million people this pandemic has put out of work as well as the millions of others impacted by the steps taken to slow its spread. Recovery, for the day when it’s safe to return to work but the demand for goods and services is still missing.

Some economists predict many jobs will simply disappear as industries use this moment to reorganize, compounding the economic crisis our nation faces.

But, as we all know, this isn’t the first time we’ve faced an economic crisis. In the 1932 presidential election, Franklin D. Roosevelt decisively beat President Hoover because of the latter’s inability to revive the economy in the early years of the Great Depression. Democrats eschewed Hoover’s volunteerism and leveraged the power of government to spur an economic revival, passing a landmark domestic preference bill that the lame duck president signed – the Buy American Act of 1933 – and then cleared the way as FDR expanded the federal response to the crisis.

The banking system was reorganized. Labor protections were established in exchange for regulating industrial production levels and price coordination. Farms were Read the rest of this entry »

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Do We Have Division or Uniformity in America?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, June 3, 2020

MN US Senator Amy Klobuchar-D

This morning, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar (D) was interviewed by Steve Inskeep on NPR’s Morning Edition news program, and she mentioned that establishing a minimum set of national (Federal) police standards is an idea which many legislators are considering.

Though she mentioned a couple of her senatorial colleagues by name, she didn’t mention if the idea was exclusive or joint to the Senate, and/or the House.

Her pertinent remarks occur at 5:54, and are her final comments in the interview. Read the rest of this entry »

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Billionaire Explains Why and How Capitalism Needs to Be Reformed

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, April 18, 2020

linkedin.com

Why and How Capitalism Needs to Be Reformed (Parts 1 & 2)


By Ray Dalio

Co-Chief Investment Officer & Co-Chairman of Bridgewater Associates, L.P.

Summary

I was fortunate enough to be raised in a middle-class family by parents who took good care of me, to go to good public schools, and to come into a job market that offered me equal opportunity. I was raised with the belief that having equal opportunity to have basic care, good education, and employment is what is fair and best for our collective well-being. To have these things and use them to build a great life is what was meant by living the American Dream.

At age 12 one might say that I became a capitalist because that’s when I took the money I earned doing various jobs, like delivering newspapers, mowing lawns, and caddying and put it in the stock market when the stock market was hot. That got me hooked on the economic investing game which I’ve played for most of the last 50 years. To succeed at this game I needed to gain a practical understanding of how economies and markets work. My exposure to most economic systems in most countries over many years taught me that the ability to make money, save it, and put it into capital (i.e., capitalism) is the most effective motivator of people and allocator of resources to raise people’s living standards. Over these many years I have also seen capitalism evolve in a way that it is not working well for the majority of Americans because it’s producing self-reinforcing spirals up for the haves and down for the have-nots. This is creating widening income/wealth/opportunity gaps that pose existential threats to the United States because these gaps are bringing about damaging domestic and international conflicts and weakening America’s condition.

I think that most capitalists don’t know how to divide the economic pie well and most socialists don’t know how to grow it well, yet we are now at a juncture in which either a) people of different ideological inclinations will work together to skillfully re-engineer the system so that the pie is both divided and grown well or b) we will have great conflict and some form of revolution that will hurt most everyone and will shrink the pie.

I believe that all good things taken to an extreme can be self-destructive and that everything must evolve or die. This is now true for capitalism. In this report I show why I believe that capitalism is now not working for the majority of Americans, I diagnose why it is producing these inadequate results, and I offer some suggestions for what can be done to reform it. Because this report is rather long, I will present it in two parts: part one outlining the problem and part two offering my diagnosis of it and some suggestions for reform.

Why and How Capitalism Needs to Be Reformed

Before I explain why I believe that capitalism needs to be reformed, I will explain where I’m coming from, which has shaped my perspective. I will then show the indicators that make it clear to me that the outcomes capitalism is producing are inconsistent with what I believe our goals are. Then I will give my diagnosis of why capitalism is producing these inadequate outcomes and conclude by offering some thoughts about how it can be reformed to produce better outcomes.

