Our problem isn’t China. It’s us. Our name is the United States of America and we have a problem. The problem is we lost our way and our vision. Now I am not proposing we hire a high paid consultant to help us craft a mission statement, what I am saying is that this country needs to describe what good looks like, where do we want to be in twelve years and then create the plan to get there using SMART (Specific-Measurable-Actionable-Realistic-Timely) goals. Now the defeatists will say that we can’t do that because of election cycles, politics, and partisanship. Bullshit. Lincoln did it in 1960, Roosevelt during the Great Depression, Kennedy set our nation on a trajectory in 1960, Reagan did so in 1980, and we need to do it again. Ed Harris portraying Gene Krantz in Apollo 13 uttered the famous words “Failure is not an option.” Amen brother.
So let’s get down to it. Vision:
We aspire to be a nation of optimistic educated, healthy citizens free of unnecessary regulations, corporatist cronyism, bigotry, excessive debt, and government encroachment into our lives while unequivocally maintaining ourselves as the world’s greatest nation.
OK, it may be kind of lame, but I wrote at 36,000 feet in my oh-so-cramped flight and lap top on my lay because the seatback would require me to type like a T-Rex.
So what are the goals and specific actions? Here is the first pass on energy, healthcare, education, and border security.
1. Within Twelve years establish an economy that is not susceptible to a .5% reduction in GDP as a result of energy supply shocks.
a. Expand use of alternative transportation fuel sources such as electric and CNG by investing in refueling infrastructure
b. Employ safe and environmentally sound techniques in the exploration and transportation of energy sources
c. Invest in nuclear energy while scaling back reliance on coal.
d. Increase oil purchases from non-OPEC nations
e. Develop private-public partnerships to become global leader in solar, geothermal, wind, and other non-fossil fuel technologies
2. Within twelve years implement true health care reform that limits costs to 8% of median household income without cutting coverage.
a. Establish community exchanges and interstate competition
b. Offer wellness tax exemptions to people
c. Enforce individual mandate
d. Offer pathway to citizenship for undocumented workers and collect premiums
e. Employer sponsored plans should offer tiered options of services to employees.
f. Reduce prescription drug costs by expanding supply chain options
3. Return to the top five globally in education
a. Study the best and copy. Look at the successful Knowledge In Power Program, the Harlem Children’s Zone, and the Phoenix Collegiate Academy.
b. Take the best parts of No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top and establish a federal initiative that creates a broad based culture of learning between parents-teachers-students-administrators
c. Utilize standardized testing as a tool, not the ONLY tool in the kit
d. Reward the best educators and remove the worst as measured by an educational cultural index.
e. Provide training and opportunities for teachers to develop.
f. Unions have their place but meritocracy has be part of the union process. Last in first out is WRONG.
g. Establish technical preparatory pathways for students that excel in Science-Technology-Engineering-Mathematics (STEM) core concepts.
4. Reduce smuggling by 80% across the Mexico/US border
a. Re-establish federal controls on the sales of assault weapons and ammunition, neither were renewed by Republican Congresses.
b. Legalize marijuana
c. Work with Indian and Israeli security officials who have employed advanced methods in identifying and preventing border penetration
d. Use early warning airborne monitoring systems to track activity
e. Employ fixed border establishments to redirect smuggling to specific sectors.
f. Use law enforcement personnel and methods to capture and prosecute cartel members
Just a start.
Next edition will include plans for immigration, tax reform, social services, trade, and the military.