Tuesday, October 16, 2012

When you're having trouble deciding who to vote for

This is a previously published post, but still viable today...
Our country is facing numerous problems.  It’s up to us to send the best qualified people to help solve them, but sometimes that's hard to determine, so here's a checklist that I hope will help.

 5 things to look for in a candidate (and why they are important)

  • ·             Education/Intellect
  • ·         Work Ethic/Accomplishments
  • ·         Problem solving capacity and ideas
  • ·         Perspective
  • ·         Integrity

Why these?

Education/Intellect -- Think of it this way: would you work with an investment advisor who wasn’t educated and who didn’t understand basic economics?  Or a doctor that quoted cliches and generalities?  The problems we face are complex; we need representatives that can understand them.

Work Ethic/Accomplishments -- has the candidate accomplished anything for the good of others?  Did they put themselves through school or was everything handed to them?

Problem solving capacity and ideas-- can the candidate appreciate the multiple facets of an issue?  Have they put forth actual solutions they want to work on?  Would they reach “across the aisle” and work with the opposition to get a better solution or just sit back and vote “no”?  

Perspective -- It’s a global world, whether we like it or not.  Can the candidate appreciate the impact other countries actions have on us (and our on them?) Do they understand and respect other cultures?  

Integrity -- Do they pay their taxes and obey the laws?  How do they run their campaign?  Do they take responsibility and explain their voting record?   How many special interest groups are big donors to their campaigns?  How much PAC money is being contributed?

Scoring:  For each positive attribute the candidate has, they get one point.  If they have a negative attribute (for example, they are running a smear campaign) give them minus one.
 If you feel an attribute is very positive, give them two points if you like. 
You might be surprised how your scorecard totals come out.  If you find this helpful, please add a comment.

Where to find information:  do an Internet search for voter information, league of women voters, and/or board of elections.  You can also visit individual candidates’ sites.
In my area, there are many judges that are elected.  The judges, and county commissioners, are elected officials that many voters really don’t have good information about, yet make decisions with impact!  It’s worth your time to look these up before voting. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Hey, What's the Deal with Health Reform?

Pete, a friend of mine, who is a CEO of a small company, was complaining.
“We’ve just received a notice that our health premiums are going up 20%.  I don’t think we can absorb this -- now the employees are going to have to pay more.  Health reform has been a disaster!”

I understand his concern and imagine he’s got his hands full with strategic plans, budgets and balance sheets, so there isn’t time to research health reform.
So I’ve done some research and can assure him that his increase isn’t due to the health reform law.

  •            First, most of the reforms haven’t kicked in yet, they are scheduled to be phased in.  2014 is a big year where we’ll see major changes.

  •           But good things are in effect – one is the provision that health insurers spend at least 80% of premium on medical costs.  I don’t know what carrier he’s dealing with, but some of the big names can do this, some are not that efficient.   They've been forced to  look hard at their administrative costs and not just pass them along to the customer.

  •          Creation of ACO’s (Accountable Care Organizations) are enabled by the law.  These begin to address costs by rewarding for outcomes, not by the test.  They deliver better care at lower costs.  These are new and their effects will be greater as they grow in popularity.

So, Pete, this may not make you feel any better about that stiff increase, but don’t blame health care reform. 

It will take time,  it could be improved (hopefully it will) as we see what works best, but it is a step in the right direction of doing something about spiraling healthcare costs. 

There are many articles on this, let me know if you'd like the links. 

all the best,


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A "do nothing"?

My next door neighbor said he wouldn't vote for President Obama because he is a "do nothing."

True, he's had a hard time getting Congress to pass anything -- a hard task when many of them admit their main objective is to make sure the President doesn't get re-elected. 

It's like putting lead weights on a racehorse.

But here's the short list of what he has been able to do, even with this handicap:

  • Ended the war in Iraq
  • Winding down the war in Afghanistan 
  • Focused on the people who attacked us on 9/11  -  Osama bin Laden is gone
  • Cut taxes for middle class families
  • Kept student loan rates low 
  • Raised our standing among our allies

And there's more -- he's been a hard working President!