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Something to Think About

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT

Steve Sauder is president of Emporia's Radio Stations, Inc. the owners of KVOE-AM 1400, Country 101.7 and Mix 104.9. Steve has been in a leadership position with ERS, Inc., since 1987.

May 10, 2017

My plan to today was to help clarify some of the questions about health insurance, but as I compiled ideas it became obvious there is so much information available it is almost impossible to offer anything factual without an opposite idea being available.

So, let me discuss one major facet of the healthcare debate – pre-existing conditions. This is not an endorsement of any plan or change, just something to think about!

ObamaCare addresses pre-existing conditions, but not without difficult questions.

Herman Cain ran for president four plus years ago and now writes a blog. Not sure Cain is an authority, but his thoughts were at least interesting: He wrote:

“One thing that will help a lot is if people realize what a bunch of bullfeathers they’re being fed with this whole business about pre-existing conditions. ObamaCare requires that people with pre-existing conditions who don’t already have insurance be allowed to sign up for it, and be charged premiums no different than those who are totally healthy. While this sounds wonderfully compassionate, it goes completely against everything that makes the economics of insurance work – which is why it’s been one of the leading drivers of soaring premiums since ObamaCare took effect.”

Cain likes the “high risk pools” idea, letting the states be involved and funding the losses by taxpayers.

While my understanding is admittedly limited the strategy here is to carve out those who are sick, but without insurance and let taxpayers finance their care rather than it being a burden on people who already were paying for health insurance.

There are arguments both ways, but for me if we as a nation truly desire to provided insurance for people with pre existing conditions it makes sense to have tax payers cover the losses rather than penalizing those of us who already pay premiums.

Yesterday I heard Senator Bill Cassidy a Republican from Louisiana tell  the Morning Joe just the opposite – that pre-existing costs should be spread over all who purchase health insurance!

My question is this: If paying for pre-existing condition coverage is “the leading driver of soaring premiums” why wouldn’t we choose a different path?

          I’m Steve Sauder

          

May 3, 2017

            My mother convinced me to try Debate in high school. It was a great experience.

            Each debate starts with a question. My first one was something like: Resolved: the Federal Government of the United States should provide significantly more support for public education.

            After stating the question the affirmative speaker defines “Terms.”

            In the 1962 question I defined: Federal Government, United States, public education and the Federal Reduced Lunch Program. The last one because it was a part of my “Plan” to solve the problem.

            Let’s fast forward to today.

            Maybe the debate question might be: Resolved: the Republican and Democratic Parties shall be required to disclose the source of all their funding.

            Here’s my point.

            How could you define what is a Republican or Democrat?

            In both Kansas and the USA we have gridlock in our legislative process because neither party stands for any one thing which can be explained.

            How many factions are there in the Republican Party? The Democrats in Kansas are not so split, but on the federal level they are certainly anything but united. Will Rogers’ old thought that he didn’t belong to an organized political party because he was a Democrat is very apt today.

            Another word worth defining is Polarization. It means “a sharp division into opposing factions often on the extreme.”

            This, my friends is public enemy number one in both Kansas and Washington. Elected officials who are so committed to their ideals they are unwilling to even consider compromises that might well be best for their constituents. 

            In Kansas we’ve been constrained by the conservative Brownback led majority that is hopefully about to meet its’ match.

            In Washington the polarization is of a unique nature. Donald Trump has his supporters and he continues to play to them and keep them happy despite a lack of real progress in areas that require more than his group’s support to accomplish.

If President Trump wants long term success he will need to find a way to get some bi-partisan support. So far he’s doubled down at every opportunity to keep the polarization alive. That’s unfortunate.

            Defining the terms in my day as a high school debater was easy. Today it might not be possible.

            I’m Steve Sauder

April 26, 2017

         In a recent Face Book post a local mom said, "Not that Parker will go on to be a college athlete; however, if he gets an opportunity, I hope it is because he is versatile. April has been crazy with soccer (3 times a week), baseball (2 times a week), 7th grade basketball (2 times a week) and spring league basketball (2 times a week)... and don't forget tournaments on weekends."

          She went on "I know some parents may say, you are over doing it."

          Well, this youngster is certainly busy, but if he's on board and his grades are satisfactory he's living a great life for a 12 year old. Critics probably wouldn't object if the activities were dance, theater and Spanish or some other combination.

