Friday, June 13, 2008

Warning Signs

Everyday it seems like a new event hits the news. Record high food prices, record high gas prices, heat waves, and floods, hurricanes and cyclones, it seems like one thing after another. Are these things related, and if so how? In some cases the direct links are fairly easy to establish. Supplies of most commodities are growing slowly or not at all, while population and consumption continue to skyrocket pushing prices ever higher. However, in other cases though causation is hard to prove. Was hurricane Katrina caused by global warming, or how about the recent droughts in Georgia and Florida. Moreover, how can global warming cause both droughts and floods?

I believe that all these things are connected. They are warning signs being given off by a planet whose system are being pushed beyond a safe point. It’s the brief spasms of pain to warn us that if we keep down this path we could seriously injure ourselves and our planet’s ecosystems. Some people don’t want to believe that we could ever seriously damage our planet, and at one point in time that was probably true. But because of population growth and technologic advances we can now reshape our planet like never before, either for good, or ill.

For example, rising global temperatures traps more heat (and thus energy) in the atmosphere. This can result in more severe whether including heat waves, droughts, floods, hurricanes etc. It’s hard to point to any particular one and say global warming caused this, but the pattern is clear. A warming world is causing glaciers to melt, and snow packs to melt endangering the water supplies of over a billion people. That combined with more flooding, droughts and increasing population is also causing food prices to rise. One only need to look at the recent flooding in Iowa to see these dangers,2933,365943,00.html . In addition to loss of life and property damage events like this will push record food prices even higher, resulting in starvation in some parts of the world.

People are also being affected by higher energy prices, as diminishing supplies can’t keep up with growing demand. However, that is the problem with basing our entire economy on a non – renewable resource. By definition we can only use such a resource for a short time before it starts to get used up. But instead of treating it like a valuable and scare resource we have policies in place that encourage its use in the fastest possible manner. It’s similar to having a trust fund setup for you, and the trust manger telling you not to save it, or ration it out, but instead to burn through it as fast as possible. It’s the height of folly and extremely reckless and ill advised.

For example, the Economist mentions that we might only have 42 years left at current rates, and almost certainly not more than 80. . However, they fail to see how short of a time frame that really is, and the urgency of moving towards a sustainable future.

Of course in the short run its great fun to live beyond our means. Why worry about running out of non – renewable resources, or planning for the future. But in the long term we must live within our means, both financially, and environmentally. Our ecological debts are adding up. Yes sustainable choices cost a bit more up front, but long term they are the only way to go.

We need to stop using up our natural capital and start living off the interest. We need to build a hydrogen economy based on renewable energy like Solar and Wind. And we need to do it soon. The warning signs will keep getting worse until we do. Gas and food prices will get higher, and living standards will stagnate. Long term we don’t really have a choice, the earth will force us to live with our means. But the sooner we start the transition the smoother it will be.

I really suggest reading Lester Brown’s Excellent Plan B books. He’s breaks down our current problems in simple easy to understand language, while also providing real world solutions that we can to right now.

I also really recommend Herman Daly’s Beyond Growth.

(a short review)

Some people wonder how as a conservative I can support these ideas, I wonder how other conservatives cannot. I’ve looked at all the facts and figures and applied the common sense test to them. I can see the consequences of our inaction going on everyday. But I really believe there is nothing we can’t do if we put our minds to it. Don’t wait for someone else to lead the way though, get involved and demand a change. Makes things happen. Over 200 years ago, our founding fathers decided not to wait around wishing for things to get better, but to actually make them better. We can do the same.

As always I’m happy to discuss specifics.


Monday, January 14, 2008

Healthcare plan for Employeres or Government

I know you understand the importance of both preventive care, and healthy lifestyles to controlling healthcare costs. Therefore I hope you give serious consideration to the follow proposal. If you find it to your liking, please feel free to use it. This method could be used by both employers and governments to control healthcare costs, and encourage healthy living. In brief, figure out how much it costs to insure the average healthy/fit person. Then figure out how much it will cost to insure an unhealthy one (someone that will probably develop asthma, diabetes etc), and then split the difference between the patient and the employer/government.

