Category Archives: Letters

Message From New Supporter on Twitter, March 25, 2020

One of my new #FL6 supporters/voters on Twitter wrote this:

“I know who I’ll be voting for to replace Michael Waltz #FL06

Learn more about Richard Thripp here:

And here’s where you can donate to his campaign if you’ve been lucky enough to not have your finances corona-crashed.”

My response:

Thank you!! I appreciate your support & votes: 8/18 Democratic primary & 11/03/2020 general, or vote-by-mail / early voting. Voters in Volusia and Flagler counties, and St. Johns County south of SR 207 + Hastings & the northeast part of Lake County, vote for Richard Thripp. #FL6

I encourage even my Republican friends & neighbors to vote for me in November rather than the incumbent corporatist who lives OUTSIDE #FL6.

My future staff & I will be proactive helping constituents w/ federal agencies, including a NEW district office in mid-town Daytona Beach.

March 25, 2020: I just received $50 from a contributor in Palm Coast, FL. Thank you so much! I believe we can flip #FL6 blue. 2020 is special.

Donate to Richard Thripp's Campaign

On the Wawa Gas Station in Ormond Beach, FL, Slaughter of Oak Trees, True Costs of Environmental Damage, and Corporate Welfare

This is an email I wrote to Marty Price, President of the Ormond Beach Democratic Club, regarding a comment he made on the new Wawa gas station in Ormond Beach, FL and our recent radio appearances on Big John WELE AM 1380 THE CAT in Ormond Beach.

Nicely done, Marty! I listened to you on the air (1380 AM radio). I also called in before you went on and discussed my candidacy. I’ve copied a few people on this email and written a perspective you may not have thought of, below.

I will say one thing about when Ormond Beach Democratic Club president Marty Price said “we don’t need another gas station” on March 16, 2020 on WELE 1380 AM The Cat with Big John. (This is in regards to the new Wawa gas station on W. Granada Blvd. and Tomoka Ave. in Ormond Beach, FL.) When you say this, you’ll get pushback from Republicans and “free”-market advocates. They will say: Obviously we do need it, because Wawa has decided to put a gas station there and believes the free market demands it (i.e., it will be profitable). However, there is an excellent rebuttal to this argument. When Wawa slaughters 2,000 oak trees and doesn’t have to pay for it, they are receiving massive corporate welfare. They aren’t paying for the ecological, atmospheric, and environmental costs. They aren’t paying the correct amount for the damage they are doing, including increased taxpayer costs due to drainage issues on neighboring parcels.

The business of selling gasoline is further subsidized because there is a high cost in respect to CO2 emissions that is not priced in. ExxonMobil already did secret research on this decades ago and estimated, adjusted for inflation, that there would be a need for approximately a $75 per tonne carbon tax in present dollars. That’s 68¢ per gallon of gas that no one is paying. If Wawa had to pay the actual costs of putting a gas station in Ormond Beach, their calculus might change and they might not have done it.

Another thing not priced into our economy: The public and individual medical costs, as well as loss of life, due to COVID-19 (coronavirus). If Disney World and the proprietors of Bike Week had to pay the resultant medical costs due to being open for business, and for wrongful deaths that may ensue due to a growing pandemic that will strain our healthcare system resulting in triage of care, I can guarantee you they would have closed or canceled MUCH earlier. As Democrats, we are not asking for disastrous central planning and command-and-control economies. We advocate for well-regulated free markets, small businesses, capitalism, and American ingenuity, innovation, and hard work. We advocate for fairness. We need to end corporate welfare, subsidies, tax breaks, and privilege for large corporations and wealthy individuals. When Walmart’s employees receive food stamps and Medicaid, Walmart should pay for that.

Best regards,
Dr. Richard Thripp
Progressive Democrat for U.S. Congress (#FL6) | Twitter | Facebook | Calendar | Donate

Letter to Elizabeth Warren Asking Her to Endorse Bernie Sanders

I sent this to Elizabeth Warren on March 6, 2020 via her contact form. Please share.

