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Friday, September 11, 2009

Shifting Tides of American Politic Rock Healthcare Boat

The tension is in the air. It is between friends. It is in the workplace. It is in the grocery store. We have a jobless economic recovery in our front window and a nasty ideological debate on health care going on in this country rattling all the other windows in our glass houses. Plus we have the latent and aging racists and monarchists in our society bubbling over the top of the kettle throwing scare tactics, guns, Fox News pundits, and labels around like the circus has come to town. Plus the media is ducking responsibility for any worthy journalism on the topic hoping to fend off being the next cartel in line after the insurance industry gets spanked.

None of the above, by itself, is my biggest worry though. I'm always a survivor. I crave a good challenge. But the above are simply symptomatic of the change afoot in the American current. The waterfall is just coming into view and I am not so sure I want to think about what lies ahead. However, what I figure I can't survive is the changing politic in America.

My biggest worry is that America has lost touch with those who struggle in ways those with wealth rarely experience. American institutions have such vast markets that these institutions and the supporting businesses do not have any need or real incentive to cover the lower end of market spectrum. There is plenty of profit to be had by carving up the middle and upper class and developing new markets around the world. Hence needs go unmet if you are on the lower end of the market.

The American economy has done a great job of covering the most people's needs during the 20th century. But now it finds itself, albeit the consequence of too much wealth and population expansion, rather than too little capital, in a parallel situation to third world countries. Stagnated economies or underdeveloped nations have long sufferred their citizens on the lower end of the economic stratum being clobbered by those above. Basically it is a consequence that few "above" care, or need to care, because their cash needs are being met without caring. This is self interested capitalism at its best. Couple, this cash based disconnect, with government stepping out of the arena and either removing or looking the other way on almost all economic regulation between the players under the proclomation of the free market and "government is never a good thing". The resulting consequence is the smoldering embers of standard discontent in a society become open flames.

Furthermore, I will argue, that emotional or intellectual needs in modern American society can mostly be purchased with enough cash so these societal checks and balances have also been substantially eroded. Just ask yourself the question how many families or neighbors you know would approve of their son or daughter currying favor in their job or relationship for monetary gain? There isn't a lot of need to look over the backyard fence at how the neighbors are doing anymore unless their McMansion casts a shadow on yours.

Instead of being pushed to perform in this society I simply feel obligated to produce cash. For myself and for others. There aren't really any ethics or scope of morality attached to the production of that cash just as long as the cash gets produced. This has become the ethereal societal expectation from my fellow citizens. Basically I can, and they can, do as they please as long as they don't harm any little children and as long as they are making money for others as well as their own good. If one is simply making money mostly for their nepotistic "own" that can be a little sketchy too. Especially if caught. Just ask Bernie Madoff.

Now maybe I grew up in the wrong household but as a child I was raised with the expectation that I would be a productive human being. That demand was inclusive of nurturing my own well being and paying my own bills and also giving to others whenever possible so that, together, we all could be safe, healthy, and potentially happy. Hard work was simply an expectation in my working class family. It was how you lived. Whether it produced a lot of cash or just enough to live on--if you did your job well and with integrity then you had met your societal obligation. My father may have been a raging abusive alcoholic but he got up every morning and put in a very effective eighteen-hour weekday six days a week. He helped make the owners of the company very wealthy over a number of years.

As an adult I have learned that people are raised with many variant expectations of their own contribution to society dependent on cultural, familial, and even geographical factors. I guess I just never assumed that this nation would turn its back on people who struggle every day to do their best but don't acquire a lot of wealth mostly because capitalism doesn't value their skills, or what they have to give, as much as they do the person's next door. We pay our sports heroes and bankers mega-millions yet we pay the people who still can dig a ditch, pick up our trash, or take care of our loved ones only enough to meet minimal needs.

First insurance became a response to disaster. Ben Franklin got it right. If your home burned down the potential for replacing the shelter was improbable in times when there was minimal capital in a community. Your neighbors meant everything in a disaster not simply for the immediate response but to stabilize your future. Insurance made a lot of sense to pool the collective capital and lower the risk.

Then insurance became a need generalized to other necessities and larger investments. It at least made a little bit of sense that if you had something worth protecting you wanted it protected. Especially so from those with nothing to protect who might be a little less careful about their approach on life. It also still serviced those caught unaware by natural or man-made disasters.

Then insurance became an institution. A distinguishing and stablizing concept especially rewarding and productive for the middle class. A requirement in many states to be held up by legislation created by those with secure housing, food and water supplies, and a good education. Many legislators simply members of the "Lucy Sperm Club" themselves. By far our legislators and representatives reflect people in our society who have been equipped, mostly by birth, with the assets that open doors to success and stability. The rest of us have to clear a path to the doors and earn our keys to the locks.

