Vernuccio’s View: 2018’s Key Resolutions

Frank V. Vernuccio, Jr., J.D.

The fresh attitude brought about by a New Year should lead to resolutions effectively addressing the most serious and long-standing problems affecting the nation.   There are several issues that, if effectively dealt with, could dramatically improve the nation.

Health care has been a contentious issue, and frankly, most attempts to address it have only made the problem worse.  Obamacare did bring coverage to some who had none, but also made insurance unaffordable to many. But simply repealing Obamacare will not solve the problems that led to that legislation in the first place.  An entirely new approach to medical insurance is necessary, some portions of which have already been commenced by the current White House.  Greater availability of low cost “catastrophic” policies, which would only cover truly unaffordable treatment, would make insurance more attractive to young adults and bring more cash into the pool. Increased competition across state lines will also lead to reduced costs, as would tort reform to end nonsense law suits that are more affordable for insurance companies to settle than defend. Allowing greater latitude to physician assistants is an excellent way to reduce overhead.  But those are responses to financial issues.  Our increasingly impersonal medical system has divorced doctors from patients. Medical care must be restructured to allow doctors to have the time to actually listen to and become acquainted with their patients.

Over the years, Washington has increasingly taken over responsibilities that rightfully belong to the states.  This has prompted extraordinary waste, and eventually a massive federal deficit.  The time has come to reverse that trend.  Washington’s “One size fits all” programs, especially its “war on poverty,” have wasted trillions, with almost no benefits. After a half century, the poverty rate remains unchanged.  Let the states keep those tax dollars and tailor programs that actually work.

Speaking of wasted dollars, the diversion of funds in schools from actual teaching to all sorts of non-pedagogical activities and personnel has truly harmed learning.  Add in the hijacking of curriculum from the lower grades straight through college by ideologues who disdain America, and the  result is an educational system that has run amuck. One further point: universities that charge ridiculously high and unjustified tuition rates should be treated as for-profit enterprises.

America has had an unsavory history of race relations, including the horrors of slavery and segregation, as have many nations.  It took a Civil War to end slavery.  Segregation took far too long to end, but it had by the end of the 1960s, and sincere efforts have been made to correct the evil legacy of racial bias. Politicians and pundits who seek to build their careers on exploiting racial hatred, whether in the name of “White Power” or “Black Power” are an abomination.  In 2018, its time those low-life rabble rousers were firmly rejected.

Spending dollars on defense is neither cheap nor easy.  It is a discredited rhetorical trick to point to domestic needs and claim that funds spent to pay soldiers and build war machines could be put to better use.  But reality must be dealt with. The forces arrayed against America by Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran are rapidly growing, and the belligerence and deadly intent of that “Axis of Evil” is evident. For eight years, the U.S. cut defense spending and reduced international military activities.  The response by our nation’s enemies—and yes, they are enemies—was to dramatically increase their armed forces and accelerate their global belligerence. It’s time for Americans to come together and wholeheartedly support efforts to keep the nation safe.

Perhaps most importantly, the divisiveness and harshness of our national rhetoric needs to cease.  2018 must be the year in which Americans remember that despite our political or other differences, we are all citizens of a great Republic.  We can only survive and prosper if we move forward as one people, devoted to the principles of freedom.

Frank Vernuccio serves as editor-in-chief of the New York Analysis of Policy & Government.

 

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