The news coming out of Washington for the past two years is unsettling. As I meet people I ask what they think about our current situation. Most sense something is wrong and that it might get worse.
Given that I’m not a doom and gloom person, l feel the same way. It is obvious that the huge federal deficit will in time negatively affect us all; the only question is when and to what extent.
I believe that we must make certain preparations for the future. If these preparations are not made, many people may suffer needlessly. A business as usual approach will not prepare us for the future. This has motivated me to run for governor.
Our state represents less than 1% of the population of the country. We are limited as to what effect we can have on the overall economic policies of the country, but there are definite things we can do to protect our own people.
I believe that we still have time to prepare, but we must act soon. I’ve stood by and watched from the sidelines far too long. I feel compelled to take action for the safety and well-being of my fellow citizens.
We want to have a positive outlook about life. We should make goals and live normal lives. For years I’ve heard people speculate that next year we were going to have this or that disaster, and they have been proven wrong every time. So we don’t want to go to extremes. Nevertheless, we have entered into a new age, especially monetarily. This is a serious situation that can’t be lightly overlooked. Some of the recent financial numbers that I have looked at are alarming: 450 trillion in derivatives have been issued; AIG was bailed out not for the sake of a few hundred thousand policy holders, but for the sake of the system. It goes on and on. Those who have studied our financial situation in detail say that we run the risk of serious inflation in the future. No one knows when or to what extent these more serious problems could affect the man on the street, but many people feel certain that it is only a matter of time before they affect us all.
A State Gold Reserve Fund will help counteract the effects of inflation. The more money that we are able to invest into this fund the better prepared we will be. Gold will normally increase in value as the dollar’s purchasing power decreases. It is one of the few simple, straightforward places we can invest our reserves. I’m not a “gold bug,” but as I’ve already stated, we are entering a new age. If we continue to invest in low interest returns, we won’t be prepared for a possible crisis in the future. Hopefully, a crisis will never occur and the state will just make a generous return on its investment. Gold will go up and down in value, but as a long term hedge against inflation it is a smart investment.
The federal government has prudently purchased oil and placed it in a Strategic Petroleum Reserve in case of a national crisis or an oil embargo. I believe that we should do the same thing with food. I propose that we create a Strategic Food Reserve for the people of our state. We will purchase large amounts of wheat, sugar, beans, and other necessities and place them in storage facilities throughout Utah.
The initial goal will be to accumulate a two weeks supply for every man, woman and child in the state. Eventually this would be increased to a three month supply of life sustaining essentials. We will draw on our ability to purchase these items at low prices by our economy of scale. Federal grants, possibly under the Homeland Security Act, could provide potential funding. Utah’s example may motivate other states to implement their own emergency food programs.
It is perhaps the most important plan that we could implement as a state government for the protection of our people. If, for example, a serious pandemic disease spread throughout the United States, it would become important for everyone to stay indoors for a period of time. Food distributed from our strategic reserve could potentially save tens of thousands of lives.
It goes without saying that we take too much for granted in our prosperous country. Isn’t it wise to consider these possibilities and prepare for them now?
We have dedicated and well-trained teachers. We don’t want to burden them or our students with state testing. When testing is implemented, students are educated to take the exam. Yes, testing scores go up, but that’s because you are preparing for an exam, not for life. Also, the extra cost of testing runs into the millions of dollars.
Education should be a joy and some teachers have a gift to make it more interesting to their students. Years ago a study was conducted revealing that the main reason students do not do well is boredom. We have to examine our textbooks and reevaluate what we feel are the truly important things a person should know in life.
In my business I deal with people on a financial level. You would be surprised at how few are able to calculate simple percentages to see how fast their money will grow. I’m talking about college educated people. It appears to me that our emphasis is sometimes wrong. There are things that everyone should know well to function in life, and there are things that are just nice to know. In some cases it might be wise to redesign our textbooks.
The best teachers should decide. They’re in the classroom every day and know what is best if given the power to do so. Also, we must emphasize reading, and where possible, add another first grade teacher or reading specialist to each elementary school.
Let me say it this way; life is too short for dull routines and just teaching to meet a quota or to just get through the book. Let’s give our teachers the freedom to teach in an interesting way.
We need to pay our teachers more whenever possible. At times this could be done with a thirteenth check. Nevertheless, we realize that they are underpaid, so at least let’s make their work load less burdensome with less paperwork.
I am excited about having a solar initiative. This could be a great addition to our energy supply and an excellent source in a time of emergency. We have huge western deserts with lots of sunshine; a perfect environment for solar panels. At our current level of technology a 93 square mile area would supply all the energy needs of the United States. Of course, we would need to divide this up, but it’s a wonderful science that we should take advantage of as soon as possible.
