Bill Blazar, MN Chamber of Commerce Senior Vice President of Public Affairs and Business Development, presented an excellent discussion on “Immigrants' Contribution to MN's Business Success” at the April 2018 Think Again Brooklyns forum. Senior residents of Maple Grove who heard about the forum suggested that Think Again MN collaborate with the Maple Grove Senior Center to have Bill present the program again at the Maple Grove Community Center.
Kris Orluck, the Senior Program Coordinator for Maple Grove worked with Think Again MN to arrange the forum for September 26, 2018. Think Again MN’s videographer John Risken filmed the presentation so more people could gain the knowledge Bill Blazar shared of the big contribution immigrants are making to MN’s economy and the necessity of reforming U.S. immigration policy. Watch Bill Blazar's excellent presentation accompanied by informative slides on vimeo.
Creating Paths to Citizenship Can
Reduce the Growing National Deficit
As of September 30, 2017, the U.S. budget deficit was $665.7 billion or about 3.5% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). As a result of the tax bill, the budget deficit was expected to rise to $1 trillion in 2019, which is equivalent of about 4.8% of GDP. The U.S. budget that was just passed would increase next year’s deficits to about $1.2 trillion.
How might this big increase in the U.S. budget deficit be reduced? Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Congressional Budget Office Director under President H. W. Bush and currently President of the conservative American Action Forum, concluded in 2013 that increasing the number of immigrants would reduce the federal deficit by about $300 billion per year or by $2.7 trillion over 10 years.
A 2016 Center for American Progress study found that deporting 7 million unauthorized immigrants nationally, about five percent of the U.S. workforce, would amount to a loss of $4.7 trillion in gross domestic product and a loss of $900 billion in federal government revenues. This study concluded that GDP would immediately drop 1.6% and would drop by 2.6% over 10 years. The federal deficit would increase close to a trillion dollars by 2026.
Larry Krasner’s Campaign to End Mass Incarceration
By Jennifer Gonnerman, the New Yorker
October 29, 2018 Issue of the Annals of Justice
A Big Problem in the Cost and Quality of Health Care
Nationally and Here in Minnesota
Medicaid has grown to represent 30% of the typical state budget and is crowding out education, transportation and other needs.
Two thirds of states have outsourced their Medicaid programs to managed care plans rather than have Medicare directly pay doctors and hospitals.
The private plan providers then often refuse to provide the data that would determine whether our tax dollars are being well-used because they regard the data as proprietary information.
Following is an article that gives an example from California. It is an example that applies to patients nationally and has also been experienced by patients in some states who have Medicare Advantage Plans where an insurance company is paid a fixed amount by Medicare for the patient, and then the insurance company is responsible for covering all of the patient's costs
"As Billions In Tax Dollars Flow To Private Medicaid Plans, Who’s Minding The Store?"
By Chad Terhune, Photos by Heidi de Marco October 18, 2018
Hogwash and its Aftermath
"North Carolina is home to the second-largest concentration of pig-raising facilities in the United States (behind only Iowa). The state has more than 2,200 pork CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations) holding more than nine million pigs and more than 3,900 poultry operations. More than 90 percent of that state’s pork production is controlled by just one company: Smithfield. Smithfield’s parent company, the Chinese WH Group, is the largest pork processor in the world and worth $15 billion."
Just prior to Hurricane Florence, manure was overapplied in fields, releasing climate warming nitrous oxide gas into the air. The harm done was not limited to emitting greenhouse gases (GHGs), but the manure was then washed into floodwaters that spread it over a vast terrain. Read the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) article based on research completed last summer by GRAIN and IATP.
Note that MN is also a leading industrial farming state with accompanying huge greenhouse gas emissions, and widespread lake, river, and acquifer pollution, especially in the southern and western areas of the state. The high level of air pollution causes increased health care problems, especially respiratory illness, for people living within two miles of a factory farm.
Hennepin County Transit leaders would like the suggestions of Brooklyn Park residents who bike or walk near the areas where the Bottineau Extention of the Blue Line Light Rail will stop. Attendees who attended the March Think Again Brooklyns forum shared their suggestions for biking and walking routes to LRT Stations and you can too. If you are a biker or walker near any of the future LRT stops, you are likely to have insight into how access to a station can be improved for bikers or walkers.
Before you begin, let me ask you, have you ever seen a bike path along a busy street that rarely has a biker?
Let me give you an example. When we go to doctors' appointments in Abbott Northwestern Hospital or the Phillips Eye Clinic, we park on Portland or Park Avenues. I'm usually careful to check if there is a bicyclist coming along the bike path right next to the parked cars, but I have never seen a bicyclist on either of the avenues. Why is that? Jay Wallsjasper, who has bicycled in cities across the U.S. has answered that in an excellent short article.
Jay Walljasper, November 9, 2017
Jay emphasizes that bike routes need to be safe, and if they aren’t, people won’t use them. Most bikers know that they might not fare so well if someone knocks them over by opening their car door on their right when traffic is going by to their left. Jay includes photos that show how the bike lane should be separated from traffic by a barrier and gives suggestions for making intersections safer for bikers. Read his short article that will give you insight and inspiration for your suggestions and will remind you of the joys of biking around town.