Paradigm shift needed
A paradigm shift is needed.
The acceleration of our national debt started with Ronald Reagan when he and the Republican Party decided to buy votes and reelection by giving the wealthy tax cuts from 70% to 28% and loopholes to hide their money. This was followed by Bush, Bush, and Trump. Reagan increased the national debt 100 times greater than all of the presidents before him, jumping the debt $1.86 trillion, and 5,422 times greater than Truman, Johnson, and Carter combined.
Trump ended his presidency increasing the debt $7.8 trillion more than the debt of Bush, Bush, and Clinton combined. They used Reaganomics, getting the myopic middle class to accept the trickle-down economic theory that only works for the rich. Starting with Reagan, $50 trillion has been transferred from the middle class to the top 1%, dropping 42 million of the middle class into the lower class. This $50 trillion is a stack of dollars 3,393,300 miles high (15.5 trips to the moon). In this transfer, the GOP sent 60,000 U.S. factories and 10 million jobs to other countries.
When Republicans are in control, they spend money without control and cut taxes for the rich, all to intentionally run up the U.S. debt as far and as fast as possible. This started with the Reagan presidency, and then Bush and Trump. Massive tax cuts and uncontrolled spending during Republican presidencies produced three results: they stimulated the economy with a false sugar high, making people think that the GOP can produce a good economy; they raised the national debt dramatically with 100% tracks back to Reagan's, Bush Jr.'s, and Trump's massive tax cuts and Bush's two illegal wars; and they made people think that Republicans were the "tax-cut champions."
The second part is when a Democrat is in the White House, Republicans scream about the national debt as loudly and frantically as possible, freaking out about how "Our children will have to pay for it!" and "We have to cut spending to solve the crisis!" The "debt crisis," that is, the one they themselves created with their massive tax cuts and wild spending. (Thom Hartmann Nov. 18, 2022).
The Republicans created the national debt, and it would not exist if the wealthy, that now controls the politicians, the supply, and demand, were paying taxes rather than enjoying massive tax cuts, loopholes, and hiding money in offshore accounts. Those that are not part of the solution are part of the problem.
Trying to kill solar again
Here we go again! Some members of our esteemed Legislature are racing forward into the past. House Bill 1370 filed by Rep. Lanny Fite of Benton and Sen. Jonathan Dismang of Searcy would cripple the solar industry in Arkansas. The idea is to eliminate 1-1 net metering passed by Arkansas four years ago, a policy used in many states to encourage solar power growth in the U.S. Homeowners and businesses install solar and when they produce more power than they use, the excess is sold to power utilities at the same rate that those power utilities charge their customers. Simple: 1 to 1.
Power companies have urged legislators in multiple states to instead pass laws to allow the power companies to pay less for the power solar owners generate. A lot less. Thus increasing profits and killing off the possible competition that increasing numbers of solar owners will pose in the future. Greed, stupidity, backwardness -- that's some Arkansas politicians' answers for the future. It's embarrassing.
Solar means less pollution, less reliance on centralized power generation, cheaper power for solar owners and choices for consumers. The news of late is full of stories of people shooting up power distribution stations putting hundreds of thousands of customers in the dark for days or even weeks. More solar would lessen the impact of such actions.
These bill sponsors are shills for the power companies trying to grab more profits, kill public solar in our state and burn more coal. The big power companies instead want to build solar facilities themselves to sell that power at a profit, thus controlling it completely.
I urge my fellow citizens to contact their legislators and tell them to vote no on House Bill 1370. And since these clowns keep trying to sneak this kind of dollars for power companies into law, please vote these legislators out of office in the next election. They care about power companies' profits far more than the future good of the people of this state. Hundreds of companies and local organizations have come out against this plan as a rip-off to all of us. Greedy is what greedy does!
'Listen to Your Heart'
Does your doctor listen to your heart every time you visit? Even the faintest murmurs heard through a stethoscope can be a sign of heart valve disease. A condition affecting more than 11 million Americans, heart valve disease happens when one or more of the heart's four valves are damaged. Other common symptoms can include lightheadedness, chest pain, tiredness, edema, or feeling "off" in general -- but these symptoms are too often shrugged off.
However, shrugging it off can be life-threatening. Undiagnosed heart valve disease kills more than 25,000 people a year, and most deaths are entirely preventable.
That's why heart checks are so critical. Older age is the most common risk factor for developing heart valve disease, and those with a history of heart attack, hypertension, diabetes, heart failure, and/or cancer are at especially high risk as they age. And, because these risk factors are more prevalent in younger Black Americans, heart valve disease detection in communities of color deserves more attention throughout the life span than is currently recognized.
Timing is everything, and we are glad February is both American Heart Month and Black History Month. On Feb. 22, 119 organizations around the world will mark Heart Valve Disease Awareness Day to advocate for equitable early detection and treatment of this serious disease.
The first step is to Listen to Your Heart! Before Feb. 22, schedule your appointment to get a stethoscope check and visit ValveDiseaseDay.org to learn more. Then, help us spread awareness by posting your pic on your favorite social media using the #ListentoYourHeart and #ValveDisease Day hashtags. Together, we will improve detection and treatment and ultimately save lives.
Senior Vice President
Health Education and Advocacy
Alliance for Aging Research