5.21.2016

Let's Talk, America

Article by: Scott Hall scotthall.cnj@gmail.com        
            I suppose that the first order of business would be to congratulate Mr. Trump on his successful campaign to become the front runner of the Republican Party for the office of the President of the United States.  The Democratic Rivals, both Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sander’s continue to campaign on for their chance to oppose the GOP’s choice and the whole Presidential Election is shaping up to be what is being considered “The most important election in history”.  I must concur, it is indeed an historic election and is ALWAYS important, the people of the USA deserve a leader, who has the people’s interests at heart, such as: keeping our citizens safe from the predators of the globe who seek to kill us, an economy that produces and keeps its citizens employed, making sure that the sick or less fortunate have affordable options that promote productivity and not dependence, a lasting and more economical energy source that will keep our planet here for decades to come or at least insure what we use now will not fade away and cost thousands of jobs and families opportunities, social security guarantees for our aging leaders and senior citizens everywhere and in general the items that help to shape Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness and all of this, takes citizens casting votes based on what they know or more perfectly, perceive and think based on perception.
***This article contains information from each of the candidate’s web sites or other known resources that are accepted by each candidate to be somewhat accurate.  Links to the researched information will be provided at the end of this article, for all readers to have available so they can draw their own conclusions for themselves. ***
            With all of this in mind, one person is touting they will make America great again, the other two, clearly acknowledge this, by pointing out what they will work to correct or improve about the USA in its current status, a status that includes police violence, racial divides, women rights in the work force, jobs, healthcare - the list is quite large.  This implies a lot of the stuff we have now isn’t so great and that the potential POTUS must rectify the errors that are perceived as bringing us down, keep in mind the office to potentially hold, represents the nation as a whole in their views, wants and goals for a global environment as well as domestic one, here at C&J, we owe it to our audience to make sure there is some clarity among the muddy waters surrounding the potential candidates that want to make it better.  To help narrow down some of this, in this article we will focus our eyes on History, Education, Healthcare and Jobs and try our best to apply each to each potential representative for POTUS, with, of course some very important notable items.
A BIT OF HISTORY
            It happens every 4 years guaranteed and sometimes becomes like one long campaign ad that when it’s over, we exhale and either gripe and moan or celebrate the victor - this is known as an election cycle.  How it came to be this way goes back a bit in history, in fact all the way back to our founding fathers.  George Washington stunned the nation when he said he would not seek a third term in office.  Right now, I bet you are saying “BS, a president can only run twice”, you are correct, however, aside from a president having the ability to carry over to a third term in times of war or national security crisis’, in those times, the presidential candidates were directly chosen by the congress from their own parties, right out of the very chairs they held in representation of the people, thus, this lead to persons being selected to be viable candidates; NOTE: when George Washington first held office, the people placed him in his first term without opposition or majority vote due to his leadership and role in the revolutionary war, in some history books it was the newly formed continental congress that begged him to take the new office,  the “first” election wasn’t held until the next election cycle came around, after Washington’s 2nd term; you know the candidates by these names: Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, two candidates, two different parties with their running mates being chosen for them as well, nothing like what we see today in the primary nomination and election process.
            Fast forward to 1832 and this is when the first national convention was used to nominate party candidates because social pressures were rising on changing from traditional caucus selections - the thoughts of party caucus’s were dying out - along with the chance for improvement on actual multiple candidates being allowed to campaign for the office, that is, qualified persons not necessarily from Congress. Interestingly enough, in 1840 the thinking when the conventions took foothold was that this new platform, would allow party unification to stand behind their chosen single candidate for office, an office elected by the people - by popular vote.
            The selection process has indeed evolved over a long period of time, including several “commission” studies and reforms that have shaped us, into the primary election cycle we have now.  The commissions were started around 1900 and continued on with different titles all the way past the 1970’s, that is how important this process is, and those reforms included things like preventing states powers from selecting their own through power, corruption and other issues that were the forefront of concern for both parties, helping to get people registered to vote and overseeing a fair voting system, indeed, history has taught us much in the way we should properly and fairly conduct our selection process for candidates who wish to hold, POTUS; but that was then, this is now and with now, comes some definitive examples of what those who oversee elections are faced with, in choosing the best qualified person to run a great country - one that is a shining example to the free world and its shared values of peace and productivity. 
CANDIDATES - TRUTH AND PERCEPTION
