Commerce / Health
As we see it, inequality in the US widens with two systemic phenomena:
(1) a health policy that emphasizes care of the ill rather than prevention of illness, such that tens of millions of people, mostly poor, suffer from obesity, diabetes and environment-caused disease.
(2) a business policy that tolerates, and even favors, giant national chains, financed by Wall Street, which reduce people, mostly poor, to lifetime wage-slavery, with little opportunity for personal or professional evolution.
“Health & Human Services” nowadays is more about cash flow to medical companies and professionals, than about making sure people stay out of the hospital for nearly an entire lifetime. If a nominee agrees with this, we offer that person a chance to speak up for a citizen-centered health & human services policy, one including strong diet & exercise programs, food control, pollution reduction, all for better overall public health. A guiding book, of late, could be “The Case Against Sugar,” by Gary Taubes. As we are already suggesting divestitures from the US Department of Agriculture, we could propose that food-inspection parts now in USDA be shifted to the USDH.
We also notice the bizarre injustice of people who need salaries ending up in dead-end positions at very servile, very hidden, often internet-based service-sector companies. These include: McDonald’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, FreshDirect, Walmart. Such companies prevail, taking over economic and urban space from truly entrepreneurial ventures, because Wall Street prefers huge investment chunks, and because realtors charge ever-higher rents, up to levels that can only be supported by chain-store firms. As a result, virtues of enterprise, innovation, friendship and genuine worker cooperation all get crushed.
If a Shadow Cabinet nominee agrees with this assessment of the economic future faced by many poor people, and even middle class people needing a salary, we offer, instead, a post as shadow Secretary of Commerce. Such a Department of Commerce would include a sharply-strengthened Small Business Administration. Commerce, or selling, should be a democratic and participatory process, involving tens of millions of US citizens, not just a very few very large companies. Both the current and upcoming Secretaries of Commerce are billionaires; what do they notice of the need for people to do business on their own, as free individuals? Implied here is a critique of the current push to have “everyone” go to a top college. That’s just more obedience school, and it encourages a hierarchy in which those without Ivy League degrees do not have a chance. Even The Economist has worried, in a cover story, about this warping of US society. Such a warping erodes opportunities for less-advantaged Americans, on their own terms. It strengthens class divisions, making life for very, very many Without Hope.