Hi Dr. Warren,

I’m writing to ask you to endorse Bernie Sanders. I look up to your work with the CFPB. I did my dissertation on preservice teacher financial knowledge and was inspired by you and others to run for Congress here in Florida’s 6th district, championing universal healthcare, climate action, and making our society equitable again in light of unprecedented privilege and wealth stratification. Joe Biden is not the right candidate, neither to guide us toward these ends nor to beat Donald Trump. Wall Street is lining up for Joe. Health insurance stocks are soaring following his blow-out performance on Super Tuesday. I implore you—your agenda is Bernie’s agenda and the agenda of the American people, and he needs all the help he can get. As a 28-year old husband and father to a precious 1-year-old baby boy, I know that Bernie is, at this point, our only hope toward a Green New Deal that can save our children’s future by putting American might behind green technologies to dramatically reduce costs via economies of scale that will spread worldwide to make fossil fuels unprofitable, even without addressing their atmospheric costs. Bernie needs your endorsement NOW, before the next round of primaries on March 10, 2020. His presidency will make a tremendous difference for downtrodden, disadvantaged, and forgotten Americans, as well as people worldwide, including our young people, girls and women, people of color, those with disabilities, and the financially disadvantaged. Thank you for reading.

Dr. Richard Thripp

On Medicare for All As a Single-Payer System, B.S. Jobs, Agriculture, and the Physician Shortage

This is from an email I wrote to friends discussing Medicare for All as a single-payer system, bullshit jobs, agriculture, and the physician shortage.

I have endorsed Medicare for All (M4A) as a single-payer system rather than public option. I think it would be harder to raise revenue for it as a public option. Companies offering subsidized private insurance probably would not be asked to pay the 7.5% employer payroll tax that Bernie Sanders has proposed, for instance. I’m largely endorsing Bernie Sanders’s version which is universal healthcare for all. Clint (my Democratic primary opponent for Florida’s 6th Congressional district) has “Medicare Available to All” on his website so I presume that means a public option?

Basically, M4A single-payer is like a huge self-insurance program backed by the full faith and credit of the United States. Medicaid seems comparable, but even then you still have to pick 1 of 4 plans in our area (UnitedHealthcare Community Plan, Molina, etc.). Bernie’s plan has no co-pays, co-insurance, deductibles, or premiums, except for a small co-pay on prescription drugs. There would still be out-of-pocket doctors such as most plastic surgery and orthodontic treatment. Doctors could still opt out of M4A entirely like they do now with insurance. (I have not double-checked this but I can’t see them being forced to participate if they just want customers willing to pay out-of-pocket such as those who cater to the rich.)

Our healthcare system can be framed so many ways. I think it should be emphasized that this is a domestic humanitarian crisis that has been going on for decades now but is getting worse. Some estimates are that 50,000 Americans die a year due to lack of healthcare access. Many more are financially disadvantaged. With Medicare for All, we can really help the American people and take away one of the great burdens of living in this country. It’s also a golden opportunity to increase the focus on preventative medicine including exercise, nutrition, and routine checks. I would even like to see farm bills come out of Congress that stop or reduce subsidies (about $15 billion a year) to massive farms growing unhealthful foods such as corn and soy. Only 3% of American cropland is used for fruits, nuts, and vegetables, which is much less than would occur without the bizarre subsidy system encouraging outrageous amounts of corn being grown as feed, ethanol, and high fructose corn syrup.

Shenkar Vedantam did an interesting episode of the Hidden Brain podcast on “bullshit” jobs. The guest, David Graeber, has gained a lot of traction writing about jobs that are often well-paid, but basically pointless. It’s not employees’ fault that they get roped into this sort of uninspiring, unfulfilling, nonsensical work, but that doesn’t mean it can go on forever. This kind of work is a drain on the economy. I also advocate for the IRS pre-filling tax returns for people based on incoming data (W2s, 1099s, etc.), and offering a competing online tax filing platform, for free. TurboTax and H&R Block receive a lot of unnecessary payments from the American people, and until recently TurboTax was tricking people into using the wrong version and then forcing them to pay or make a new account through the free-file link and re-key all data.

