I have often wondered why many intelligent wealthy and middle-class people voted for Donald Trump. They knew he was a liar, a racist and a sexist. They knew he often shortchanged his suppliers and builders in his development deals.
Yet, with all this information, people still voted for him.
What is going on here?
The answer is now apparent in all the headlines. It hinges around one word: Taxes.
The Donald is a big supporter of reducing taxes. Both Trump and a great many in Congress are proposing drastic tax cuts. They admit that reducing taxes at the moment will greatly increase the deficit, but they claim the ultimate outcome over the years will be positive. Never mind that in the present there will be less money for education, health care, transportation projects and, indeed, the whole infrastructure of our society.
Educationally speaking, the US ranks seventh in the world. That’s not because we have less than great colleges and universities, for we have some of the greatest in the world. We rank seventh because of accessibility. Many students simply cannot afford to attend these great institutions. The students who do finish at our colleges and universities come out owing many thousands of dollars, a debt which hangs over their heads like a millstone for years. This is just not right in a forward going society.
There was a time when we embraced a vision about the need for education that encompassed a large segment of our society. That was how we treated our military personnel following the conclusion of World War II. All those in the service were given free educations and an easy way to buy a home. I was in the Navy during that war. When I was discharged I went back to college, followed by three years of graduate school, all paid by the government, plus $105 per month for living expenses. As great a nation as we are, surely we can find a way to make education free again to all who will apply themselves.
Finland, for example, is one of many countries that offer free education through the college level for all who comply with their educational standards. We should be doing the same thing. It is the only sane way to truly have an educated society that includes everyone.
So, if little Finland can do this, why can’t the USA?
As for health care, we rank far down on the list of nations. In a study that included 11 countries we were dead last. This study included the United Kingdom, Australia, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, Sweden, Germany, Canada, France and the United States. Guess who was dead last. The US. It is not as if we have lousy doctors and hospitals. We have some of the finest doctors and medical facilities in the world. What causes us to be dead last is the deliverance of this care. Many people cannot afford to pay the price. The single greatest cause of bankruptcy in America is health care.
As to infrastructure, we are in dire need of a massive overhaul. Many of our roads and bridges are in terrible shape. Miles of our interstate surfaces need repairing or replacing. Just try driving north on Interstate 5 and you will see what I mean. There is a stretch around Glendale and Burbank that is really rough.
Jerry Brown is dead right when he set his sights on improving the connection between LA and San Francisco, two of the greatest cities in America. A fast train service, not only between LA and San Francisco but all over this great state, would be wonderful. California is one of the greatest places to live in the world. How about enhancing that livability with a great transportation system?
This is no time to be cutting taxes. Rather it is a time to provide the resources to deliver free education, free medical care, and to rebuild the infrastructure of our entire nation. We have the ability to do that. We have the know-how and the resources. All that is lacking is the vision and the will.
I have always been intrigued by the words used in every episode of the “Star Trek” television series. “These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise, its five-year mission to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, and to boldly go where no person has gone before.”
Now is the time for our beloved United States to boldly go into the future ready and willing to pay the cost that it will require to achieve greatness. This is no time to talk about reducing taxes. This is the time to have a vision of a truly great America leading the world in the vital areas of education, health care and infrastructure.
Are you up for the challenge?