Once institutionalized insurance companies have been kissing home plate. The government stepped in to cover 9/11 victims, the vast majority already well healed, to augment and supersede their insurance companies from taking them to court, where it would be plainly pointed out that most those insurance contracts, now required, put a clause in regarding "acts of war" and, too frequently, acts of Mother Nature. The nation stood by watching the misfortunes of families in Katrina. Those of lesser economic means were left without the cash to hire effective attorneys. We stood by and watched while the Katrina victims' insurance companies twisted previous promises like writhing knotted snakes to get out of fulfilling those obligations.

A century ago American media made stars out of those who worked hard and struggled to overcome adversity. As the struggle of life became less and less a standard and the wealth accumulated in families to be passed on to the generations that followed our taste for common heroes rising through the ranks fell to the wayside. The national focus tended more to those whose status came with birth or had already been achieved. The process was not the point of interest any longer. The cool factor became less about the struggle and more about the glitz and glam of the perceived treasures. The glorification of the process and struggle of obtaining status faded as Americans began to live vicariously through the society and entertainment pages.

We drive the media and we become our media. It tends to be a closed ecosystem.

I, personally, cannot think of a group that emulates, in the majority, this modern American representation of paper made icons better than Congress itself. Our for-profit media has not missed out on following the societal trends for opportunistic gains as much as for public information. It has followed these political leaders and icons for decades and held them up for emulation. House and Garden, GQ, Money, INC., Lives of the Rich and Famous, People Magazine, and so on.

Now health care, hopping into bed with its sugar-daddy, has become an extension of the institution of insurance. The idea that people, when sick, should be tended and looked after to be made well again simply because they are a fellow human being has fallen by the wayside. Senator Max Baucus' finance bill wanted every person who could not pay for health care insurance to pay $3,800. as a fine for not participating in the good enrichment of society. The moral assumption reads "If you can't pay to stay alive then obviously your not worth keeping around."

Prisoners on death row get public paid health care. People who get minimum wage get the death sentence. Great idea Senator Baucus. When people are allowed to go homestead a piece of land, cut down their own trees, plant their own vegetables, and not be fined for doing so then maybe, just maybe, it makes sense to force people with little economic means in the first place to pay to participate in the great Baucus society twisted out of the one LBJ once stood over. At least they won't have to lose their homes or go without groceries to make you feel secure in your gilded mansions at night. Or is the general idea here to enslave or outlaw people without means? Can we make the ugliness we don't like to look at go away like the unwanted bags under our eyes? Can we simply pay for someone to make everything look good on the surface and ignore the reality of the situation?

This is what frightens me the most about present day America. Watching the powerful in the Congress and the Obama Administration who seemingly think that coming up with $3,800 is within every person's means. What happens to a nation when its leaders become so out of touch with the workers that actually make the infrastructure of the system go round?

In my world Senator Baucus should have been embarrassed to even whisper such a proposal behind closed doors. We take out public servants who admit to canoodling with lobbyists in the bedroom but we leave in those who would loosen the Hound of the Baskervilles onto the throats of good honest hard working people with less accumulated wealth. We care about the boundaries and civilities of sex and marriage but not ALL the people those marriages produce. Simply because the poor are asking to have a stake and share in the essentials that society demands BEFORE a person can be a fully fledged participant in the economy we are to be fined.

Of course that is only if President Obama manages to get his way and there is some type of viable public option. Which is what the Senate Finance bill is looking to ensure doesn't happen. Senator Baucus is going to make absolute sure that the unworthy, meaning those without accumulated wealth, will suffer some type of second class citizenship if the "Have's" will be footing any part of the bill.

Suddenly I don't need to be walking inside a Castle in the Rhineland to get a feel for what it was like to be medieval peasantry. I can get it all right here in America in 2009. If health care has become a requirement to participate in the education system, to get a decent job, to be allowed to board public transportation, and just to be treated civil in society then society needs to make health care readily available to everyone they expect to participate. If not then the poor should be allowed to stake out a living space where ever they please without fines and stigma. A street corner, under bridges, in tent cities, where ever they can survive. Participation in society is already not an option. Does it also have to come with a fine for not being able to afford membership dues when a person is being actively excluded on many levels from full participation? It doesn't make sense unless we go back to an agrarian society where Senator Baucus can have his own fiefdom.

The only marker of a decent man or woman is not the property he or she owns Senator.