For example, if it costs $2400 a year to insure a healthy/fit person, and $4800 a year and unhealthy one, you could split the difference ($2400) between the employer and the employee. The employer then would save $1200 a year, and the employee would get a check for an extra $100 a month for staying fit. Fitness could be determined by a doctor during the annual checkup, or some other measure.

This method would also work great for retirees who often require the most care. So this might be a great proposal for say legacy healthcare costs for Detroit's automakers, or for that matter for Medicare.

After participating in "California Speaks" a healthcare symposium, and doing other research, I really believe this method could reduce healthcare costs, and keep our economy on a strong footing. I also think it would be a great talking point in Michigan and else where. If you would like any further information on this idea, please don't hesitate to contact me.


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Quick points on healthcare

I think the following facts are ingnored by both conservatives, liberals, and yes libertarians.

1. We are already paying for everyone's healthcare. Just right now we often wait till it reaches the point of being emergency care, and so it costs more. So people who complain about not wanting to subsidize other people need to wake up because we already do. The only way that would change is if we stop providing emergency care to people, but that's just not going to happen.

2. If we accept point 1, then are mission is to try and provide healthcare in the most efficient and cost effective method provided. I think most of us would agree that will require people paying for their own healthcare costs as much as possible. For example, right now the connection between healthy lifestyle choices, and healthcare costs is broken. If you restore it and make people pay for their own choices (shocking) then people will start to make better choices, and total costs will come down. Ideally this would mean that people's premiums would be tied to their health and lifestyle choices.

3. Now accepting points 1 and 2, we ask what about poor people. Since they normally don't pay for their own healthcare anyway, how could you tie their premiums into their healthcare. Obivously with some type of refundable credit. Broken down this means you are paying some people to remain healthy. Not nessecarily a plesant thought, but IMO an inescapable one.

In general it costs $2400 a year ($200 a month) or so to insure a healthy person, but the costs quickly clime to $6000 a year or more to treat someone with any number of chornic ailments that are prinipally caused by poor lifestyle choices. We need to restore the direct link between healthy living, and medical costs. Once we do that we can begin to lower overall medical costs that are in danger of bankrupting our country.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Have you donated yet?

I’ve sent out a lot of e-mails about Mike Huckabee, and why I think he’s the right man for the job. Moreover, I’ve also laid out why the other candidates are NOT the right ones for the job. Huckabee is a proven leader, and true conservative. That will be able to unite the Republican Party, and turn out the base for another win in 2008. Mike Huckabee is the first candidate that we have ever donated too, but I think he’s one of the first that I have really believed in. I think because of his humble origins he really cares about the little guy, and he has the leadership skills needed to accomplish change for the better.

It’s time to ask yourself do you care about the direction of the country? Do you want Hillary in 2008? If not, it’s time to put your money where your mouth is. Go to and make a donation, and then get your friends on the bandwagon. If you don’t take a stand for what’s right, then who will?


Friday, October 12, 2007

End Prohibition?

I believe one of the most contentious issues of today is drug use, and the war on drugs (WoD). The WoD has cost around 1 trillion dollars since it started in the 1970 but has had a negligible effect on actual drug use in this country. In the overall cost of drugs has fallen, while teenagers report that it is easier to purchase drugs that alcohol. Therefore if the purpose of the WoD is to reduce drug use and access, it is certainly not working. Let’s look at some facts and values then and see if we can’t formulate a better policy, one that works.

First, I think people on both sides of the isle can acknowledge that drug abuse is bad. People that abuse drugs ruin their own lives, and often the lives of people they love. Moreover, drug abuse can be linked to increased crime. Therefore, strategies to reduce drug abuse should be encouraged. However, the problem is that incarceration does little to nothing to discourage drug abuse. Drug abuse is a medical and social problem, and locking people up has been repeatedly shown to not be an effective treatment option. Instead incarceration just keeps people down, and encourages that same type of behavior that led to drug abuse in the first place. Therefore, treatment not incarceration is the solution if our goal is to reduce drug abuse.

