Published in the Delaware County Daily Times
Saturday, September 5, 2020
By Joseph Batory, Times Columnist
With the 2020 Presidential Election rapidly approaching, Americans need to steer away from personality worship, party loyalty, superficial sound bites, and meaningless slogans. There are serious issues confronting America and voters need to demand that the new president focus on what really matters.
Protect the Environment: The recent National Climate Assessment Report developed by 300 world class scientists has issued a clear warning that the earth is continuing to warm because of human-created fossil fuel emissions. These scientists concluded that ignoring the problem will produce more dangerous climate-related disasters including killer hurricanes, floods, droughts, extreme precipitation, forest fires, and intense heat waves. The new president cannot endanger the future of Americans by continuing to ignore and/or curtail measures to reduce climate change.
In addition, the politically influenced Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has ironically been targeting rollbacks of a wide variety of regulations which previously protected water, air, land, and public health across America. The result is that in many cases, “pollution by businesses” has now been given the “OK” by the EPA over the health interests of our nation’s citizenry. Research at the Harvard Law School and the Columbia Law School has counted more than 80 environmental rules which have been recently cancelled or are in the process of being repealed. Regulations meant to control greenhouse gases, coal ash waste, water pollution, mercury, and smog are under attack. The new president needs to return the EPA to its true purposes.
Science Matters: The recent deaths 180,000+ American citizens via Covid 19 are at least in some part the result of political stupidity. Here’s what went wrong:
- The USA Global Health Security Office should never have been dismantled. It should be restored as a key player in the nation’s defenses against pandemics.
- Medical issues endangering Americans should never have been distorted by any elected official.
- The World Health Organization should never have been discredited/dismissed and removed as a key ally to fight Covid 19.
- The Center for Disease Control and Prevention should never have been questioned as the chief spokesperson re the health of American citizens.
Health threats to USA citizens when documented by medical experts cannot be naively refuted by the new president.
Improve and Enhance the Affordable Health Care Act: Many elected officials have vilified President Obama’s Affordable Health Care Act. However, the reality is that after multiple political efforts to expand medical care across America over decades failed, President Obama is the one who finally succeeded. The Affordable Care Act has now produced health coverage for 20 million additional Americans. It has protected 100+ million citizens with pre-existing conditions. And it allows young adults to stay on parent plans until 26.
There are racist overtones to many of these condemnations of the Affordable Health Care Act, President Obama’s signature project. Is the criticism about the legislation or is it about vilifying the former president? Since no credible alternatives to replace the Affordable Care Act are being proposed, the motives of these critics are questionable at best, and threaten the welfare of our nation’s citizens.
The new president should seek to expand and enhance health care protection that is already in place!
Legislate New Gun Control Measures: The USA’s episodes of mass killings have always been followed by the usual array of political hypocrites offering “thoughts and prayers” and little else! What is really needed is Congressional action to curtail this American epidemic of killing. The United States is 4.4 percent of the global population, yet USA citizens own 42 percent of the world’s guns.
The new president must advocate tougher gun control laws despite the NRA’s (National Rifle Association) threats and demagoguery.
Better Foreign Policy Needed: The world is a mess.And the USA has been marginalized. North Korea has resumed missile testing. Human rights abuses in North Korea and China are still rampant. The USA relationship with Iran has reached the bottom. Russian meddling in the last election via Vladimir Putin’s orders has been well-documented by USA intelligence experts and more Russian interference is assured. Andthe State Department is now full of absent or “acting” officials
The new president must restore American leadership in the world via meaningful negotiations to build worthwhile international agreements.
Create A More Equal America: The USA’s outrageous poverty rate is at the heart of much of the turmoil, anger, and despair across the USA today. The latest U.S. Census reveals a national disgrace, in that more than 40 million Americans live at or near the poverty level. The stock market as a barometer of success for poor people is meaningless. One in five American children live in poverty, the highest rate among all developed nations. And 500,000 homeless sleep on the streets every night.
The new president must recognize that the American Dream does not exist for many citizens and propose plans to remedy this situation.
Enhance Education for All:
- Many of our international economic competitors have already prioritized heavy investments in universal Pre-Kindergarten (Pre-K) education for children in their countries. These advanced nations understand far better than the USA that universal Pre-K will yield future economic as well as societal benefits. For example, China is well on the way to providing Pre-K education for all three and four-year-old children in its nation.
- Equalizing the funding to enhance educational quality across all public schools (K-12) should also be a clear government priority. That fact is that many USA public schools struggle financially with supplying resources, staffing, and other needs, while many other schools have little or no fiscal problems in providing high quality educational opportunities.
The new president needs to put these “ignored education issues” on the front burner for the future of America.
Control the Deficit: The USA federal budget deficit is currently $1.1 trillion and growing. Meanwhile, the 2016 tax cuts were a giveaway of more than one trillion dollars to the richest Americans and many wealthy corporations. No prudent person would run the finances of his/her household as badly as the USA has done.
The new president must work with Congress to correct this monumental deficit problem.
Joseph Batory has been widely published on education, politics, history, and culture. He is a retired superintendent of schools (Upper Darby, PA) and is the author of three books.