Jim Brown

Jim Brown

Jim Brown is a Louisiana legislator, Secretary of State and Insurance Commissioner.  

Website URL: http://JimBrownla.com

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Did you hear the news? The Louisiana legislature has passed new laws that will dramatically reduce your automobile insurance rates.  By 25% says the insurance commissioner. And by the end of the year. Wow! I can hardly wait to spend my savings. Well, don’t hold your breath.

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I don’t know about you, but I sure am confused about all this current debate over gender equity, gay rights, and transgenders, especially with new rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court.  I keep reading in the newspaper about LGBT. I had to look up the lettering to even know what the abbreviation means. Being “politically correct” has become an obsession with much of the country as well as right here at home in Louisiana.

 

Republicans just a few weeks ago were scouring major cities across the country to find a new location for their national convention, scheduled for mid-August. The GOP had originally planned to congregate in Charlotte North Carolina, but the governor set extremely strict standards for any type of large gathering.  President Trump seems dead set on going to a more friendly environment.  New Orleans was   initially in the running.

There is a huge financial stake involved, with some 40,000 conventioneers projected to be attendance at wherever the location may be. The economic impact is estimated to be well over $200 million. Such conventions prove to be a huge financial generator for hotels, restaurants, cab drivers, bars and a whole host of local of entertainment options the fuel the local economy of any convention city.

Friday, 12 June 2020 15:18

Louisiana history AIN'T DERE NO MORE

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It looks like it’s time to get out the soap powder in Louisiana and the rest of the nation. In protests all over the country, there is a growing call for the banishment of whatever tattered remnants are left from the aftermath of the Civil War. Not just flags, but monuments, names, Dukes of Hazzard, Aunt Jemima syrup, Uncle Ben’s rice, Gone with the Wind, they all gotta go. The cultural cleansing in the Bayou state has begun.

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 Assuming in this strange day and age, we still have political conventions this year, no one at this stage is sure just how the process will work. The old process of picking national candidates in the proverbial smoke-filled room has gone by the wayside in favor of party primaries. In the old days, candidates would spend years wooing state party leaders, who would then select delegates and tell them whom to support.

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House Democrats in congress can now vote and participate in committee hearings remotely.  It was a good move that should have been adopted years ago. Is it necessary for members of Congress to spend most of their time in Washington?   In 2020, why can’t lawmakers use the new technology of telecommunications to create a “virtual Congress?”

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The coronavirus epidemic has raised a troubling apprehension in Louisiana and in many other states across the country. There seems to be a devaluation of older citizens. I’m in that number of older folks, and there appears to be ample evidence that older citizens are often the victims of an entrenched epidemic-the too often lack of concern for our older population.

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The coronavirus epidemic has raised a troubling apprehension in Louisiana and in many other states across the country. There seems to be a devaluation of older citizens. I’m in that number of older folks, and there appears to be ample evidence that older citizens are often the victims of an entrenched epidemic-the too often lack of concern for our older population.

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Who could have ever imagined that our lives would so dramatically change by a virus that just a few months ago was dismissed by our leaders as a minor problem that really would not affect our lives that much?  A little social distancing and we will all be back to normal in no time.  How wrong they were.

I turned 80 years old this month.  It seemed like my life had peaked, but I was ready for the long and relaxing ride back down.  I looked forward to enjoying my later years and be on this side of troubled waters.  But now, I’m not so sure.

Most of us are aware that our democracy is not the perfect form of government.  But we still believe that few other countries come close to our freedoms, benefits, and opportunities.  Our country is special, and we take pride in being prepared for whatever difficulties we face.  America cannot and should not have to rely on any other country for help in the time of a major crisis.  Churchill said it well back in 1934.

“We cannot afford to confide the safety of our country

To the passions or the panic of any foreign nation which may

Be facing some desperate crisis.  We must be independent.

We must be free.  We must preserve our full latitude and

Discretion of choice.”

I don’t think the blame game helps, but the fact remains that our country needs better preparation for future epidemics.  But it often comes down to tax dollars.  Current financial needs often are given priority over long-range planning for future catastrophes.  I made the same arguments for a major federal response to a Katrina-like catastrophe when I proposed and testified in Congress for the immediate need of a National Disaster Relief program back in 1995.  A similar proposal was part of my detailed Brown Papers where I outlined such a need in my race for governor back in 1987.  Such suggestions were put on the back burner and never revived.

And what about all these food pantry lines?  Millions of people across the country wait for hours to get a box of canned goods.  Yet while so many Americans go hungry, farmers are plowing up ripe fruits and vegetables, and milk is being dumped in waste pits.  There are congressional proposals for a major distribution program through the Department of Agriculture.

Why not eliminate all the bureaucracy, help our grocery stores, and just enlarge the food stamp program that is built around a private business structure already set up to distribute food?  Let those in need just go to their local grocery stores.  Why not let those who qualify and need food use SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) to buy groceries even online if necessary.  Why abandon a workable program that makes use of the private sector?

This current pandemic is not going away soon.  I know that many people are fed up with what they feel are draconian stay-at-home restrictions.  But we are being naive if there is a feeling that life will return to the old normal in the not too distant future.  There could well be a second wave of the virus, and a vaccine is most likely many months away.

We need to balance such caution with the realization that our economy is stuck in an induced coma, and needs to rebound so people can get back to work. And our kids need an education. Finding the right balance is the single biggest challenge facing our political leaders in Washington. 

 There’s a new normal yet to be determined. Many folks might not like it, but guess what?  The coronavirus doesn’t give a darn.  We are just going to have to face this fact.

Peace and Justice

Jim Brown

Jim Brown’s syndicated column appears in numerous newspapers throughout the state and on websites worldwide.  You can read all his past columns and see continuing updates at http://www.jimbrownusa.com.  





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In the first primary governor’s race here in the Bayou State, incumbent John Bel Edwards looked to be on the verge of a first primary victory.  Then at the last minute, the President blew into the state. It made a huge difference, and now Edwards is in the political fight of his life being challenged by political newcomer and Trump ally Eddie Rispone.

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