This state can move forward, but …

Are politicians willing to cut ties with special interests?

By Jack E. Lohman

This is absolutely absurd. We Americans cannot manage our own affairs without corruption, yet we ask others to follow our lead.

We are all jockeying for position in life. More personal cash makes life easier, so some are willing to work harder to get there, some are willing to manipulate the system and steal from others to get there, and some are unable or unwilling to work for their place in life.

Worse is that we have state legislators and US congressmen, both of whom we trust are working for us but are taking money from them, who are willing to write laws that benefit those who fund their elections. We want laws to benefit our society and our families, and the special interests want exactly the opposite.

So you know who our politicians cotton to. Good guys these.

Only public funding of campaigns will reverse the payola and get politicians voting for the people rather than their pocketbooks. Only then can we trust politicians to properly adjust the equations of life.

Wisconsin has the opportunity to move beyond all other states, and perhaps create a model that will repair our dismal economy.

First we must get our politicians working for “us” rather than “them,” and if we aren’t willing to do that we should hang it up. We will remain in this hole for years to come.

Then we must protect our state jobs and commerce. If we want jobs coming to the state instead of leaving, we must eliminate business taxes and health care costs for our corporations. Totally! Both should become a part of our infrastructure and paid for out of a progressive tax on wages.

The rich won’t like this, at least until they realize that its contribution to a solid economy benefits their stash as well. The poor and unemployed will like it, at least until we pass a work-for-welfare program. It doesn’t matter what your situation, if you get a public check for welfare or unemployment you must contribute 20 hours per week sweeping streets, shoveling snow, volunteering time to non-profits, whatever. But you must work!

Are you willing to pay $500 more per month in taxes to eliminate $700 per month health insurance premiums? If your employer is now laden with these costs, are they willing to give employee raises to offset their increased taxes to get themselves out from under this burden? Even if not, are we willing to absorb those costs and taxes so jobs and corporations and commerce remain and grow in the state? (Right wingers, I already know your answer!)

Look, we consumers already pick up 100% of the costs for corporate taxes and health care costs, if nowhere else then when they add their costs to the price of their product and we reimbuse them at the cash register. But in the process we make our companies less competitive and drive jobs out of the state and country. That’s real smart.

Politicians must pass a state single-payer health care plan. Yes, it might draw people from other states… and corporations and jobs and commerce and, well, what’s not to like about that? We must recognize that the very thing this state needs is the very thing the insurance industry doesn’t want us to have: efficient health care. Let them take a walk, we can no longer afford them.

Sure it would be better if congress did this, but congress members from both political parties are too much in the pocket of the special interests. They should go the way of Iran’s leaders, they are no better.

Our Democrats have a problem. They have control at both the state and Federal level and I don’t think they want it. They’d much prefer that Republicans block progress, because doing what is right is now entirely up to them. If they don’t do it right it is their problem and they’ll be out of a job in 2010.

2 Responses to This state can move forward, but …

  1. Jim Newcomer says:

    Hi Jack:

    Seems the Bush plan is going to prevail since even the politicians must follow the money to finance health care reform(?). You might recall that you slammed my health care blog post 2+ years ago. I still predict that Congress & the Obamaites will pass a big portion of this problem on to the states and that those states with income taxes will have windfalls of unvoted revenue (wherewithall)from the tax on heath benefits.

    As in my previous post, I feel this not a bad thing since it localizes the foulups, corrupt influences etc. which are bound to occur if any meaningful reform is to be obtained.

    Single payor would be possible at the state or regional levels. Sound state or regional reform proposals might facilitate business development or even better offer incentives for local government consolidation into regional governments.

    For instance, Ohio is a single payor (state monopoly) state for workers compensation. Why not have an Ohio out of portal benefit supplement policy (OOPS) for small businesses (non ERISA or self insured) in Ohio? I’m sure other states can come up with plans that are best for them.

    I think maybe the Bush plan had and still has more value and potential for true health care reform than many anticipated. Clearly, health care execs are not sure winners under such proposals.

    What can Wisconson (or other vstates) do with their potential windfall/wherewithall from a health benefits tax? We’ll just have to continue vto follow the money, won’t we?

  2. Hi Jim. I don’t remember slamming your proposal two years ago, but at my age my memory isn’t one of my strong suits.

    If a viable single-payer system could be developed at the state level I wouldn’t have a problem with that. And in Wisconsin we could have a BadgerCareForAll system preforming that function. But our politicians fought like hell when we tried for a Healthy Wisconsin system that would have created a state solution. They kept using the argument that people from other states would either leech off of us or even move into the state for free care.

    What they were really saying was “hey guys, we don’t want to fix the system because the insurance industry likes things just as they are.”

    But whatever we do I think we need to remove the health care burden from the corporations altogether, else they are going to just “shop states” until they find one with near zero company-contribution.

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