Election 2020 – Overview

Posted on 9/10/2019 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

During the last few months I’ve been giving a lot of thought to what I might want in the way of political leadership after the 2020 election. None of the presidential candidates seen to be focused on many of the issues I feel are important. I will vote, but increasingly it looks like my vote will not be for someone I positively favor, but rather for the candidate least likely to do serious, long term harm to our country and economy.

It is great to have “Big Ideas,” Dreams and Hopes, but there must be realistic ways to pay for the dreams and eventually turn them into reality. Rather than chasing Big Ideas, this country needs to focus on getting back to making “Incremental Improvements” that will lead all citizens to a better place. Big Ideas also need some possibility of eventually being passed into law. There needs to be more of a willingness to compromise and work together to find workable ways to move forward toward long-term benefits and improvements for all citizens, rather than demonizing everyone who doesn’t agree with an individual’s idealistic views.

Recently, in one of the debates, a candidate was asked “What sacrifices are we going to have to make?” The answer ignored the question. Candidates believe no one wants to hear about sacrifice. The only way to get elected is to keep offering more and more and ignore the need to eventually pay for any or it. The country seems to have been acting this way for a long time. The attitude seems to be to leave it to our children and grand children to pay for and fix.

I worry about the world I will be leaving my children and grand children.

I feel a need to share some of these thoughts. They have nothing whatsoever to do with stock photography, the subject of this newsletter. But Selling-Stock is the communication vehicle available to me. Therefore, I will begin posting a series of occasional stories under the broad title “Election 2020.” There will be no cost to read any of these stories. Feel free to share them with anyone you choose, or to totally ignore anything with the Election 2020 title.

I have tried to carefully research my stories, but more and more frequently I find that “facts” supplied by “trusted” and, in theory, well researched sources often differ. With all the information available to us in our society it seems harder and harder to find, and sort out,  trustworthy facts. Among the sources I often depend on are: The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, The Guardian, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, data from U.S. government agencies, NBC and CNN. I try not to rely on social media unless I can verify the information from other sources.

In 2020 we will need House and Senate majorities that are willing to work together toward steady improvements rather than holding out for ideal solutions that may not work anyway. Republicans controlled both houses of Congress and the Presidency from 2016 to 2018 and all they could do was give the wealthy a big tax break and put the country deeper in debt. I’m not sure the Democrats will do any better, but given the current political dysfunction nothing is likely to be done that will benefit the country as a whole unless we have one party control.

We need more politicians who are focused on the long term good for the majority, not short term political wins. In order to move ahead politicians must put partisanship and perfection aside in favor of progress and a willingness to make tough choices and compromise.

Overview Of Changes Needed

The U.S. must move away from its isolationist tendencies. We are citizens of the world. To the extent possible we must try to work together with all nations and people groups to make life better for all. In theory that is what both democracies and socialist societies want, but neither system is getting all people where they want to be. The U.S. must set an example. There will always be some who oppose us, and seek to dominate and advance their own interests. We should recognize the rights of others to hold positions that differ from ours and work to find ways to compromise so we can all live together in peace.

The U.S. was never designed to be the homeland of a single people group defined by skin color, religion or ancestry. It should be recognized that U.S. citizens are a community of peoples of all religions, cultures and ethnic groups whose ancestors originally came from all parts of the world. All citizens are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, including Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness and should be respected equally so long as they obey basic laws. All people should be treated with respect and dignity.

We need good relationships with all nations. We must continually try to develop and improve these working relationships. Other nations have legitimate positions that differ from ours. We must find compromises that may not be perfect from our point of view, but are in the best interest of all sides.

1 – The U.S. needs a truly, fair “progressive” tax system where those who receive the greatest benefit pay a higher proportional share of the costs of essential services. Our system of government must be able to pay for the services we want, not continually go deeper in debt.

2 - Make Social Security financially viable. Thirty-seven percent of what the government spends annually is for Social Security and Medicare. We must pay enough into these trust funds to cover the costs, not only for today’s retirees, but the retirees who will depend on these resources in the future. The FICA taxes workers pay today are not enough to cover the costs of the Retirement Benefits and Medicare that current surviving workers receive, let alone setting aside anything for future benefits for those paying in.

3 - Rejoin the Paris Climate Accords. Everyone must accept that the world is in a period of climate change that will in the near future lead to dramatic changes in the way humans live, work and interact on this earth. We need to do all we can to prepare for the changes and work with all nations to rapidly reduce the use of fossil fuel and rapidly increase the use of non-polluting energy sources. We need a carbon tax and a system that plows the resources from that tax into developing sources of clean energy. We must set an example and encourage others to do more, but not insist on absolute parity from other nations before we increase our efforts. This will be disruptive to certain sectors of the economy. While the disruption cannot be avoided, we should develop programs designed to help those who lose jobs transition into other useful work.

We must recognize that many industries and businesses have a life cycle. They grow, change and at some point need to be replaced by something else. The oil, gas and coal industries have served a very important useful purpose for a century or more. Now, given that the world has changed dramatically in the last two centuries, the use of fossil fuels needs to be replaced, at least to a large extent, with cleaner energy sources. The longer we delay acceptance of this fact the more, long range damage we do to society.

4 - We are living in a time when the jobs needed are rapidly changing. New industries are popping up. Older, more established industries are declining. More and more jobs are replaced by robots and automation. There is no assurance that the ideal career one chooses in their twenties will continue to exist for the entire lifetime of an individual. Workers will need to be flexible and able to transition to other types of work in order to support themselves.

We must accept that most manufacturing jobs that have gone overseas will never return to the U.S. It makes no economic sense for U.S. consumers to pay more for the products they need just to employ U.S. workers to make them. Labor is cheaper overseas. Workers in other parts of the world may be paid less, but their standard of living is still better than their neighbors because the general cost of living where they live is much lower than in the U.S.

Nevertheless, there are still plenty of jobs that can only be performed locally in the U.S. We need to concentrate on those jobs rather than trying to go back in time. Whole industries may die in a matter of a few years. Today’s leaders and workers must be flexible enough to change with the times.

Over that last century-and-a-half we’ve seen a huge transition in the number of workers needed in the U.S. agricultural industry.  Science has led us to understand that with less water and arable land we will need new types of foods and diets in order to be healthier and raise enough food for growing populations.

More women are in the work force compared to 30 to 50 years ago. More families find it necessary to have two workers with full-time jobs in order to meet family expenses. An increased number of workers are self-employed and in service jobs.

We must also recognize that many of the jobs that can only be done locally are unappealing to most U.S. citizens. Workers from other nations are often happy to perform these tasks in exchange for being allowed to live in the U.S. and being their families with them. The number of these jobs and the number of people doing them is increasing. Our immigration laws need to be updated to make it possible for such workers to enter the country legally and eventually work their ways to full citizenship.

For more detailed analysis of these issues see other stories in this Election 2020 series.
To contact me with questions or comments please email wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Copyright © 2019 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-251-0720, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz


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