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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

Common Sense and Common Decency

I know, it’s kind of surprising that Michele Bachmann is still running for president, but she is. She made an appearance on Jimmy Fallon Live. For reasons that are completely inexplicable, as she was coming on the stage the band played, Lyin’ Ass Bitch by Fishbone. First of all, it’s a terrible song. Second of all, seriously? You have to go out of your way to be that rude and inconsiderate. There is no excuse.

I believe that Michele Bachmann has not been seriously confronted about her multiple inconsistencies and her quirky, goofy, outside of the mainstream stances on many issues. In interviews she should be forced to actually answer a question. As a matter fact, all candidates should be forced to answer questions. They should not be allowed to give pat answers or statements which don’t even address the question. Still, there is no excuse for this type of rudeness – ever. Whoever picked that song should be fired.

As long as I’m on the subject, the picture that they had of Michele Bachmann on the cover of Newsweek was also wrong.

By |2011-11-24T08:45:00-04:00November 24th, 2011|Elections|Comments Off on Common Sense and Common Decency

Yesterday, We Needed a Bold New Jobs Plan

Today’s jobs report was just as mediocre as I thought I was going to be. The Verizon worker strike sucked out 45,000 jobs from this report. The private sector added 17,000 jobs. The combination of this would’ve meant 62,000 jobs were created in August. (The Verizon strike is over.) These jobs will be added back into the September labor report.

The bottom line is that the unemployment rate of 9.1% is unchanged. We have to do better. We must do better. We can’t have chronic long-term unemployment in a large section of our population. Prolonged unemployment sucks the life out of a person. The unemployment rate in the Black community is 16.7%. The unemployment rate in the Hispanic community is 11.3%. The current labor gap from when the recession started until now is approximately 11.2 million jobs. According to the Economic Policy Institute, in order to fill these jobs in three years, the economy would have to add 400,000 jobs per month. This is an unprecedented growth rate.

We’ve got a huge problem. Sitting around and wringing our hands and finger-pointing is not going to fix the problem. The private sector alone is not going to fix this problem. I don’t care how you cut taxes and I don’t care what tax incentives you give. It simply is not going to happen. Until we wake up and understand that there is a huge government role to be played, millions of people are going to remain out of work. I blame everybody in Washington for this failure of vision, forethought and simple common sense.

From EPI:

The U.S. is currently 6.9 million jobs below where it was when the recession started. But because the working-age population grows as the population expands, in the three years and eight months since the recession started we needed to have added around 4.3 million jobs to keep the unemployment rate from rising. Putting these numbers together means the current gap in the labor market is roughly 11.2 million jobs. To fill that gap in three years – by mid-2014—while still keeping up with the growth in the working-age population—would require adding around 400,000 jobs every single month. To fill the gap in five years—by mid-2016—would mean adding 280,000 jobs each month. By comparison, over the last three months, the economy added just 35,000 jobs, on average.

More than two years into the official recovery, the United States has yet to produce anything close to the rate of job growth that will put its backlog of unemployed workers back to work before the end of the decade.  As this report shows, the key issue holding back job growth is a lack of demand. For policies that we can and should be pursuing to stimulate demand and generate jobs, see EPI’s Briefing Paper, Putting America Back to Work.

By |2011-09-02T13:05:15-04:00September 2nd, 2011|Economy|2 Comments
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