Joined: Mar 17, 2005
Location: Staten Island
|Posted: Mon Sep 28, 2009 7:21 am Post subject: You Have to Start Somewhere (Revisted)
From Mon Sep 28, 2009 3:00 am to Sat Oct 03, 2009 2:59 am (included)
|Below are a few ideas we have suggested over the past year.
We thought it would be a good time to re-visit.
The problem that faces the country today can be tied to greed and lack of oversight
Greed not only in our corporate executive offices but throughout government as well.
If our Federal Government was an actual business it would be looking for a bailout as well.
Here are a few ideas for reform at the top
Campaign Finance Reform
During the last campaign over $5 Billion was spent by candidates to basically buy their way into office.
The two candidates running for President spent $1.2 Billion on their campaigns alone.
Now what type of example does that set?
People do not have enough money to put food on the table but we can afford to spend $5 Billion on campaign expenses.
And to add insult to injury many local campaigns actually receive matching funds that come from you guessed it the taxpayers.
Matching funds were originally instituted to even the playing field but obviously that has not worked.
Maybe we should limit the amount of money allowed to be spent on campaigns at various levels.
Don’t you think that $5 Billion is a little excessive?
If they are going to go after corporate executives for excessive spending they should hold the mirror up to themselves as well.
Between the spending and the time spent away from their official responsibilities our elected officials are no better than their Wall Street counterparts.
Reform has to start at the top.
Do you remember the scene in “Dave” where he sits with his cabinet to come up with money to save a day care center?
He asks the question “Why do we keep paying companies for services not delivered”?
That’s what we need to do at all level of government.
Discontinue contracts to companies that have not delivered and distribute them to other eligible companies.
The same needs to be done with grant recipients
Don’t let these companies and recipients walk away without delivering.
Once we begin showing more accountability in government maybe we will get some in corporate America.
Do As I Say Not As I Do
Unfortunately many of our elected officials do not practice what they preach.
We have Congressman who besides multiple private homes also have multiple rent stabilized apartments
We have elected officials who while supposedly going after corporate excesses are accepting hundreds of thousands from these same people for their campaigns.
These are just two examples.
There are many others
How are people supposed to take what they say seriously?
Who Has The Authority?
Government has created so many agencies that operate with little or no oversight.
In New York we have the Authorities.
From the MTA to the PA these independent agencies basically make up their own rules.
They expand way past their original responsibilities and when they get into fiscal trouble the taxpayer is the one who pays.
The MTA is a perfect example as to why we need to eliminate the Authorities.
They constantly raise fares with the promise of extra service.
Having not delivered on any of the promises they continue to ask for additional fare increases as well as subsidies from the city.
An agency that has repeatedly been accused of hiding profits with questionable bookkeeping practices is basically allowed to do what it pleases and answers to no one.
You can get similar stories from all of the Authorities and government created agencies.
Where do the billions in tolls collected by the TBA go?
Why is the PA even involved in buildings such as the World Trade Center?
And we would love to talk about all the other agencies such as the LMDC but we just don’t have the time.
Where Do We Go From Here
We all know that we are in for some tough times.
Most of us are resigned to the fact that taxes will rise.
Paying taxes is a fact of life but when your taxes are raised to cover mismanagement and governmental excess it is a bitter pill to swallow.
Why should we be called on to bail government out if they are not doing their part?
The current economic situation is not going to be solved with a quick fix.
We need to put together a long term plan.
Most of the people making the decisions that led us into this situation were in office when we went through the same thing with the Savings and Loans
We need to learn from our mistakes and not allow ourselves to get into this situation again.
The following are a few suggestions.
Many are pretty simple but it appears that the complicated solutions haven’t worked to well so why not try simple.
Can You Hear Me Know?
For years we have been relying on the same experts and look at where that has gotten us.
The internet is a fantastic tool one only has to look how our candidates have used it to raise money for their campaigns.
Why can’t the current administration use it to solicit advice?
Get some ideas from outside the box.
While many of these ideas might not worth the e-mail they are sent on why do we think that the brain trust in Washington is the only with an intelligent thought?
For too long the intelligence of the American public has been ignored.
They have only been looked upon as a source for campaign contributions not ideas.
It is time for a change.
Everyone is aware that job losses are only going to increase. At the same time funding for service programs are also going to be cut.
Many people are going to be forced to retire and we all know the condition of a lot of retirement plans and 401 K plans
Many are going to retire with much less than they expected and almost all will not have medical benefits.
Here is our plan to address that portion of the population.
Volunteer for Medical Benefits
Many new retirees will be retiring with many of the job skills that service organizations currently have to fund through grants.
As we know the first thing cut will be government grants.
Our recommendation is that we ask retirees to volunteer 20 hours a week at local not for profits.
This will provide the not for profits with the skilled staff that they will be losing due to budget cuts.
In return the volunteers will have a portion of their medical benefits paid for from a fund set up by the government.
In the long run the cost will be significantly less than what has been paid out in previous grants.
As we bring more people into the program the cost of the coverage will also decrease.
(We have submitted this idea to both our State and Federal Senators and are awaiting feedback)
Measure Twice Cut Once
Too often decisions have been made right after a disaster out of necessity.
Too often these are band aid solutions and not clearly thought out.
One only has to remember what happened in Mississippi and Louisiana after Katrina.
Billions of dollars of supplies never got to their intended recipients.
For example contracts were given to questionable companies and we still have people living in government provided trailers with formaldehyde as insulation
FEMA has shown time and time again that they need to recreate the wheel with every disaster.
Many areas of the country are prone to natural disasters (floods hurricanes etc).
We need proactive plans that include a census of the people in these areas so that we will be prepared for the next disaster.
In the long run we will save billions by planning ahead and making contacts with local non profits in advance.
(We are currently developing a plan where Staten Island schools will adopt schools in disaster areas. Direct contact between these schools will be established in advance and Staten Island schools will collect needed supplies and materials for their adopted school in the event of a disaster)
Fool Me Once Shame on You……..
Year after year the same companies are granted no bid or questionable bid contracts.
Hundreds of billions of dollars are paid out to companies affiliated with current or former elected officials.
One only has to do an audit on what was spent on the current war.
And track back to the people getting these contracts.
But these audits need to have some teeth to them and the results should be made public as should be how the recommendations were met or not met.
And companies and their associated elected officials should be held accountable.
These are just a few ideas.
While some may say they are too simple it is obvious that the complicated ones haven’t worked.
We have to start somewhere.
We look forward to your input.
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