The news late in the year seems to be filled with actions which if not handled well could lead to decades of loss and danger. Our confusion as to goals and relationships in the middle east highlighted by the Khashoggi murder, a Federal judge declaring Obama Care unconstitutional bringing healthcare front and center and the Harvard discrimination case shining light on discrimination against Asians all need close attention.
The dilemma posed by the apparent murder of the Saudi Journalist
Jamal Khashoggi for the United States was all too predictable. After all, in our posts SSSHHH! A MIDDLE EAST POLICY ON THE QT and SSSHHH! MORE MIDDLE EAST POLICY ON THE QT we warned committing completely to either the Sunni or Shia blocks in the Middle East was not in our interest. What was in our interest was letting the Moslem civil war continue to exhaustion. Neither side shares our values. Both operate in a different world of times gone by. As we have pointed out, we have important interests in the Middle East, the survival of Israel, prevention of minority genocide, our relationship with the modernizing Kurds and the free flow of oil. The ascendancy of either side in the Moslem civil war would continue and probably worsen the threat those interests. While our present arrangement with the Kurds in Syria isn’t quite what we recommended, it shows what could be accomplished by a Kurdish connection. For a small (2,00+troops) contingent, we control nearly a 1/3 of Syria ,blocking an Iranian land bridge to the Israeli border. This earns us a seat at the table over the future of Syria and by extension the middle east. Many people have gained a measure of safety. All this is imperiled by the Trump administration. First by tying itself much to close to the Saudi crown prince strongly associates us with his odious policies. We can back the Saudis against Iran without condoning the actions of a medieval monarchy. Instead, Trump wants an immediate withdrawal of all our troops in Syria. This would be disastrous to our now favorable position. It would stab the Kurds in the back and by extension expose minorities such as Christians and Yazidis to genocide by a reconstituted ISIS or other radical Moslems and bring Iran’s Shia coalition right to Israel’s border. By giving a great victory to Putin, it could well encourage him in other dangerous adventures. This is the direct opposite of what we have advocated. If the administration continues down this road, it will not end well.
If the bludgeoning of Republican congressional candidates with pre-existing condition fears by the Democrats in the last election wasn’t enough, a Federal Judge declaring Obamacare unconstitutional guarantees healthcare will be an issue if not the issue in 2020. With the Republicans seemingly unable to put forth a coherent alternative, Democrats are running with either saving the unworkable Obamacare or replacing our entire healthcare system with “medicare for all.” This shows a bankruptcy of ideas or in the case of “medicare for all” the threat of a real financial collapse. Instead of pointy heads dictating Rube Goldberg contraptions, why can’t we just follow the natural flow to a system that can provide top-notch care at a reasonable cost? The fastest growing way to provide healthcare is the Medical Savings Account. It simply joins income,savings and catastrophic coverage in the normal way we handle protection. We protect other major assets such as your house with issuance for catastrophic problems such as it burning down or your car being totaled. However, we don’t expect to insure a mattress or tire replacement. That would be ridiculously expensive. Yet that exactly is how we do so much of healthcare. This has led to ever higher deductibles, moving to a haphazard combination of income, savings and catastrophic insurance. This is happening whether you like it or not because it is the natural way. Wouldn’t it be better to do this coherently?
At the same time we see an acknowledgment at different levels of government of the need to improve the ability to save. In October, the labor department proposed actions to make it easier for small employers to offer 401k programs. At the same time we are seeing states such as California and Illinois expanding the availability of these plans. This activity at both the stare and national level is in response to the growing recognition individuals need greater savings or we’re all in trouble. Providing the framework to achieve this is a necessity. After all, in a capitalist country it’s good to have capital. The better way to achieve this would be to provide everyone with their own personal plan protected by a catastrophic health plan that individuals, employers and government contribute. This is a Universal Plan that allows the market to work towards better returns and health in a natural way rather than unworkable government plans. A plan to do all this is spelled out on this Blog under the Dave’s Plan series. With healthcare and savings visible as problems we have to solve, why not do it the right way?
60% of the world’s population lives in Asia. Asians constitute the fastest growing segment of our population. Ultimately, our future is tied to having the best minds and entrepreneurs to come and/or stay in our country. Asians obviously figure mightily in our future success. Then why do we treat them so bad? First we lump widely disparate people in one group. Exactly how are those of Indian descent in any way the same as those of Chinese decent. Malaysians or Japanese don’t consider themselves either. Yet our leading universities lump them all together and then cap their numbers on campus. Could we have a worse advertisement to a majority of the worlds populous? Where top students from Asia as well as the rest of the world came to our Universities in increasing numbers to our economic benefit,, this trend has now reversed. Rather than seeing us as the “shining city on the hill,” they now see us as increasingly unwelcoming. While, part of this is due to the perceived Trumpian aversion to all immigrants, the actions limiting Asian students at our higher levels of education sends a horrible message. Add to this, Mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, loudly saying there are too many Asians in the city’s best schools. We thought this kind of discrimination was discredited when used against Jews. No, instead we have gone from ugliness to a relatively small group of overachievers to slighting over half the world. Our elites look down on the Trump contingent as ignorant , but what is the possible excuse of our top educators and those who have joined in the defense of Harvard’s entrance practices? The changing perception of America by a healthy majority of the earths people from favorable to adverse can’t be good for our future success. We really should know better.
We can only hope 2019 will bring a greater openness to realistic approaches to these and other problems. Hope springs eternal. Happy New Year!