Telling The People What They Should Hear

In April, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump both made campaign appearances in West Virginia and eastern Kentucky in the region known as “coal country”. For the past decade, the economy in “coal country” has been in a prolonged slump with many coal mines closed and many coal miners unemployed. Both candidates appealed for votes in that chronically depressed region. 

Donald Trump told those unemployed coal miners that if he is elected the next President, the coal mines would be open again and that boom times would return. He promised to overturn the environmental regulations imposed by the Clean Power Act that mandated lower emissions from power plants. He was cheered by the people in coal country.  

Hillary Clinton told those unemployed coal miners that the world is moving away from coal as a source of energy and that it is very unlikely that those jobs in the coal mines would ever return. She said that the government should be providing more opportunities for those coal miners to learn new skills so they could find new jobs in the 21st century economy. She said that the future is not with coal, but with alternate sources of “clean” energy generated through wind, solar and geothermal. She was booed by those people in coal country. 

But the truth is that the world is moving away from coal as a source of energy. It was reported in The Guardian last week that for the first time in more than 100 years Great Britain generated zero energy from coal. In the United States, power plants are converting old coal fired plants to natural gas. Because of new technology, natural gas is more plentiful and cheaper than coal. It also is much cleaner and more energy efficient than coal. In addition, nuclear power is getting another look as a source of energy. 

Another promising source of energy is wind power. Already Denmark is generating all of its electrical power through wind energy. Other nations are doing the same and generating more of their energy through wind power. Here in the United States since 2010, more new jobs have been created in the wind power industry than have been lost in the coal industry. 

Solar energy is also becoming more important as a source of energy. Saudi Arabia is investing heavily in the development of solar energy. They realize that there is only so much oil beneath their country and since Saudi Arabia is in a desert, they have plenty of sunlight. Solar cells today are far more efficient and better than those from the 1970s. In many parts of the nation, solar energy is becoming an important source of energy. 

The reality is that the world is moving away from coal with or without the United States leading the way. Other nations will take the lead in developing new and cleaner sources of energy if the United States does not step up on its own. If anyone believes that if Donald Trump is elected President that he would reverse the trends away from coal in the next four years, then there is a bridge in New York that is for sale. 

But Hillary Clinton told those coal miners what they should be hearing; that the world is changing and that they must change with it. She told them that it might take some readjustment and that should she become the next President, she would do whatever she could to bring new jobs to coal country and that it may be painful readjusting to new sources of energy. For that she was booed. 

But Hillary Clinton told those coal miners what they needed to hear, while Donald Trump told them what they wanted to hear. Telling the voters what they want to hear rather than what they should be hearing is called pandering and often leads to big disappointment when those promises cannot be kept. 

There is an old surfing expression that goes “either ride the wave or get swept away with the tide.” That surfing expression certainly applies to those coal miners in Appalachia. They need to get on and “ride the wave” of a changing world as far as generating energy or if they continue to cling to the past, they will certainly get “swept away with the tide”.  

Lee Kamps

Lee has been working with Medicare, Medicaid and private health insurance since he began working at the Erie County Welfare Department in January 1973 where a major part of his job was determining eligibility for Medicaid. He went into the private insurance business in 1977 with Prudential Insurance Company and within a short time had become one of the company’s top sales agents. In 1982, he was promoted into management where he managed two field offices and as many as thirteen sales agents. After leaving Prudential in 1986, Lee decided to become more focused on health insurance and employee benefits. He has advised many local employers on how to have a more cost effective employee benefit program as well as conducted employee benefit meetings and enrollments for many area employers. The companies Lee has worked with ranged from small “mom and pop” businesses to local operations of large national companies. Lee received his B.S. degree from Kent State University where he has been active in the local alumni association. He has completed seven of the ten courses toward the Certified Employee Benefit Specialist designation. He has taught courses in employee benefits and insurance at Cleveland State University and local community colleges. In addition, Lee is an experienced and accomplished public speaker. He has been a member of Toastmasters International where he achieved the designation of “Able Toastmaster – Silver” in 1994. He has also served as a club president, Area Governor and District Public Relations Officer in Toastmasters as well as winning local speech contests. Lee has also been a member of the Greater Cleveland Growth Association’s Speaker’s Bureau where he was designated as one of the “official spokespeople for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame” prior to the hall’s opening in 1995. He has given talks and presentations before many audiences including civic organizations, AARP chapters and many other community groups. With the implementation of the Medicare Modernization Act (Medicare drug bill) in 2006, Lee has shifted his focus to Medicare and helping Medicare beneficiaries navigate the often confusing array of choices and plans available. As an independent representative, Lee is not bound to any one specific company or plan, but he can offer a plan that suits an individual person’s needs and budget. In addition, Lee is well versed in the requirements and availability of various programs for assistance with Medicare part D as well as Medicaid. While he cannot make one eligible, he can assist in the process and steer one to where they may be able to receive assistance.

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Volume 8, Issue 6, Posted 12:50 PM, 06.03.2016