Gee, I'm overjoyed that the stock market has shot back up to the 15,000s. We wouldn't want the 1% to miss one cent of profit, now would we? The powers that be want us to believe that rigging the system to make Wall Street gamblers more prosperous will somehow make the average Jane and Joe financially secure. That's like saying that a bunch of rich people in evening gowns and tuxedos gluttonously gorging on caviar and foie gras in front of poor, starving folks will somehow, by osmosis feed them.
The many perversities that drive stock market prices up or down usually have no bearing or have a negative bearing on things that affect our everyday life. Translation, what's good for Wall Street usually isn't good for the average person. In their constant quest to improve the quarterly bottom line to please Wall Street, corporate CEOs have become merciless cost cutters who have resorted to shipping American jobs to places like China and India. The workers who are displaced by job offshoring create a huge pool of desperate people that other greedy CEOs, who have to answer to Wall Street, not to us, can exploit to keep the wages that they pay their employees low.
The most insidious aspect of the above is that job cuts and stagnant wages cost our country tax revenues which then cause our corporate owned electeds to try to balance the budget on the backs of those who can least afford it by cutting so called entitlements like Social Security and Medicare. That would give many Americans less money to spend, costing more jobs. Did I hear you say vicious circle? If you thought that all of that was the entire mess,you would be wrong so read on and you will be outraged.
Let's suppose that, by some miracle, you had a few bucks to spare and wanted to start a small nest egg for either retirement or a rainy day. You open a savings account at your local multinational bank because you are only able to put away a small amount of money at a time. You are shocked to find out that your “friendly” local bank is not only paying you close to or zero percent interest, but has the nerve to charge you all sorts of fees. Yes, you are paying them to keep and use your money. That's because our “friends” at the Federal Reserve Bank are giving banks money for nothing at around zero percent interest. Guess who wins when they compete with you, the small saver?
I have just scratched the surface in this article. I didn't talk about our rigged healthcare system that denies care to many people and bankrupts others with huge bills. I didn't talk about the endless, gratuitous wars for fun and profit that sap our country of its youth and tax revenue that could be put to better use saving lives. They will be addressed in future articles and have been addressed in previous articles. At this point, you might want to know what you can do about the situation? The answers are in the articles on this website. Read, read!
Hey, did you say that it's your you know what?
These days in the USA, if you’re middle class, chances are it's your life savings. Thanks to corporate greed, pensions are gradually becoming a nostalgic memory. As if that's not bad enough, many soon-to-be retirees lost a good portion of their 401Ks when they panic-sold during the 2008 financial crisis. You remember 2008, that's when Wall Street and the banks were bailed out and us ordinary, small enough to fail common folk were left to drown....oops, I mean fend for ourselves.
As if all of the above isn't bad enough for an older person's fiscal health, and if it didn't totally wipe out his or her life savings, a major illness will probably get the job done. In the good old USA,
bad physical health causes bad fiscal health. Although being insured is better than not being insured, in many cases health insurance, Medicare included, doesn't fully cover the medical expenses of a serious illness. One illness can wipe out your life savings or cause bankruptcy.
In many enlightened countries, getting sick doesn't mean going broke because they have nationalized health care that covers just about every contingency. In many enlightened countries, people can retire with dignity. Not so here because our country seems to put corporate profits
before the well being of its citizens. Case in point being the constant attacks on Social Security and Medicare that corporate owned electeds refer to as “entitlements.”
The bottom line is that our country has finally devolved to the point where it, comparatively speaking, not only has few social safety nets, but has electeds that want to either cut or take them away. The question of the day is, are we going to stand for that?
Make no mistake about it, the recent favorable Supreme Court decisions on the Affordable Care Act are important because they allow what is just a baby step on the way to real health care reform to proceed. Given the short attention span of the average voter, if the ACA was snuffed out by unfavorable Supreme Court decisions, health care would literally be a dead issue, as would the health of many uninsured Americans. Our electeds would move on to other things and it would be business as usual for America's insurance corps. Translation, we would return to the bad old days of people being turned down for policies due to preexisting conditions and to upwardly spiraling premium prices!
All of that being said, the ACA is far from a panacea. The law does not guarantee health care for all and will still leave a number of people without coverage. The individual mandate that has many conservatives and some of us on the left upset was originally a conservative idea suggested in 1989 by someone from the Heritage Foundation, a bastion of conservatism. Most importantly, the law doesn't address what I feel is the main reason for constantly escalating health care costs, the corporate middlemen in the insurance and for profit hospital industries. It also does nothing to stop pharmaceutical corporations who, in my opinion, feel that the bill for their research and development for medicines that they market globally should be paid for by Americans in the form of the highest drug prices in the world.
From my perspective, a nationalized health care system that replaces the entrenched combination of insurance and for profit hospital special interests with a system of health care for all that also, by regulation, brings prescription drug prices down to what the rest of the world is paying, will be the only one that is cost effective and sustainable. We can accomplish that by voting the corporate owned Republicans out of office, giving the Democrats a clear majority. That would take away any excuse that corporate leased Democrats would have not to back universal health care.
