Another Statement on the Climate Crisis

February 16, 2020

I believe the climate crisis is the biggest issue facing humanity, and is a fact rather than a belief or opinion. CO2 is about 50% of the issue when it comes to greenhouse gases, with water vapor, methane, CFCs, and others also contributing. We’ve gone from 280 parts-per-million to 415 in record time—more quickly than what has happened in millions of years if ever to earth on its own. Disasters are already happening. We have climate refugees from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico right here in Central Florida. People are dying of heat, with heat waves occurring in places such as Europe that don’t have air conditioning. As young people we face a harsh future. About half of all CO2 humans have ever emitted has taken place in the past 35 years, and of course there were only 3 billion people in 1960 compared to 7.5 billion now. Emissions continue to climb and cuts should have began 30 years ago, but it’s better late than never to begin them now. Renewable energy thus far is just getting tacked on while fossil fuel use stays steady or increases. At the same time, we keep developing and rebuilding risky coastal and fire-prone lands such as in Tampa Bay, South Florida, and California. I encourage you to get involved and to educate others about the climate crisis. Remember—it’s a verifiable fact, not a belief, opinion, religion, or political device.

Richard Thripp, Ph.D.
Democratic Candidate for U.S. Congress (FL-06)
Adjunct Faculty, University of Central Florida

Here are a couple of my rebuttals to common talking points from climate change deniers. I used to be a climate denier too before I learned the facts.

Commentator: Our climate has ALWAYS been changing throughout its existence. Multiple ice ages have come & gone (extreme in my lowly opinion) prior to human emergence. Typical major volcanic eruption spews more “greenhouse” gases & particulates into the atmosphere than mankind’s history. Each have caused couple degree shifts in global average temperature. But the major influence on our climate is the ever changing solar output bathing our atmosphere. Mankind is but a flea-sized affect compared to the giant Sun. That is the Earth/Space science that needs to be taught!

Richard Thripp: Going from approximately 280 ppm to 415 ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere is unprecedented in millions of years and was caused by humans, mostly in the past 40 years!

Commentator: if this was true.. WHY WOULD ANYONE BUILD ON THE COAST! , no bank would loan you money, no investors would build high rises… even Obama bought waterfront property

Richard Thripp: This is not true. Just because a lot of people and institutions are operating stupidly does not make them right. For example, big insurance companies got long-term care insurance wrong, severely underpricing it, and they lost a fortune.

On Florida’s Pension Shortfall

I wrote this to a friend who shared a story about Florida’s pension shortfall with me.

This is actually true in one respect but a bit overblown as well. No one can predict short-term market returns be it stocks, bonds, mortgages, real estate, or another asset. Over the long term (30+ years) we can be more confident stocks will return about 10% per year or 7% adjusting for inflation, on average. I would not say Florida Retirement Systems’s expected returns are too high based on this, although they are 30 basis points higher than the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB; 7.2% vs. 6.9%) and probably should at least be reduced to 6.9%.

However, it is true that Florida has an actuarially projected shortfall and it’s much more than $15 billion. As of June 30, 2019 assets were $163.1 billion with 83.9% of anticipated liabilities funded, or only 82.6% if following GASB standards. That’s a $30 billion+ shortfall. Of course, a giant pension fund exists forever (in theory) and is quite different from investing for retirement at the individual level, so adjustments can be made to correct the course of this giant ship.

Remember that Florida already cut benefits heavily in 2011 for new and existing employees, which was an invisible pay cut—although quite visible to our in-service teachers and other public workers who had a new 3.0% payroll deduction added to their paycheck that was previously state-funded. Now, as so many states do, the legislature refuses to adequately fund pension benefits and will have to pay even more down the line in order to do so. Where will they get the money—particularly when a recession hits? It’s an open question here and across the country, and in fact Florida is one of the better-funded retirement systems and the state also has an AAA credit rating with S&P and Fitch.

The above applies to the Florida Retirement System pension plan only. Florida is unusual for offering the choice between a pension plan and an investment plan. Members in the investment plan will not receive a pension and their accounts are fully funded in the same manner as a 401(k) plan. New teachers and other public workers are now put in the investment plan by default unless they go online, call, or visit HR to change to the pension plan. The system includes 502,146 active pension members and 145,796 investment plan members, so the bulk of Florida’s public workers are in the pension plan to which the above shortfall applies, although newer teachers and other public workers are more likely to be in the 401(k)-like investment plan.

Data is from the Florida Retirement System Pension Plan and Other State Administered Systems Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, FISCAL YEAR ENDED JUNE 30, 2019.

Please read my doctoral dissertation for further insights: A Survey of Investing and Retirement Knowledge and Preferences of Florida Preservice Teachers.

Richard Thripp, Ph.D.
Democratic Candidate for U.S. Congress (FL-06)
Adjunct Faculty, University of Central Florida

Meet Richard at an Upcoming Event in February 2020! #FL06

I shared these upcoming events with my email newsletter subscribers. Please feel free to attend or sign up for emails from me!

