Education; Common Core
For more than 20 years we have been hearing about the failure of education in the United States. I don’t know whether to judge that the failure has gotten progressively worse during the past 20 years, or whether improvements are being made and there is reason to be optimistic, or whether conflicting views and politics have been persistently intractable, so that Federal, state and local governments persistently perform poorly in their roles on the education front. In all the efforts, theories and ideas about improving failed education in the United States during the past twenty years, I am ignorant about and don’t have a view on Common Core Standards. (The foregoing is the answer I gave on the Birmingham Business Alliance questionnaire. See My response to Birmingham Business Alliance questionnaire. I have checked out from the library new book shelf Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America's Public Schools by Diane Ravitch. I am not sure if I am going to be able to read it in the midst of the campaign. Here is a review.)
The Northern Beltline is a very large regional project, which has very significant ramifications for how and where the metropolitan area will grow, and different areas will be affected differently by the project. Many persons in the metropolitan area have substantial, and varying commercial, environmental and demographic interests in the project. I personally don’t have strong views about the project. To the extent there are strong, opposing views about the project, I would endeavor to determine what is “best.” For this purpose, I don’t have a view at this juncture whether “best” should be determined with reference to only the 6th Congressional district or with reference to the entire affected metropolitan area. I further don’t know what the parameters are of the involvement of the Federal government in the project. (The foregoing is the answer I gave on the Birmingham Business Alliance questionnaire. See My response to Birmingham Business Alliance questionnaire.)
The Affordable Care Act
The Affordable Care Act is a leading example of government in Washington DC not being “of, by and for” the people, and of a dysfunctional Congress making great and costly errors. Health care law and health care reform constitute the biggest and most difficult economic, social and political matter to deal with in the United States. A government in Washington that is “of, by and for” people, and a properly functioning Congress, are not likely to happen anytime soon. Generally, I would like to see a “public” health care sector and a “private” health care sector. with clear budgeting and taxpayer funding of the “public” sector. (The foregoing is the answer I gave on the Birmingham Business Alliance questionnaire. See My response to Birmingham Business Alliance questionnaire. I have been interested in the subject of health care reform for 20 years. Here is an op/ed piece I got published in The Birmingham Post-Herald on August 25, 1994. The Affordable Care Act is a monstrosity borne out of a dysfunctional Congress that is not government of, by and for the people. President Obama made an immense failing in not going on national TV and giviving a 15 minute to half our explanation of the most important ways that people would be affected. Such an explanation would have especially included projections of how much health insurance premiums would go up and how the subsidies would work, say by giving an example of a family of four whose premiums would go from say $7000 to $11,000 and how for a family of four at 100% of the poverty level, almost all of their $11,000 premium would be covered by subsidy and for a family of four above 400% of the poverty level, their premium would go up to $11,000 but they would get no subsidy. The explanation would have discussed that a family of four below 100% of the poverty level would get no subsidy to cover an $11,000 premium and would be relegated to Medicaid. The monstrosity of The Affordable Care Act set things in motion three years ago, the train has been rolling down the track for three years, the country now a huge mess on its hands, it cannot turn on a dime, a dysfunctional Congress that produced the first monstrosity, if it tries to "fix" the law, is just as likely to create a greater monstrosity as it is to turn out a lesser monstrosity. President Obama will veto any repeal, and, after 2016, there is a good chance that Hillary Clinton will be President and she too will veto any repeal. It is almost a waste of time for the 6th Congressional candidates to be debating any ideas they have about what to do, because whoever is elected will have zero effect on what happens in Washington on health care in 2015 and beyond. The candidates should be realistic with the voters and with themselves and simply acknowledge there is a total mess at hand and they and the 6th district are and will be for some time to come helpless in the face of the mess.)
Abortion is an issue which, in my opinion, is one of the leading culprits utilized by the political class in Washington for keeping the electorate divided and Republicans and Democrats angry and riled up against each other. That helps keep the political class in Washington entrenched and helps them increase their power and riches, but it is causing dire dysfunctinality of Congress and dire inability to do its job properly for the American people. Primacy right now needs to be reserved to initiate the job of trying to fix Congress. If that is initiated, there will be a much better political environment for the country to thrash out the differing views which the citizens have on abortion.
The Second Amendment is also an issue which, in my opinion, is one of the leading culprits utilized by the political class in Washington for keeping the electorate divided and Republicans and Democrats angry and riled up against each other. That helps keep the political class in Washington entrenched and helps them increase their power and riches, but it is causing dire dysfunctinality of Congress and and dire inability to do its job properly for the American people. Primacy right now needs to be reserved to initiate the job of trying to fix Congress. If that is initiated, there will be a much better political environment for the country to thrash out the differing views which the citizens have on guns and gun control..
Our dysfunctional Congress has failed to act on immigration legislation, and I have no expectation about it being able to act in 2014 or 2015. Perhaps the other candidates see a realistic pathway to immigration legislation getting enacted. For purposes of the debate, I will defer to any expression by the other candidates of what they think can get enacted and what effect they think they can have on what gets passed.
I would say tax reform is a ditto of immigration.
Globalism; income disparities
No one knows how globalism is going to play out and impact the standard of living in the United States during the next ten, twenty or thirty years. Much will be determined well beyond the power of Congress to affect.
I don't know whether it does any good for the member of Congress from the 6th Congressional district to think about anything on this topic. A couple of years ago I was impressed with Robert Reich's book Aftershock and its inquiry into middle class purchasing power sustaining United States economic growth and the impact if the purchasing power of the United States middle class is reduced. This raises the question of whether the upper 1% or 2% or 5% may be able to detach itself from the rest of the country and invest its wealth in other markets around the world and not be affected if there is reduced purchasing power by the United States middle class.
Also, last summer I was impressed by David Stockman's The Great Deformation: The Corruption of Capitalism in America. In my view, crony capitalism is a significant contributor to there not being government of, by and for the people, and to Congressional dysfunctionality.