Part 1

Where I’m Coming From

I was lucky enough to Read the rest of this entry »

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Make America Great Again: A How-To Guide

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Jim Cooper, a Democrat, is the US Representative for Tennessee’s 5th Congressional District.

Jim Cooper, who represents Tennessee’s 5th Congressional Distict, and is a Democrat, is also a Rhodes Scholar (economics & politics, Oriel College), and Harvard JD grad, after earning the BA in economics from UNC Chapel Hill.

He’s a fiscal conservative, and has long said that, because our government uses a cash accounting system (which is ILLEGAL for businesses to use), our government’s debt is very likely much larger than is estimated.

For that reason, he’s also long advocated changing the accounting method the United States government uses.

TN CD5 is essentially Davidson County (metro Nashville), and includes the adjoining Cheatham & Dickson counties to the WEST.

See:
https://www2.census.gov/geo/maps/cong_dist/cd113/cd_based/ST47/CD113_TN05.pdf

Oh… and as you might surmise, cutting taxes is NOT how to stimulate the economy. It is by government spending. Which is also why cutting taxes is a very bad idea, since it kills the goose that laid that golden egg. (This Internet thing came about by government spending, which has created an entirely new economy, and billionaires… and, it began as a DARPA research project. Just like GPS.)

As I continue to maintain,

our government is NOT “too big,”
it is MUCH TOO SMALL to be
either efficient,
or effective.

Think about what it’d be like going to a restaurant with a 100-seating capacity, finding it filled with patrons, and only one waiter and one cook. No one would get any service, and they’d be a fool to think otherwise.

That’s what has happened, and is continuing to happen to our government.

With very nearly 329,000,000 people, we are the THIRD LARGEST (most populous) nation on Earth – China ( 1,419,124,987) and India (1,365,986,094) are 1st & 2nd, respectively.

The GOP’s “starve the monster” approach to governance, i.e., kill/reduce/eliminate the source of the “monster’s food,” e.g., taxes, and you’re well on your way to a privatization scheme the likes of which neither our nation, nor the world has ever seen. Hopefully, that won’t happen. But, that’s what you get when Grover Norquist has said, “I don’t want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.”
– from an interview on NPR’s Morning Edition, May 25, 2001. Read the rest of this entry »

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Follow The Law Of Love

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, November 5, 2017

We know the Pharisees were arch-villains in the gospels, but it’s surprising that these enemies of Jesus actually had some things in common with him. Both wanted to Read the rest of this entry »

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Champion For The Poor

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, August 21, 2017

Pope St. Pius X (1835-1914), 257th pope of the Roman Catholic Church.

Pope Saint Pius X was born Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto (1835-1914), was canonized in 1954, and was adored and abhorred during his brief 11-year papal reign from 1903-1914. As a pastoral pope, he promoted frequent Communion and spirituality for children and laypeople. As a reformer, he contributed to significant changes in Read the rest of this entry »

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Candidates Differ on Death Penalty: @BernieSanders & @HillaryClinton

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, October 30, 2015

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has long opposed Capital Punishment in the United States.

Speaking from the floor of the United States Senate Thursday, 29 October 2015, he said in part, “When we talk about criminal justice reform, I believe it is time for the United States of America to join almost every other Western, industrialized country on Earth in saying no to the death penalty.”

His Democratic contender Hillary Rodham Clinton has recently announced that she supports the Death Penalty.

Speaking in Manchester, New Hampshire Wednesday, 28 October 2015, she said in part, “I do not favor abolishing it, however, because I do think there are certain egregious cases that still deserve the consideration of the death penalty, but I’d like to see those be very limited and rare, as opposed to what we’ve seen in most states.”

