Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Three Planks for a Better America

John Gray said “To offer a man unsolicited advice is to presume that he doesn't know what to do or that he can't do it on his own.” If this seems a bit harsh to apply to the Democratic Party as a whole, consider that their congressional approval numbers are below that of President Bush – no small feat. It is my belief that the only way out of our current mess is paved by three actions that should be adopted and carried out in concert by the Democratic Party.

The three planks, to be implemented together are: a complete and total withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan immediately (once completed this will need to be changed to “reduce the size of the military and utilize it sparingly and as a last resort”), universal health care and prescription drug price reform for all Americans, and finally a change from fossil fuels to a mix of renewable and sustainable resources. Wow, seeing the planks on paper make them sound outlandish, and one might be inclined to ask how we will pay for all of this, or if they solve the 2008 financial crisis. The answer is that the three planks work together in concert, shifting where Americans and their government spend money. Roughly speaking, these planks represent the opposite of “trickle down economics”- a “geyser” economic plan, if you will.

Plank 1: A complete and total withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan immediately.
We spend, at least officially, nearly $12 billion dollars a month for the war in Iraq alone; money that is sorely needed in our economy. From an objective distance three things become clear: we won’t ultimately be successful, we don’t have the money even if we thought we could be successful, and we are less safe due to our involvement. Only one rational course of action remains: leave immediately.

Plank 2: Universal health care and prescription drug price reform for every American.
The World Health Organization reports that Americans spend more on health care than any other nation on the planet, yet we rank 37th in overall performance and 72nd in overall health. Furthermore, we are the only industrialized nation to not have universal health care and as a result have more than 40 million people uninsured. Other countries get better health care, live longer lives and have more doctors and nurses by spending less money- all because they have universal health care.

Plank 3: Move quickly from fossil fuels to a mix of renewable and sustainable resources.
The United States is poised to start a revolution in green energy, we need only embrace it. We have a wealth of universities and research institutions to provide the necessary technology. Renewable resources abound with plentiful sunshine in the south, winds in the Midwest, tides on two coasts and geothermal activity across the country. Currently we are sending truck loads of dollars to other places, and in some cases fueling terrorists who wish to harm us. Renewable sources of energy would keep those dollars at home.

In the next several posts, I hope to prove that these three planks will ultimately solve the current economic crisis and restore the strength of the American economy.

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