Earlier I wrote a preface for this post that seemed to channel Frasier with its arcane, awkward sentence structures, no split infinitives, etc. I'm chucking it for a brain dump format so that it will be more interesting. Here are my recommendations for the Obama/Biden Administration to use whenever they take charge.
Givens: Poor people and rich people have opposite perceptions of their financial conditions. The poor think in terms of days about income and expenses. In poverty, persons worry about getting through that day with enough food, shelter from the weather, clothing, transportation and safety. The poorer one is, the shorter is the time frame for considering basic needs and wants. If anyone has an accident and needs treatment, they have to make do with what they have on hand. Having a job means one's period of relevance will be different from those not working. On the other hand, should a poor person get a windfall of cash, many spend it right away or in a very short period of time because the extra money is here now, and may not be tomorrow.
People who were raised with enough money for discretionary spending, savings accounts and investments have much longer financial horizons. They may not have $10 in their pockets, but they do not think they are poor. They are having a "cash flow problem" or a "liquidity crisis." As such, a cash windfall will be used within a prioritized time frame and the wealthy expect future windfalls over time.
The above descriptions are exagerated, overly simplified characatures simply to make the point that government services and service support at local, state and federal levels have to recognize a broad spectrum of perceived urgency. After almost two decades of a widening gap between social groups 1) with disposable cash and expectations of more and 2) those without such expectations and whose relevant urgency is a matter of hours or days, the incoming Obama Administration has to move determinedly to 1) recognize and attend to the more immediate, urgent needs of the poorer people, plus 2) those of a middle class who perceive a diminishing possibility of upward, economic and social mobility. Solutions to the latter require more resources for economic and fiscal infrastructure and for long term stability in employment opportunity.
Here are my ideas for the incoming Administration and the Congress to do right away.
- HEALTH CARE
- The federal government should grant to the states $1 million per adult according to the 2000 Census to be used for Medicaid and other state-operated healthcare programs. The incoming Secretary for HHS should provide oversight on the use of this injection of cash so that the states use it for preventative care, treatment of disease, illness and disability under Medicaid as first priority, with healthcare facilities a secondary though relevant purpose.
- President Obama should instruct the VA to suspend its means test for veterans seeking health care in the Veterans Health Services and Congress should reverse its 2002 amendment to Title 38 to enable this change. By this immediate action, thousands of veterans will be able to have excellent healthcare that was promised to them on active duty. The Congress should fund, on a one-time basis, VA and VHS the amount of $10 billion for new facilities, and for deferred maintenance and repair of existing facilities. Pension support, housing needs and healthcare access will benefit all veterans and their dependents. In addition, the VHS should receive a budget allocation of an additional $1 billion for human resource requirements: 1) filling clinical positions, 2) adding staff to meet care and treatment needs plus 3) the additional administion resources within the VA over contractor-supplied management services.
Only loan money to corporations and suppliers in the industry with caveats:
a) restore retiree health and pension benefits, and fully fund current employee pension reserves;
b) replace current executive management in the top two tiers, including the Executive Committee,
with a preference for replacing them with qualified inhouse personnel;
c) uncouple the product lines into independent companies, separate profit centers [sorry A.P. Sloan] so that there is a Chevrolet Corporation, a Cadillac Corporation, Buick, Pontiac, Hummer, military vehicles, bus corporation, and engines corporations, etc.;
d) have Treasury personnel assume proportionate number of seats on the boards of directors for all formerly General Motors, Chrysler and Ford boards. Create a direct access link for each corporation's Internal Auditor to the Treasury Department IG who will have ultimate accountability authority for corporations receiving cash grants and loans from the federal government;
e) require first quarter reviews by independent CPA firms of corporation financial reports to Congress.
f) in collaboration with the Department of the Selective Service, determine a mission statement for a national service corps composed of men and women required to register with the Selective Service at age 18 for a commitment of six years, up to four years of which can be served by enrollment in an institution of higher education with the remaining years on active reserve for working at federal government expense in a capacity relevant to any education included in the national service time requirement. The personnel model for the national service corps should derive from that used prior to 1975 for military service personnel, with the following differences. First, no deferments except for (1) mental or physical incapacity to meet the ADL measures used by Social Security, 2) sole responsibility for daily caregiving needs of an immediate family member, or 3) pre-and post natal care of a child less than one year old or certified to be unable to be separated from a parent's immediate caregiving. Responsibility for children will not be a basis for deferment or exclusion since sufficient national service roles will accommodate parental responsibilities.
Labels: Obama organizing teams major issues finances