For years, Read the rest of this entry »

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Alabama Prison System Teetering on Federal Takover

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, August 7, 2014

Every single word in this OpEd is spot-on.

Alabama is on the verge of a complete takeover of it’s prison system. That is a VERY sad indictment, and fact. Further, most Alabamians are COMPLETELY unaware of the dangers the state faces.

Alabama is a state in crisis.

Fiscal crisis from a failure of long-term management, unwise, unsound policy, unnecessary prolonged and costly legal battles at the state and federal levels over inane laws which have had no positive effect upon the state, from policies and procedures which have only burdened the people, tax giveaways to corporations, funded corporate welfare, an inequitable personal income taxation system which has hampered and hamstrung state growth, and further placed the state’s citizens into poverty.

Face it folks… I don’t give a damn about what political colors you wear, or how or what you describe yourself as politically in Alabama… if everything were peaches and cream in the state, then why in the Hell is the state’s poverty level 18% – 4 percentage points ABOVE the national average?

Why is the state sick in their persons? Of all states, Alabama continually ranks high in rates of obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, etc., even among CHILDREN!

Why does the state have a high crime rate?

Why are Alabamians largely “largely poor, uneducated, and easy to command”?

WHY?

WHY?!?

WHY!?!

***
***

Why Alabama Cannot Wait on Prison Reform: Guest Opinion

Alabama State Senator Cam Ward (center), speaks  speaks to media members during a tour as Kim Thomas, Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Corrections (left) and warden Carter Davenport listen at the St. Clair Correctional Facility Fri., March 16, 2012 in Springville, Ala. (The Birmingham News/Bernard Troncale)

Alabama State Senator Cam Ward (center), speaks speaks to media members during a tour as Kim Thomas, Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Corrections (left) and Warden Carter Davenport listen at the St. Clair Correctional Facility Fri., March 16, 2012 in Springville, Ala. (The Birmingham News/Bernard Troncale)

Guest opinion By Alabama State Senator Cam Ward
August 06, 2014 at 9:00 AM, updated August 06, 2014 at 9:05 AM

By Cam Ward

Prisons are an issue that would never rank high on any list of priorities for the people of Alabama and understandably so.  With unemployment hovering near 7 percent and many schools in need of repair, people ask me why prison reform should be a major subject at this time. The answer is simple – because our failure to maintain a good corrections system is going to push over a fiscal cliff that we may never recover from.

For years as our corrections system became more crowded the political leadership in Montgomery turned their eyes to issues more palatable to the voters during election time. The general feeling for decades has been “let’s wait and deal with that when we have more money.”

As we waited our system grew to 192 percent capacity and despite this incarceration rate our state has the 8th highest violent crime rate in the country. Both of these statistics point to a failing system of corrections.

In addition to allowing for a broken system to continue down a path of inefficiency we have also created a fiscal nightmare of the likes our state has never seen before. While we spend Read the rest of this entry »

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Corporate Citizens Discover Bad-Mouthing Policy is Bad for Business

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, December 9, 2012

Papa John’s, Applebee’s And Others Pay Huge Price For Anti-Obamacare Politicking

Op/Ed
12/04/2012 @ 5:18PM

by Rick Ungar, Contributor

Writing from the left on politics and policy.

47th Annual Academy Of Country Music Awards - Arrivals

LAS VEGAS, NV – APRIL 01: Papa Johns Pizza Founder John Schnatter arrives at the 47th Annual Academy Of Country Music Awards held at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 1, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

It turns out that being a good corporate citizen is as important to selling pizzas as the thinness of the crust or the quality of the cheese.

If you don’t believe it, just ask Papa John CEO, John Schnatter.

As covered—and criticized—in this column in great detail, Mr. Schnatter decided to mix his politics with his pepperoni when suggesting that he would be cutting the work hours for Papa John employees in order to bring them below the 30 hour per week threshold that would require Schnatter to provide his employees with healthcare benefits.

