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As I See It: Where are we going?

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One year from today, Nov. 7, 2014, is Election Day. Given recent events, I wonder whether a new and better version of hope and change – at least in the national legislative branch – will be in the offing.

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I received a letter from my medical center a few months ago informing me my physician was being reassigned and would no longer be seeing his regular clinic patients. I had to choose a new primary doctor. I still have some feelings of abandonment after seeing the same doctor for over ten years. I have grown to know him and trust his advice and I’m not certain I’ll be able to develop the same level of rapport and confidence with another doctor as I had with this one.

But, I can understand how these things happen. I spent 27 years in the military and if I learned anything, it was to accept change as a normal part of life. At least there was a very logical reason for losing this good doctor as my primary physician. It was a personal and business decision that I’m certain wasn’t made lightly. At least it wasn’t a decision that resulted from my federal government’s bungling, incompetence, and outright lying as many of my fellow citizens have to deal with now or in the near future. Even a Washington Post columnist awarded President Obama Four “Pinocchios” for his “you can keep your own doctor” promise stated many times in trying to sell us the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Now that they passed it and we are continuing to find out what is in it, things aren’t as rosy as we were led to believe!

Even though the deficit for the last fiscal year was less than $1 trillion, it is not because revenues have skyrocketed or the government has suddenly adopted frugality. It is simply because of the sequester that forced mandatory cuts in spending. And both parties want to get rid of that in the next budget cycle process. In my opinion, “hope and change” and the un”Affordable Care Act” will keep us from solving our current national economic crises.

Here’s why I believe this is the case. We are one of the most technologically advanced societies in the world. We are several development cycles beyond the industrial revolution and have transitioned from an economy based on agriculture and production of hard products to one that includes agriculture, some hard products, and increasing numbers and levels of technological and other services. In agriculture and hard products, the output per person/laborer has soared – and we simply don’t need anywhere near the same number of people to produce food or to make endless varieties of widgets. This, along with some significant economic hiccups, has led to relatively high unemployment for a number of years.

Now couple those hiccups with reduced consumer spending while academic and trade schools continue to annually produce a large group of 18– to 23-year-old high school and college graduates expecting to find employment in an economy that is continuing to produce a level of goods and services that is nearly the same as before. The same type and level of jobs that were available ten years ago are simply no longer there for the new graduates.

The ACA depends upon millions of middle-class workers signing up for medical coverage. All insurance is based on shared costs and shared risks. If you don’t have enough people insured to cover the shared costs, Humpty Dumpty won’t even have a wall to sit on much less to fall from. Notwithstanding the disaster of the website rollout, the broken promises that were key talking points during the unrelenting sales pitch for the ACA may have doomed this act before it was close to implementation.

Shifting gears and focus, we are just a few days shy of observing Veteran’s Day. As you might expect, this day is very special to me as I reflect on the many people with whom I served over my career and remember the good times, and the not so good too. While I am reflecting, I am inexorably drawn to wonder what has become of the U.S. Armed Forces and why.

An article posted on Investors.com stated, “From Breitbart.com’s Facebook page comes a list of at least 197 officers that have been relieved of duty by President Obama for a laundry list of reasons and sometimes with no reason given. Stated grounds range from “leaving blast doors on nukes open” to “loss of confidence in command ability” to “mishandling of funds” to “inappropriate relationships” to “gambling with counterfeit chips” to “inappropriate behavior” to “low morale in troops commanded.”

Nine senior commanding generals have been fired by the Obama administration this year, leading to speculation by active and retired members of the military that a purge of its commanders is under way.”

I’m certain some of these officers were relieved based on valid reasons. I’m equally as certain others were removed for a perceived lack of loyalty or because of some other specious reasons or rationale. In either case, these firings do not go unnoticed by the rank and file of the military forces. While they faithfully follow orders, they are smart enough to think for themselves and to understand when they have the unfailing support of the Commander-in-Chief and when they are getting lip service.

To the many men and women of the uniformed services – active and retired – I salute you and your families and thank you for your continued selfless sacrifices and service to us and our nation.

God Bless You and God Bless America!

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