My Pet Issues

I’ve never really had a large leaning for missions outside of the US. For me, I’ve just found so much pain within the structural confines that direct our lives here in the US. Structural inequality. Growing older and gaining more understanding of the world around me, I only see how much worse it looks closer to the action.

Today, I’m trying to figure out what issues are the most important to me right now. Here they are, in no particular order of importance:

  • Patent System
    • It’s scary to be an innovative startup because if you get noticed and get targeted early, you could lose so much momentum in your company because of patent trolls. Notice how I’m saying that it’s inevitable that you’ll get targeted?
    • I want to work in the tech space, so this issue puts serious fear into starting anything, without even including all the normal challenges of starting a business.
    • The patent system is supposed to encourage innovation, but nowadays it seems to hamper it more than encourage it.
    • So what’s the root of the patent system? Encourage innovation. How’re we going to do that now?
  • Net Neutrality
    • Going along with the thread of innovation: without net neutrality, we will hamper innovation.
  • Campaign Finances + Constituent Engagement
    • I feel that these two issues are the root causes of why our political system just doesn’t work. We don’t bother to engage with politics, so those with desire to influence and the money to do so are given free reign.
  • Military & Government Spending
    • This is more of an extraneous issue for me. If everything else worked well in our society, but we had a bloated government with wasteful spending and exorbitant military costs, I could live with that. Right now, the bloat in our government contributes to the problem by wasting taxpayer money in these other ways when it could be used elsewhere to benefit us.
    • 19% of the US budget spent on Military spending. 19%!!
  • National Debt
    • This is along the same lines. I understand the argument of using debt to keep a healthy economy and I can live with those arguments, but our debt has gotten to ridiculous levels.
    • 6% of the US budget spent on INTEREST payments.
  • Infrastructure Spending
    • We need more of this! We can’t afford not to. If we can’t break up the cable monopolies, maybe the government can lay down the fiber lines and allow companies to rent those out.
    • We need better infrastructure, not just more spending. I would try to tie infrastructure spending to innovations within the space someway. Not just on who can do it cheaper.
    • 3% of the US budget :
  • Education
    • 1% of the US budget. 1%. 1%… 1%!
    • It’s broken, yes, but I think trying to fix Education without tackling poverty to an extent is fruitless. Right now, I don’t feel that education is the solution to poverty. If we can fix the system that keeps people in poverty, society can then think about more than food & shelter (and the related stresses from the friction that poverty creates) and begin to worry about education.
  • Healthcare & the Insurance Industry
    • Medical bills = No. 1 reason for Bankruptcy
    • This is an industry where I feel corporations have no place for a large profit motive (including ‘non-profit entity’ hospitals).
    • Cost structures have become distorted and costs have risen uncontrollably. I blame it both on the insurance companies and on consumers.
    • This is just too large of a problem to say everything within a few points :.
  • Inequality & Poverty
    • A difficult problem to tackle. First practical problem to solve: more jobs that pay livable wages.
  • Prison + Police System
    • ‘The War on Drugs’ has been the drivers for ‘growth’ in the Prison & Police Systems.
    • Systematically reducing our prison population intake and letting non-violent criminals go would create furious Police Departments (reduced budgets) & Private Prison Corporations (their ‘market size’ would decrease).
    • Prisons are no place for private profit motives.
    • I feel that the conversation that gets lost is the fact that the reason we have prisons isn’t to just house the ‘undesirables’, but to rehabilitate them back into society. Unless we change our perspective from punishing them to viewing them as redeemable, the prison system will continue to be a black mark on our society.
  • Environmental Stewardship & Climate Change
    • We only have one planet. Even if it weren’t warming so much, we still need to be mindful of the resources we use and the damage we’re doing to this place we call home.
    • Again, I blame the corporate profit motive for this: monetary gain > stewardship.
  • Food & Nutrition
    • Must emphasize: Whole foods + Portion size
    • Corporate influence on our diet has left us obese.
    • A few examples:
      • Competing restaurants give larger and larger portions to draw people in for better value.
      • Food companies put sugar into random products because marketing departments determined that sugar drives sales, not because food scientists deemed it a better product…this further desensitizes the American palate to sugar, making us used to an inordinate level of sugar intake.
  • Corporations & Profit Motive
    • So many problems come from corporations trying to make larger profits at the expense of society. I think I have a better solution, though every system has its shortfalls :.

So, those were some initial thoughts on some issues that I care about. I think the main problems are: an apathetic constituency & profit-driven corporations. Now what to do about it? Hopefully I have the right solutions building in my mind and hopefully I get an opportunity to build them.

Above photo: Friends by Greg Westfall licensed under CC 2.0


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