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Can we agree on issues that matter?

October 4, 2018

If you write down the issues that you would support in a candidate would they be Democratic or Republican? Or a bit of both to please Independents? Try these.

Universal health care. This is not a gift but a duty to supply for all citizens. Simply put, healthy people are more productive, children better students, workers more able to handle challenges. It should include not only access to one’s doctor but also dentist, hearing aids and eyeglasses. Expensive, yes, but it can be done whether it is Medicare for all or some other system shared by patients. Americans who drive in Europe become quickly aware of their high taxes on gas and the VAT on all purchases. You get what you pay for and good health care is worth it.

Education is the responsibility of each state. It is the brave candidate who would sponsor these: Parents should have the choice of public, private, religious schools or at home schooling. Poor children to receive vouchers to cover costs of choice. Universal pre-kindergarten classes, parent coaching, social worker visits, mentoring are essentials for low-income families. Copy what succeeds: religious and European education stress discipline and early ranking according to ability (college or vocational) that engages the student’s interests and reduces drop-outs. History and Civics classes to be restored to voice American history and its contribution to democracy around the world to counteract today’s penchant for revisionist history that denigrates the Founding Fathers and the Constitution. Community colleges should be free.

Immigrants are needed, both low- and high-skilled to fill jobs needed to maintain our economy. This has been America’s strength from its founding. The current immigration policy is a disaster. The Dreamers should be granted immediate citizenship and the 13 million illegal immigrants already here are not going anywhere. A path to citizenship should be planned to settle that problem once and for all. As for the future, other administrations, including former President Barack Obama’s, tried to curtail immigration without much success. Limiting only spouses and children under 18 to join immigrants already here is only one way. Surely experts can figure out how many immigrants we need to admit each year to fill the empty jobs and proceed accordingly. We don’t need a wall, use men and our super technology to keep borders safe. We can discover planets in the universe but we can’t figure out how to keep out immigrants? If this is oversimplification, a plan has to start somewhere and the simple, obvious one is often the best. Children sent alone, an irresponsible parental act, should be returned home immediately and not kept in “prisons.”

More than ever we need a strong military. With China on one side and Russia on the other panting for expansion and domination, only our world class military can continue to protect us. Until now, we were at pre-World War II levels, now we are back on track to increase our power in all branches using the latest technology. May we never have to use it but better safe than sorry. And it is about time that European countries stop thinking that Uncle Sam will always be there to save them from tyrants. Thanks to America, they are able to offer free college, free health, free everything to their citizens because they spend next to nothing on defense (1.45 percent) — American taxpayers pay it for them (3.57 percent). No more. Time for them to spend the 2 percent of GDP agreed upon.

Greenwich resident Carla Wallach is an author of five books and writer of numerous articles in national newspapers and publications.

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