It turns out, the pizza eating public did not approve.

Indeed, so serious was the reaction that Schnatter was forced to publish an op-ed piece where he sought to convince us that he never really intended to cut back worker hours but had simply been speculating on what he might do in response to the legislation.

According to YouGov BrandIndex,  a leading marketing survey that measures brand perception in the marketplace (called “Buzz”), Papa John’s had good reason for concern as the pizza chain’s brand identity has plummeted from a high of 32 on election day, to a remarkably low score of 4 among adults who have eaten at causal dining restaurants during the past month.

Ouch.

Papa John is not alone in his anti-Obamacare misery.

Fast food server, Applebee’s, possessed a healthy Buzz score of 35 before Zane Terkel, CEO of one of the company’s largest franchisees, appeared on television to Read the rest of this entry »

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A note on Illegal Immigration

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, May 7, 2010

An old Social Security card with the "NOT...

Image via Wikipedia

The following is one of the typical e-mail “you must do something now!” kind of messages that so many of us receive in our e-mail in boxes.

In such typical fashion, they are either contain a type of ‘the world is going to end’ (and soon, if you don’t act now!), or either “the sky is falling!,” type of message.

While the motivation for the message, or the idea behind them may – at times – be worthwhile, often the delivery is suspect.

Following is the message, and – NOT TO BE MISSED – is …Continue…

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“Paging ‘American Healthcare Reform,’ paging ‘American Healthcare Reform’… you’re needed in the OTC Pharmacy – STAT!”

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, March 25, 2010

[ed. note: I wrote this post accompanying some photos I’d made and posted to my Flickr site back around October 2009.]

Paging 'American Healthcare Reform,' paging 'American Healthcare Reform'... you're needed in the OTC Pharmacy - STAT!" h967
He wanted some OTC ranitidine. I told him, “Get omeprazole!” But he didn’t, saying he wanted more rapid relief.

So… guess what!?!

It just so happened, that at the checkout stand in front of us was a Big Pharma sales rep. She said, “Use this!,” and pulled out …Continue… to see if it’s a BIG GUN!…

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American Medical Association, AARP OKs Obama Health Reform Bill

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, March 22, 2010

Saying “We cannot let the perfect be the enemy of the good,” J. James Rohack, MD, President of the American Medical Association, reiterated organizational support last Friday for the Affordable Health Care for America Act (H.R. 3962/H.R. 3961),  which is often referred to as President Obama’s healthcare overhaul bill.

Dr. Rohack said the AMA Board of Trustees voted unanimous approval after reviewing the House of Representatives’ reconciliation bill, added that the bill wasn’t perfect saying, “This is certainly not the bill we would have written.” [ed. note: Nothing in this world is perfect.]

Joining Dr. Rohack, senior staff and board certified cardiologist at Scott & White Clinic in Temple, Texas, whom became the 164th president of the American Medical Association (AMA) in June 2009, was the non-partisan, 40 Million member strong, American Association of Retired Persons.

The Scott & White Clinic is a 636-bed not-for-profit, Level I trauma center and teaching hospital, which also operates …Continue…

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Congress’ 7 Deadly Sins

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, January 28, 2010

The general sense of discontent with the Obama administration seems to be a hangover from his predecessor’s days.

I must confess some sense of dissatisfaction as well, at the pace with which I perceive his campaign promises have yet to be fulfilled. I bear in mind also, that perception is often believed as reality.

And yet, in some regard I can appreciate his well-spoken and even-keeled tenor – one his most remarkable attributes –  a striking dissimilarity …Continue…

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“Do you have limited income and resources?”

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, November 17, 2009

So began the paragraph on a document sent to a retiree friend of mine.

The next paragraph read in part, “You may qualify for extra help paying your Medicare prescription costs.”

As I pondered the question it was suddenly obvious that everyone has “limited income and resources,” including Bill Gates and Warren Buffett.

