Remember Michael Milken? Some of us do. I must confess, I only knew him by name and his uncanny ability to get that name into newsprint. He is now, President of the Milken Institute. If you don't know about him, it might help to take a look at his Institute. Meanwhile, here is what he had to say with regard to - Renewing American Prosperity:
:The late social scientist, Gary Becker, once demonstrated that at least three-quarters of natural wealth, can be found in the knowledge, skills and experience of people, what he called human capital. There are three ways to increase human capital. Expand knowledge and skills through education, extend the length and and quality of life by investing in health and, welcome skilled immigrants.
The focus of education should be in the classroom. We give Oscars to actors, Grammys to singers and Nobel Prizes to scientists. Recognizing that effective teachers and school principals are the most important school-based factors influencing student achievement, the MILKEN FAMILY FOUNDATION launched an awards program nearly 30 years ago to provide similar recognition for great educators. An affiliated public charity, the National Institute of Excellence in Teaching has developed extensive programs to to ensure skilled, motivated and competitively compensated teachers.
At least half of economic growth since the Industrial Revolution can be traced to improvement in public health and the results of medical research that have more than doubled average lifespans world-wide. We can now prevent or cure many of the infectious diseases that plagued mankind for millennia. America's greatest health challenge, representing 75% of current health-care spending is the burden of of chronic diseases. Public-health programs emphasizing prevention and wellness will help to reduce that burden. And to assure progress against all diseases, the National Health Institutes of Health budget should be restored to to at least the 2003 level, when it was 25% higher in real dollars.
Immigration restrictions that keep out highly skilled workers, investors and entrepreneurs are counterproductive. These ambitious people can stimulate economic growth and create more jobs for all Americans. We should greet them with open arms.
Policies that expand human capital in these three areas (education, health and immigration) will increase productivity and help us to sustain our global leadership."
I commend Mr. Milken for his thoughts as well as is efforts to focus on the reality of the challenges we face and has shone a bright light on the failures of those we have sent to Washington to represent us. Alas, they have given US what WE asked for - more than likely, but the problem has always been, it is what "I, the voter" wanted, rather than offering an accurate assessment of what was good for all of us. It was NO mistake that our fore-fathers gave us the name, the United States of America.
As a college graduate in the late 50's, I left school wondering why the examples of cooperation with one another appeared to have been so widely ignored while we had just experienced the greatest and most effective example of forces cooperating with one another to achieve a common goal was being lauded - and ignored, on so many levels in our society. 60 years later, we still do. We seem to believe the competitive nature of collegiate and professional sports should inspire us without seeming to realize, the scores that we use for measurement are achieved only as the athletes cooperate with one another. We seem to want to believe that the roles we see being portrayed in the movies or on our TV sets are - in fact, real, whereas they represent nothing more than a figment of someone's imagination, brought to life by those behind the scenes, working together for their mutual success.
Yes, of course, we need to laud our teachers at every level in our society, but somehow we tend to ignore the environment in which they are often asked to teach. It would appear they we have yet to figure out how to provide the necessary tools the students use in their studies, without appealing to the community for help in obtaining those supplies.
Of course, we need to fund our public health facilities and resources, but we also need to examine why the sale of cosmetics and drugs appear to be a critical resource for the revenues required for the public to have access to radio and television.
And we need to CLOSE our borders to stop the chaos that confuses us when we read and listen to the immigration crises that appear to be happening regularly.
In short, we need "citizen solders" as our representatives in Washington and our State capitols who realize and stand for the citizens of our nation, rather than competitive political forces whose only goals seems to be winning the next election.