This is an emotional issue for many conservatives, and they feel frustrated at the lack of a satisfactory response by the federal government. Even so-called conservative administrations have done little to directly address this issue and have not taken the necessary steps to solve the problem once and for all.
There are already laws in place to prevent the hiring of undocumented immigrants, but they are not evenly or strictly enforced. Some suggest that increasing the fines on employers and hiring more law enforcement to round them up for deportation would help solve the problem, but there is a cost factor that is sometimes ignored. First, there are not enough law enforcement officers to handle the problem and, second, business owners resent the interference of more government officials in their lives.
The size of the problem is astronomical. Statistics are unreliable, but between 12 and 20 million persons are estimated to be undocumented immigrants. The cost of rounding up and deporting 12 million-plus people is enormous. According to the U. S. Department of Commerce (2008) it would cost "at least $206 billion over five years, which currently exceeds the entire budget for the Department of Homeland Security. If all the undocumented were removed from the country, the immediate effect would be $1.76 trillion in annual lost spending and 651.51 billion in annual lost output." This would take place at a time when our economy is already weak
Benjamin Franklin said, "If a law is too soft, the people will ignore it. If it is too harsh, the people will not enforce it." The majority of people have not shown the will to enforce existing laws, so we must act in a way that will resolve this issue in an acceptable manner to the majority.
For further information please read the interesting 2008 report published by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, entitled "Immigration Myths and the Facts Behind the Fallacies" :
We are a nation of laws. Citizens are allowed to make their own choices as long as they do not infringe on the rights of others. They can be immoral, drink liquor, take legal drugs and do many things that some people consider wrong without worrying about a morality police. As long as these things are done within the bounds of the law they are not obliged to be virtuous.
The law today allows a pregnant woman to terminate the life of her unborn child. This also is within the bounds of the law, but abortion is unacceptable to many Americans. To me it is a crime against nature, one of the most terrible of the modern age. Most people know from their conscience that it is wrong, but it continues anyway. For some it has become another form of birth-control.
The life of the unborn is not considered independent of the mother so she can legally terminate a pregnancy. The fact that this has been so widely accepted is tragic. I wish we had the power to pass a law in Utah banning abortions. Of course, there might be exceptions to this such as incidents of rape, incest or the health of the mother. Otherwise, this is a serious social evil.
We are. Nevertheless, our leaders have the greater blame. For many years our leaders have acted irresponsibly; their vision clouded by self-interest. This is true of both parties. The Republican Party controlled the government for a number of years, and passed bill after bill in their own interest. Republicans ran large deficits just as the Democrats had and didn’t seem to care about the future. They also lacked the foresight to see that they were jeopardizing the entire monetary future of this country by their decisions. Unfortunately, our leaders in Utah have sometimes followed this trend. We spent money on luxury programs and made few serious preparations for the future. We call ourselves conservatives and yet burden our people with programs such as professional continuing education classes and paperwork on top of paperwork. Like so many liberal programs it is always done in the name of protecting our citizens from this or that. Government needs to get out of the way of business. If we don’t go in a new direction we will be just as unprepared as the rest of the country.
One way is to take advantage of the existing immigration laws. Known as the Immigration through Investment Act [Section 203(b) (5) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U. S. C., 1153 (b) (5)], it provides “for 10,000 immigrant visas per year.” These “are provided to qualified individuals seeking permanent resident status on the basis of their engagement in a new commercial enterprise.”
In general the law provides Permanent Residency (Green Card) to a non-resident who sets up a qualified business (organization, etc.) for $500,000 or $1,000,000 and creates 10 jobs for U.S. citizens. Just 100 such investors would bring in 50 million or 100 million dollars into the Utah economy and employ at least 500 people.
Other states have taken advantage of this law, but Utah has not applied for the necessary federal recognition as a “special geographic area.” This is relatively easy to obtain and once Utah is qualified we could continually bring in hundreds of investors into our state; probably more than other states because of our large international network.
A second way is to promote tourism. Utah is without question one of the best places to vacation in the United States. Yet I am surprised at how many people have told me that they have never been to Utah.
Many people don’t realize how great life is in Utah; it is one of the best kept secrets in the country. Perhaps a promotion should read, “Utah the Incredible State.” Is there anyone that can witness a sunset at Delicate Arch or see the colors of Bryce Canyon without being impressed, even awed? I remember meeting a lady at Delicate Arch who said to me, “It is a gift.” So true.
We have good incentives for film makers in Utah, but we are getting overshadowed by some other states. We need to increase these incentives. The pay back in jobs and publicity is well worth the cost.
Utah is not in the consciousness of most Americans. This is an important point. We want to increase this awareness in positive ways. As governor I will personally travel to meet with corporate and government leaders to encourage businesses to settle or expand in Utah. Much of what makes things happen in business is through personal relationships. “Visit the companies and you get more orders.” Sometimes it’s that easy.