…unless, of course, you’re God.

 

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Veteran’s Day 2009

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, November 9, 2009

I’m proud to have served my nation in the uniform armed services, having done so voluntarily. I think every young American should do similarly. And, I believe our nation should provide significant benefit to those whom so choose.

Some years ago, I envisioned what I called a “234 Plan,” which would:

  1. Double pay grade for two years up to pay grade E-3 for initial enlistees;
  2. Require a minimum of Four Years of service;
  3. Pay for four years of higher education, up to and including Ph.D., with the ability to transfer benefits to first-degree relatives;

and perhaps most importantly,

4. Provide such income as federally Tax-Free, forever.

At current pay rates, that would be slightly under $76,000 for a period of two years at pay grade E-3 – not a bad nest egg. And then, there’s the 30 days paid vacation, head-to-toe health care, incentive/bonus pay for skills, BAH (basic allowance for housing), and a host of other remunerations and fiduciary potential – all of which are added to Basic Pay, thereby increasing take-home pay. Potentially, managing money wisely, a young enlistee could emerge from a four year commitment with very nearly $125,000 in pocket, VA health benefits, GI Bill benefits, and more.

The money could be used wisely, or squandered. But the principle would forever be federally tax-free – and I think it should be at the state level, as well. It’s well known that young enlistees have high levels of “disposable” income. But WISE fiscal management could yield significant benefits to them individually, and by extension, to our nation.

Part three of the plan I envisioned – higher education – was implemented when President Obama signed the Post 9/1 G.I. Bill, providing the most comprehensive expansion and provision of educational benefits our troops have received since F.D.R.’s presidency.

I recollect a report entitled “Young Virginians: Ready, Willing, and Unable to Serve,” having read and saved it September 2, this year. It was authored and advised by an impressive cadre of Generals, Admirals, field-grade officers, and senior executive NCOs, from all branches of the service, and “supported by the Pew Charitable Trusts, and Pre-K Now, campaign of the Pew center on the States.”

Interestingly, NPR has only recently reported on it.

The problems the report addresses are from a thorough examination of Virginia, though it’s findings can be extrapolated to the United States at large.

According to the report, the three greatest problems disqualifying American youth from service to our nation include:

1.) Criminality – felony and serious misdemeanor offense;

2.) Education – failure to graduate high school, and low achievement in reading & math, 30% unable to pass the Armed Forces Qualification Test; and

3.) Health – specifically obesity, although asthma, eyesight, hearing, mental health, ADHD and additional health problems factor in, thereby disqualifying over half of all young adults.

Additional disqualifiers include single custodial parenthood, and drug or alcohol abuse.

These are all social ills.

Mission: Readiness – Military Leaders for Kids is a bipartisan, nonprofit, national security organization of more than 80 retired generals and admirals,” whom “accept no funds from federal, state, or local governments,”  and “call on all policymakers to ensure America’s security and prosperity by supporting interventions proven to help America’s youth succeed academically, stay physically fit, and abide by the law. Pre-K Now collaborates with organizations and policy makers to lead a movement toward high-quality, voluntary pre-kindergarten for all 3- and 4-year-olds.”

In recent political history, social programs have been an “easy target” for many of the Republican stripe whom have seriously reduced or eliminated such programs’ funding, effectively or outright killing the very programs that could have done much to have prevented these anathemas.

Ironically, prison construction and maintenance is a capital expenditure. And of all the world’s nations, ours has more incarcerations per capita than any other, having exploded (doubling 2.5 times) since 1980 (though incarcerations remained relatively stable since 1920, according to the U.S. Department of Justice).

How’s that THAT for the so-called “Reagan Revolution?” It sounds more like a “Contract on America” rather than “with America,” to me.

Wonder why no more.

Governance is much more than infrastructure expenditures, and military readiness includes a strong social component.

Our Constitution calls it providing “for the common defense,” by promoting “the general welfare,” to “secure the blessings of liberty.”

