Hollywood celebrities enjoy positions of great privilege and influence, because they are given lucrative opportunities by Hollywood insiders and they garner a great deal of support from fans. Talent and hard “work” may help many celebrities build a reputation as professionals, but the ability to attract attention is what ultimately determines their celebrity status. In turn, it is their celebrity credentials and wealthy lifestyles that seduce followers to emulate their behavior and respect their opinions on any number of subjects, which they often fail to thoroughly grasp. The same is true when it comes to political celebrities whose rigid, often superficial, political ideologies prevent them from administering responsive and proper governance.
Where the Press has increasingly favored personalities for their ability to pander to target audiences and attract hordes of new followers, above their investigative and analytical skills, the broader political industry has increasingly focused on the ability of candidates, staffers, bureaucrats lobbyists, analysts, and other professionals to win over voters and dollars. At best, political professionals have credentials that rationalize their selection by powerful insiders based on how well these recruits agree with their political views and agendas. Many are technically proficient and knowledgeable, but the narrow and rigid focus of their bias limits their capacity to constructively respond to issues and engineer innovative public policy solutions.
Tax-and-spend “liberal” Democrats endure a lot of flak for expanding government through social spending and regulation, but spend-and-don’t-tax “conservative” Republicans share in the blame for expanding government as well. When government spends more than it collects in revenue, a tax break is government spending money via borrowing in order to ease the tax burden of one group by raising taxes on younger Americans who will be held responsible for debt, even though they will not enjoy the services this borrowing allowed. Worse yet, tax credits, which have been increasingly favored by Republicans since the George W. Bush Administration introduced massive Child Tax Credits, returns more than many taxpayers pay into government. The Republican health insurance reform effort, i.e Paul Ryan’s The American Health Care Act, serves as high profile example of how the Right-wing is expanding government.
AHCA sought to replace the low-income subsidies of Obamacare by deploying a tax credit scheme that favored those with higher incomes. Because the tax credit scheme of AHCA would have paid for a far greater share of healthcare for those who could most afford it, it was an expansion of social welfare spending that included the middle to upper class. It was an expansion of the “entitlement base.” By allotting money specifically for spending on health insurance to those who could most likely afford health insurance, the tax credit scheme would have likely encouraged health insurers to simply raise rates to boost their profits. Because AHCA stripped away “essential benefits” and allowed companies to charge more for high risk policyholders, it would have also incentivized insurers to minimize costs by dumping sick people onto government plans and maximize profit by focusing on insurance for the healthy, thereby exasperating the need for bigger government. Unfortunately, AHCA’s tax scheme is just the tip of the iceberg.
Problem solving requires a working comprehension of the subject at hand in order to correctly identify the sources of the problem and potential solutions that might actually address the problem. For experts, and other well-versed insiders, industry bias leads to stagnant views and the tendency to adopt rigid stances that prevent novel solutions from being explored. Newcomers to the problem-solving process, however, find themselves unable to develop effective solutions, because they do not have a working comprehension of the subject matter, which leads them to make highly predictable, yet easily avoidable, mistakes and adopt solutions that are doomed to failure. This is particularly apparent, and problematic, in the industry of politics where elections empower newcomers with big plans and high expectations who almost always falter in their mission
The political industry is divided between various factions that each have their own public policy priorities and agendas. There views are so ingrained that they only know how to impose their solutions based on what they think are the problems when they need to develop viable solutions based on the needs of people and the actual circumstances surrounding the issue. On the other hand, there are also individuals, like Donald Trump, who enter the industry of politics with every intention of solving problems then fail due to a lack of insight. Because he does not have a working comprehension of the problems in government, which he is new to politics, Donald Trump relies on industry allies, which happen to lean Right, to impose their solutions. Donald Trump is losing public support, which undermines his capacity to address issues, because he is not trying to understand the problems before imposing politically-motivated public policy solutions.
Trump’s Bad Example of How Not to Tackle America’s Spending Issues and Lack of Fiscal Responsibility
Problem solving starts by addressing the biggest sources of the problem before struggling to fix less troublesome areas. Buying a new vehicle with low gas mileage for the sole purpose of saving money does not make financial sense. Eliminating the grocery budget, because the family is spending too much on restaurants and coffee shops, is ineffective, counterproductive, and foolish. Saving money by asking family members to drink less water when dad takes hour-long showers, the pool is left uncovered in the sun, and the faucets leak is just ludicrous. Similarly, the Trump Administration’s focus on small line items and small-budget agencies to cut $54 billion to save money from a Federal Budget of nearly four trillion dollars and bolster an already inefficient, wasteful Military Budget is an example of how not to solve a budget issue.
Decades of unbalanced Federal Budgets have created nearly a $20 trillion National Debt for America. While Bill Clinton was the last US President to lead a successful campaign to address the National Deficit and Debt, Paul Ryan's very sobering 2012 Budget proposal, The Path to Prosperity: Restoring America's Promise, showed exactly how much government the US could afford without increasing tax revenues. Unfortunately, it was a partisan budget based solely on “Conservative” priorities that fueled political polarization and dysfunction. Because Ryan’s approach was to hijack the US Federal Budget to push Right-wing priorities, it failed to solve America’s fiscal issues. Even if he and Trump can now impose such a plan on the American People, the next US President and Congress will undo their changes with added costs. Fiscal responsibility is needed, but it requires a politically, as well as fiscally, balanced Budget that actually tackles the sources of the problem.
Healthcare, or health insurance to be more precise, makes up a large portion of the employer-derived income 178 million Americans rely upon. Costing annauly somewhere around $18,000 for an average family, health insurance represents up to a fourth of what someone with a median income of $52,000 actually makes with coverage and taxes. Recognizing the bottom 90% of Americans make an average of $30,000 per year, health insurance is a major living expense that they can only afford with help. Prior to Obamacare reforms, more and more Americans were losing their employer-sponsored health insurance, experiencing increased out-of-pocket-expenses, and losing benefits. Today, the trend has largely been supplanted by a growing reliance on government subsidies in the form of tax credit and expanded government-sponsored health insurance, e.g. Medicaid.
As a portion of income, this means the income people drive from work and the economy is stagnating and, even, shrinking. Ideally, the loss of employer-sponsored health insurance would translate into increased cash payments. By not taxing health benefits and affording employers generous tax incentives for providing their employees health insurance, however, government has distorted the value of healthcare for decades, thereby allowing employers to pay their employees less in actual dollars by providing health benefits. Because health benefits are also somewhat of an equalized payroll expense for all employees, lower-valued workers cannot expect to capture the cost of their health insurance in their pay checks. This means a loss of employer-sponsored health insurance is a major loss of income for workers. The trend away from employer-sponsored healthcare also underscores the failure of the economy to deliver average Americans the income they need to maintain a modern lifestyle.
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