By Dr. Larry Fedewa (August 10, 2019)
This week’s column is an edited reprint of a piece I wrote a couple of years ago when the backlash against “Obamacare” first inspired Republicans to talk about “repeal and replace”. Since they are still talking and since the Dems are now also talking about health care alternatives – especially a federal takeover of all health care – the topic remains open for new ideas. I have approached this subject from the perspective of a clean sheet of paper. Why try to build a system on the bones of a failed system, a system no one likes? Why not instead build a new system on a foundation of goals which everyone accepts and agrees with? This is my answer to that question.
The starting point for a discussion of a national health care system should be setting our goals. I believe that American health care should be:
- High quality and state-of-the-art
- Available to all
Let’s get practical!
by Dr. Larry Fedewa (August 4, 2019)
If we thought that Hillary with all her baggage was about as sorry a candidate as the Democratic party could come up with, the current crop of aspirants is proving us wrong. This crop does not seem to have even a coherent message. They are angry, they fight each other, they see horror everywhere, they are advocating pie in the sky, and they hate Donald Trump. That’s about it.
Unless some superstar emerges from the shadows, or Mr. Trump flounders into a recession, it’s hard to see much of a contest in 2020. Not that the Republicans haven’t had their own streaks of weak candidates — one winner in two out of six elections between 1992 and 2016. But so far it is difficult to take the people in the Democrat field seriously.
Eliminate fossil fuels in 10 years – when there is no comparable substitute? When the entire world depends on fossil fuels for survival? Even their statement of the problem is out of date. Nobody can look at the violent weather we have been experiencing and doubt that the climate is changing. But when has it ever not changed? As far back as records go there have been changes in the climate. What about the Ice Age?
Late-night comedy has become the sound of left-hand clapping.
Steve Allen, Johnny Carson, and Jay Leno kept you awake by making you laugh. The tiresome political antics of today’s late-night dilettantes make you wish you’d gone to bed early.
It’s not a question so much of left or right as it is of having a bunch of one-track-minds. The punchline is always the same: Orange Man Bad, Orange Man Evil, Orange Man Crazy. Every night, all the time. As predictable as Pravda during the Brezhnev years — and just as amusing.
Jay Leno — who is funny — commented on badgering in the guise of “comedy” this month during an interview with Al Roker of NBC’s Today show.
“It’s different,” Leno said. “I don’t miss it. You know, everything now is, if people don’t like your politics, they — everyone has to know your politics.” Perhaps because today’s late-night hosts insist you know their politics.
Can these policies co-exist?
By Dr. Larry Fedewa (July 14, 2019)
There has been a strain of missionary zeal in American foreign policy since the colonial days and it raises its head every once in a while even today. Perhaps it is the shadow of our Puritan heritage. On the one hand, the moral dilemma of slavery has poisoned our national conscience since the beginning and still haunts us today even after we suffered an estimated 650,000 casualties in the most costly war in our history in an effort to right this wrong. On the other hand, Americans have felt constrained to “save the world for democracy” through the foreign wars of the 20th century and the challenges of Islamic terrorism in our own time.
The belief that “America is the last, best hope for freedom”, as President Reagan put it, has formed one of the foundations of our foreign policy for the past 100 years. That belief carried us into two world wars and all the nearly constant stream of wars ever since in Asia, Europe and the Middle East. It has defined “America’s place in the world order” as the advocate and defender of personal freedom and at least some form of social justice. It has also established the USA as the underwriter of all these efforts in both blood and treasure.
The Top 20 candidates speak up
By Dr. Larry Fedewa (July 3, 2019)
Of all the news this past week, the most intriguing may be the two “debates” featuring the Top 20 Democratic candidates for president. It’s interesting to take a look at these politicians as a group.
The Top 20 candidates for the Democrat nomination for president showed their coalescence around a list of positions which favor a gargantuan increase in the power of the federal government. Generally, they advocate government takeover of health care, education, personal finances, seashore housing (in the name of climate control), and energy, in addition to increased government regulation of big business. No matter what the problem, they propose that the federal government has the obligation to solve it. Even to “fixing” the economies of Central American countries, although it is hard to understand what they mean by that short of US invasion as in Panama – which no one seems to advocate.
This list of their political positions arises from their ability to see victims wherever they look. “75% of Americans live from paycheck to paycheck.” “The majority of Americans don’t make a living wage.” “22 million Americans have no access to health care.” “America is a racist society, which is also biased against women, gay people, immigrants, all minorities (except maybe Asians), poor people, and homeless people – to name a few.”
Justice for this country of victims can be found in the pristine wisdom of the federal government. All we have to do is authorize that government to raise taxes – for some that means up to 70% + of income for federal taxes – on top of state and local taxes, for a total of 80-90% of income. Then the blessed feds will design and enforce programs to bring justice to all the victims in America – plus everyone else in the world who succeeds in coming across our borders. We won’t be crowded; after all the federal government already owns more than a third of US landmass so they can just open the parks, deserts and mountains to development.
