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It's A Gray Area: Country needs us to set it on right path

July 19, 2013|By James P. Gray

Many things are not going well for us and our country. So where do we go from here? Well, as people sometimes say when playing bridge, let's review the bidding.

For every dollar the federal government spends, it is borrowing or printing 20 cents. That has put our children and grandchildren into bankruptcy. Yes, at the moment the stock market is doing fairly well and the real estate market appears to be getting stronger, but the other shoe has yet to drop.

That other shoe is this: Public employee pensions nationwide are not adequately funded. Every city and county in California, for example, is probably bankrupt because their future financial obligations are much higher than their potential sources of income.

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Regarding medical care, the government says we need tens of thousands more doctors and other healthcare professionals to serve the 30 million people who will soon receive health insurance. But many health professionals today are seeing fewer MediCal and Medicare patients because the reimbursements are continually being reduced below what will sustain their medical practices.

That means that under the so-called Affordable Care Act, the newly insured will have insurance that few competent medical professionals will accept. So what good will that do?

With regard to education, many of our public schools are failing our children despite ever-increasing government spending.

Furthermore, the United States has a problem with drug abuse that is larger than any other country in the industrialized world. And at the same time, we lead the world in the incarceration of our people, both by sheer numbers as well as per capita.

So how did these situations of doom and gloom evolve? Upon analysis, I think the reason is government.

We can start with the fact that, by the very nature of our system, politicians seldom care about the future and instead care only about the next election. Thus, unlike most private concerns, politicians have a strong tendency to kick the can down the road. "Just get me elected or re-elected, and let someone else worry about the problems after I'm out of office" is a controlling factor of government. All of these spending problems were easily foreseeable, but our elected "leaders" have simply put them off.

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