What Are You For?

For every ten people you talked with about politics, how many could tell you what they are for. In other words, what policies, government programs do they support. Ask anyone to do so with two rules. See what happens.
Rule 1: The person cannot blame problems or situations on a political party or any or all politicians. The individual can only state what they are for.
Rule 2: The person must support the position they state with independent academic and/or professional sources. For example, talk radio, political medial shows, most anything on social media does not qualify.

For years, before each National Election I make a list on policies, programs, political positions which I am for. This makes voting very easy. Let me give you some examples.

Increasing Frequency and Costs of Natural Disaster
I am for any policy that address the increasing frequency and cost of Natural Disasters. Consider this, in the 1980s, there were 28 Billion dollar or more disasters for a total cost of $127.7 Billion. In the 90s this increased to 52 Billion dollar ore more events for $269.6 Billion. This increased to 59 events for total $510.3 in 2000-2009 and this past decade was 119 events for total cost of $802 Billion. This decade we are on pace for a new record and this not a good thing.

These costs are paid for by National programs, insurance, personal income and wealth and for many, loss of personal wealth and income. For many after a disaster, their economic loss is not covered by insurance and they lose equity and in some situations their jobs. On a social level, the costs of community rebuilding, loss of economic activity, and depletion of community resources.

Some reinsurance companies are already pricing in the impact of climate change into their rates and I believe eventually, probably sooner versus later, Freddie and Fannie will factor in climate change which may end long-term mortgages.

We need to make planning and dealing with the consequences of national disasters a National priority and implement legislation to this effect.

Costs of Health Care
The per capita cost of health care the US is $12,555. The next closest country is Switzerland at $$8,049. Canada is $6,315 and the average for wealthy countries its $6,414. And even though we are the most expensive, we are not the best. According the PGP Foundation,
“… despite higher healthcare spending, America’s health outcomes are not any better than those in other developed countries. The United States actually performs worse in some common health metrics like life expectancy, infant mortality, and unmanaged diabetes.”
FYI, the per capita cost for those on Medicare is higher, almost $16,000.

Our health care is not sustainable. Its expensive in cost and average in results. But we can do better. We need to increase the use of automation and AI along with reducing administrative costs and duplicity. This is all doable, but starts with single payer health system. We have tried a for profit health care system for years and the results are in, it simply does not work. Expensive and inefficient.

I favor any legislation that implements a sensible National health care policy for all citizens.

Federal Deficit
We have two political parties in the US, tax and spend and borrow and spend. Of the two, borrow and spend is much worse. Much, much worse.

At the beginning of 2000, the Federal Deficit was $5.7 Trillion. At the end of 2020 it had grown to $27.5 Trillion. Keep in mind that the borrow and spend controlled Congress and the Presidency the majority of that 20 year period. Today the federal deficit is over $33 Trillion. Neither party is going to cut spending, they may spend on different items, but they both spend. The only other option is to increase federal revenue. The good news is there are options for so doing. Following are three.

Increased marginal income tax on highest income earnings. The marginal tax rate was 86% in 1946 and then increased to 91% thru 1963. It then was reduced to 81% thru 1980. After that marginal tax rates generally reduced to the current rate of 39%.
In 1965 CEO pay was 20 times the pay of the average worker. Today it is about 400 times higher than average worker pay. This is one of the reasons for the increased federal deficit. CEOs paid much higher marginal tax rate, 70% in 1965 compared to 39% today.
A separate issue is some high income earners are taxed at the capital gains tax rate which is lower. For example, due to a loophole in the tax laws, hedge funds often pay the capital gains tax rate. This loophole must be closed.
A National net worth tax per household which starts at a minimum of $10 Million dollars. For example, in 1989 the top 1% of wealth in the US owned about 23% of all wealth in the US. Today it is about 32%.
Some of this is from building companies and smart investment. It is also true living in the US which is the global economic giant is very beneficial. And part is due to deficit spending. For example, the recent reduction in corporate tax rates enabled companies with the increased cash to buy back stock which increased the market value of the stock which increased the net worth of the very wealthy who owned the company stock. Since the deficit increased dramatically during this time period, the increased stock prices were essentially funded by deficit spending.
User fees and taxes. For example, a recent Harvard study found the economic costs of gun violence in the US is over $557 Billion. 100% of the costs of the gun violence in the US should be born by the gun industry in the form of sales taxes and annual registration fees. We can no longer subsidize the cost of gun violence with deficit spending. This is one example, there are more.

I support any legislation that increases federal revenue in all the above areas.

Women’s Rights
When my mom, who has been gone for some years no, was born, women could not vote. When I started college, women did not have control over their own health care and personal health care. Since then, I have felt, though always a long ways to go, women’s rights have been generally getting better. However, in the last few years there has been an increasing movement to make women second class citizens once again. This is especially true related to women’s health care. Any and all women should have the right to make the personal health care decisions. States have no right to restrict these rights. Specific theologies certainly have the right to their positions, but any attempt to impose their theology on others is a violation of the 1st Amendment.

The US needs a National law which protects female citizens in any or all states in all areas including and especially women’s health care. This is not a state’s issue. This is a US citizen right and needs to be so stated.

Common Theme
if you take amount a moment, all of the above have a common theme. There are multi-generational.
The increasing costs of natural disasters will plague [pun intended] for years to come. We cannot stop them, but we can plan for them and implement policies which reduce the risk and public costs.
Health care is not sustainable. It is time to face the problem directly and make significant changes.
For years the overall policy is borrow the money and send the bill to our kids and grandkids. We are literally bankrupting a generation before they are even out of high school. Some deficit spending by itself is not bad, but the annual interest paid on the debt will continue to increase. In 2023 the interest paid on the debt is $663 Billion. This is projected to increase to $1.4 Trillion by 2033 and one study estimated that unless paid down, the interest alone will be over $8 Trillion in the 2050s. We can no longer charge it and send bill to the grandkids.
As a father, father-in-law and grandfather, women’s rights are a fundamental issue for me. In our country, not a state, nor the federal government should be able to mandate how any or all women approach personal health care issues. We cannot go backward on this issue.

All the above affect us today and if not dealt with today, with have a greater impact on mine and your grandchildren. Time to step up.

More Later
In future commentaries I will present perspectives as independent moderate on other political issues.