Remember, health care for all should not be sacrificed in the name of profits for some!
My wife is about to undergo cancer surgery so suffice it to say, I am a basket case right now. Although cancer may be a nightmare, I can think of a worse scenario, having cancer without having health insurance. Visit my Listen Here! page to get a strong dose of reality!
I just had to write this blog post, but rest assured that part four of my five part series is in the works.
During the wee hours of the night, I woke up from a nightmare. Somewhat shaken, I made my way to the computer and tried to erase the strange, insecure state that the nightmare engendered. In the nightmare, I was flat broke, unemployed, lost my health insurance and came down with a life-threatening illness. A health care bill was passed and signed, but most of it wouldn't come into effect until 2014. By then, anyone with a life-threatening illness would be long gone.
That nightmare was a blessing, it got me to revisit the health care issue and Monday morning quarterback the entire situation. In looking back, I have to ask several questions:
Q. - Why couldn't we pass a national single payer health plan similar to that of most industrialized countries? A. - Because large quantities of anti health care bill TV and radio advertising, in many cases, paid for by sock puppet "advocacy" groups that are really funded by insuarnce and healthcare corporations "brain"washed many people.
Q. - Why did our electeds pass a health care bill that was a faint shadow of the original proposals? A. - The Republican party was united against passing a meaningful health care bill. The Democratic party was divided by it's blue dog members who are closet republicans. Members of BOTH parties were under the strong influence of high powered lobbyists from the insurance and health care industry. Many Americans were their own worst enemy, they actually believed the twisted TV ads and told their electeds to kill the health care bill.
What's most disturbing about all this is that the Republicans, special interests and some Democrats, hauled out their usual fear kit to kill total health care reform and it worked. They called single payer health care "socialism". They made it seem that, by passing single payer health care, we would turn our country into cold war Russia.
Our present, for profit health care system isn't capitalism, by any stretch of the imagination. It is a corrupt monopolistic system. If we had a health care system that conformed to the textbook definition of capitalism, we would directly pay doctors an affordable, reasonable fee for services rendered as our fathers and grandfathers did in the good old days before the health insurance carriers installed themselves as bureaucratic middle men. Those days are long gone and single payer health care is still the only equitable way to fix the system.
For those of you who are still in denial and think that America's health care problems are solved by passing a purposely diluted bill, I hope that you never have answer to the family of anyone who needlessly dies because he or she isn't covered by a still broken health care system.
After spending an enjoyable day cheering on our courageous health insurance protesters, I was treated to a thoroughly annoying news story on one of the evening network newscasts. The thrust of the story was that insurance companies have taken a new direction in their fight against the upcoming health care legislation. The Insurance people have released advertising that says that insurance company profits have only gone up by a small percentage last year, but health care and pharmaceutical costs have risen dramatically.
That may or may not be so, but one thing the insurance companies don't tell you is that the rise in health care costs can be statistically mitigatged by the fact that all of their insured people are not sick at once, that is to say that the healthy insureds ostensibly can offset some of the expense incurred by the unhealthy insureds. That's why insurance companies love to disqualify pre existing conditions and, in some cases refuse to write policies.
I feel that the very reason private health insurance DOESN'T work in our country is, in it's present state, it HAS to disqualify some of it's less healthy potential clients in order to exist. That is to say, if an insurance company has a client base that was largely in poor health, the operating expenses would drive it out of business. That is inconsistent with the idea of getting health care for all.
The insurance companies have a point about the rapid rise in medical and pharmaceutical costs. We should thank them for bringing it to our attention because it tells us that we need to nationalize every aspect of health care to really control it's spiraling costs. Private insurance companies can not regulate health care expenses by law, governments can.
At this point I can hear loud sqeals of protest coming from conservatives. They will say that government shouldn't be in the health care business. I say that health care should have always been a government function because it protects and serves public life and safety in the same way a police or fire department does. We wouldn't think of privatizing our police departments, why should we privatize our health care? Some people might say, doctors sacrifice their lives by spending years in medical school and should be rewarded for their effort. Police, fire and for that matter our military personnel have sacrificed their lives to protect our lives.
Under a national health care model, doctors will be free to be doctors, not businessmen.
Please help me to help everyone by sending a link to my Listen Here! page to your friends.
For many years, in another life, I was an official in a broadcast industry union local. As you all know, unions are no stranger to a process known as collective bargaining, otherwise known as the fine art of negotiation. At contract renewal time, that process of give and take between union and management can amount to months of tedious hours of nitpicking, or it can go smoothly. The take away from that process is that there are a set of proven techniques that, if followed, usually lead to a successful outcome.