Next, drug use does not equal drug abuse. For example, a person that likes to smoke a joint, or drink a beer on Saturday while watching TV, is a drug user. They have their life in order, pay their bills and taxes, and just enjoy getting high. On the other hand the person, who has lost their job, can’t pay their bills etc, because of drugs or alcohol is an abuser. That person needs treatment (not incarceration). Moreover, drug use does not have to lead to drug abuse. As with many things moderation is key, and those that are able to partake responsibly should not be punished or incarcerated because some others can’t. If my neighbor Jake gets drunk and beats his wife, does that mean I should not be able to drink a glass of wine? No, that is the worst kind of nanny state that says no one can do anything.

Therefore, I believe that we should end prohibition on the grounds that one it is not working, and two it is morally wrong to take away someone’s individual liberties by prohibiting them from using drugs.

Ending prohibition would have many benefits. It would stop ruining people’s lives because they did drugs on occasion. It would force gang members to get jobs because they would no longer be able to sell drugs for a living. It would save billions of dollars in prison costs. It would allow police to focus on actual crimes. It would stop invasive policies designed to deter drug use that really just amount to spying on citizens. And, it would raise billions in new tax revenues that could be then put into crime prevention, drug abuse prevention and treatment, and maybe even into schools J

However, I realize that there are some that are not willing yet to end prohibition. They have been scared so long by the tales about reefer madness that they are certain that society would crumble if we ended prohibition (just like it ended when alcohol prohibition was ended in the 1930’s). So I propose that if people are not willing to end prohibition nation wide, why not do a test. Let’s take a city and revoke prohibition in that city. Then see how things go, if the city turns into one great big ghetto then go back to what we are doing. But if somehow magically life goes on, and maybe even gets better, then we will have an objective manner in which to evaluate the new policies.

I think the best choice for this would probably be Las Vegas. It’s already known for partying etc, and would have the infrastructure necessary to do something like this. The drugs would be treated in a similar manner as to alcohol. You would have to be 21 to purchase, and they would be heavily taxed. The large amounts of extra tax revenue would be used to extra police, and drug prevention/abuse programs. Plus, I’m sure that you would have enough extra revenue left over for other projects. I posit that a program like this would actually make Las Vegas safer. There would be more cops on the street, less gangs, and no more shootings over things like drug deals gone bad. Drug use would be treated the same as alcohol, IE no drugged in public etc.

If prohibitions look at this proposal objectively they will have no choice but to agree to a trial. Unless of course they don’t want to try it because they are afraid that it will actually work. It’s time to move on and try something new, and stop locking people up for getting high. Open your mind, and give this a shot.
PS. you can find a number of very good articles on the WoD here

Monday, September 24, 2007

Huckabee, Gingrich 2008!

After giving it some serious thought, I think I’ve come up with the perfect ticket. Huckabee & Gingrich 2008! I think this would be a balanced ticket with Huckabee’s executive experience as governor combined with Gingrich’s legislative experience in the house. Both have shown themselves to be progressive thinkers willing to look outside the box for solutions. Importantly this would be a winning combination. Gingrich’s weaknesses would be downplayed in the VP position (personal life etc doesn’t matter as much for VP) while his national presence and strong idea skills would strengthen the campaign.

To be honest, I think this would be the ticket that could beat Hillary. I just don’t see any other combination working. Millions of conservatives would probably sit home with a Giuliani or Romney candidacy. And neither would be able to offer a clear alternative to Hillary. I both hope and pray that these two men can come together for the good of the country and provide a viable means of change for us all.

Click PleasE!

Everyone please click the link below!

If I get enough clicks I might end up with a change to meet Huckabee. Also if you know any one else ask them to click it too. I also encourage you to take a sec to read through his website and find out why I like Mike, and think he’s the one person that could really change things in Washington!