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Issues

Inflation

Inflation has reared its ugly head for the first time in close to 40 years. What will the country do to contain the inflationary pressures? There’s no single issue driving inflation, but rather a perfect storm of underlying conditions. We have had years of government deficits, for example, that have pumped more money into the economy. Plus, the pandemic had bipartisan support for pumping trillions more into the economy while citizens saving hit record levels that then unleashed a boost in consumer spending, further contributing to inflation. The only surprise, really, is that political leaders who voted for the trillions in additional spending during the pandemic are now surprised by the spike in inflation today.

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National Security

National Security does NOT mean simply spending more money on weaponry. Education ties to national security by maintaining our economic vibrancy. Changes in monetary systems that are coming due to Digital Currency ties to national security. Trust in our government, our news, and the US dollar ties to national security. Far too many issues impact national security for glib, tweet-length sloganeering.

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Emerging Technologies

Emerging technologies will only increase the rate and pace of change coming. But none of these issues has a tried and true public sector policy prescription and yet our two-party system operates in what has become almost trench warfare arguing back and forth from policy playbooks that have changed very little since the 1930s depression and WWII era. Senior citizen lawyers simply are not the right people to be trying to lay the framework for the world’s pivot into the digital era.

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Digital news has eroded our trust

Traditional newspapers have been struggling. When struggling, positions eliminated from the news agency weakens editorial oversight in traditional news channels. In turn, many digital platforms do little more than run an algorithm against what citizens post or share as news, with no vetting of the sources. We trust what we want to hear and dismiss what we do not want to hear as fake news. We source news from echo chambers that do not challenge our thinking. 

We now have Elon Musk buying Twitter, saying he can change all that. Maybe he can, maybe he cannot. We the people have to find a way to clean up the public square. It is NOT something we want government doing. The first amendment is too important.

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Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency is coming faster than we think. Will Digital money erode our trust in our financial institutions in a similar fashion to what has happened to digital news? Nations hostile to our strategic self-interests such as China are ahead of us on digital money (Central Bank Digital Currency or CBDCs) while Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen claims it will take years for the US to develop a digital dollar. What will faster adoption of alternatives to the US dollar for international trade do to our economy? What will it do to our foreign policy that relies heavily on economic sanctions that only work given the US Dollar’s status as the de facto international trading currency? The nation was slow to react to digital news; do we really want to be slow to react to digital currency?

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Jobs

Job reskilling is paramount. The digital age is going to require all of us to become lifelong learners, which looks more like old apprenticeships. As automation reduces demand for certain job functions, people in those job functions are going to have to learn new skills to remain employable. Public/private partnerships to create these training methodologies areas are as critical to support as traditional education itself. Government reskilling programs do not have a strong track record. Allowing private entities to create these curriculums and then having the public sector learn from them can provide a feedback loop to the public system.

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Education

Education is not skilling people adequately for the jobs businesses need to be filled per the business leaders struggling to fill the positions. Alternative teaching methods are made possible due to technology and were made necessary by the pandemic. How can we democratize education access through digital methods? What are the education best practices of the academic institutions where businesses go to recruit their hires? How can we embrace innovation within the existing system and align the teachings to the skill sets businesses claim they simply cannot fill due to a lack of qualified candidates?

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Healthcare

Healthcare is a rat’s nest of inefficiencies that cannot be adequately addressed in Tweet Length Slogans like “Medicare for all” or “Single Payer.” Healthcare is like an onion, where we have to peel back multiple layers of inconsistent and overlapping rules, regulations, and economic distortions.

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Climate

Climate cannot be ignored. The deep interconnections of climate to our economic activity mean that any draconian measures to remediate climate are going to have draconian consequences on large swaths of our economy and the people employed in them. How do we accelerate the migrations in the right direction for the climate, while also taking care of the citizens personally impacted in the transition? Renewable Energies such as wind and solar are near the point of economic viability. Government has to establish a long-term energy policy that will encourage that transition while keeping citizens whole in the process. Lurching from one extreme to another depending upon which party is in power is a grave disservice to the nation and an abdication of leadership by our elected officials.

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Privacy

Electronic information or data is the lifeblood of the digital economy. We have overlapping laws about data privacy that add complexity to businesses’ regulatory compliance capabilities. In the healthcare industry, there are multiple, overlapping data privacy laws impacting medical research and adding confusion to citizens when seeking health services. Many big tech companies have built their businesses on gathering and selling our information to boot. How can we streamline these policies? How can we put control of our personal information back into the hands of the citizens to turn on and turn off as they choose the different entities seeking that information?

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Big Tech

There’s a growing desire to break up big tech companies. What constitutes an unfair advantage for a digital business is different than the advantage AT&T had in the 1980s, for example. What will be the new criteria for determining that unfair advantage?

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