          Point being it is important to give kids the chance to try more than one activity.

          A few years ago a friend told his son was really good at baseball, but baseball took too much of their time. That was disappointing!

          Parents need to listen. Eight, nine or ten years old kids aren't ready to choose a single sport or activity - they need to try as many as possible.

          Kids will let you know when they are not interested.

          When my number 2 was five he was overmatched at 40 pounds against 8 year olds and after awhile he said -"wrestle, wrestle, wrestle - lose, lose, lose."

          That was eye opening! TJ practiced the rest of the year but didn't compete. Later he fell in love with wrestling.

          There are many opportunities for kids these days and it is a shame when mom and dad don’t let their youngsters take advantage. Life lessons from outside activities plus school make for well rounded adults.

          We enjoyed a great winter with our oldest grandson excelling in wrestling. His team won the high school state championship and he placed in his weight class. A few weeks later he became a state champion in the Kansas Kids competition. This was all pretty special for me.

          Then last week I'm in Manhattan and Tate has a baseball game at four. When I get there he is not in the line up. Brady had warned me he might not play in the first game, so I settled in. Manhattan won the game 5-3. I talked to Tate between games and learned he wasn't starting game 2 either.

          Fact is he didn't play at all, but hustled after foul balls, cheered his team on and wasn't too upset after the game. He told me Manhattan had been swept earlier by the same team and his coach was playing to win.

          So he got the question I had asked his dad when Brady was an 8th grader after he didn't get to play in a football game.

          Would rather have played and lost or have not played but won both games?

          After some thought Tate smiled and said "both ways!"

          He said was "okay" with not playing because he knew the other players had earned the right to play.

          Life lessons learned for both of us on a day when I got watch my grandson NOT play in a baseball game! This too was special!

          I'm Steve Sauder.

April 19, 2017

This past year has provided some of the most amazing and surprising finishes in major events in our history.

          It starts with LaBron James making good on his promise to the city of Cleveland as he led his Cavaliers to an unreal comeback from a 3-1 deficit over the record setting Warriors with a triple double in game seven.

          In October the laughable Chicago Cubs ended over a hundred years of frustration as a roller-coaster of emotions spilled out in a game 7 that lasted almost five hours, featuring some wacky plays, a blown four-run lead, a 17-minute rain delay and some 10th inning heroics that sealed the deal. It too was after trailing in the series by a 3-1 margin to the Cleveland Indians!

          When talking about amazing and unexpected results the election of Donald Trump in November is a classic!

The 2017 Super Bowl will go down as one of the best title games in NFL history. The New England Patriots overcame a 25-point third-quarter deficit to knock off the Atlanta Falcons 34-28 in the first-ever overtime Super Bowl. Many think it's the greatest sports comeback in history.

With all those surprising events from the past 12 months in our history we were set up last week to observe the most amazing and surprising event ever in the world and that would be Easter.

The crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ will always be without question the most amazing and surprising event in our history.

Can you imagine how this event might have been covered had there been cable news networks and social media back in those days?

          Scholars today cannot agree if Jesus predicted his own fate, but he was recorded as describing himself as the “dying and rising Messiah.”

          Jesus was outspoken in his time but news traveled so slowly only a few really knew of him. Had there been today’s coverage – well it’s hard to imagine what might have transpired.

          What would the Vegas odds have been on a man suggesting he would rise from the dead?

          The Good News is he did! Jesus rose and his resurrection gives us all hope for a new life and new beginning. That’s the message of Easter and while it’s doubtful you’ll be thinking of that during the Royal’s next amazing comeback, you can – because Easter gives everyone a second chance!

          I’m Steve Sauder

April 12, 2017

The administration of Donald Trump is nearing 100 days. That’s about the same time since my last “Something to Think About.” Guess that makes talking about President Trump logical?

          It’s often said discussing leaders is interesting. To say that about our new President is of course a massive understatement.

          His style is different from any other president, so some say we should have expected disruption and some degree of chaos. One pundit said - who the President fires is more important than who he hires and failures and mistakes are an accepted part of any successful entrepreneur’s activities. Adding most new ventures have to “fake it until they make it” to succeed.

          President Trump takes all those ideas to the max and seems to have an inability to walk back or own any of his mistakes.

          I didn’t vote for him, but I’m certainly not rooting for him to fail.

