A Better Deal

The total estimated annual payroll for seven Congressional Districts with significant employment in health care and social assistance is just over $275 billion.   

This draft was edited thanks to a little help (March 2018)  This is a damn complicated issue.

A look at the details by Congressional District exposes weaknesses in the strategy of leaving the Affordable Care Act alone due to the failure of replacing/repeal.  

Nearly 22% of Velazquez’s (CD7), 27.6% of Jefferies’s (CD8), and 54% of Clarke’s (CD9) constituent payroll is the health care and social assistance, almost $6 billion. A reduction by a fraction of this can be devastating to the better jobs, more income strategy in NYC’s service economy environment. This part of the health care system is broken, and the debate to let the market drive the system vs. a broad national safety net in a single-payer design is designed to go on forever.

The American Community Survey (ACS) provides details by Congressional District (Here) are as follows:

Annual payroll ($1,000)ACS Estimate
Total for all sectors CD6 (Meng)$6,774,639
Health care and social assistance$2,614,886
Total for all sectors CD7 (Velazquez)$8,942,565
Health care and social assistance$1,920,162
Total for all sectors CD8 (Jefferies)$5,209,765
Health care and social assistance$1,435,548
Total for all sectors CD9 (Clarke)$4,591,698
Health care and social assistance $2,493,720
Total for all sectors CD10 (Nadler) $73,088,238
Health care and social assistance$  4,082,423
Total for all sectors CD11 (Donovan)$5,995,693
Health care and social assistance $2,405,251
Total for all sectors CD12 (Maloney)$170,281,639
Health care and social assistance $10,155,081
Total for all sectors CDs 6 through 12$274,884,237
Health care and social assistance $25,107,071

The seven districts covering all of Brooklyn include Bay Ridge and all of Staten Island, represented by the city’s only Republican. The table (above) also includes a bit of Queens (Meng).  Maloney and Jerry Nadler also have small parts of Brooklyn, but larger parts of Manhattan, and therein lies a surprise.

Of the $275 billion in these districts’ total income, 88.5% is in CD10 (Nadler) and CD12 (Maloney). The incomes of the households in these two districts dwarf the other five that cover most of Brooklyn. Maloney and Nadler represent 11% of the employment in the health and social assistance sector.

More work on this is needed regarding the impact on CD9  where over 50% of the community’s income is in the health sector and the majority of it is Medicaid.


The listing of industry in these areas is in the North American Industry Classification System (here) and reports on Census.gov  examining business & Industry are available in both annual & quarterly service reports (here).

Groundhogs

The wonders of representative government continue to surprise its observers for what it teaches us about ourselves. A President might radically alter democracy through social and fiscal policies, but the official public engagement of POTUS45 has an awkwardness about it. It takes a long time for a President and a political party to have an immediate impact. By any measure of it, a different party and President is in power when the effect occurs.

Imagine your short-term view as if you were suddenly compelled to fight, take on a role in the Army, the Corps, Navy, Air Force, CIA, or FBI and choose technology. You are asked to protect the United States from harm by a foreign or domestic enemy. In this short-term, your daily choices are often forced to occur, but when they happen in response to a hallucination, what then?

My father’s experience with the impacts of action taking (long and short term) drew on his WWII experience. After a few months of news and just after his 25th birthday and then in just moments, he and all of his brothers stepped willingly into the machine of WWII. The long gash on his right leg included my perception of it as an event, not present. It gave me a very different view of the world.  It was more than a wound; it was the obscurity of Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq. It remains from a time just before I was born to now. Scars of war became a thing unworthy of anyone’s pain or death. More critical problems need solutions. The delusions of war are nothing more than the theft of perception.

Dirty little wars appear permanent, as a two-piece legacy, the sincere axiom, “thank you for your service,” and a volunteer armed force required to say Yes, Mr. President, who may or may not have the depth of experience to know when an illegal order is given. In the early 1970s and one generation, an elite global capacity was built to strike with the horror of near-perfect effectiveness. Among our friends and colleagues, we speak of a pyramid of battles, in places of all sizes and among people of many philosophies and viewpoints. In my mind, the vague notions of war are constructs of nepotism, narcissism, and nihilism. For people in general, human consciousness and the act of living life have become super-separate functions, and the science on this backs me up. It is a poorly understood phenomenon like the link between gravity and time.