Healthcare is an integral and unequivocal part of that equation… as we can now painfully, and plainly see.

I suppose it would be apropos and germane – though perhaps trite – to conclude with a line from advertising: “You can pay me now… or, pay me later.”

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WWJD Health Care: “Will this make your life better?”

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, October 24, 2009

I regularly contribute commentary to a blog entitled “OFFAir & ONLine,” by Tim Lennox. Mr. Lennox is a Viet Nam veteran and print/broadcast journalist of some years’ experience, and readers will see a link to his blog on this blog. His name or face maybe most recognizable from his 11-year tenure as News Anchor/Host of Alabama’s only statewide news program “For The Record,” broadcast on Alabama Public Television (APTV).

After APTV essentially deep-sixed the award-winning program, and its highly respected Host – calling long distance to bear bad news while he was attending a relative’s funeral almost half-way across the country – Mr. Lennox has quite fortunately again found gainful employment in his field.

Recently, Mr. Lennox cited a news item and posed a question to his readers, which was a reiteration of the same question asked by the subject of a news story to which he linked, and which was, “Will this make your life better?”

It’s said that there are two motivations for people: 1.) Love, and; 2.) Money.

If a person doesn’t do a thing for love, they then do it for money. And there is a word used to describe those whom do things exclusively for money: it’s called “prostitution.”

In that light, I composed the following response:

Fear mongering certainly seems to be Republicans’ political stock in trade.

I write that after reading the inane comments of Republican Nebraska Sen. Mike Johanns in the linked story.

Concerning “government delivered healthcare,” the only comment I have, is that it certainly seems to work quite well for our Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen!

But this issue is NOT about government delivery.

It IS however, about deciding whether our nation can and should continue on the path we’ve been embarked upon for nearly three generations (post WWII era).

That being, whether we shall continue to allow for-profit, Wall Street mega-billionaires and their über-wealthy insurance companies to call the shots on our healthcare by the power of their purse.

They have made their fortunes upon the backs of the suffering, and in the process, because of lack of regulation, caused and increased unnecessary suffering among untold Americans’ lives.

Among other unconscionable and inhumane acts, they have refused to pay for procedures, medications and treatments that healthcare professionals have deemed necessary.

They have refused to pay for treatments after services were rendered after they cashed checks, claiming a “cap” or “incorrect date” was on the check. They’ve constantly changed the “rules of THEIR game,” even in the middle of the “game,” forcing the insured to dance to the tune of THEIR piper… like it or NOT! (Yeah, it’s a mixed metaphor… but it works!)

And these are but two egregious examples. There are countless, and untold MILLIONS more.

One significant reason why healthcare costs in this nation are so out-of-control are because of insurance companies.

It’s a very simple-to-understand idea: 

Anytime anyone gets in between you and the check-out stand, you’re gonna’ pay more.

Analogously, why would you pay me to pay your fuel costs for your automobile? Why would you pay me to pay for your groceries?

We’ve done similarly with our healthcare in this nation for so long (since post WWII) that we’ve become accustomed to it, and act as if it can’t be changed.

Perhaps that “genie can’t be put back into the bottle.”

I don’t know.

But, we can darn sure (and should) do something about the environment in which it is allowed to operate!

Besides… if competition is good (and it is), why would the insurance companies (private enterprise) NOT want competition from the government?

It just doesn’t make sense… like most of what insurance companies say and do.

Whatever they say, I’m disinclined to do, simply because they proven time and time and time again, that they CANNOT be trusted.

They’re in it to make money.

They DON’T give a damn about you.

Take away their profit motive and what do they have left?

No reason for existence.

They’re NOT charitable organizations… like hospitals have historically been.

Christian charities have operated hospitals for longer than health insurance companies have peddled health insurance.

And they did a darn sight better when those whose filthy lucre turned it into a den of thieves stayed out.

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