Not until 1998 did Hugo Chavez take control of Venezuela and bring full bore socialism into play, which Nicolas Maduro has continued. By last summer this has produced inflation of over 83,000 percent. Prior to Chavez’s takeover of the government, Venezuela was a two-party democracy. However, the greed and dissension of these parties seriously overlooked the needs of the people.
History has taught us many descriptive lessons and I hope that our nation has paid proper attention to this example.
However, I ask that you consider that, as of last year, 40 percent of our members of Congress were millionaires with an overall net worth of $2.43 billion, per Pew Research. The median net worth of their families was over $511,000, which is six times higher than an average family in the country. Now factor in that Congress currently has a 14 percent approval rating, which is only four points higher than the all time low in the Obama year of 2013.
I ask you, do you approve of the current performance of Congress? If you answered yes, I would be quite surprised.
In the State of the Union address, President Trump came forward with a challenge to Congress to put the needs of our nation first and to try and put away the petty and revengeful antics that currently exist. This will not be an easy task to take place.
The current Democrats who have declared their plans to run for president have come forward with several proposals that definitely smack of adopting a socialist philosophy.
Sen. Kamala Harris wants to do away with all current health care insurance and have only government insurance. The cost of the Harris health care proposal is $32 trillion over 10 years.
Senators Warren, Harris, Booker and Gillibrand have all endorsed the New Green Deal, which would do away with all fossil fuels in 10 years.
Although these proposals may have appeal to “starry eyed liberals,” they are nothing but fantasy. The latest proposal for the New Green Deal has no price tag, but it is beyond understanding.
Just think of the particulars, all air travel will be eliminated and replaced by rail transportation, automobile travel would be very limited since fossil fuels are no longer utilized. All buildings — federal, public and all private facilities — would have to have significant renovation to meet the “green standards” and, to boot, this would also provide a guaranteed wage for all. It should be noted, that when Trump put forward the message that America would never become a socialist country, Sen. Bernie Sanders had a very dour expression and it took quite a while for Speaker Nancy Pelosi to stand and applaud.
The decline of the middle class, which was 54 percent of the population in 2001 and 51 percent in 2011, has edged up slightly to 52 percent last year. Much of this is due to the increases in the last two years of 196,000 new manufacturing jobs in 2017 and 284,000 in 2018, per factcheck.org. This is a major improvement after suffering losses of 805,000 of these jobs under Obama.
However, over one-third of this group is not satisfied with their financial position. To help meet this area of concern, Congress needs to work together to make positive changes in our health care program which provides for major improvement over the failed system of Obamacare.
Without question significant reduction in the pricing of pharmaceutical products is a must to be achieved.
In addition, the cost of college must be reduced significantly. Free tuition for all is nothing but another “boondoggle.”
The burden of $1.3 trillion total of student debt also needs to be addressed by cooperation of both Democrats and Republicans for the benefit of our nation.
It is a certainty that neither of these problems can be solved by huge increases in federal spending.
No nation can spend its way into prosperity! Our current national debt is fast approaching $22 trillion. Revisions in our unfunded liabilities need to be addressed by both parties, and we should also reduce other levels of federal spending as well, and stop deficit financing or we will pay a horrendous price for our excesses.
The Trump administration needs to strongly pay attention to this or it will rival the spending excesses of Obama.
Snap polls by CBS and CNN of the president’s State of the Union message revealed approvals of 75 percent of the conciliatory message by the public. It is my sincere hope the public will get informed and maintain a strident level of pressure on Congress to stop the wrangling and get the job done effectively for all of us, regardless of political party.
Another View is a weekly column written collaboratively by Dale Landrith of Camden, Ken Frederic of Bristol, Paul Ackerman of Martinsville, Jan Dolcater of Rockport and Ralph “Doc” Wallace of Rockport.