We are now only 7 weeks away from the 2012 elections, which is about the time many voters begin paying attention to the issues. Candidates from both major parties, and also some smaller third parties, will try to convince you the voter to support their candidate based on the positions that candidate or party holds. The main goal is short-term effect: The candidates have 7 weeks to get you to do something, and once November 7th rolls around, their time is up. The candidates will have either won or lost, and although the parties can always do outreach, they will refocus and think about how to influence the next election cycle.
What we at CRI are trying to do is a bit different. Our success does not come from short-term spin or pandering. We are looking at long-term success, that is a better informed, better educated public. The likelihood is, if you have read, seen ,or heard something through a media source (TV, radio, newspaper, internet, etc) or heard a political speech, you more than likely did not get an analytical breakdown of the issues. Our goal is to get everyone informed of the problems and give them ideas for how to solve them. The trick is, getting people who are not well informed or who are misinformed on any issue to understand our side.
You objective: to educate at least ONE voter about these issues, and get them to understand WHY you believe what CRI stands for is the best way to turn the economy around.
Education- Education reform has been at the fore-front of restoring Delaware’s long term economic growth. Delaware spends more than 41 states per capita on education-yet Delaware has only mediocre results to show for it (31st overall, according to CNBC’s America’s top states for business 2012). There is a lot which can be done to improve education. CRI is focusing on the following elements: educational choice, stronger teacher standards and control of classroom, education needs tailored to the individual student, and an end to forced unionization at the schools. Under Director Jim Hosley, CRI has been going out and conducting workshops, luncheons, and interviews, to educate the public on these crucial issues and to try to bring about education reform. CRI has partnered with the Faith and Freedom Coalition to talk to religious leaders in low-income areas about how to improve literacy and family involvement in the communities.
Your objective: If someone says the solution is to provide more money to public schools, but offers little else, ask that person: where do the well-educated elite send their children? Where do the union leaders send their children? In most of the cases, they send their kids to private schools they can afford-so they don’t have to deal with the public schools! Class dismissed.
Energy policy- CRI has spent the better part of three years warning the public about the problems with subsidizing alternate technology. The “progressives” (a.ka. socialists) believe so strongly in “renewable” energy, they think it’s wonderful that we give hundreds of millions, or in some cases billions, of taxpayer subsidies to “green energy” companies to “create jobs, and clean up the environment. The truth is, the market for wind, solar, geothermal, etc., is simply too expensive and not there yet to be competitive in the private sector. After fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas is simply the next logical energy source that is economically efficient (natural gas is inexpensive) environmentally clean (actually cleaner than the Bloom “energy servers” they keep touting), and does not need to be subsidized to compete. Under Director Dave Stevenson, CRI supplied witnesses and evidence to the Public Service Commission hearing against Bloom Energy in June, going through all the connections from the directors of Bloom Energy and their financiers Kleiner Perkins, have to get their money.
Your objective: Explain to your undecided friends that things like hybrid cars and solar panel installments are often out of the price range and economic need of the average Delawarean. Often the very people who advocate for subsidizing “renewable energy” are merely paying their campaign donors back or are just trying to score some political points (or both). Point out that California, with its heavy environmentally concerned crowd, has frequent brownouts where power simply goes out because there is not enough of it Ask that person if that is the future they want for America and Delaware: wealthy campaign donors getting wealthier at taxpayer expense while we the people have to suffer long power outages and be forced to use technologies we can’t afford.
Healthcare- With the elevation of Paul Ryan to the GOP VP slot (he who has tried to pass legislation to reform Medicare) and the debate over the Affordable Care Act, the discussion of who should pay for healthcare and how much it should cost has become a hot topic of debate. Dr. Chris Casscells, who is the Director for Healthcare Policy, points out a system which promises people all the healthcare they want for free simply does not, and cannot, exist, especially when we are as a nation over $16 trillion in debt, and as a state about $14 billion (includes unfunded pension liabilities). Plus, since when do bureaucrats know what’s best for you? These people will simply make everyone wait longer for doctors while the “elite” those with the money and power who want more of it-will hire private doctors. This is what is happening in Great Britain, where those who can afford it get private doctors and everyone else gets government doctors. Case in point: Congress is exempt from the effects of ACA. If the bill is so good, why are they exempt, and not the rest of us?
Your objective: Point out to an undecided voter how just like with public education, the same people strongly advocating for “free education” often send their children to private or charter/magnet schools, or hire private tutors the average person can’t afford. Ask them what makes them think healthcare won’t end up differently. After all, if this bill is so good, why is Congress exempt? Then, ask those people where the money to provide healthcare for everyone is. We are $16 trillion in debt as of this writing; to get the money means raising taxes, printing more money, or borrowing it. Even if you tax the top 10% 100% of their income, you wouldn’t even come close to paying down the deficit- in fact, you’d have not much more than ONE year of government, and that assumes there isn’t more spending coming along.
Economy- all the three issues above tie into the economy. and the health of our nation. Dr. John Stapleford has spend almost 4 years with CRI trying to warn about the increase in taxes making Delaware a less attractive place for business. Over 20,000 jobs have been lost PERMANENTLY, with 30,000 more in the state unable to find work. In a small state like ours, this is a big problem. Spending is increased without regard for how effectively our money is spent. 60% of the money spent isn’t even being followed; no one knows where it goes or who is in charge of it. Over 6,000 new regulations have been introduced, stifling job creation and economic growth. For example, a businessman close to CRI has had trouble growing his business because of his problems dealing with DNREC-which forces business to adhere to all sorts of rules that make little sense but keep bureaucrats employed.
Your objective: Ask any small business owner you know how much time they spent on complying with regulations, permits, licenses, and fees, not to mention taxes. Ask them if they think adding more of those will help them do a better job. Then ask them if it would be nicer if they didn’t have to spent so much time doing those things. Wouldn’t it be nicer if the time they took pleasing the government instead went towards actually working? Then ask them, or anyone else you know who is undecided about this issue, if they feel like their tax money is being spent properly and wisely from the government. If the government was a business, would they rate high in customer satisfaction?
Each person you recruit to understanding these issues goes a long way towards getting America, and Delaware, back on the right path. As Mahatma Ghandi said, “be the change you wish to see in the world.”