Pillars for a Better America

A Series on Priorities for the Biden Administration


What’s the Game Plan?

Everyone seems to have a list of what the new administration needs to prioritize. Especially so for the oft cited Day 1 or the first 100 days. This blog joins the parade of advice. For the next few weeks, this space will provide a brief listing and discussions of such recommendations. These are areas that would serve the country well in the coming months and years.

Obviously, the pandemic and the economy, with an eye on security threats, take top billing. But beyond those areas, the Biden team could jump in the deep end of the policy and politics pool without delay. First, a good primer. Read David Roberts in Vox about why a Biden Blitz could be his best strategy going forward. It is an approach on how and why to overwhelm opposition up front.

This likely runs against Biden’s nature, but Roberts makes a good case. https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/21724758/biden-transition-trump-polarized-climate-change-health-immigration

Pillars for a Better America

The list that starts today and will run up until the inauguration is not meant to be all inclusive. But it should come pretty close to being a solid menu for the new American government to tackle.

These recommendations are NOT in order of priority. They are all important, all deserve to make the cut. How they are approached and in what sequence is for our new leadership to determine. The list will not feature long discussions. Time for that later, on individual pillars. The reader may find occasional links to other writings on the topic at hand in some of these posts.

When the list is complete, the reader should note that there is not much that is linear or limited to one area. This is a mix of domestic and international, of national and regional/local. This list exists in part to address our requirements and shortfalls. It is also to encourage much needed dialogue about what we want to be as a country. We need to figure out how we might learn to talk to each other to make a more perfect union. Oh, and to get something done, for goodness sake.

Criticism and suggestions are manifestations that one still believes in this country. More importantly, that one believes in its potential. We care more for what we can be than what we are at any given moment. Sounds right to me. Let us begin.

Pillars 1-3

Pillar 1: Hunger is Not Allowed

I have been angry ever since I can remember that there are people in America that suffer chronic hunger. Today, with the pandemic and the economic collapse it is worse than ever. As many as 1 in 5 Americans cannot be sure where their next meal is coming from. Most of them are children. It says much about us as a nation that this continues into the 21st century on such a large scale. And what it says is not very good. I would welcome a full-fledged war on hunger. How about a goal of banishing hunger as a measurable national trait within a decade?

This is imminently doable. Let us find the moral will and the thoughtful solutions to get this done. None of us should sleep well until it is so.

Pillar 2: Affordable Medical Care and Drugs – No More Excuses

 We surely have talked about this one enough. There are good solutions seen around the world every day. Biden’s initial approach of offering a government alternative strikes me as a good start. Not too disruptive, using proven approaches. Millions have lost their jobs (and their health insurance) this year. Receptivity to new choices may be higher than ever.

Drugs also are not that complicated – just politically tough. Pharma may expect to get a pass on their policies and profits because of the good work done on the pandemic. They had better not get a break. Americans are the world’s suckers on this front.

Past time for price bargaining by the US Government and modifications to patent laws. Yes, time for some level of price controls in the absence of market solutions. If as much Pharma money went into research as into executive salaries and lobbying, they might have an argument. They do not.

Pillar 3: Call Up the Ghost of FDR for Infrastructure and Broad Band

Time to think BIG and everywhere at once. Our national infrastructure is a disgrace and unsafe almost across the board. Add to that list the absolute need for near universal broad band access. We need two things and can find a bonus to boot.The two things we need are in an ambitious and bold get-well plan. Think along the lines of FDR and efforts like the Civilian Conservation Corps.

One, fix the needs, create jobs, foster small business, build a sense of community and confidence. Two, put in place a standing maintenance plan, complete with funding. Infrastructure funding and maintenance should not be left to yearly whims in funding. Don’t build a bridge without an actual plan to maintain it.

The bonus is that doing this sort of thing can offer Biden remarkable political gain. Sections of America that feel the Democrats have forgotten them. Everything is rigged for the powerful. These citizens could see real investments in their community. Good things for those communities to have in mind by the time of the midterm elections and in 2024.

That is a Start

OK, three pillars down, eighteen more to go. What are your thoughts on these first three? Ideas for the overall list?

Your comments and suggestions on these pillars (or deletions/additions of any) are welcome. I chose the imagery of a pillar deliberately. America remains, and always will be, a work in progress. Those who say to criticize our country is unpatriotic have it exactly backwards.

Happy holidays to all. Stay safe, stay well. Stay home for the holidays.

            Bill Clontz

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6 replies to Pillars for a Better America

  1. I like your first three pillars. I think I would add a liveable wage as another pillar and it has to be at least $15 per hour. That needs to be the Federal minimum wage. Some can whine that some businesses/organizations can’t possibly afford that but I think we can’t NOT afford it. That has to be the bottom, the base. That puts an annual wage (before taxes) at about $ 31,000/year. Try doing a budget for a family with that income.

    • Joe Biden and I agree with you. I have always thought raising the minimum wage by individual businesses is a difficult decision for small businesses, but doing so as national policy works much better and makes it easier to absorb and to pass on the increased costs. Has always worked in the past, in spite of the naysayers.

  2. 1. My first thought when I saw your picture was: Doric, Ionic, or Corinthian. I knew they were not Corinthian but had to look up the difference between the others (answer: Doric.)
    2. I like these three pillars.
    3. My pillar is the Environment. A CCC type organization would be great with this. We have a local one that is like a boot camp for directionless youth: https://www.ecoservants.org/ Of course, the Green New Deal addresses a lot of pillars.

    • A good priority, for sure. Keep reading- you will like what is coming on the list.

  3. Pillar 2 Drug Costs. Google: “in which countries are pharmaceutical companies allowed to advertise?” Called direct-to-consumer advertising. Surprisingly, only the U.S. and New Zealand. We are inundated with ads on TV.

    Out of curiosity, I scanned a recent issue of Women’s Day magazine and found 22 full page ads for prescription drugs.22 pages!!! I have heard that the advertising budgets equal the research and development dollars in the industry.

    We need to find a way to stop the direct-to-consumer advertising of drugs. Also, our tax dollars often go to support the development of new drugs. Then the companies make big earnings when the drug goes to market.

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