By Jack E. Lohman
If you’re thinking more of the same, you’re right.
It’s political corruption and the dire consequences it has on society. It cannot be ignored, no matter how hard we try.
Health care costs: You’ve heard this before. A full 31% of health care costs is administrative waste — make-work that is consumed by the insurance bureaucracy that never lays a hand on the patient. This 31% should instead be spent on doctors and nurses and hospitals. We could provide first-class care to 100% of the people for the same dollars we are spending today if we switched to a single-payer system. But the insurance industry pays massive campaign dollars to our favorite politicians to keep the system broken. Add it to your list.
Pharmaceuticals: One of the most profitable businesses in the world is hitting up congress for even more tax incentives and subsidies to justify more “medical research,” even though their 23% profit levels are calculated after deducting for R&D and high executive salaries! And then they convinced congress to give them a $780 billion Medicare Part D Drug giveaway and blocked Medicare from negotiating for lower prices. How would you like that protection in your business? Only when you give $100 million per year in campaign contributions and have members of congress as shareholders can you get away with this kind of taxpayer rip-off.
Mortgage crisis: Isn’t deregulation great? How are you liking the free market and all of that? If you thought Congress learned something after losing $1.6 billion of taxpayer money on the Savings and Loan fiasco, you haven’t seen anything yet. A lot of taxpayer money made a lot of fat cats even fatter, all thanks to a lot of campaign cash. These guys know which hands to grease.
Income gap: As the income gap increases between the rich and poor, and the wealthy own an even bigger piece of the national pie, is it any wonder that the massive imbalance of wealth has left cities and states without funds for education, health care and other needed services? How can we invest in the infrastructure and continue transferring our national assets to the wealthy? When CEOs demand 25% yearly increases in salary, they cut other costs, either by sending jobs overseas or reducing local worker wages. And they get their bonuses even when the company does poorly. How’s that for taking responsibility?
And our politicians sit back and watch this all happen. It’s the free market, don’cha know?
Okay, so the conservatives are right on this one. People who are energetic and ambitious will get further in life than people who are lazy and complacent. We should have only the former and none of the latter. It’s that personal responsibility thingy they keep talking about.
But look at what the free market and rise to the top has gotten us. The rich are getting very rich and the poor are getting very poor. The middle is getting smaller. You either have it or you don’t. I’ve got mine, you get yours. It’s called YOYO.
What is terribly puzzling is that the rich folks have not looked at the logical conclusion of this terribly imbalanced system. But then again, maybe they have and that’s why they are buying property in other countries. They don’t want to be here when the U.S. falls apart because of it.
Conservatives began the takeover of Congress in 1994 and it’s been downhill ever since. They like to blame the liberals but it is they who’ve had the reins. Still do, with the filibuster in the senate.
How are you liking it so far? (read the numbers and weep!)