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5
Sep

Chapter Evolution 1997-2024

                                                                                             

When I began writing in October of 1997, it was not clear what the book would become. I started with sentences that made sense. Sentences became paragraphs, paragraphs became pages, and pages became chapters. Those chapters, or essays in the Ideas for America series have evolved for 2.7 decades. Below are the top chapter updates since 2012. 

1. Chapter Six: Securing and Maximizing Social Security Whereas Chapter 6 of the 2012 edition of Ideas for America focused on the federal budget as a whole, an article in the Portland Press Herald by Laura Davison Bloomberg on the precarious future of Social Security in 2021 inspired the new chapter focus on Social Security: “Chapter 6: Securing and Maximizing Social Security”. In 2023 the fourteen page chapter  also saw the integration of a piece about the scheduled rise in annual federal interest payments. After studying federal numbers for much of the summer of 2023, including An Update to the Budget Outlook: 2023-2033, by the Congressional Budget Office, it became clear a page or two on these payments was necessary. Massachusetts is an average sized state, so a $1 trillion increase in federal interest payments means about $20 billion per year for Massachusetts.

                                                     A Few Things are Unclear 

a. The effect that an increase in interest rates would have on annual federal interest payments. 

b. If, when and how the $20 billion increase in payments per average sized state will change the flow of money in Massachusetts. 

c. How increased federal interest payments will or will not affect funding of Social Security. 

    Schedule of Federal Annual Interest Payments

      2020 $345 Billion

      2025 $775 Billion

      2030 $1.165 Trillion

      2033 $1.44 Trillion

      After That:  See Congressional Budget Office reports

                                                      

2. Support the Disabled, Support the Economy The 2012 of Ideas for America: Let the Sun In profiled successful business models. However, COVID-19 and the subsequent collapse of a few sectors of the Massachusetts economy inspired the transition to a four page chapter that focuses on support of the disabled in Massachusetts. 

3. Massachusetts Farming The 2012 Ideas for America included a few pages about existing, successful models of farming. However, a multi-media piece by Megan Ottolini in the Boston Herald that spoke of 500 dying Massachusetts farms changed that chapter forever. The four page section on MA farms now profiles both challenges farms face, and some existing, successful models of support.