Richard Thripp logo, alternate version

Thanks for subscribing to my email list to flip Florida’s 6th Congressional district blue. I will be attending these upcoming events and would love to meet you if you want to come out:

Democratic Student Voter Drive at Daytona State College
Daytona State College L. Gale Lemerand Student Center (Building 110)
1200 W International Speedway Blvd, Daytona Beach, FL 32114
Tuesday, 2/18/2020 at 12:00 to 2:00 PM
Parking is free but the campus can be busy so you might have to park near White St. and the UCF building. Parking permits are not enforced.

Northeast Volusia Democrats Meeting (NOVO)
Red Lobster (2625 West International Speedway, Daytona Beach, FL)
Tuesday, 2/18/2020 at 6:30 PM

Democratic Women’s Club of West Volusia Meeting
855 W New York Ave, DeLand, FL 32720
Wednesday, 2/19/2020 at 6:30 PM

Please also follow me on Twitter @richardxthripp and pitch in a few dollars if you can. Have your friends sign up for my newsletter on or read more about issues there. Please feel free to directly reply to this email if you have any suggestions or would like to volunteer.

Best regards,
Richard Thripp, Ph.D.
Democratic Candidate for U.S. Congress (FL-06)
Adjunct Faculty, University of Central Florida

Note: Richard Thripp will personally be at ALL listed events.

Updated 2/10/2020 to add 3 events.

Past events:

African-American Heritage Celebration + Parade in Eustis, FL
725 E McDonald Ave, Eustis, FL 32726
Parade starts at 10 a.m. Line up by 9:30 a.m. at Prescott & McDonald Avenue. Booth from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Mt. Dora and part of Eustis are in Florida’s 6th Congressional district, which includes the northeast part of Lake County (already a weirdly shaped county) as well as all of Volusia and Flagler counties and the southern part of St. Johns County.
Thursday, 2/13/2020 at 10:00 AM (Parade starts); 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM for event—I will be at the Democratic booth until 4:00 PM. See this website for more information!

Ormond Beach Democrats Meeting
56 N Halifax Dr, Ormond Beach, FL 32176
Thursday, 2/13/2020 at 6:30 PM

Volusia Democratic LGBTQ+ Caucus First Meeting
855 W New York Ave, DeLand, FL 32720
Wednesday, 2/12/2020 at 6:30 PM

Hot N’ Spicy Festival at the Florida Agricultural Museum
7900 Old Kings Rd N, Palm Coast, FL 32137
Sunday, 2/09/2020, 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM – $5 admission fee

Why Vote for Richard Thripp?

Here are a few reasons to vote for Richard Thripp on 8/18/2020 (Democratic primary) and 11/03/2020 (general election) for Florida’s 6th Congressional district (Volusia, Flagler, and parts of St. Johns and Lake counties), or by mail or early voting:

Photo of Richard Thripp

✔ Won’t cut Social Security and Medicare
✔ A check on Donald Trump and the lawless Republicans
✔ Unlike other candidates, born in Daytona Beach and has always lived in the district
✔ Supports healthcare for more Floridians and Americans
✔ Supports ending war and knows there is nothing to win in the Middle East
✔ Accomplished college instructor and financial educator who values education
✔ Will fight vested interests on the climate crisis to save Florida’s future
✔ Will expand the IRS with the resources to collect from high earners and big business
✔ Will not dial for dollars or be bought and paid for by anyone
✔ Will fight against corporate welfare, subsidies, and giveaways to the rich
✔ Constituent-focused and will open a district office in mid-town Daytona Beach

My Republican opponent:

✘ Has the “guts” to slash Social Security and Medicare
✘ Supports endless and costly militarism in the Middle East and beyond
✘ Indebted to special interests and corporate donors such as NASCAR
✘ Lives in a different Congressional district
✘ Won’t hold a town hall meeting
✘ Supports corporate welfare and giveaways to the rich (Tax Cuts and Jobs Act)
✘ Opposes women’s healthcare and choice
✘ Against expanding Medicaid and wants to repeal Obamacare

Download a printable PDF of the above list.

Richard Thripp logo, alternate version

My Platform:
Addressing the Climate Crisis
Restoring Congressional Authority
Strengthening the Affordable Care Act
Prioritizing Education
Ensuring Fair and Equitable Taxation
END War in Afghanistan, Middle East, & Beyond
No Cuts to Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid

I am a clear and present danger to the GOP and the establishment. They don’t know what to do about a young Ph.D. graduate / teacher educator who demonstrates broad-spectrum competence in this many areas toward demolishing their propaganda and clobbering them with facts and rhetoric. I need your help to get my message out. Please donate or contact me to volunteer today.

Thank you,
Richard Thripp, Ph.D.

Please pitch in if you can! Even a small contribution helps.

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