This is a problem that the federal government is trying to solve. Statements have been made that it can only get worse or more expensive for everyone.
The issue is one of supply and demand; too many patients for the number of medical doctors. If we can get more doctors then much of the cost of medicine will decrease. But how do we do this? One way is to change the medical education system.
1) Allow students to begin medical school immediately after high school. Why should someone wait four years to begin their core training? Many students look at the years it takes to become a doctor and decide that it takes too long and cost too much so they go into something else. If it only took six years we might double the number of students willing to go into medicine. Of course this would require changes in the state requirements for degrees and so forth, but this is within our reach.
2) This increased interest would mean that there would be a greater need for teachers and facilities. Here is where the government can help. The salaries of medical educators would be increased to match those of practicing physicians. Then many qualified people would come back to teach. This would also apply for teachers of nursing and related fields. The quality of medical education might even be improved by these incentives.
3) Create a medical position of surgical technician. Instead of six or more years of training, they would be trained for two years in surgical techniques. They would be taught by traditional doctors/surgeons and learn how to perform one or more operations. In practice, a regular doctor would make the diagnosis and then the technician would perform the hernia, gall bladder, or other needed operation. The cost savings would be dramatic because their salaries would be lower than those of a traditional doctor.
4) More doctors would mean more competition. More hospitals would be built and the cost would get more in line with supply and demand factors.
5) Government could encourage research and lower the cost of pharmaceutical drugs by providing large incentive awards to scientists who make new discoveries.
6) Limit the amount of money that can be awarded in a mal-practice suit. This would save doctors the high cost of insurance and allow them to charge their patients less.
This logical approach may be challenged by some because this is a huge industry with many special interest groups. Some details will still need to be worked out, but what other solutions are available? Throwing more government money at the problem without changing some of the fundamentals will not solve this issue. Some doctors are planning to retire rather than be in the new health care system. This means even fewer medical professionals will be available to meet the demand. The solution is more doctors.
Some issues don’t seem that important, but they can make our lives a bit more enjoyable. For example:
License plates: The state can provide European style plates for those willing to pay for them. They look great on some vehicles that have the space, and make some cars look better.
Town Welcome Signs: I’ve traveled throughout Europe and have noticed their handsome town welcome signs. These signs are so good looking that tourists take photographs of them. We can do the same thing in Utah by designing similar signs that would show the main points of interest in each community. They would add beauty to our towns, increase tourism, and could be added for a small expense.
Paperwork Reduction: Paperwork has become a problem in some industries. In some fields many forms have been added in recent years for “fair disclosure.” But if there are too many forms the client is less likely to read them or understand them. We can decrease the require paperwork in some of our businesses.
Less Continuing Education: Continuing education classes are required every two years for professionals in certain industries. I would like to eliminate or cut back the number of hours required for these fields. If these classes did a lot of good it would be one thing, but most are just completed to fulfill the state requirement and do little or no good for the professional. We did well for decades before the invention of continuing education courses and I think we would do fine without them today. Of course special classes would be provided for persons who need them for their interstate licenses.
My point is this: Why do we insist on encumbering our lives with so many unnecessary things? Our lives are too short for government required busy work.
Most of our problems can be solved through discipline. This is a foreign word to many of our politicians. They have passed bills, established programs and even been applauded for it at the expense of future generations. Their lack of foresight is reprehensible. We live in a country with some of the greatest opportunities in history, yet our impatience has led us to the brink of monetary disaster. Year after year of deficit spending has resulted in a huge debt that can only be repaid though an inflated dollar.
A major principle of discipline is delaying gratification. A twelve-year-old has mastered this principle when they come home from school and do their homework first. You get the hard stuff out of the way and then you can enjoy your leisure later. Our government hasn’t been doing this. Programs matter more than responsibility and this applies to both parties. It’s a liberal mentality wherein fiscal responsibility is ignored for immediate gratification. In the 1960’s it was summed up as “live for today and don’t worry about tomorrow.” Well, tomorrow is almost here with all of its consequences. We are now going by the trillions of dollars into debt instead of by the billions.
Where have our conservatives been during this time? I’m afraid to say that many of them have been as irresponsible as the liberals. They still talk the conservative doctrine, but vote to spend our future away. Because of this many fear that we are on our way to becoming a socialist nation.
The problem is leadership. The people are told half-truths by our leaders and bills are passed, but the people are not made aware of the consequences. Government cost money and money represents life. You only have so much life to live and you give up part of it for money. Then the government takes part of your money in taxes and this money represents your life. What are you willing to give to the government? Half your income? More? Many Europeans do.
The American people as a whole are wise if given the facts, but half-truths have confused and misled our people to the point where we are today.
These are my ideas and how I actually feel about these issues. They are not the words of a professional speech writer.