It’s the End of the World as We Know It

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A friend just told me about an article that said it’s healthy to be pessimistic. I instantly got very excited about my extremely bad attitude.

On my way to one of the last of 17 state and federal candidate interviews with the Courier Times’ Editorial Staff I had an uneasy feeling that none of the problems that we’ve discussed will be resolved anytime soon.

I couldn’t shake the knowledge that we can only enjoy true freedom by accepting responsibility for our own safety, education, food, shelter, medical care, retirement, etc. Economic growth and universal prosperity are driven by free markets; not government programs and their associated political manipulation.

One of my oldest memories happened almost right across the street from the Courier Times 45 years ago in Stonybrook when I got a glass of orange juice, laid down and poured it all over myself as I tried to take a drink. I’ve been fascinated with the cause/effect relationship ever since.

For example, increasing taxes on the rich leads to various forms of tax evasion which slows economic growth resulting in fewer opportunities. The financially wealthy often become so by working day and night for a long time to provide the rest of us with something of great value. We rarely see the blood, sweat and tears it took and also overlook the risk, failures and uncertainty that defined the journey.

You either believe in the American Economy or you don’t. Free Markets are a perfect machine of complex cause/effect relationship that cannot be manipulated to work better. Waste, fraud and abuse should be regulated; not economic freedom.

Social Security has become something other than its intent. Taking money for decades only to give it back doesn’t even sound sustainable in theory. It might make a lot more sense to collect a small amount from everyone for those in need who have no other options.

We’re trying to fix health care with what caused the problem in the first place. Health care started going wrong in the 1930’s and 40’s when industry started bundling health plans with employment in exchange for tax breaks. HR managers with zero experience in medicine offered minimal options thereby greatly reducing choice and competition. It’s continued to evolve into a "special interest feeding trough" where pennies on the dollar of our $2 trillion a year industry goes to medical care.

The only way to fix health care is to go in the other direction by putting individuals in charge. No one will be left behind if properly implemented and you’ll even find competition for pre-existing conditions. "Who Killed Health Care" and "Market Driven Health Care" ,both by Regina Herzlinger, explain the market driven/patient guided model. There’s no other way.

The most popular topic was that of a Constitutional Convention. I started printing out the PA State Constitution until my computer said "Printing Page 1 of 66". We need 2 Constitutional Conventions – one to eliminate everything that has nothing to do with basic rights and individual freedoms and then another to discuss the processes of running state government. Our State Constitution has evolved into a dishonorably crafted legal document and true legislative reform will not happen until this impenetrable bureaucracy is dismantled.

We were told that 5000+ feet under Pennsylvania is like the Saudi Arabia of natural gas. Drilling companies are already taxed in Pennsylvania. Adding an extraction tax will just cause more money to go to Harrisburg to fund projects that have nothing to do with drilling. Marcellus Shale is a very safe step towards energy independence that will create opportunities for communities around the state with endless ripple effects. It’s the ultimate win/win.

Teacher strikes came up a lot. I don’t think we can prevent anyone from leaving their workplace, but we should definitely be able to prevent them from ever returning. I’m having trouble finding the words to describe the lack of integrity surrounding this issue other than to say that it demonstrates the failures of our current state systems.

Everyone’s concerned about the pension crisis that’s literally destroying the nation and the best solution came from a Democrat candidate who said we shouldn’t be in the pension business. Each individual in charge of their own pension would create competition, choice and yet another win/win for all. Most candidates talked about pooling pension plans into a central bureaucratic authority which was unfortunate.

There’s a lot more to discuss, but all that most would like is some fiscal sanity and leadership founded on accountability, courage and strong moral character. Candidates campaign year after year through a revolving door of false promises that enable a culture of dysfunction that never changes.

I really don’t know what to do so I’m appealing to the next Editorial Board to ask the next round of candidates to sit at the head of the table and then pour orange juice over their heads before the interviews begin. Other than restoring dueling I honestly can’t think of anything else.

Cory Steiner
Yardley, PA 19067
[email protected]