            Our first look is at Senator Bernie Sanders, one of two choices for the Democratic nomination for POTUS in this upcoming election cycle.  A self proclaimed Democratic Socialist but is listed as an Independent Senator, Senator Sanders continues to campaign on, against seemingly insurmountable odds, in the hopes of swaying the DNC to look his way as a viable choice.  In 1981, the Senator was elected to the first of 4 terms as mayor of the city of Burlington. Then later on in his career to the Senator seat he holds now, in fact The Almanac of American politics states that Senator Sanders is a “practical and successful legislator”; Senator Sanders is well known for his work in reducing income gaps between wealth classes with hard work and fairness, he has worked directly with Veterans groups and even helped to write and oversee the ACA currently in effect.  Within his campaign, he has touted education, healthcare and economy reform, which, to many seems like his stance is to give away as much stuff for free as possible while the hard working class get little, the MEME’s on social media platforms such as Twitter and Face Book reflect that this is indeed the heart of the issue and many take offense to this charitable perception, no one wants this country to be the land of the handouts, we all know the American dream, right?  What makes a practical and successful legislator, so unpopular with so many yet others adhere to so well?
            According to his own campaign website (berniesanders.com), his free education stance comes from following the models of other countries such as Germany, Chile, Finland and Norway and according to Senator Sanders, this proposed lowered or free tuition isn’t a new idea, in fact up until the 1980’s, states like California offered free or lowered cost tuition to its citizens, during the previous era, the average cost of college per semester tuition was just 250 bucks in 1965.  Senator Sanders says that by imposing a small tax on the wealthiest of persons of Wall Street (as well as all citizens) and making overseas companies pay their share, this income will allow for lowered tuition while at the same time repealing the current interest rate from 4.5 percent down to 2.7 percent, thus saving college students thousands of dollars in education costs, in essence, the Government will take over controlling the rates and loan standards, a move that Lending Institutions and Corporate America detest at its core.  What about Healthcare, many Americans see this as another “free” opportunity to make others pay for those who cannot or are not willing to go out and earn it themselves, most of the focus being illegal or undocumented immigrants getting access to “free” money for just entering into our country. 
            According to the Senator, since the time of Franklin D. Roosevelt (focusing on Democratic Presidents), America has longed for a one for all healthcare system, where health care is a right not a privilege and America should include themselves in the list of countries with similar coverage’s such as: the United Kingdom, Canada, Brazil, Rwanda, Thailand, South Korea, Moldova, Kuwait and China.  According to the Senator, the USA spends more on healthcare than any other nation, these expenditures come from co pays, rates, deductibles and medication costs and still don’t include the nearly 30 million people who don’t go get regular checkups or believe it or not, still do not have any insurance at all, by personal choice.  Senator Sanders proposes a single payer system and to eliminate employers having to provide a plan for their employees, thus, freeing up important business money that could be used for re-investment rather than paying premiums that are co-paid by the employees, costing hundreds of hours in labor, just on that math alone.  Paying for this initiative will come from several sources, including a progressive income based tax that at most will cost someone with 50,000 a year income only 466 dollars in healthcare premiums and costs, this along with other sources (listed on the web site) will offset these costs and because of improved health overall, will reduce any and all Government spending and private sector citizen spending.   According to the website and proposed platforms, the Senator is touting that those who can pay should pay their fair share and those who cannot, can be empowered to do so by improving their overall conditions, which sounds nothing like what the main stream media and their mass followers are pointing out, those persons make it sound like arm chair politics, much like an arm chair quarter back, sounds good but until you get out of your chair you won’t know just how much it takes to get it done.
            Our next focus is Hillary Clinton, a former first lady, Secretary of State (under the Obama administration), Lawyer, and elected to the Senate in 2001, becoming the first lady to win such a seat.  Her background from Yale University along with her political experience, poised her to run for President in 2012, to which at that time, she conceded to President, Barak Obama and now, hoping to defeat Senator Sanders for the DNC nomination to run against Donald Trump, her campaign has been a grueling one and for both the DNC nominees.  In Hillary’s case, there is much controversy surrounding her, including an email scandal and an attack that resulted in the death of an ambassador as well as the investigation that followed it, an event that Mrs. Clinton took full responsibility for and testified, vowing to “make it right” before leaving office.  A champion for Women’s rights, Mrs. Clinton tossed her hat into the ring for the 2016 election and one must ask with all this negativity surrounding her campaign, what does she really stand for, whose side is she on?