As an alternative we could just put every one making less than a living wage in America on a bus and send them to Canada. It would make governing so much easier for the insurance-controlled Congressional elite. At least Canada has a sense of humanity toward their own even if they would turn the buses away. America used to be the champion of humanitarianism throughout the world. How low we have sunk that we can't even champion our own.

A poor person cannot create their own economy of scale to lower costs. Nor can individuals without many collective resources easily organize political power for their own benefit. Poor people have little representation in Congress because they cannot pay to purchase their senator and representatives ears or their integrity. And often, strangely enough, the lower economic classes suffer from roadblocks on the way to polling. Not to mention that Congress, the Senate the House Richie-Rich built, is heavily invested in the industries which make a lot of their wealth from the backs of labor. Businesses, banks especially, earn a large bulk of their wealth and profit by charging the poor excessive fees, surcharges, and usury interest rates.

Good credit has also become a need for survival. Try having a health care crisis and keeping your stellar credit rating. It has brought more than one middle class Joe into the sewers with the unwashed masses. In many jobs there are so many qualified applicants that the employers screen out those with health care issues and those with poor credit. The public education system has been repeatedly raped by financial conservatives over the past three decades so it can produce only the minimal cloned workers from the masses entering the system. Higher education has become increasingly more and more difficult to access.

In short, the competition for the higher status in society, is being systematically eliminated. Capitalism is all about competition and so is the innate shadow self of humankind. Check-mate goes to the wealthy elite and the others in this country whom they have managed to convince that government is never a good thing and thus compel these citizens in many cases to vote against their own true self-interest.

Left unchecked, both of these mechanisms, bring out cycles of destruction which the world has seen before. Let's just hope we are not doomed to repeat our mistakes of ego.

President Obama is right to make health care a moral argument. The problem still remains that he needs to let us know which side of the moral ideology he is keeping tune with rather than vaguely chastizing both ends of the spectrum. One end has all the power Mr. President and the other end has most of the day to day burdens and consequences.

If the Senate Finance Committee doesn't come up with a plan for all the people please don't just send them back to their room without dinner Mr. President. Publically expose their strategic posturing for what it really is--grotesque, devisive, and a fuedal elitism designed to reappoint and legitimize through the hands of government a second class citizenship for the peasants in America and a ruling first-class citizenship for the insurance industry, corporate monopolies, and the blue blood. Let them hang for social canoodling regardless whether a Republican, a Democrat, or a Republican in Democratic fuedal drag.

Let's just hope he gets a bill in front of him that can knit this nation of opposing forces and ideologies together for another two hundred years. Then President Obama will have done his job well, in my view, and delivered full value on his own obligation to society.

Comments :

mowdy5gs said...

What I wonder Jane is this. I wonder how in the world are we as a nation to believe in accountability for debaukles and coruption, responsibility for those who take advantage of their fellows and how are we then able to believe in the law and the order in which the average man and woman are held to? This countrys market along with others but I now speak of ours, is driven by speculation. Speculation alone. A speculation of what something might cost, maybe, perhaps in the near future but more likely later. How is the solid to be obtained on such a wimb? It is up in the air these numbers given monatary value and the air is thin up thier. A high in the sky piece of pie that is given value by whom? By Bernakke of Paulson? Dodd? This is not to mention the futures earnings for a cow or Union heffor right? How about the value of stocks? The fact remains that in this contry there is two sets of laws that are followed they are as follows. One for us and one for the rich. It really is that simple. We have seen it pan out as such here and now in the last eight and I would be remiss not to say the future.Insurence is bought by the act of what may happen yet in many cases it is mandatory to have insurence or you are breaking the law. We pay every month yet when it comes time to pay the piper they are knowhere to be found. Bending at every turn and bending every law to make sure that we pay on time but they do not have to return quid pro quo. Instead they look to wiggle against the hook that keeps them afloat weilding their fine print to cut one off and not pay this or that. I must apologize for my rant this morning but it seems that this country as great as it is, is in fact worthless. A speculative dot on an insurmountable hill that is unclimbable to those who hold true values. This country fosters a culture of coruption at all costs, servants of the people who are paid by lobbys to do their bidding and not the peoples. A revolution should have happened long ago and in the last 8 there is no doubt to its validity. Why must we suffer such blatent coruption and as we write it is still happening as if it is the norm just because it has become the norm? I dare say this country is stricken by crooks at every level masqorading as politions when the only service they conclude is unto themselves. Dispicable acts of infidleity, lapse in morals and blatent lobby bending is verifyable to all yet here we all sit unable to stand for anything but no healthcare? How is that? Why is that? I must say I am at a loss...

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