This, that and another thing

Now that the state of the union and Democrat rebuttal are behind us, it would be nice if an independent voter had a turn. On the talk (and some shouting) shows, the independent views do not get heard enough and that is disappointing. For once, it would be illuminating for a member of neither party to share their thoughts.

For example, we might learn:

  • Global warming really is a concern and we should be doing something about it. On Bill Maher’s Friday show,  he noted that Senator Marco Rubio used the argument against the President for declaring a national emergency to build the wall, as what would stop President Kamala Harris from doing so to address climate change? Maher correctly pointed out the latter is becoming a national emergency, while the wall is not even a top ten issue and is overblown as a solution. He also noted, with the very real concerns over Miami, Rubio may become the Senator of Atlantis.
  •  A growing debt which is around $22 trillion with an annual deficit about to hit $1 trillion is a problem, especially with the deficit in a good economy. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget models the debt to be around $34 trillion at the end of the 2027 fiscal year. We must have spending cuts and revenue increases both. The math will not otherwise work. If a politician tells you differently, he or she is lying to you. Don’t let them.
  • The Affordable Care Act and Obamacare are the same thing. So is KyNect in Kentucky. Too many people still don’t realize this in the GOP. But, don’t look to politicians to solve this, as they really do not understand how our complex healthcare system works. We need to stabilize the ACA and stop sabotaging it, as the GOP has done.  My recommendation as a retired benefits consultant, actuary and manager is to fund money promised to insurance companies to pay for adverse selection and committed to deductibles, copays for people beneath 2 1/2 times the poverty limit. I would also expand Medicare as a pilot, measured effort to retirees below age 65, such as 60 or 62. This will reduce the cost rate in the exchanges and Medicare. The remaining states need to get off the dime and expand Medicaid – it is a no brainer per GOP Governor John Kasich.
  •  Addressing America’s crumbling infrastructure would help rebuild assets and provide good jobs. We also need to build on the community college system with some added funding to retrain people to do the jobs of the future, as technology claims even more (this is the major threat, not immigration or trade). Also, building on the bipartisan idea pitched to the President last year by Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman from Ohio, we should co-invest with car manufacturers to retool plants to make the cars in demand and keep the factories open. This idea was ignored and the President was offended when GM announced some plant closings.
  •  There are so many more ideas around rethinking ill-conceived tariffs and trade fights, poverty issues, and gun governance, but let me make a general statement that is important. Start treating our allies and citizens with fairness and dignity. Stop the adversarial BS. A country and business makes more money long term by having a productive long term relationship. We need to stop measuring success on short-term transactions. Listen to your advisors as they actually study our problems. And, stop beating up on a free press. From where I sit, they are not perfect, but the true journalists try to get it right. The main source of fake news in the country sits in the oval office and he only cares about looking good.

Well, that is enough for now. I would love to hear your thoughts.

13 thoughts on “This, that and another thing

  1. As you might guess, I agree with all you say. Tonight I read that Trump was upset about the draft for his speech, saying it wasn’t hard enough on democrats, and I thought … this is all it boils down to for him: Us vs Them, or more aptly, Me vs Them, for he is the center of his universe. The unprecedented divisiveness in this nation coupled with the upside-down priorities of the Trump administration have turned this nation into a runaway train.

    Immigration is an issue that needs to be addressed, but it is by no means a crisis, nor is it even among the top ten most important issues this nation has. Like you, I am an independent, registered as neither democrat nor republican, though I have voted for both in my lifetime. I see the biggest problem facing us now as being the one sitting in the Oval Office, who has divided and defaced the people of this nation. The most crucial issue? Our relations with our allies. If I keep abusing and denigrating my neighbors, how likely will they be to come to my aid when I am in trouble?

    According to the report I mentioned earlier by Freedom House: “No president in living memory has shown less respect for its tenets, norms, and principles. Trump has assailed essential institutions and traditions including the separation of powers, a free press, and independent judiciary, the impartial delivery of justice, safeguards against corruption, and most disturbingly, the legitimacy of elections.”

    Sums it up pretty well, doesn’t it?

    • Jill, well said. Your point about denigrating our neighbors (and allies) is vital. If America treats others poorly and strong arms them to deal with us, then they will reduce the relationship to a transactional one. It will become problematic if we need their help and they decline.

      Even before Trump, what did not get near enough coverage here is when a UK audit commission of the Iraqi invasion revealed Prime Minister Tony Blair and President George Bush misled the British people.

  2. Note to Readers: My newspaper printed a shorter version of the above in the Letters to the Editor section. Here it is. Please feel free to adapt and use.

    Dear Observer,

    “Tuesday night we will hear the President and Democrat versions of the State of the Union. What we won’t hear is an Independent view. Instead of hearing about a border wall sold on fear, I would prefer to hear about: co-investing in renewable energy and conservation to combat worsening global warming, co-investing in improving infrastructure, stabilization of the ACA, addressing our $22 trillion debt and $1 trillion annual deficit, backing off ill-conceived tariffs and focusing on job-retraining programs and helping companies retool to keep them here.”

    • Thanks Susan. They have been very supportive over the years and worked with me. They can only print one letter every 45 days and it need to tie to an article in the paper. Please feel free to borrow anything I write, if you agree. Or, I just encourage folks to write in.

    • Janis, our friend Jill has a nice summary on what should have been discussed. A real state of the Union would say the biggest threat to national security is climate change, as that is what the Dept. of Defense. So, not even mentioning it is sad. Yet, I would say he could not mention an even greater threat to national security, simply because it is Donald J. Trump. Keith

  3. Dear Keith,

    In 2016, I moved from being a GOP member to being registered as an Independent. But then, about a year later, I registered as a democrat so that I could become more politically involved but this didn’t work out for me.

    You already know my thinking. At this point in history, I’m definitely open to having a more centrist voice putting in their 2 cents in the upcoming debates among Democratic Party candidates. But for me, I’m against the entrance of a 3rd party candidate as no less than the saving of our US democracy is at stake. Once the DEMS have the majority position in both houses of the US Congress and the White House, then I’m for an Independent Party coming onto the scene to be more like the old GOP party, sans the isolationists, racists, etc.

    Hugs, Gronda

    • Gronda, you are wise. Jill Stein was a factor in HRC losing. It would behoove the Dems to govern and pass legislation working with the Senate. I would be frustrated if they just grandstand. Keith

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