            When it comes to healthcare, according to the campaign website (hillaryclinton.com), Mrs. Clinton will improve on the already in place health care law, by insuring that all families purchasing insurance on the exchanges will not spend more than 8.5 percent of their incomes on premiums, expand access to healthcare to immigrants (Medicaid) and set up a rewards style program for those who live and actively pursue a healthier lifestyle as well as defend and uphold the current ACA status, including a move to get more people signed up than are now, and vows to fight to lower prescription costs, while focusing on improving healthcare for women. Some math, if your medication costs 100 bucks a pill, your cost is 8.50 a pill, times 30 days, 255 for a prescription that isn’t “generic”, food for thought. What our truth glasses found interesting in this scenario, nothing in Hillary’s approach to fixing the current status of Healthcare, includes Government spending, instead it vaguely avoids it or doesn’t state directly how much the feds will pick up in Medicaid costs; it places the cost directly on the backs of Americans, makes no provisions for low income families and includes tax adjustments for everyone including immigrants.  She touts improved items for Women’s healthcare issues, including pregnancy and contraceptive practices as well as preventative issues facing women everywhere, her website is actually vague on these issues on how she will get it done, where the money will come from and how much will the Federal Government contribute (she does mention giving the power to the Governors as it is now to come up with a public option, but doesn’t explain how other than saying it is already in their hands now).  What about education, in order for persons to receive the quality care she wants, that will take some skilled workers, skills that come from higher education and saturate our airwaves with how many jobs will require a college degree in the coming years.
            According to her platform, students won’t have to pay for books, fees or tuition to attend a four year college, she intends to help offset these costs by having each student work 10 hours a week and contributing their part (so…the ‘free’ stuff actually comes from making students get a job and giving her administration their income to pay for college that will be free). Note: ask any student how high some of the books are for their courses, you won’t find any 20 dollar books that are for PSY 101, guaranteed; Families will also do their part by contributing to their kids’ educational needs in this system known as the College Compact.  It will use the Pell Grants to pay for living expenses as well as educational ones and that colleges will be responsible for controlling costs of attaining the higher education, at current, credit hours can cost as much as 450 dollars per credit hour (keep in mind most university systems receive state funding, not necessarily just federal funding).  Everyone will be able to refinance their existing loans to gain lower payments and borrowers will never pay more than 10 percent of what they make.  Let’s do a quick math gambit, yes?  A doctor’s average salary is 185,000 a year, so 18,500 dollars of this income will be dedicated to repaying debt, broken down and divided by 12 month calendar year, you are paying over 1000 a month maximum, granted not everyone is a doctor, but you get the idea, a literal house payment in loan repayments, isn’t this what we are griping about now?  Note:  None of her Education and Healthcare reform plans are a focus on social media, instead, it’s imprison Hillary for her crimes in the email scandal and the tragic event in Libya, nice distraction indeed.
            Finally, we turn our attention to the GOP front runner, Mr. Donald Trump; hands down the GOP choice across the board, Mr. Trump defeated a long list of other bidders, including Ben Carson, Ted Cruz and others while seemingly speaking his mind and blasting the establishment on everything from immigration to healthcare, sans jobs or income inequality but focusing as well on any potential opponents motives to stop him from becoming POTUS.  Described as enthusiastic and energetic, Mr. Trump attended a military school where his parents were hoping to help him focus his talents, eventually Mr. Trump a scholar athlete, would attend both Fordham and the University of Pennsylvania accomplishing a degree in economics and business.  In 1971, Mr. Trump was given control over his parent’s companies (middle income apartments in New York) and real estate investments and eventually go on to own parts of Atlantic City, Florida, New York and several other spots in the nation’s property gambits.  Trump, like many other business moguls, felt the sting of the real estate decline, reportedly going as high as 900 million in debt, the financial and real estate mogul would have to work hard over a decade to recover these losses and before announcing his presidential bid, would tout being worth over a billion dollars (in reality, according to Forbes, that number is actually under 500 million dollars). In 2000, Mr. Trump first toyed with the idea of making a run for office, low voter turnout in California stagnated that dream and he subsequently withdrew his bid, reserving it for his now very active run. Mr. Trump in his life has been registered in nearly every political party, most recently, Republican. It is no secret that Mr. Trump is a highly controversial candidate, including scathing remarks toward immigrants, women, building a wall, discrimination, trade and even his opponents, these controversies caused many companies that had joint ventures with Mr. Trump to withdraw their relationships. Mr. Trump responded with law suits (many say this is his staple, suing others into his way of thinking), but still has the influence to sway millions of voters to consider him a viable candidate, so on the two subjects of education and healthcare reforms, where does he stand and just how do we make America great again?
