There are a couple of items that have been concerning me lately. I’m not freaked out, not bashing a politician, just want to put these things on the radar and am even offering a constructive way to proceed:
- Back in 2008, our financial institutions were pretty careless with how they were lending money and creating crazy unregulated schemes to bundle mortgages and essentially allow bets on if these bundles would fail. The ratings agencies who were supposed to be the referee and keep things fair/honest, were totally bought out and influenced to give favorable ratings. This unregulated environment led to a near collapse of the world economy. As a taxpayer, it was unpalatable to see my tax money bail out irresponsible bankers, but if we hadn’t the economy would collapse. As a result, rules/regulations were put in place to ensure we would not need to bail out institutions and mitigation our chances of economic implosion. My concern is that if we remove too many financial regulations, we will see short term accelerated growth, followed by popped bubble. Not saying that is going to happen, but this is an important concern to me. Proposed solution: Seeking an intelligent walk through of which regulations are being removed, why, and how it will help businesses moving forward. To date, I have only seen people in front of giant stacks of paper saying that there are too many regulations.
- I feel like there used to be two camps, raise taxes and offer more generous government funded stuff (education, defense, infrastructure, food stamps, etc.) or reduce government waste and cut taxes. My present concern is that we have created a Unicorn where we cut taxes and increased government spending, which will result in short term growth, but will be followed by significant financial pain for Americans who bear this debt in the long run. Not saying this is going to happen, but this scares me. Proposed solution: America really needs to take a look at this issue and align on how much debt we want, how much is sustainable and how much more/less debt we want in 1, 3, 5, and 10 years from now. Let’s align and hold ourselves/politicians accountable to those goals.
- I saw a bald eagle last year, it was glorious. We figured out where they were nesting and would park our car across the lake from them and admire them perched in the tree by their nest. I’ve hiked all over Pennsylvania, fished its creeks, lakes, and rivers. A clean sustainable environment is very important to me. I’ve detailed this in previous posts, but people did make a lot of money off of coal, but it also ruined a lot of lives, the environment (land + air), and people in Pittsburgh are still having homes collapse in abandoned mines under them each year. The mine companies do not pay for it, the home owners require special mine insurance. My concern is that we have really reduced the oversight at the Environmental Protection Agency and have made bold proclamations that we will allow drilling at National Parks. I am unsure if the economic benefit will outweigh the environmental consequences. It is easy for me to say “save the environment”, but I know some people will be pissed that this prevents them from making money off the land they own. My proposed solution: Have a strong EPA that makes people that care about the environment feel reassured that the people who are drilling and pumping on their properties are doing so in a sustainable fashion. Not saying you cannot drill, just saying you should do so in a way that keeps towns from having earthquakes, ruined water supply, toxic gases leaking from the ground, or houses caving in due to abandoned mines below.
- Too many people die from guns. Not saying they should be banned, but really think the issue should be studied, we should identify the exact reasons why so many people are dying and put some rules in place to reduce the number of gun deaths. The answers might be really simple, like we need better education around appropriate use and storage, maybe stronger consequences for shooting someone, or improved counseling for people experiencing depression. This is a big and scary issue, it deserves a more thoughtful evaluation than a black or white debate on gun ownership.
- There are a lot of communities that have been really hit hard by our changing economy. I am sure Walmarts put a lot of local general stores, grocery stores, and department stores out of business, primarily replacing those locally owned businesses with with low minimum wage hourly jobs. Rural towns that depended on mining are seeing less demand for coal and fewer jobs required/mines closing. There are kids that grow up in terribly poor neighborhoods in the city where the graduation rates are horrible. We need a pretty big disruptive force to break these cycles and advance them into the middle class. Food stamps are not the solution, making them work at McDonald’s, or making them pass a drug test are probably not the solutions. There needs to be a bigger vision and I think there are things we can do with all the government spending that we generate, that could help these cities/towns.
These are 5 things that important to me, I know there are currently a lot of scandals and we can get distracted by the newest news story, but I really hope these 5 things can be addressed.