One political party is trying to capitalize on an ongoing problem at the southern border in order to try and stay relevant in a country which more and more are rejecting what they may claim to have to offer. They do not use rational problem solving skills to address our problems. The apparent inability to prioritize may be one of their biggest faults.
One always must prioritize problems in your daily life. It is essential to our very survival. And to choose less important problems to focus attention on, weakens the country. Yes, politics is not always rational, but can’t it be rational at least part of the time? When problems pile up and are not addressed, the strategy ingrained into non-applicable political actions are like shots in the dark, and time is wasted. With the increasing number and severity of our problems the need for prioritization only raises in value.
We must expect wisdom in how we vote, but we also must demand wisdom from our votes cast, and with the southern border we do not see it with this from eighteen US Senators. The southern border problem was a winning political issue only for the party, but many are tired of its repetition in use, and would prefer attention to be focused elsewhere. One tends to pull one’s hair out for non-action on problems claimed by people over and over, parrot-like, only to do nothing about it when in power in office, with intentions of only retaining the problem within their political tool box to pull out for the next election.
One could make a list of priorities on problems in the country that need addressed. Practical problems, and with this list attempt to address them in order of local, state and national importance.
U.S. Senators are paid $174,000 each year to correctly address the needs of their constituents and to our United States as well in totality. I did not mention the pressing COVID-19 pandemic below, but two growing problems which also have been with us for a long time, and unlike border crossing they are only increasing each year. We have a cornucopia of problems to address. We just need to line them up correctly. Below are three long term problems which need addressing, and one which one party is only focused on.
- Wealth Inequality
In 2019 the top 10% (12.9 million families) own 76% of total $96.1 trillion in wealth or $73 trillion or $5.66 million per family average. A pew study indicated that between 2001 and 2016 the upper economic class wealth increased by 25% while the middle class reduced by 20%. The lower classes fare about like the middle, though they have less wiggle room in life.
- Climate Change
In 2000 the global average atmospheric carbon dioxide was at about 265 parts per million (ppm). February 2021 values were 416.5 ppm. So what, you may ask?
Let’s look at Atlantic hurricanes. In the 1980’s there were 52, in the 1990’s were 64, in the 2000’s were 74 and in the 2010’s were 72, with 13 hurricanes in the year 2020. About 41% of all hurricanes hit Florida, with Texas, North Carolina and Louisiana getting hit about half as much of the time.
In 2017, a variety of 16 weather related disasters across the U.S. cost $306.2 billion or $19 billion each on average. People died as well. There were 344 weather related deaths in 2017, from flooding, lightning, heat, tornadoes and rip tides. Increasing extreme weather events increases chances for weather related fatalities.
And as a nation if we do not act wisely over climate change, China and the rest of the world will leave us trailing far behind. There is opportunity in this, more than in sticking to a comfortable, but losing status quo.
And finally a rational data-driven look at the southern border problem over the last thirty years:
- The Southern Border
In 1990 there were 1.05 million apprehensions, in 1994, 1 million, in 2000, 1.61 million, in 2004, 1.1 million, in 2010, 450,000, in 2014, 490,000, in 2019, 851,000 and in 2020, 400,000.
In 1990, $263 was allocated to CBP, in 2000, $1.06 billion, in 2005, $1.53 billion, in 2020, $3.0 billion, in 2015, $3.8 billion, and in 2020, $4.8 billion.
The societal costs of these people from the south are hotly argued and much misunderstood. They certainly are not voting, there is not one report of this being substantiated, and if there were, it certainly would be announced with vigor.
The undocumented pay into federal, state, sales taxes, etc. for the tune of about $11 billion each year. In 2013 the libertarian Heritage Foundation claimed the cost to be $54 billion a year. The numbers are disputed, but this would still be 5.6 times less that 2017’s extreme weather costs of $306.2 billion. And although they are breaking laws if not seeking asylum properly, one could talk about white collar criminality in this country until the sun comes up.
If government funding is proportional to the problem at hand, which it certainly should be, the “border crisis” frankly from the numbers above, it is a much lower priority than other matters. And the problem was at its peak in 2000. Would it make it in the top ten problems our nation faces? It is doubtful with any honest analysis by experts.
The common sense which is never used, we cannot be sure if it exists in many elected officials, indicates people who don’t deserve their position in leadership roles. When one intuitively understands that anyone off the street could do better, one loses respect for one’s state and one’s country overall and faith in government and democracy suffers. And although political party unity is admirable in some ways, when this unity is a barrier to needed action to address our problems, it loses its luster quickly.
Let’s get our elected officials steered in the right direction, and if they choose to veer from the course from rational prioritization of our problems, like we all do in our everyday lives, then they need to be gone next election. When they obviously do not address problems when able, all credibility should dwindle for them.
We are after all, their supervisors, although they may not agree.