The most important thing to remember is just pure common sense. When you present a particular issue for negotiation, you always start the bargaining process by presenting your MSP or maximum supportable position. The maximum supportable position is the most that you can ask for without getting the other side of the negotiations so upset that they walk away from the bargaining table. It's the starting point that you ask for with the realization that it is going to be bargained down. A numeric example is if you want to get say $40,000 annual salary for the people you represent, you would start out by asking for $60,000. If you asked for 70,000, management would walk out. If you asked for $40,000, management assume that is your starting point and proceed to bargain down from there. That's not rocket science, it's negotiating 101.
I feel that one of the main reasons we've had problems with the Republican's and Teabaggers being able to block any health care legislation is that, from the beginning, the President and the Dems. haven't started the health care debate by demanding full European-style national health care as a maximum supportable position. The fall-back could then be single payer health care. The public option should have been absolutely not negotiable and the thing we settle for if all else fails.
President Obama was a community organizer. I'm sure he knows the rules of the road when it comes to negotiating. By originally turning the debate over to Congress and the Senate and letting the issue fester by taking what is essentially a passive role in the debates, I felt that his support was luke warm at best. By releasing his health care plan without a public option, he is starting from a rock-bottom maximum supportable position. It makes me wonder if he considers his health care campaign promises to be a liability, rather than an asset and wants to sign any law that has the words health care in it just to say that he fulfilled a campaign promise.
Despite the best efforts of the special interest groups, there seems to be a breath of life left in the pending health care legislation. One of my favorite sayings is, "Where there's life, there's hope". For the sake of ALL Americans, not just the rich, I am going to give the health care issue some quick CPR.
In my travels, both in person and on Twitter, I've met many people who have had their lives destroyed by our present for profit health care system. Some of them have gone into bankruptcy because they couldn't pay their medical bills. Some friends are suffering with major illnesses like cancer without the benefit of health insurance. Tragically, others have lost family members to conditions that would be minor issues, but escallated to life threatening and life taking conditions because they didn't have insurance and couldn't pay the pound of flesh that is needed to get "the best health care in the world", under the present system of greed that we call health care in the "good old USA".
What galls me is that almost every industrialized country in the world has some sort of national health care except for our country. Yet, special interest groups, who have been profiting from our present system for years, have been able to convince certain segments of the middle class that having a universal health care safety net that covers everyone is somehow bad for them.
Some of you are going to blame the right wing radio and TV media for blowing the astro-turfed town hall meetings and demonstrations out of proportion, but the mainstream media has also been guilty of giving the people involved in those demonstrations lots of face time and lots of false credibility. There's plenty of blame to go around, so let's move on to my favorite culprits..
Most of our electeds seem to be listening to health insurance lobbyists and not to the REAL voices of the people who elected them. The Republicans seem to support the big corporate insurance interests and not those of the average working person, big surprise there. The Democrats appears to be a house divided. The efforts of many good intentioned members of that party are thwarted by the blue dog democrats, who are marching to the tune of the Republican party's drum.
The blue dogs cause just enough problems to tie up legislation that benefits the average voter. That amounts to a virtual one party system.
The cure for any foot-dragging on health care is to make our electeds walk a mile in our shoes. Take away their taxpayer financed health insurance and make them buy their own individual policies from the same insurance corporations that we have to deal with. Currently, we are all paying for their insurance out of our taxes, even those of us who have no insurance of our own, yet they have the nerve to deny that p! When it effects their health care, they will give use national health care in the blink of an eye.
Now a few loose ends:
1- Mr. President, I hear rumors from various sources that your interest in getting a health care bill passed is waining. That was one of the main reasons that I supported and voted for you in the last election. Mr. President, say it ain't so.
2- I want each and every one of you to keep calling your elected representatives. Tell them that you want single-payer health care, but will settle for a public option.
3- Give yourself a hand because you are the driving force behind The Jack Wade Show.
Stay tuned because my next show is going to be a blockbuster!
It never ceases to amaze me that there are working people out there who have actually fallen for the Tea Party's line of bull that any health care legislation will harm the middle class. By "Teabagger" logic, preventing a government provided safety net from ever happening that would provide health care to working people, even in the case of prolonged job loss is a good thing. That the Teabag puppet masters can get any working person to listen to them for even one second is a tribute to the media-corporate complex that we have in place in the good old USA. They give the Teabaggers plenty of face time on the six o' clock news and never mention that the movement isn't a populist one, it's just a case of media manipulation that would make a cold war Soviet politician blush.
That same line of reasoning applies to working people living in "right to work" states who say that they are anti-union. They are so convinced, mainly by their employers, that unions are taking away the "right" to be non-union from them that they are doomed to work for whatever pay and in whatever working conditions the "boss" decides is fair. Oh, did I mention that the "boss" can also fire them at will with little or no recourse.
So Wade, what are you driving at? I feel that the only way the American dream is ever going to return for working people is for unions to return to power in this country. The reason Europeans have a higher standard of living than us in all the ways that are meaningful to the working person is that they have strong unions. European unions are respected by European companies and in some cases may even have direct input on company policy. That sounds like the real American dream to me, not the bogus one we now have here.