In June 2008 the Reporter News published an opinion piece written by me. It was followed by a critique from Mr. James Elam. For curiosity and intellectual investigation, a review seems in order..Let’s look at what was said then and what has come to pass..My intent here is to be objective yet point out any inaccuracies and or failure..And I do not apologize for my opinions and will be as objective as possible A sad truth in America and Texas is that an essentially minority party (Republican) with a loss of by some 2.5 popular votes will attempt to push its minority agenda on all Americans with little regard for the rest of us. And by the way, Abilene voted about 40% Democratic this year, Texas somewhat higher…Regress if you will to June 2008:
1. My predictions included increasing unemployment’ plant closures and faltering business in home building, automobile manufacturing and related industries. All that came to pass along with an historic stock market drop (DOW) from the 1400 level in mid 2007 to the mid 7000 level in 2009. This devastated many 401 K and other retirement plans as well as everyday personal stock portfolios. My belief is that this was caused directly by the Bush tax cuts, financial institutions run amuck, and the credit card Iraq war. it has taken 8 long years to get traction again. But for Obama’s stimulus package we would have faced an even more severe recession. . The auto industry was saved with loans which have been repaid with interest. Agree or not, thousands of jobs were saved we now have a healthy and world wide competitive auto industry. This was an assist, not a bail out.
2. Further, I speculated massive mortgage failure and resulting financial melt down.. Guess what..”The Great Recession”. and all the fallout magnified by very high oil prices, and the failure of many large financial organizations including the massive insuror, A I G. This was the freebee real bail out which benefited many of the guilty culprits. During the ensuing years, many safeguards were enacted…Real progress has been made in reforms. Sadly, Trump and company most likely will attempt to and partially succeed to tear it all down. And then there may well be yet another era of failed trickle down ” voodoo” economics which has always led to large deficits and economic retraction. It just don”t work!
3.Mr. Elam defended the Iraq war and deemed it successful. Well that was just not the case..The Iraq adventure was a blatant and total failure. Entered into with no plan and based upon flawed and or dishonest information. . Thousands of lives lost, and related horrendous veteran medical and disability costs…..Two (2)trillion dollars so far and expected according to Reuters to eventually balloon to six (6) trillion including interest.
4.Another exaggerated and outrageous claim was that the U.S had the best medical system in the world. Not true then, not true now. True ours is very good albeit the world’s most expensive. A simple Google search brings up articles by Forbes and The World Health Organization. Among major industrialized countries the U S ranks 10 out of 10 studied. Worse, in a broad comparison the U S ranked number 34 th followed by Cuba at 37 th. And we continue to be the ONLY major industrialized nation on the planet that does not guarantee healthcare for all. The Affordable Healthcare Act is far from perfect and needs improvement. Described as the largest I P O ever it deserves time to grow and improve. We continue to allow thousands of personal bankruptcies due to medical bills. In a modern world this is just not acceptable. I have been witness t and involved in medical treatment in the U K, Ecuador, Argentina, Australia and Cuba. They all work well.
5.Medicare and Social Security continue to work. . Some tweaking can insure continued success and solvency for a very long time.The current claims of insolvency are bogus. The big threat now is that a Trumped up administration and Republican Congress will try to dismantle both programs along with the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid. If successful these programs will most probably end up in some form of a crony capitalism private system. Undoubtedly they will ultimately fall into the same overpriced and inefficient category as the Bush Part D Drug Program which is a boon for the Pharmaceutical industry and a disappointment for seniors.
1. I opined that the Iraq war as immoral and preemptive .No change in my opinion.Still true. It was the largest political and world unhinging blunder in U S history. A fix seems impossible and for sure more war will NOT repair the damage…
2. Oops, I missed the $6.00 gasoline prediction..It only rose to $4.50. Oil, production increased faster than I thought and produced lower gasoline prices. This was due to improved extraction methods and the rapid growth of alternative energy sources. Now that OPEC is exhibiting some judgment in slowing production, we MAY achieve a balance that would both make domestic extraction profitable and keep gasoline affordable…I think $65.00 to $75.00 per barrel would be optimum. This balance could be supplemented by encouraging growth in high tech alternative energy that would help preserve resources and CREATE high paying jobs.
3.The idea of cleaning up Iraq with financing from their oil is pure fantasy.
Colin Powell told us ..”if you break it you own it”…We may never rid ourselves of the Iraq war fallout and related tragedy. My worst fear is the possibility of increased war including additional ground troops. AND without real diplomacy history tells us that a big war is at a possibility, hopefully remote. Watch the war mongers that are being placed in cabinet positions!
And watch our loose cannon President elect.
4. And about my remarks about Texas politicians? It continues to be true that many Texas State and local officials have little knowledge or understanding of basic economics and Constitutional law. The so-called Texas miracle was nothing more than a huge oil boom with related growth. Texas would do well to quit bribing companies to re locate to Texas and work to develop a well educated and trained work force. (credit this idea to John Hill PhD). Abilene has a good base with the three universities and medical programs from Texas Tech and others. And Texas’ frivolous litigation of voting right suppression, abortion control, and “bathroom Issues ” are just that….frivolous and a total waste of resources. Even worse than the embarrassment of Perry, we now have the gruesome foursome of Abbott, Patrick, Paxton and Cruz not to mention the brazen nut case Ag. Commissioner, Sid Miller.
5. Another big OOPS was my fear of inadequate health care in Abilene.
Kudos big time to Hendrick Medical System’s positive growth including attracting and keeping young doctors .Good on Texas Tech to supplement medical education in Abilene…And yes, there are several new Urologists here and wait time is much much less. We can hope that HMC and Regional might work together and share resources rather than compete..
Proud to be here, proud to work for improvement.
Edward Conley, Attorney at Law
Chair, Taylor County Democratic Party