Stuff that worries Me
In a big picture sense, I’m worried that we’re not even ready to discuss practical solutions. Our political rhetoric is so far removed from constructive dialogue that good ideas are DOA. Instead, we get platitudes based on political virtue signaling instead of logic. People want to be on the right team more than promote the best idea. As long as that’s true, we all lose. But these are the big themes in my mind.
Medicare for all! Well, ok sure, but only if we drastically reform Medicare first. A good system would provide the care needed without financially ruining people. That is not America today. But it’s also not single payer government run Health Canada or The UK’s NHS. In reality the best systems more gracefully combine profit and markets with social support and good incentives. Germany and the Netherlands both have multi-payer systems, with for-profit healthcare playing a role socially.
The Environment & Climate Change
There is too much carbon (and other GHGs) in the atmosphere. Yet we can’t seem to implement the simplest and best solution even to help reduce total CO2 ppm: a carbon tax. Deforestation, mining, and chemical run-off are also serious issues that need immediate remedy. Politically, the environment is a tough sell, except to young folks…who don’t vote that much. My thesis is that fear-mongering, even when justified, has failed politically
55 million Americans don’t have enough cash in the bank to cover emergencies. That’s a disaster. But a top marginal tax rate of 70% won’t solve this—it also won’t kill jobs or the economy either—but it’s not going to rain down economic stability or opportunity on regular folks. This is about education, student loans, apprenticeships, racism, the war on drugs, housing, and healthcare.
Military Industrial Complex/Foreign Policy
How many aircraft carriers is enough? Is 10 too many? How about nuclear warheads? 7,000 seems a tad overboard. Should we engage in non-defensive wars? No. Should we engage in concise humanitarian crisis with a coherent exit strategy? Probably. Why is Iran, with its universities and the foundation of a modern society, our enemy, and “women are property” Saudi Arabia our ally? That’s backwards. Point is, we spend too much and actively make the world more dangerous for political expediency.
This is a local and macro issue. As I write here, everyone deserves to live life with true joy. Doing so requires a lot of individual work, regardless of how justifiably unfair life is for you. I have had many privileges, and one of the greatest is reliable access to mental health care. That’s a privilege everyone deserves, and we’re doubling down on misery without reliable and widespread access to it. But this issue is separate from healthcare, because mindfulness is also a mindset attainable through mental discipline.
I know Dr. Krugman says government debt and deficits don’t matter. Harvard Economist Greg Mankiw doubts that. More importantly, there is simply no downside to making sure government money is well spent. For example, why is it 33% more expensive to build urban rail tunnels in Seattle vs. Stockholm? Why does it cost $3.2 billion to construct 1 mile of tunnel in Seattle? - Why is infrastructure cripplingly expensive in America for that matter?