As an addendum to my blog about the last four presidents, I offer this list of issues that have not been adequately addressed during the past 25 years and need immediate attention. Past presidents have kicked many problems down the road.
They have accumulated and made America vulnerable. Given President Trump’s relationship with lawmakers it is unlikely that he will make a significant impact on these items.
- The US infrastructure must be revamped. Our roadways, bridges and tunnels are falling apart. This monstrous project will be extraordinarily expensive, but it must be done. On the positive side appropriations by Congress to do this work will dramatically increase the number of high paying jobs across the country.
- Our national debt and the budget are not being managed properly. At some point a president and his Congress must exhibit the courage to address “sacred cow” entitlement such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid that are dragging our nation towards bankruptcy.
- Immigration policies have created havoc throughout the country. America can no longer afford to have an “open door” policy. Up to 20 million people from the south have entered the country illegally. They have drained the country of tremendous resources. (Note: The writer is not suggesting that illegal aliens be expelled from the country. Rather he wants to stop any increase in the number.) Further, immigration from other countries with no records of their citizens should cease. If we cannot vet applicants, we should not allow them into the country. The passage of time alone is not a good vetting standard.
- The welfare class in America is growing because our government is not doing anything to encourage less fortunate people to support themselves and their families. Welfare has enabled millions of Americans to become totally dependent on others. Issuing checks without any conditions is bad public policy. The solution is simple: every able-body person in the country must work to receive assistance. Our government has to guarantee employment for everyone and demand they participate. The infirmed and children should be excluded from this new system.
- Social media fanaticism is has become a serious issue. People waste hours each day, at work and during leisure time, on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and numerous other sites reading nonsense published by their friends and total strangers. Further, people walk around the streets of the city like zombies bumping into others and into intersections while reading some incredibly important texts from friends. The two most asinine transgressions are texting while driving, which is supposed to be illegal, and being on a phone while caring for a child. I am not proposing to stop the high tech tsunami, but it needs government regulation.
- Income inequality continues to grow in America. The financial condition of many Americans is stagnating or worsening while the wealth of the affluent increases. Liberals have adopted a “Robin Hood” perspective relating to this social phenomenon. Over-taxation of the rich and giving to the poor is bad public policy. It discriminates against one class of people and is unfair. A better strategy is one where all classes of people rise together. This can only happen during positive economic conditions. When America is blessed with good times, lower socioeconomic workers should benefit along with stockholders. Corporations, large and small, should adopt this approach voluntarily and share the wealth.
- Isolation of our country is a dangerous policy. We must continue to accept the fact that our leadership throughout the world is based on our ability to trade with everyone and to protect allies with our military strength. Trump’s backlash to previous arrangements, where the US was subjected to unfair commercial arrangements and one-sided military deployments, will serve us well. Other developed nations must contribute to the well being of the less fortunate along with the US.
- Domestic crime and domestic terrorism are just as important as international terrorism. The risk of domestic violence is far greater than crime by international interlopers. The stand off between gun advocates and those that want more gun control should not prevent the country from trying to end the senseless killing of Americans. Common sense restrictions, not anything that limits the rights of law-abiding citizens to own guns, should be undertaken immediately. The threat of one more death of a friend or neighbor should drive us to make changes that decrease the odds of violence.
- Fringe groups are popping up across the country. Most are violent and bigoted. Dissatisfaction with our government, poverty and a proliferation of weapons is exacerbating this problem. On the one hand we need to be sensitive to the problems of these citizens. On the other hand we need to crush any groups that are not obeying our laws.
- The US must facilitate peace in the Middle East. The issues that continue to rake on the people of this region are primarily religious. The thousand-year standoff between Sunnis and Shiite is not dissipating. It is getting worse and more violent, and now the development of nuclear weapons by some nations is making matters even more disconcerting. Ever since World War II US presidents have failed repeatedly to make the warring factions come to terms. The establishment of the State of Israel only made problems that much more contentious. US diplomats must work even more diligently to stop the violence because it has and will continue to spread to other places, like the US, if it is not addressed.
- Congress needs a complete makeover. The old guard in our legislative branch needs to retire and make way for new Republicans and Democrats that are willing to work with each other. A two-party political system is best for our country, but we may gravitate towards the domination of one party if things do not change soon. Average citizens should be able to have conversations with each other that do not end in screaming matches, or worse, violence. Free speech should be encouraged so everyone is heard without the threat of condemnation or physical harm.
- Populism and nationalism taken to an extreme can destroy us. Our leaders must be sensitive to the fact that democracy is not the best form of government for some other countries for a plethora of reasons. The time that populist and nationalistic feelings are most on display is during elections. American voters should reject candidates who espouse or suggest violence. They should also reject politicians who encourage a schism between the various parts of our society.
- Everyone should vote.
The aforementioned will be a daunting challenge for our leaders and lawmakers. Americans should demand more from those we elect, and we should insist that they execute in a congenial manner.