            According to Mr. Trump’s website, when it comes to Healthcare, we have been under a decade long disaster that needs a full repeal and on day one as POTUS, Mr. Trump will call for a full repeal of the ACA and start to implement a free market stance on health care choices in insurance; rates will become more competitive by breaking down the cross state barriers on costs, someone in California sees their same insurance a few hundred less in Maine, they should be able to buy it at Maine’s prices, provided they reflect the free market values.  Note: The problem with Free Market thinking, what the free market deems as fair to all, determines the price for all, so if the FM’s want an increase, everyone pays for it, regardless of income levels, this is true on all things in the Free Market.  Then, Mr. Trump looks at allowing all persons to deduct health care costs from their taxes and work with states who have persons on Medicaid and expand it to all persons at an “affordable” rate (Note: the 1040 Long form already includes this as an option); my question, what is affordable to a family of four making less than 25,000 a year in total income, sadly, the website nor Mr. Trump’s campaign could answer this other than listing that the best way to reduce Medicaid costs is to get people to work, it only gets a mention with no viable jobs plan to back it up, according to Mr. Trump’s campaign, “this will take some time”. 
            An interesting stance that current and future persons interested in office all say, “these things take time”, American’s have a sense of urgency thanks in part to Mr. Trump, will this sense of urgency be met with disappointment if Mr. Trump fails to accomplish this task, yes - as has been the case with every president before our next one and will be even after.  Our truth glasses searched over and over again for some comprehensive overview or insight as to how this candidate will help those who are paying high tuition and loan rates now, sorry to report, there isn’t one, only Mr. Trump saying, “Free College is a disastrous idea”.  The issues listed on Mr. Trump’s campaign website include: Immigration Reform, Tax Reform, Healthcare repeal and reform, US-China Trade reforms (what about the other 186 countries?), Veteran’s Administration Reform and that is it.  No talk of helping out Seniors who deal with Social Security issues, no mention of those fighting a 2 year or longer battle for disability benefits, no speaking about JOBS and how to stimulate an economy that must not be so great if we are to make it great again here in the US, no mention of how to improve our foreign relations or prepare our citizens against attacks from terror cells.  Mr. Trump said, “We are too soft on terrorists, we must go after their families as well”, Note: This kind of stance is a war crime if carried out, see Geneva Convention and History for details as to why.
            In this article, we have covered platforms, stances, touched a bit on some of the controversy surrounding the candidates and included a taste of how the selection process started over 200 years ago.  With each candidate, we have the ability to see the differences in what they want, what they see as America in the coming years, each with their own thoughts as to what it will take to get there or what is needed to obtain that status quo.  What we don’t see is Vice Presidential persons with them, nor do we see any unity behind each candidate as of yet from either party, including the GOP who seemingly has a clear choice of candidate.  There once was a time when the candidates were selected on their reputations, their experiences, their nobility, humanity and there was a time when too much power in those systems allowed for the worst of the worst to be in offices or run for them.  Investigation and thought lead to finance reforms, selection reforms and now apparently include, mudslinging, name calling, inciting violence during speechless with “go ahead beat the crap out of them” and more. 
            To allow the “fairness” of news to be heard, here are some examples of the controversy surrounding each presidential candidate, search terms used were (Candidate’s name) and Controversy in quotation marks to help refine searches:
“Sanders dismisses controversy over rapper’s comments”
“Bernie Sanders suspends Jewish outreach coordinator over Israel Criticism”
“Bernie Sanders 1972 ‘Rape’ Essay”
“Fact checking the Hillary Clinton email controversy”
“The Benghazi Controversy, explained by 7 numbers”
“5 Hillary scandals the media is missing”
“Donald Trump’s history of controversy with Women”
“How Trump turned controversy into a winning strategy”
“Here’s roughly every controversial thing Donald Trump has ever said” (it goes back 3 decades)
            While this article comes to a close, with lots of information to play with, I ask this of the candidates themselves, to be answered in ANY platform they see fit: 1) When will the US Government pay back the money it has borrowed from Social Security? 2) What is your biggest concern facing America right now and how will you influence Congress and the people to fix it? 3) Will you ask for and pursue term limits on everyone in office, no more than 2 terms for anyone to serve in a public office? 4) Looking back at history and how the selection process started, if it were up to the Congress to select your Vice President, who do you think they would place next to you? 5) Would you change the initial selection process to have a nationwide vote all at once, instead of trying to win state by state? (In other words, Primaries get ONE Election Day for the whole country same as the general election) seems millions of dollars in campaigning and travel costs could be eliminated if it were a one day process, but I digress. I invite each of you to sit down, write a response in consideration to each question poised.  I am sure the people of this great nation want to know these questions and more (by the way readers, feel free to use the comments section to add your own questions about what you want from the Candidates, since they all are “for the people” let’s find out just how much.
** Author’s Note**:  I truly hope in your overviews of this article and the links contained within, that each potential, current and future POTUS candidate, as well as the many readers of this article and followers of this platform, will gain the answers they seek and who knows, maybe change the election process one more time for the betterment of all.
“The Election Process”

This is

1 comment:

  1. Great article with many points for the reader to ponder.

    ReplyDelete

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