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Voice of the Voter - This Week's Stories

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The Federal Government and Natural Disasters

Hurricanes are a terrible thing. I was living in Florida when Hurricane Andrew went through and the devastation was horrific. We just got hit with Gustav, are now getting hit with Hanna ("only" a tropical storm) and are looking forward with great trepidation to the arrival of Ike which may make Andrew and Katrina seem small based on it's current size and strength. As one who is very familiar with the damage that a strong hurricane can do I realize that no one, no community, no state can fully prepare for a disaster of that magnitude and it requires the combined cooperation and planning of local, state and Federal officials to help get things back to normal.

However, it has long been my belief that politicians secretly welcome natural disasters for the opportunity it gives them to pander to the electorate. While they may certainly care about the people affected by these tragic events, politicians also use them to be seen as caring and to throw our money around.

For years I've thought that there should be a more rational and organized response to natural and other disasters than the current system of knee-jerk politicians swooping in and doling out our money in an inefficient and wasteful way.

As President, I would propose a national disaster insurance fund be established to deal with these horrible situations. Although, as they say, the devil is in the details, a rough outline of how I believe the plan should work and be set up would be as follows:

There would be a specific set of disasters covered under the insurance. For example, the policies would cover losses from earthquake, flood, hurricanes and tornadoes.

  1. Current owners of property would have 5 years to decide to get into the program. After the 5 year transition period was over, if you didn't have the insurance, there would no longer be any Federal assistance to individual property owners in the event of a natural disaster.
  2. For buyers of new property, they could decide to buy the coverage anytime after buying their property. However, if they did not purchase coverage, they would have no right to Federal assistance in the event of a natural disaster.
  3. The policies would be sold through existing insurance companies, much as earthquake coverage is currently sold in California.
  4. No one would be forced to buy, but I would assume, much like fire insurance, that anyone who has a mortgage on their home or other property would be required to do so by their lender if they lived in a zone where there was the potential for any of these major disasters.
  5. Prices would be kept reasonable by two key facts. First, there would be a large number of property owners involved in the pool which would spread the risk. Between those property owners in hurricane, earthquake, flood and tornado zones quite a bit of the country and a tremendous number of properties would be potential buyers. Second, the Federal government could subsidize the coverage - the subsidy coming from what is not given out each year in emergency disaster funding.

This program would accomplish several things.

First, it would make people responsible for doing what is necessary and proper to protect their property in the event of a catastrophic loss caused by a natural disaster.

Second, it would establish a true fund to pay for these events.

Third, it would allow people in certain parts of the country to know that they aren't underwriting the cost of the rebuilding the areas where these things always happen. Whether it is hurricanes in the Southeast, tornadoes in the Midwest or earthquakes in California, why should someone in Arizona or Idaho (where natural disasters are fairly few) be required to contribute their tax dollars to continually rebuilding beach front property or homes in "tornado alley"?

Finally, it would take away the ability of the politicians to use our money to further their own political gains - at least in this area of life.

One on the main planks of my Presidential Campaign platform is that of personal responsibility. If you have property, it is your responsibility to see that you have the proper insurance coverage to ensure that if something tragic happens you have the coverage to rebuild your house. I believe an insurance program of this kind is the government's "responsible thing to do".
Frank McEnulty - Independent Candidate for President | E-mail Comments on this article. | Click icon to Digg this article

Change vs. Progress

Lately the buzz word for the presidential candidates has been “change”. Change can mean many things and not all of them are positive. The question that should come with claims of being a “change “ candidate is will the candidate just bring change or will they bring progress and a betterment to America? Change can mean a reversal from the current ways of doing things to recapture the past. For some this may be highly appealing but it is not by definition progress. Recapturing the past is in fact regression and history demonstrates that regression ultimately does more harm than good in most cases.

So how do we tell which people represent change alone and which people represent progress? The simple answer is that those who represent progress offer a new approach to problems that historically has not been taken. They not only travel the road less traveled, they step off the road and make a new path that has never been traveled before. Progress is that change which acknowledges the failures of the past and refuses to repeat them even in one’s own actions. The true mavericks will challenge authority and never compromise the good of the whole for personal gain of any kind.

What can be painfully apparent in American politics is that there are no true mavericks left in any position to become the President because of the nature of American politics. True mavericks will alienate so many that they can never garner the level of support needed to become President. This is not to say that there are no opportunities for progress in candidates for President. It just means that no candidate will ever be a perfect leader with no flaws or skeletons in the closet. We all have a past and every person alive has made decisions that could have been made differently with a more positive result. In some ways it is our mistakes that define our characters. Someone once said that how one deals with adversity is the true measure of their character. In my opinion truer words have never been spoken.

In this election we are faced with a seemingly clear choice between two types of change. On one side you have a young ideological African American who put aside a lucrative law career to work in his community and has made a political career out of working toward his vision of the future by winning others over to his view and building movements of change. On the other side you have an older Caucasian American who grew up in the military establishment, served in the armed forces and has spent most of his adult life in politics. The older candidate has a vision of change that restores Americas past glories and brings another golden age of America. The younger candidate sees the future as an opportunity to take America in a different direction than has been taken with new approaches to diplomacy, economics and social inequities that have existed in America throughout her history.

As we move forward and look to make our decision about who will lead us we need to remember that not all change is good and not all change is progress. So while both campaigns speak about bringing change we need to decide if we want progressive or regressive change. Are we going to back a futile attempt to recapture the past or will we decide that now is the time to forge ahead and create a new vision for the future that incorporates hope and opportunity for those who have been left behind in the past? We have an historic choice to make this election and the fate of our nation quite literally likely hangs in the balance.

Troy Wilson-Ripsom - Staff Writer | E-mail Comments on this article. | Click icon to Digg this article

Get Involved

Do you sit and yell at the TV when politicians come on? Do you shake your head sadly whenever you see a homeless veteran? Is that all you tend to do?

It's time to put up or shut up America. We all love to talk about how we could do things better or how we would do it if we were in charge. Well, it's time to put your money where your mouth is. If you can think of it, you can write it down. If you can write it down, you can type it. If you can type it, you can e-mail it and if you can e-mail it, you can send it here.

We at Reform America are committed to giving voice to anyone who wants to put their ideas out there to make our nation a better place. As the readership grows, we are able to take those views to a wider and wider audience. Grassroots campaigns begin with voices speaking out. You have opinions. Voice them. We aren't about conservative or liberal. We aren't about pro-this or anti-that. We're about Americans and the First Amendment. Reform America is about politics by, for and of the people. You are the people. You only need to speak up. America is listening. Send your article to:

Have You Been Downsized Due to Outsourcing?

For several years now we have listened to some within the business community tell us that America can't compete on a global scale unless they send our jobs overseas where they can be done cheaper. The question becomes, if we don't have good paying jobs here, how can we sustain our own economy? We want to hear from you. Have you lost your job? Have you been forced into a lower wage job due to outsourcing? Has outsourcing been a success for you? Did you end up in a better job?

Tell us your story so we can make sure the politicians see how outsourcing really impacts the workers who are backbone of America. Send your story to


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