          I see big problems for President Trump because he tends to exaggerate virtually every thing he talks about and his imagination is so out of proportion to reality it is alarming.

          Entrepreneurs often dream bigger than they can produce, but they also have an ability to walk back or tone down their rhetoric. Mr. Trump has yet to do either. As the questions get more difficult – i.e., Syria, North Korea, Russia and Isis he will need to fix this trait.

          Imagination was code for the truth in my childhood.

          My mom used to say “Stevie, I think you are letting your imagination run wild again!”

          What she meant was I was telling a fib. Her style allowed me to live with my misstatements, but also challenged me on their truthfulness.

          President Trump has a massive problem with the truth and more importantly it appears he doesn’t appear to understand this!

          The size of the crowd at his inauguration or the number of illegal votes cast in the election are not that important in the truth or fiction score, but dealing with Russia, Syria, North Korea and Isis are more than important and we need a leader we can believe.

          Things not true make our President easy prey for the media in a contest that makes both sides look silly!

          President Trump loves to ad lib “believe me.”  

Wow! Of all the stuff he says those 2 words are the most difficult for me to take.

To lead anything and especially the United States of America we must have a leader who we can “believe.”

Thus far Donald Trump has failed that test and with the difficulty of his mission getting more severe each minute he needs to change this immediately.

Please start telling the truth Sir, because we have no future without it!

I’m Steve Sauder

March 29, 2017

Tyler Curtis

Something to Think About

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

March Madness. The Big Dance. Many of us have been enjoying the annual NCAA tournament. The intensity of play during this time of year is unmatched. And true to its name, it can certainly be “maddening” if your team isn’t winning or your bracket is breaking. But even that makes it fun, doesn’t it? Watching a team completely destroy another isn’t nearly as enjoyable as watching a close game full of lead changes, a bad call here and there, and dramatic game winning shots. The Big Dance is about both cheering and yelling - winning and losing.

If I have the chance to select what to view on the household television, odds are that we’ll either have a game on or something political. I like watching sports, and I also enjoy following politics and being involved in political life.

Like March Madness, politics can also be full of “madness” and is downright aggravating at times. Like a great game, politics can be disappointing yet exhilarating, full of emotional swings resulting from both moments of setback and moments of glory.

Recent years have perhaps been more maddening than exciting, though. It seems we’ve allowed our system of politics to replace our system of government; that is, we’ve allowed our political parties and political elections to be the focus of our political culture instead of focusing on the process of policy making and the act of governing.

In politics, the game today is based on the election cycle, not the policy making process. Our culture has moved the game from governmental chambers to ballot boxes, but what do the winners achieve? Merely another opportunity to compete in the next election?

Political candidates certainly have to focus a portion of their attention on winning elections - but that’s when the real game should just be starting - that’s when the winners really go to work.  And that’s not happening. Rather, the winning team gets the parade and victory lap while the loser goes back to find ways to oppose anything the winner wants to move forward between that loss and the next election cycle. So what’s not happening? Policy making. Compromise. In short, governing.

Political parties may be focusing on winning elections, we, the people, end up losing. If we belong to the winning party, we’ve been told we won, but what have we won? When “winners” proceed to narrowly pass legislation staunchly opposed by the “losing” party only to see those policies overturned once that balance of power shifts, then what have we truly won? What progress have we made?

Elections should be a means to an end - a means for electing people who govern - not a game that results in winners and losers who don’t do anything but campaign for the next election. Elections should be the way candidates punch their ticket to the real dance - the Big Dance - the dance of policy making - the dance of governing. That dance requires leadership, and leadership requires listening and learning - cooperation and compromise - give and take - mutual respect and a desire to work toward the common good. One party may lead the dance but the other parties are equally important to ensuring a successful outcome.

As important as it is to vote, it’s equally important to hold our elected officials accountable for action between elections. Even if the candidate you supported didn't win, you still have an elected official representing you. We can’t expect our lawmakers to work as a team if we don’t cheer them on and encourage them to engage in teamwork after taking office.  Do you take the time to respectfully articulate your opinions on policy matters? Do you provide elected officials with both positive and negative feedback?  Do you advocate for compromise? Do you express an expectation that lawmakers work for the common good? Do you let elected officials know that the Big Dance is what happens after the election? 

Ultimately, our political culture mirrors our overall society and its culture. If we don't like what we see, than we have to identify what our part of the mess is.  And that’s certainly something to think about.