We need to invest in our people and our future -- job opportunities, training, research and development, improved immigration laws to attract and retain talented, hard-working people from other nations, education (I have advocated for enriched pre-school opportunities for every child and free higher education (perhaps with a community service component included)), support for the arts, family planning, universal health care (and a much less expensive system, with better outcomes, as in every other nation in the industrialized world), a vastly improved infrastructure, child care, and transit opportunities. Those investments pay off in helping to restore our nation's competitive edge in relation to other nations, their employees, and their students. I also believe in creating a more equal playing field for employers and working people so that U.S. corporations are not exporting jobs to the detriment of our nation and its people. Priming the pump with government investments is crucial during a recession. The real damage was done during the Bush administration, when we were engaged in horrendously expensive (and humanly tragic) wars and, at the same time, enormous tax breaks were given to the wealthy. (It is the first time in our nation's history that we were engaged in wars and, at the same time, taxes were reduced. Insanely irresponsible.)
Driving up the accumulated debt has been the objective of government haters like Grover Norquist, who has been preaching "Starve the beast" for years. He knows, as we are seeing now, that social programs will be the first ones to go once our debt has skyrocketed. A true fiscal conservative would make certain that there are sufficient revenues by increasing taxes -- and that we cut out the waste in the federal budget, particularly in the military budget. Next time your representative in Congress talks about being a "fiscal conservative," -- or next time he/she complains about the federal debt -- ask if he/she continued to support F-22 funding (a boondoggle that continued primarily because there were contractors or sub-contractors in 44 states and members of Congress simply wanted to take the federal bacon back home).
Education is a core duty of government. Without an educated citizenry, our nation has no future. In fact, we have lost our competitive edge in large part because our government has not ensured that enough of our students are getting a world-class education. While other nations are investing heavily in education, their students are out-scoring and out-performing our students. And we wonder where the jobs are? We must re-commit to providing the best possible education for our students. That should include enriched pre-school programs that will make an enormous difference in the physiological development of our children's brains and in their capacity later to learn and compete. Just as our forebears had the wisdom to provide a free secondary education for every child, so too should we exercise the wisdom to provide, for all capable students, a free higher education, with perhaps a community- or national-service component included.
Universal health care does not require the "nationalization" of any health care providers. It simply requires that we catch up with the rest of the industrialized world. Every other nation in the industrialized world provides essential health care to every citizen.No one in any other nation in the industrialized world takes out bankruptcy because of medical bills. That only happens in the U.S. Are you proud of that? Our system, by comparison to the rest of the industrialized world, is a failure: (1) Our system costs more than twice as much as the average in the rest of the industrialized world. (2) Our medical outcomes are mediocre by comparison with other nations. (3) We are the only nation where people are without essential health care. If you're proud of that, I can only say that our values are world's apart. In my view, one's economic status should not determine whether he/she -- or his/her children -- should die or suffer needlessly. We can do so much better than we do -- yet real reform has been prevented because of the rapacious for-profit insurance and pharmaceutical industries, and the elected officials who do their bidding rather than protect the public interest.