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This Week

Perspectives

Chris Jepson

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I am a liberal. I believe that a healthy, vibrant economy is “mother’s milk” if you want to meaningfully address societal issues. There is a legitimate role for government to play in our lives that is more than merely providing for “our” national defense.

If unilateral action were possible, I would require all workers to pay more into Social Security, and I would add months/years to the retirement age.

If unilateral action were possible, I would reduce Medicare coverage for smokers and the obese. Show up requiring medical treatment grossly overweight or with nicotine in your bloodstream, you’d receive less coverage and you’d pay more out of pocket. I would significantly reduce extraordinary end-of-life coverage. About 20 percent of our health care expenditures are expended during the last six months of a person’s life. That is absurd. As they say, “man up and die with dignity.” I’d take those savings and invest that money into national smoking cessation programs, weight reduction initiatives and into aggressive public health overall. I’d make birth control for all Americans safe, accessible and affordable and as ubiquitous as chewing gum. I’d put in place Medicare for all Americans, not just the privileged elderly.

If unilateral action were possible, I’d pull every American troop out of the Middle East. America has more than 700 military bases around the world with thousands of troops stationed abroad. We have 11 aircraft carrier groups. We have thousands of nuclear weapons. Our constant wars produce tens of thousands of mentally wounded personnel who require billions of dollars in support. I would reduce our military personnel by half over 20 years. I would instruct our military contractors that in three years, half of what they now contract with the American government must be in non-military-related public initiatives such as mass transit, energy, infrastructure and communications. I would cut in half over 20 years what we now spend on the military and its related industries.

If unilateral action were possible, I would convene a meeting of all Islamic nations in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. I would unemotionally inform the attendees that America no longer has any military presence in any Islamic nation. That we will not occupy or insert American troops in any Islamic nation. But if America is ever again attacked by Islamic extremists, jihadists or in any way harmed, we (America) will settle the problem from 40,000 feet. As Uncle Curtis has so succinctly put it, “Kill’um all and let God sort it out.” America will mind its own business, and in turn, we expect to be left alone.

If unilateral action were possible, I would balance the federal budget such that all, let me repeat, all, Americans are in the loop of “pain and benefits.” I would simplify our federal tax system. I would invest in art and culture (in all forms) far, far beyond the 73 cents per citizen we now expend. I’d prioritize future government expenditures to the education and health of our children.

If unilateral action were possible, I would get America off the fossil fuel teat in 20 years — a crash realignment of national priorities. I would make a clean, sustainable environment (and economy) the national objective.

In 500 words, that is my “liberal” agenda. And, it ain’t neveh gonna happen.