We are headed, not only into the new year but into a new decade. Some are calling it the kickoff to the Roaring Twenties redux. Let’s hope not. Voters are facing some incredibly important decisions. Absolutely everything is on the line. Heads up, it is time to defend your values and principles before it is too late.
Among the issues taking center stage are those with the potential to significantly shape our future. They run from debt, to immigration, to education, national security, and election integrity. One of the biggest will be the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump. The outcome is nearly certain because no valid charges were brought and even less evidence provided to support the charges. There are insufficient Senate votes to remove the president from office. We’ll see how the media play the end game. My guess is this goes away with a whimper, not a bang.
There are some other issues likely to dominate 2020, each representing a proverbial fork in the road. The direction the nation chooses will be important. Let’s start with Immigration: Trump could roll out a new immigration plan heading into the elections. Will he try to secure more funding for much needed border security? That appears to be a part of a plan for creation of a merit-based legal immigration system. It may replace the current one that’s based on family ties.
Should we move to a system favoring applicants with desirable job skills? That would shift legal immigration’s focus. It would change from being centered on the desires of immigrants; to being centered on the needs of the American people and our economy. A merit-based system more easily allows “patriotic assimilation.” Creating a more unified nation, rather than one divided into special-interest groups based on where we came from seems desirable.
Election integrity… or lack thereof
Election integrity is a bedrock issue. With the 2020 elections already six months old, the electoral process for federal, state and local elections must have voters’ full faith and backing. Voter fraud exists. Even the U.S. Supreme Court has noted that voter fraud is a clearly documented part of our nation’s history.
Politicians and advocacy groups on the left continue to fight laws that require an ID to vote. They have sued states that have tried to purge voter rolls of people registered in multiple jurisdictions. The only reason to do so is a desire to increase the numbers of people who could vote more than once.
And there is a push to eliminate the Electoral College. Doing so would increase the influence of large urban centers at the expense of small states and rural areas. This strikes at our constitutional structure that balances the rule of the majority with protections for minority interests and state governments. If you get beyond bumper sticker logic you will likely conclude there is a season for the system we have. Well, here we are…
Next, there’s education. Politicians are floating proposals of free college tuition and loan forgiveness. These things sound like something free for me from the public trough. They are characterized as “investments in our future.”
The reality is they become a suffocating financial burden on every taxpayer. The burden will fall heaviest on middle and lower-income citizens. There’s also the unfairness to forcing Americans who couldn’t afford to go to college themselves to pay off the loans of those who could.
And what kind of return taxpayers would get for their “investment.” Many colleges are indoctrinating students into a socialist dogma. Are we well served by forcing taxpayers to develop people believe “America is evil” ideology? Then there is the whole discussion of students graduating unprepared for a career. That is what has resulted in them being unable to pay off the college debt they accumulated. Four in ten of those who start college don’t finish within six years. Did you know that?
Despite these issues and because federal loan money is handed out with little scrutiny of students’ ability to repay, colleges have had free rein to raise prices at rates often double that of inflation. More than 1 million people default on their student loans annually. That leaves taxpayers picking up the tab now, today. The system we have isn’t far from just giving all colleges and universities a blank check today. Maybe we should look at the declining results before upping our investment. “Free” college tuition only makes things worse. We’ll get less and pay more. What are we going to do about it?
China and trade more broadly
Now let’s think about China. China does not like America. Make no mistake about it. Under the governance of the Chinese Communist Party, China presents a combination of risks our nation has never before faced. We know Chinese authorities direct attacks on our government cyber networks. They steal the intellectual property of our companies. China openly threatens the travel of ships and planes in and over international waters. Those are not the actions of a friend and partner.
The regime is spending enormous amounts of money to build up its offensive military machine. It is doing so for a reason. U.S. policymakers are starting to pay more attention to China’s threats. We should expect to see more recommendations for rebuilding America’s military to keep China’s in check.
The national security threat is very real. Many raw materials and finished goods come from China. So, the U.S. will continue attempting to build positive trade relations with the country. More free trade is good for Americans economically; a better trade relationship serves as a deterrent to Chinese aggression. The logic asserts there’s less incentive to attack a major market for its goods.
What we do about any one of these issues represents decision points for America. From safeguarding voting rights to national security to deciding about debt and investment. 2020 will bring opportunities to make important decisions about America’s future. Well here we are, 2020. What are we going to do about it?