In the 1970s, growing economic hardship began to hit small-town rural America, and industrial cities began to shrink. Both were mainly in response to globalization. The number of participants in the armed forces grew for the lack of economic alternatives. These forces are further strengthened by the traditions of armed service families who aim at the sights of their children on the nation’s officer training colleges. Are they Patriots of delusions? No, the act of living is separate from the duty to serve. The rise of the conservative view has become a scream at the national debt with a voice that demands deep cuts in social spending but not the mystery of its security. Armed forces come from the well of hunger and inconspicuous despair. These are the most powerful of all. We are aware of these forces, yet we do not care, as these facts are not expected to change. Putting it this way, the odds set on the call for a political revolution are one in a hundred.

From war to nation-wide drought, global forces slide into and out of community consciousness as thin-slices of self-awareness. We might share a sense of place that snips at our conscience and integrity, and so we can effortlessly forget that all of our understanding of ourselves and the world is a creation of the cells in our brain. You may think that is an odd idea.  You know why you have a slightly elevated sense of dread about the nation’s political condition yet feel compelled to say ‘thank you for your service’ with a rising level of disdain for the leadership style that sweeps up the small-town young of the nation after each cycle of war. You have the correct feeling.

Our consciousness is all we have to establish ourselves in the world. Without this unique awareness of living, we have nothing. While we do not know if other creatures have a similar sense of personness, like them, we live in a scientifically proven set of hallucinations made of manipulations that we produce for ourselves. Therefore, be warned, your experience is a magic trick performed by the hand (or mechanism), not watched or unseen, and in most cases, even if it is seen very clearly. It happens daily, but we decide not to call attention to ourselves or others.

The five senses give “self” a position in space. As properties of consciousness, this space is composed in the proximity of sight, smell, touch, taste, or sound. However, our bundles of experience are held in the cells of the brain that can only make a “best guess” about what is out there. All experiments prove how the cells of the brain fill in essential data or respond to a stimulus built solely on these sets of interpretations established by experience. Perception is an active re-construction process for controlling what we see and hear, smell, touch, or taste. A useful way to explore the idea of reality, perhaps the best way in these times, is to see what you see as a set of controlled hallucinations, always considered correct because your experience with other people’s perceptions is similar. If it is experienced as consistently incorrect, it means you are not controlling the hallucination. It is that basic.

Now, regarding our collective experience with Donald J. Trump. He is the President of the United States, and instincts and experience teach us to hope for the best and expect the worst. These emotions are one of many uncontrolled perceptions with which we construct reality. Cognitive scientists can prove that we firmly believe that we know “who we are,” and yet this experience only exists because we have a body, and that includes the “body politic.”

Our sense of the future builds on experience, the ability to like or dislike, or share ideas through speech and hear and see others. We form new social worlds that fit somewhere in a full-blown media society. With this “fit,” there is only distrust and with that, war. These combinations establish the expectation of a unified self, but just as this narrative experiment with a hallucination is proof that it occurs and all you have is a “best guess” from a color to a President, what is or is not your body? I know what that sounds like, but another way to see its meaning is to understand how and why you predict yourself into existence. You do this with all the people around you, and that includes the leaders you choose. Representative government is how a nation continuously predicts itself into existence.  The wrong and most likely question is what kind of life? The right one asks what is genuinely wanted and needed. That is how we keep the democracy.

Roger Stone’s Rules

The documentary on Roger provides the essential background for why the body politic is acting the way it does today (2017).  It is partially balanced by understanding the idea of the political hallucinations (see Ground Hogs), but I would include McCain’s recent (perhaps last) presentation to his fellow Senators that will go down in history as the, “we should stop acting like a-holes” speech.  In the meantime, while waiting to see if Congress will get back to “regular order”, the following is our take on Roger’s rules that are getting us into this mess.

