POLICY OPINION

Planet Sustainability


This is such a broad topic with so many detrimental factors that cannot continue to be put aside. The most threatening issue that we face today is global warming. As the sea level continues to rise with each year that passes, it is not a question of if but when it will effect coastlines around the world. We are at ground zero here in South Florida where we already see extensive flooding. In 2017 when we were hit by Hurricane Irma this was clear as day as we saw many streets turn to rivers as the storm surge plunged onto land. As sea level continues to rise it will only be a matter of time before the ocean spills into our natural aquifers contaminating our water supply. The Everglades as we know it will be gone. Property value will plummet. Millions will be effected. In short, it will destroy lives. I know it is tough talk, but we must not gloss over the truth we face in hopes it will just go away. We can build sea walls and install pumps but those are only temporary solutions that give us years instead of finding solutions for generations to come. There has to be a better way. Carbon and our dependence on fossil fuels is the main culprit in our contribution to this growing threat. I understand that it is unrealistic to tell people to stop driving, especially in South Florida where we are so spread out and rely heavily on our vehicles. We must though fully support alternative energy development through solar and wind technologies. We must also support further research and development into battery technology to bring the cost down for electric vehicles and make them more affordable to the masses. Our dependence on fossil fuels must decrease significantly. We need to really be serious as a nation about this and work towards implementing a carbon tax. I fully understand the word 'tax' is unpopular, but by implementing such policy a it will naturally over time curb consumer habits away from carbon and towards more innovative solutions. The money generated from the carbon tax would then be reinvested back into the consumer by lowering our federal income tax giving us a bigger take home pay check. This isn't fiction either. If you speak with any economist they will tell you that a carbon tax is good for business, people and most importantly the environment. We are seeing other nations like China and India make drastic changes as they recognize the threat. Though a large number of our country sees this as well, we need to be unified and instead of follow the example of other nations, set the standard for a new era of renewable energy and continue to lead the world as we have for so long now. There are very large industries who's very bottom line would be severely effected by the change I am speaking of. This is why we have not seen effective real change on these issues in Washington. I am not interested in their bottom line. I am only interested in creating a sustainable environment on this planet for all life to continue for generations. Our climate, water, food, air and everything else we need for survival depends on it. It should be our number one priority to promote if not implement solar, wind, battery and other renewable energy sources to assure our planet's sustainability and our specie's survival.




Healthcare


Our healthcare system is severely flawed. The Affordable Healthcare Act, also known as Obamacare, is something the Republicans have been trying to repeal since it's inception on the sole fact that it came from Democrats. The Democrats pride themselves on the legislation as they should. It was the party's vision and drive to achieve such legislation regardless of what the opposition said that makes it bold and a step in the right direction. As a self employed middle class American though, I experienced first hand just how flawed this legislation is. Premiums continue to skyrocket with high deductibles you will never reach unless you experience some unfortunate accident or life threatening illness. It almost makes having insurance useless and places a sever burden on the pockets of our low to middle class population. People pay these amounts though for piece of mind; to know they are covered in case of emergency. The insurance industry knows this and they are taking advantage of the people because of it. It is high time we put a stop to the rising costs that our low to middle class citizens quite frankly cannot afford. Speaking of insurance companies, options are minimal for people and we are forced to settle because of it. I myself have been dropped from multiple providers and forced to go through the enrollment process all over again solely because the provider had decided to pull out of the state. In 2018 there are only six providers in Florida people can enroll with. Six from a massive industry that quite frankly cares more about profits than actually helping people. This is just unacceptable. Now there are pros to the legislation such as providers not being able to deny individuals due to preexisting conditions, free preventative care and no limits on lifetime benefits. We should build on these points to create a healthcare system that puts the people first. Ultimately healthcare should be a right. We have been proactive about taking care of our children and seniors which we should not only absolutely continue to do so, but expand on. Ultimately, we all should be taken care of always without fear because we do not know if we can afford it. Especially if you receive a diagnosis of a potential if not definite terminal illness. The treatments and medications should always be provided with zero profit to anyone in these instances for the sole reason that it is the right thing to do. Now I think we all can agree that medical equipment, hospital construction and maintenance is expensive. We all can agree that people who work in the medical field should be properly compensated as they took the time and invested so much of themselves into saving lives. This all has to be paid for in some way. Whether through government programs, taxes or insurance, the people will pay for it. The Republicans want desperately to repeal this legislation. Repeal is not the answer. We need to work together on a bipartisan solution that ammends the legislation to properly cover the people of this nation and protects them from the business of insurers, but ultimately saves lives. Medicare for all through a single payer system is a popular progressive term that many support. I fully agree that we need to ensure that people are always taken care of when in need without facing financial hardship. I am a huge advocate of a public option at either the state or federal level. I believe our government can offer this to us the same way our children are offered a free education. The debate seems to be how to pay for this. Of course we can raise taxes, create a mandate for everyone similar to what the Affordable Care Act included intially, but I think we can take this a step further by legalizing recreational marijuana and using the profits from that to contribute to if not fully fund a public option. By doing this we can reallocate funds used to tackle this in law enforcement, release convicted felons that were tried for non-violent offenses regarding the plant and most importantly regulate and control the substance so it is safe for the consumer versus the street version that can be tainted by other chemicals and substances. We would treat it the same we do tobacco in terms of regulations, sergion general warnings and such. This ultimately is not about marijuana advocacy though. This is about providing free healthcare to people that need it, to remove the corrupt private system we live in today and be leaders in the world on how to protect the health of people.




