March 5 ReThink.02
After thinking through what has evolved over the past few months we have come to the following conclusions on the 2020 election.
Part 1 The Big Picture
Democratic voters are exhausted by the election process and want to settle in for a more comfortable move forward. All one has to do is watch Donald Trump every day and realize the last thing the people of the United States need at this point is a disrupter.
What this means is Joe Biden is someone the country feels it knows well. True, he is from a bygone time and in not the most innovative person on the block, but he is a known entity. To many of us it has been apparent that probably any one of the top five Democrat candidates running could have easily beat Trump, and the electability issue hurt some, especially Warren and Klobuchar. In fact we would say there really is no need for Presidential debates in the the 2020 election, why waste the time and money when we know both of the contenders so well.
Providing the party is ok with Biden at the top and we don’t need to spend more time debating this aspect of the election, what is important is the people who will vote on and implement a new government for the country. It is important who is selected for Vice President to spear head issues and get a majority in Congress, both the House and Senate to initiate the bills to get the country back on track.
Specifically, we think Elizabeth Warren with her experience in setting up and running the Consumer Protection Agency is a top pick for VP. She can get things done, and if Democratic voters go to work and get top people in the House and Senate, bills can be written and passed. Then the administration will be able to get things moving.
Part 2 The environment that a new administration will be addressing could be challenging.
Moving to more equality for all in terms of many areas, personal and economic will be huge. One only has to go back to the early 1980’s when the Reagan Administration implemented its Supply Side, Trickle Down agenda to see where much of the inequality originated.
That will need to change, and that will involve structural issues. The problems relating to student loan debt and speculative money in the markets, markets where the economy and markets never seem to be in the same ballpark are another part of the change needed.
As far as student debt is concerned, America is not a free lunch society. Student debt will need to have some innovative pay down programs to make it more equitable and faster to close out the balances.
The education debt issue that grew from the trickle Down 1980’s where state and federal entities reduced their funding share and required students to pick up a much bigger share, has to be reversed.
On income inequality, we don’t need to talk about wealthy people being bad or having too much money, they just legally manipulated the system based on what was set up in government in the 1980’s.
Structural change will include those issues in a move to a more equal America.
Part 3 Health Care
This is another issue that will need to be addressed by the next administration. Democrats in the primaries seemed to come at the issues backwards, throwing out solutions before they described the problem.
Obama’s Affordable Care Act hit the number one problem, pre-existing conditions, on the head and made it work a number of years ago.
The number two problem in health care, the uninsured, is really where the under the table debate arguments started.
And the number three problem, making health care more efficient in outcomes and affordability was totally nebulous in terms of the debates. This was probably because politicians cannot solve that issue, it will take people with focused expertise.
The key Health Insurance issue which the debates got hung up on, (and which could have turned everything around into more meaningful dialogue, if only the DNC would have put up this chart first.) Round numbers
- Median American Employee Income $ 56,000
- Average total Employer paid Health Insurance 20,000
- Average Employer paid portion 14,000
- Average employee paid portion 6,000
The key question that should have been addressed, how does the government fund the cost of the uninsured who typically have no employer insurance and have incomes closer to the AGI number of $ 36,000 which is average gross income after some deductions.
There is no way this group of workers are going to fork over $ 20,000 for their family’s health insurance. So they either opt for no insurance or high deductibles. Then they have to hope they never have a big health issue and are forced to file for bankruptcy.
Maybe some Americans and Presidential candidates don’t care about the uninsured. The debates should have determined that first.
Secondly a big fear for Americans with employer provided health insurance government is if a Medicare for All type plan would be initiated, that their employer would not raise their incomes by $14,000 on average (the amount the employer would save if the government provided health insurance).
How would the candidates have addressed that issue?
Then the question of what kind of taxation policy would pay for the insurance. Would it be a progressive tax based on income with a cap or no cap. No cap may be a way to have the one percent really help those workers under the median income level. Lots of debate here.
So it would have been interesting as to how the candidates would have answered these questions. Instead they got lost in all the various ways to talk the trillions over ten years with no backup info. This will be a place for a new administration to start.
Part 4 Green Infrastructure and Climate Change
The really big initiative for the next administration is the Green Infrastructure direction. This is big, this is bigger than the New Deal of the 1930’s and the Interstate Road Program and Space Program of the 1960’s.
This will take the Climate Change Issue and turn it on its head and make it an opportunity for economic and personal growth. The interstate road system made it possible to use cheap energy and move things efficiently to any corner of the US. The Space program off-shoots helped build the technology that we all use today.
Now we know the costs and climate change issues caused by moving stuff everywhere and finding and refining fossil fuels to make it happen, especially in what it is doing to our climate.
This will involve a lot of change but we have the digital technology to make it happen. More growth will happen in one’s community, technology will allow a lot of energy production to be local through solar and wind. Grids will be built out to move overflows. This will be a transforming event that will re-energize America with opportunity and jobs.