Trump’s strategies too unorthodox for the opposition
By Dr. Larry Fedewa (June 23, 2019)
Every time the pundits predict the next move in President Trump’s many negotiations, he does something unexpected. He warns Iraq not to close the Straits of Hormuz, so he is a warmonger. Then he cancels a military strike for humanitarian considerations, so he is a coward. Then he piles on sanctions, so he is scaring the Ayatollahs into desperation, which will lead to war.
This all happened in three days! At the same time, he scheduled then postponed a token round-up of convicted illegal trespassers from foreign countries in ten cities, seven of which are “sanctuary cities” –which was well received presumably to assert federal precedence over local ordinances. Also, he sent an undisclosed letter, which was well received, to North Korea’s Kim Jung Un.
All this amid preparations for a meeting this coming weekend with China’s President Xi Jinping to seek progress in the trade war with China. If nothing else, no one can accuse this President of not attending to business.
So, how to evaluate this whirlwind President? A few things have become clear by this time. For one thing, he clearly judges himself on accomplishments, rather than promises. This ethic is common in the world of business, but not in politics. Thus his impressive list of “promises kept” fails to impress the Washington establishment which focuses on a myopic view of the very few issues of its immediate concern. So the Democrats are most interested in impeaching the President regardless of his record. The Neo-Conservatives (“Never Trumpers”) are critical of his reluctance to use military force. The anti-gun lobby can think only of his support for citizens bearing arms. Minorities have been fed a narrative accusing the President of being a white racist in spite of the lack of evidence to support this allegation.
And so it goes. The Washington political elite have prospered under the policies and customs which have prevailed since President Eisenhower, and there is no love for outliers like Reagan and Trump. In their view, presidents are supposed to consult the accepted “experts” on the various issues which come across their desk, follow their advice, make appointments from their ranks, and advocate policies of war and peace which allow them to prosper.
Trump does none of these things. He is largely unpredictable. What the opposition resents more than anything else perhaps is the fact that they are not part of the decision-making process. In fact, they are so far removed that they don’t even understand the thinking behind most of his actions. They are quick to impute motives and make solemn judgement ad hoc on anything he says or does. But events usually prove them wrong. All the proof needed for this can be found on the editorial pages of the New York Times or CNN broadcasts. (The broadcast networks tend to bury Trump news – except on Sunday morning.)
What we do know is that President Trump is a risk-taker. He has wagered his re-election on winning the trade war with China. If he does not succeed in coming to some kind of trade accommodation with China, his credibility will be seriously damaged. This confrontation has become the signature initiative of his presidency thus far. Lost to the concern about the tariffs is what he has achieved already in standing up to China as the first U.S. president to do so. If a deal with China is worked out, the North Korean stand-off may very well follow, since the North Koreans cannot prevail against both the U.S. and China.
If Mr. Trump succeeds in these two initiatives, his will be considered by historians as a truly transformative presidency and the 21st century will be another “American century”. If he fails, and then loses a second term, the establishment will resume power and the USA may follow the same fate in the 21st century as did the British Empire in the 20th century, when the inevitable rise of China consigns the USA to a gradual decline into a second-class power.
© 2019 Richfield Press LLC. All rights reserved.
Capitalism is funded on the Judeo-Christian value of equality
By Dr. Larry Fedewa (June 9, 2019)
I cannot leave the topic of the wealth gap in today’s America without commenting on the most fundamental factor in the origin and the evolution of Western capitalism. That factor is the existence of Judeo-Christian values.
It is not an accident that capitalism originated and owes its development as well as its endurance through the past millennium in a civilization dominated for much of that time by the Judeo-Christian religion. The most unique and the most fundamental standard of that ethic is the equality of all human beings in the sight of God. Thus we all have equal rights to salvation, to justice and to the fruits of the earth.
Capitalism is founded on this principle of equality. Without it there would be no reason for an economic system which provides a means of distributing the goods of the earth to as many people as earn possession. The foundation of capitalism is the concept of private property. As an economic system, capitalism provides the conditions for acquiring and keeping private property. These conditions are expressed in money, the language of capitalism, and they are protected by a legal system which is intended to treat all with respect. The use of money instead of goods or services, as in a system of bartering, has made practical the accumulation of value, which is called “capital” from which the name of the system is derived.
“To whom much is given, much is expected.” (Luke 12:48)
By Dr. Larry Fedewa (June 2, 2019)
Last week we discussed the antecedents of the current movement toward corporate social responsibility and the Conscious Capitalist movement and also the paradigm on which a moral claim can be made for a re-definition of “workers’ rights” with respect to workers’ share of the company’s profits.
Updating workers’ rights
By Dr. Larry Fedewa (May 25, 2019)
Until now, we have been exploring the case for Conscious Capitalism on the basis of economic necessity. It is clear that the strength (68%) of America’s economy is based on consumer demand. Most of the consumer purchases in America are bought by the families of the middle class, because there are more of them and because their needs tend to cover a wide spectrum of goods and services. It is therefore critical that a majority of Americans have enough money to buy an ever-increasing supply of consumer goods and services if our economic engine is to keep on growing.