  1. Fake sincerity or get nowhere in politics
  2. Politics isn’t theater. it is performance art for its own sake.
  3. White shirt + tan face = confidence
  4. Open multiple fronts on your enemy
  5. Confused and besiege on every side.
  6. Praise ’em before you hit ’em
  7. Admit nothing, deny everything, launch counterattack
  8. Nobody ever built a statue to a committee
  9. Avoid obviousness
  10. Never do anything till you’re ready to do it.
  11. Always keep the advantage.
  12. Hate is a stronger motivator than love.
  13. He who speaks first will lose.
  14. Attack, attack, attack, never defend.
  15. Folks want government out of the bedroom and the boardroom.
  16. Lay low, play dumb, keep moving.
  17. To win do everything. Nothing is on the level.
  18. There are more, lots more.

Create 2,000 Dense Places

I have a plan for 2,000 dense urban places, with 20,000 people each connected to high-speed communication systems. Each is an urban core offering specific opportunities for unlimited growth in a limited area. If they do not alter their boundary until 2160, I will give each one of them $20 billion dollars today over and above existing federal fund commitments.

Rex L. Curry

Imagine the nation re-designed in this way. Should it be 2,000 places with 20 million each, limited in area, but not in growth? All those left outside of the bonus core would become stewards of the environment and wild place caretakers and have only a few hundred people per square mile, a bonus in its own right. This solution will happen. It is the answer to every problem that would end the disordered phase of urban development. The right question is how do we get there?

Infrastructure investment in the United States is approaching a classic line in the sand of public policy. On one side of the line, federal legislators support a policy called “catastrophic resolution.” especially if their eye is on eventually paying for a big-ticket investment that actually offered a big return. On the other side of the line, legislators stand for “whatever my constituents want and need,” leaving only a thing called the “debt ceiling” problem. The former see 100-year-old tunnels that, if they crumble, cripples the northeast economy for a decade. The latter will support rebuilding roads and highways, leading to failing big-box shopping malls.

In this form of federal leadership, infrastructure failures of any kind need a critical mass definition of crossing the line. How many horrifying (or just ordinary) deaths cross the line? What is the national dollar amount tallied up in general revenue losses due to a breakdown in transportation or unstoppable forest fires or floods? The thing is, no one knows, and no one will classify or designate a line condition. This is the pornography of public policy – they will know it when they see it.

A grant from the National Resource Defense Foundation (NRDC) brought a video to the public in 2014 that sums up one element of advocacy by Joe Minicozzi of Urban3 that guarantees $20 billion as a solid investment in America. Take a moment to watch it.

There you have it, a basic set of economic facts about why density works. Similar snippets support ideas about building a better federal leadership lever, others describe the power of diversity, and still, others offer new concepts of growth. These ideas are worth debate and analysis and tossed to the wind because the American landscape has a seriously undefined problem. It can regularly absorb substantial damage levels, and no one seems to have a line on how much damage might be too much.

The Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) keeps the data for the world. Much of it is made available freely, but short of making some “end of days” speech, there is no line drawn that will change the trend in the general direction of trouble.  Below is a brief example of just four kinds of trouble.

Define and solve catastrophic resolution problems beginning with CRED data, and there may be a pathway for building a viable urban America that becomes resilient, and with some luck, sustainable.  There is one other table, and it looks at U.S. Federal Disaster Declarations in the same period below.  The trend is as real as it can get.  What needs to be added is a number in lives and dollars.


Source: U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency. “Disaster Declarations by Year” (www.fema.gov/disasters/grid/year). Accessed 6 February 2015.

So now what?

I am developing a list drawn from the general advocates of public well-being. It will include some of the specifics offered by environmentalists, revolutionaries, scientists, architects, urban planners, all kinds of real estate developers, community organizers, and political scientists.

Practically everyone lives in an urban area and practically all those who do not feel urbanized see their world threatened by urbanization.  Both share a vague notion of what cities must become, and that is the central issue because creating a clear vision for one means will save the other.

Facts for why 2,000 dense and well-contained urban centers will be needed will become very apparent, very soon.  These metrics can be trusted, and if that can be made to occur and recur, that will lead to a sense of shared control.  A language that will communicate based on these facts will find people from the feds on down and our roots on up.  If this communication occurs, the proof will be whether or not we as a nation will be persuaded to pony up the 20 billion of each urban core.

What is the language needed?

Subtle, conditional messages are not effective.