I posted a long comment to Barak Obama's blog in response to a call for suggestions for his agenda.
"As a Chicagoan and long time Illinois resident (and entrepreneur) I am very pleased with your election, though disappointed with the national results overall.
I think it is very important that Democracts offer constructive, positive alternatives to the proposals that Republicans (and especially the Bush Whitehouse) will try to get pushed through Congress. Without being "snowed" (as it appears may have partially happened with the 'no child left behind' bills) it is very important that bi-partisan alternatives are presented, and there are some moderate, centrist Republicans who might be swayed just enough to enact a few of them.
Priority issues for me:
- Progressive healthcare options, such as allowing small businesses to buy into group plans make economic, fiscal and political sense.
- Deep engagement with the whole world, not just one or two current hot spots - and looking for ways to use all the tools at the US's disposal, not just military force (and especially looking at ways to get greater involvement from other countries in the overall global security - steps such as getting the EU to accept Turkey come to ming, but also looking towards ways to change the framework of our relations with emerging global powers such as India and China - look at what Thomas Barnett has been writing about for some great ideas.)
- Work carefully on Tax Reforms. Steps to eliminate ALL special exemptions, especially from corporate taxes - perhaps in exchange for a lower (but harder to avoid) rate would help elminimate a significent portion of the pork, lower costs across the board and free up lots of resources and energy to work on more wide ranging methods. Agricultural subsidies, which here in Illinois the home of ArcherDanials Midland could be a hot button issue are a very critical part of this - and one with geopolitical importance as well as domestic.
- On that issue, subsidies such as Ethanol and protectionist steps around suger vs. corn syrup have a very wide range of global and domestic impacts. Ethanol is a mostly wasteful distraction (and major subsidy for a few large agribusinesses) compared with demands for higher fuel efficiency or steps to support dense urban development and public transit. Corn Syrup subsidies again support a few major agribusinesses (while hurting dozens if not hundreds of other US businesses that pay higher prices for sugar which they would prefer to use). They also likely contribute to domestic issues such as poor health and obesity since corn syrup digests differently than sugar (some studies seem to show that people sense that they are full more slowly - so they consume more soft drinks for example)
- Public Transit. A very critical issue here in Chicago - and one that is critical nationwide in the effort to get people out of suburbs and back into dense, urban areas. Especially if combined with fewer investments in poorly thought out and environmentally wasteful road development, public transit should be emphsized and celebrated.
I look forward to the next six years (and hope for many more great years to come from Barak and other new leaders like him)