Most individuals and families understand that they should act responsibly and attend, as best they can, to a number of essential matters to ensure their long-term wellbeing and security. That would include such things as eating well, exercising, completing one’s education or training, maintaining adequate savings, purchasing life and health insurance policies and contributing regularly to a pension plan. Moving beyond the personal to the national level, what would such a basic “to do” list look like for the United States? What is it that our nation should attend to in order to address existing deficiencies and ensure its future wellbeing?
- Restructure our schools and colleges and reform teacher education and training enabling us to produce graduates with achievement levels at least equal to those of students in other advanced nations.
- Develop the capacity to neutralize cyberattacks and security breaches while protecting proprietary information and privacy.
- Reduce gun violence and gun fatalities, deliberate or accidental as far as possible.
- Increase voter participation levels so that turnouts average 60% or better.
- Achieve a reasonably rapid transition from fossil fuels to large scale reliance on renewable sources of energy.
- Devise effective policies to bolster the income and morale of America’s working classes.
- Rein in the flow of oversized contributions to PACs and political campaigns.
- Make affordable health care insurance available to every American.
- Resolve the deadlock on immigration policy by dealing fairly with undocumented individuals already in the U.S. while limiting the entry of “illegals” in the future.
- Introduce policies to significantly reduce our prison population, protecting society while re-integrating former convicts into the mainstream as much as possible.
- Introduce effective campaigns and therapies to reduce obesity, cigarette smoking, drug use, spousal abuse and mental health disorders.
- Limit gerrymandering and end the stranglehold political parties have over redistricting.
- Restructure the federal tax code so as to eliminate or reduce special favors and limit tax avoidance.
- Revise government regulations to end burdensome, costly and unnecessary provisions.
- Overhaul federal government agencies and programs to reduce bloat, administrative overlap and duplication, as well as programs that are ineffective.
- Streamline, modernize and restructure our military and military budgets to reflect the challenges our current and future adversaries are likely to pose.
- Introduce programs to revitalize rural America, including efforts to achieve more sustainable agricultural production.
- Safeguard air quality and the relative purity of our water resources.
- Reduce poverty, homelessness and food insecurity.
- Expand mass transit and transportation while reducing traffic congestion on our roads and highways.
- Move more rapidly to integrate America’s minority populations into the mainstream.
- Reduce our bloated financial sector and restrain speculative activities, monopolistic practices and frivolous “exotic” financial vehicles.
- Have colleges put a premium on learning subject matter while better preparing students for contemporary workplaces and existing job opportunities.
- Medical care must become less costly with a reduction of medical errors and unnecessary interventions, and a reimbursement system based more on outcomes than on treatments.
- Women must finally achieve parity with men to be achieved by appropriate policies or initiatives such as equal pay, day care, abortion rights, comparable office-holding levels etc..
- Devise policies to support seniors, whether they remain in the workplace, are retired or enter the later stages of their lives.
We’ve always regarded ourselves as a “can do” nation. Imagine how much better off
we’d all be were we able to check off many of the items on the list.