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A Few Words on Guns

As I mentioned in my earlier post, over 1000 people, 1000 Americans, have died since the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Those of you who follow this blog know that I am a trauma surgeon. We trauma surgeons have this annoying habit of always trying to do better. We look at our outcomes, both our good cases and our bad cases, and try to see what we could have done better. Should that patient have gone to the operating room sooner? Did that patient need antibiotics? It is because of these kinds of questions that centers around the country are enjoying phenomenal outcomes.

As a country, the United States needs to examine itself. What can we, the United States of America, do better? One of the areas that we must improve has to be the area of gun violence. We are losing too many young men and women to gun violence. This cannot be about gun manufacturers making money. It has to be about Americans trying to live out their lives without being shot! If the Constitution, by some interpretation, states that we cannot have common sense gun reform, then we need to change the Constitution. Life in the United States is a lot different than it was in the late 1700s. For the most part, in the late 1700s people more worried about dying from cholera, scarlet fever, smallpox or other communicable diseases and were not worried about being shot and killed. That is no longer the case in our United States. Things have changed and, if necessary, our Constitution should change also.

I’m not going to listen to the naysayers¬†who claim that we simply can’t get this done. As I read the polls, the majority of Americans want some sort of legislation. We have to pressure senators and congressmen who simply want to hold on to the status quo. The status quo is not good enough anymore.

Let’s not focus on those on the fringes of this debate. There are those on the left who want to remove all guns from our society. I simply don’t think that is realistic and I don’t personally know any serious liberals who are actually saying this. I have no desire to remove guns from those who are using their guns lawfully. On the other hand, I will not listen to ranting of the other side of the spectrum. Those who believe that everyone should have a gun. or better yet, that everyone MUST have a gun, do not offer credible argument. There is no slippery slope. No one will be going through your house and taking your guns. That’s not going to happen. Don’t buy into crazy scare tactics. Australia went after guns. They have a love affair with guns just as we do and they were able to pass meaningful legislation. We can pass thoughtful, meaningful legislation also. Guns aren’t a conservative or a liberal idea. Controlling guns should cut across party lines. Let’s get this done.

By |2013-01-18T23:15:36-04:00January 18th, 2013|Congress, Mass Shooting, Party Politics|12 Comments

Job numbers are good but we need better

Slowly but surely, the economy is heading in the right direction. If the economy were a patient, the patient would still be in the ICU on multiple antibiotics. Though still on a ventilator, the patient looks better and is heading in the right direction. An infusion of 244,000 new jobss is part of the prescription for getting the patient back on his/her feet. Over the last three months, private sector jobs have grown by over 700,000. This is all good news. Yet, as I have said over the previous months, it is not time to do the happy dance. It is time to give our patient an infusion of more jobs (stimulus), which will really jumpstart the economy. This is what is desperately needed. Unfortunately, the political atmosphere in Washington will not get this done. No meaningful legislation will come out of the House over the next 18 months.

We still have 14 million Americans who are unemployed. 14 million Americans! At our current rate of job growth we can get our unemployment level back to prerecession levels by the year 2016. Who can wait that long?

If you look at the numbers more critically and break down unemployment by groups, certain groups are clearly hurting more than others. The unemployment rate among our youth (16-24) is a whopping 17.6%. For those youth with only a high school education the unemployment rate averaged 21.8% last year. The unemployment rate among African-Americans is 16.1% and among Hispanics is 11.8%. The unemployment rate among men is 9.4% and among women 8.4%.

Wages are stagnant. Hourly wages rose a paltry three cents in April. With 14 million Americans unemployed, currently the economic pressure is not there for employers to raise wages. (Great article by Rick Newman about why wages are stuck in neutral.)

So, we need more jobs. We need better paying jobs.

By |2011-05-06T15:47:22-04:00May 6th, 2011|Economy|Comments Off on Job numbers are good but we need better
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