True Equality for All


It is unfortunate that in this day and age we still have this discussion and we are still looking for solutions on the subject of equality. The honest reality here is we find groups of people in this country with polarizing ideas of how we should be as a society. These oposite ideologies make no progress towards unification. Since they are the most outspoken, both create a sense of animosity and segregation. Do not confuse segregation with diversity. Cultural diversity and education is wonderful. Culturally speaking we have a unique opportunity in this country to learn so much from one another and experience a wide array of sights, tastes, languages and so much more. We must embrace these and so many other factors that make us free thinking people. Not one person is in the position to place judgment or impose their will on another. The only thing we should concern ourselves with is mutual respect, understanding and the amazing opportunity we have as Americans to learn from one another. Racism in every form is real and every ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation has it's fair share of offenders. As much as I would love to say we can abolish that way of thinking, it is just not true. There will always be people that cannot accept others for whatever reason. I do believe it is getting better though. I see constantly an improvement and maturity grow in our society. For all to truly be equal, we must all regard each other as such. The same opportunities should be offered to all on an even playing field where no one person is better than the other and no one has an edge over another through social, gender, sexual preference or racial stature. Until then we will remain divided and nothing will ultimately be accomplished. History is important and we should all be educated on it to prevent us from repeating the mistakes of the past . Fortunately, the history of this nation regarding equality is nothing like it is in our present, nor is it what we aspire to be in our future. We need to fight for true equality for all. I am no better than you. You are no better than me and at the end of the day, we are all just trying to make it.




Immigration through a One World Initiative


Such a potent topic in our country is immigration. This topic especially resonates here in South Florida where a huge number of our population is Hispanic not born in this country. With the current rhetoric in Washington being about separated families, a repeal of DACA, a border wall to blatant discriminatory statements, reform that gives our citizens as well as both documented and undocumented immigrants a sense of trust and security is necessary and well over due. Now I feel that any person not just in this country but in the world should have the right to not only visit wherever they want, but reside and even seek opportunity as well. That is real freedom which is at it's very core what this country stands for. What we cannot be naive of is thinking stricter regulations or physical objects will both keep people out and us safe. First off, if a person really wants to do something they will find a way. Especially if their life depends on it. I have heard so many stories from families and their struggle to come into this country both legally and illegally. Their goal was not to take advantage, but to earn their way through hard work and contributing to our society. These people are only looking for the same opportunities that the ancestors of this nation were seeking, and it would be un-American to deny that to anyone no matter their race, gender, religion or country of origin. The argument of safety is something I have seen exploited instilling fear to further political agendas. This is sad and unacceptable. Now of course we want to be safe. We have been victims of horrible atrocities and have seen other terrible events around the world and we will continue to be diligent in preventing such things. Unfortunately, members of our government have targeted groups of people based solely on their ethnic background and label them in a way that generates fear and animosity in the people. This manipulation is the worst offense and only creates further segregation not just among us Americans, but to the world population. I have also heard so many stories of separated families. This is a common unfortunate circumstance among Hispanic families nationwide and especially here in South Florida where families reside with family abroad in the Carribean or South and Central America like grandparents not being able to see their grandchildren for the first time. Siblings that have not seen each other for years. Aunts and Uncles missing the wedding of their neice or nephew. Of course the Republican response would be if we let them come here then they won't leave and unfortunately given the current way we handle our immigration that is a true statement for some. Then the worst story of all, people being sent back to their country of origin because they were brought here as children and those children grew up, created the only life they know here as an American no different than the rest of us, but are treated like they are disposable. So how do we fix all of this? How do we reunite families without the few that would exploit that opportunity taking advantage of it? How do we embrace the people that were brought here as children and assure them they are safe and the United States is their home? There has to be a better way. I believe and hope we can get to a place that through proper vetting and documentation we can unite people and set a new standard for the world to follow like so many other American innovations. Though many may find this to be an unrealistic lofty goal, take a moment to see the opportunity. By removing the complexities of an immigrant making their way into the United States we remove the majority if not entirely illegal entrance into the nation. They could pay an entrance fee and be entered into our system so if they seek employment they will pay taxes like the rest of the citizens of this country. True contribution versus illegal employment where there is no contribution from that immigrant into the system. Like I mentioned, the majority of these people with the desire to make a life in America are not only extremely humble and thankful, but they would willingly embrace a fair, honest and legal approach. We must continue to fight for the rights and freedoms of everyone with a goal to unite us all both at home and abroad. Not for any other reason than because it is the right thing to do. This is my One World Initiative.





PAID FOR BY STEPHEN KORKA
7641 PINES BLVD.
PEMBROKE PINES, FL 33024
©2018 STEPHEN KORKA | ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
FOR ALL MEMBERS OF THE MEDIA PLEASE EMAIL media@stephenkorka.com