I know this will make a lot of people very upset, but the sprawling insurance / billing industry has a parasitic impact on our overall economy. Bernie Sanders’s plan includes a high level of funding to temporarily pay people working in this industry and help them transition to some other line of work. At least they won’t have to worry about health insurance. I know many readers will fire back that the government has lots of bullshit jobs, and I think those should be cut wherever they are. Some argue Trump is doing this, but of course he’s not—he cuts many jobs that are quite necessary and fires competent people to replace them with sycophants. The State department has been sacked, which is quite short-sighted. The CDC isn’t prepared for coronavirus due to key funding and personnel having been cut. Also, there are plenty of unnecessary jobs in large corporations as well. As an aside, I would hit back at the McKinsey-sponsored view that middle management should be sacked and control consolidated in favor of a special class of CEOs and other high-paid executives that float around between businesses in many different industries. I would also mention that more rural hospitals are closing in states that refused the ACA expansion of Medicaid. M4A could be a net benefit to the healthcare industry. I think we need to address the whole educational pipeline too—it’s crazy that we have only 1.1 million MDs/DOs compared to 1.35 million lawyers in this country, and that I was fully taxpayer funded as a PhD student but medical students must pay huge amounts and then endure grueling, low-paid residencies. Advanced nurses should also be allowed more autonomy to practice without a doctor present.

On Corporate Privilege, Share Buybacks, Trickle-Down Economics, Taxation, and Anti-Competitive Actions

My response to a commentator arguing for trickle-down economics and against corporate taxation, and claiming he could not think of examples where a large corporation bullied small businesses, and claimed not to recall or understand instances when Walmart would sell at a loss to drive small businesses under:

Dr. Lt. Col. [Name], a scholar, helicopter pilot, military tactician, and financial advisor, can’t think of an example of big companies bullying small companies? Doesn’t understand markets? I’m having a hard time believing this.

Your questions and statements can be easily researched online and answered or discredited. Corporations avoid taxes all the time.

The Walmart story is well-known and you must have been living under a rock if you didn’t hear about it. It goes back to 1993 at least. They would sell certain items at a loss until local shops went out of business, and then raise their prices back up. This isn’t capitalist, but rather anti-competitive and unfair.

Corporations do not go to their customers directly to raise additional funds to pay taxes. They have the money, and the successful corporations do something with it. Being flush with cash, many are buying back shares… and executives coordinate the share buybacks so they can sell their shares at a high price, and this is legal. Meanwhile, many such corporations are paying low wages and bullying cities like Deltona (Amazon warehouse) into tax breaks when they could be paying higher wages or at least covering their employees’ Medicaid and food stamps. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could unionize cities, counties, and states nationwide to say no to bullying for tax breaks like Amazon having a phony competition for their 2nd headquarters on who can offer them the most taxpayer subsidies?

The idea that tax breaks lower costs to consumers is pretty rich. If consumers are willing to pay a certain price for an item or service, the price won’t come down either way.

“More money to give to their employees and stock holders”—really? They will raise pay to employees only if they must to compete for labor. You can’t argue for trickle-down economics, which is the idea that the market is fair and will take care of itself benefitting the 99% by eliminating taxes for the 1% and top corporations (which is corporate welfare for them as they are still benefiting from the USA’s many resources and public items such as financial markets, roads, natural resources, education, and so forth). Trickle-down economics has been empirically discredited.

If anything, the stock holders benefit the most, and it’s really getting tacked onto the national debt as the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act of 2017 was a total robbery to benefit big corporations and share holders. And, as you know, I’m a big advocate for owning pieces of the big corporations via index mutual funds, but half of Americans own no stocks, and you shouldn’t need to just to get a rebate from the U.S. Treasury.

Also, your idea that more consumption is good is under severe pressure in light of the climate crisis, which you cannot discount as a retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army. The U.S. military knows the climate crisis is happening and they are making all sorts of preparations.

It’s pretty crazy that the United States is only 4% of the world population yet is home to 55% of publicly traded corporations by valuation. Given our immense wealth and prosperity, it’s crazy we are not investing in the American people by funding their medical care and education, at the very least. When you wonder why the young people are upset, or scoff at their preferred presidential candidate (Bernie Sanders), try to see things from our perspective and question the underlying assumptions that we have all been inculcated with.