This writer would be the first to agree that the bill passed yesterday represented a huge wet kiss, planted firmly on the (well, you designate the body part) of large health insurers, Big PhRMA, and corporate health care providers. Despite including almost everything in this bill that Republicans had recommended in times past, not a single Republican voted in its favor.
The following (beginning with the paragraph after the next) consists of a somewhat cynical, facetious open letter directed primarily to the dittohead crowd, along with a couple of talking points for so-called “centrist” Dems. Hopefully, in the process of reading that which follows, you will be better armed for the water cooler wars that are sure to erupt in the workplace or its homely equivalent, your next family gathering, you know, the kind that will include that eccentric uncle who always wears camoflage gear, even in church.
Those reading this essay are invited to add their own suggestions in the comments section. There are no doubt many great ideas that have so far eluded this writer’s imagination. So, please add your thoughts, that we may all benefit from your wisdom and experience. By pooling our collective resources, we can all be better prepared for the heated debates that most certainly lie ahead.Do you take comfort in believing that if the Republicans take control of Congress in 2011 and maybe even the Oval Office in 2013, that they will repeal this huge giveaway to large corporations? Don’t hold your breath. They would not dare interfere with the already locked-in profits that some of their largest corporate benefactors will be enjoying, sharing with them in the form of huge, unlimited (thanks to the recent Supreme Court decision) campaign donations, and cushy, lucrative jobs awaiting them once they leave office.
The hypothetical letter begins…
Skeptical? If so, please specify the last time Republicans took any action that might adversely impact corporate profits.
The Republicans are only upset because they wanted to be able to claim the provisions of this bill as their own, and now, much to their eternal chagrin, cannot.
So, do you object to paying for health care for someone who might not lead as healthy a lifestyle as you? Does your blood boil at the thought of the government forcing you to spend money (in this case, for health insurance) that will only go to pad the bottom line of large mega-corporations?
For those who are concerned about the two preceding questions, how about if our ballots consisted of a line-item veto for any and all tax measures? Imagine that for any measures for which you vote “no”, you will be relieved of paying taxes to support those causes.
How might this work?
Don’t have kids in school anymore? Then, don’t choose to pay taxes to support K-12 education. Why not let those who decide to have children make sure that they can privately fund their education and if they cannot, they shouldn’t have them in the first place. We surely don’t want to support people irresponsibly deciding to have children they can’t support, do we?
Don’t like the idea of spending/borrowing huge sums to invade and occupy Iraq and Afghanistan, which according to Joseph Stiglitz, former chief economist of the World Bank and winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, back in 2008, in a moderate scenario would be about three trillion dollars? That only amounts to about $9868 for every man, woman, and child in this country. Multiply that by the number of persons in your household. If some of your fellow Americans chose to opt out of supporting these actions, would you be willing to make up the difference? Or rather, under such a scenario, perhaps we wouldn’t be involved there, or if so, on a much smaller scale. Don’t think that much of this money ends up in the pockets of private corporations? Think again.
Is your homestead located in a relatively “safe” neighborhood, and stocked with sophisticated firefighting equipment; fireproof buildings, and an extensive arsenal? Maybe you would choose to avoid paying taxes to support your local police and fire departments, instead choosing to “go it on your own.” After all, why should you subsidize those who reside in neighborhoods that are less safe, don’t own guns, or maybe don’t take as much time and care to prevent fires? Keep in mind that households that include children bear even further risks, since they are possibly more likely engage in unwise actions.
Yes, wouldn’t it be much better to have matters such as health care managed by private corporations than a government that was once intended to be “of the people, by the people and for the people”? How much better it would be to have such weighty matters placed in the hands of those who, by their charters, must place shareholder profits above any and all humanitarian concerns. Maybe we would all be better off if our education system, natoinal defense, etc. had been placed in the hands of, say, Enron, Global Crossing, Lehmann Brothers, etc.?
And wouldn’t it be much better to have corporate boards of directors deciding our fate rather than those we’ve elected to office? Although we may sometimes feel the need to call or write our members of Congress, under the corporate-run scenario, we are relieved of that responsibility. Unless we are a major shareholder, our efforts to directly contact those who run a corporation are lower than of winning a Powerball lottery. By the way, unless you are absolutely pleased with every decision that a corporation has made, including the $4 to $5 dollar a gallon gasoline prices not all that long ago, please describe your last conversation with a Big Oil CEO.
In our present world, for many of our fellow citizens, it is perfectly fine for all of us to be forced to pay taxes to pad the profits of the defense industry and military contractors, but not for health care? Yes, we can force everyone to pay for the noble, Christian cause of killing people on the other side of the globe, but cannot spend money to save lives and reduce the suffering of fellow Americans. Is that truly what we’ve become?
Curiously, many of those who so vehemently rail against government-run healthcare are over 65, so please answer this question: How many of these people are choosing to opt out of Medicare, purchasing their own private health insurance instead? Look it up in wikipedia and you’ll find that Medicare is a…gasp…make sure you’re sitting down…a Single Payer system!
A number of others who similarly froth at the mouth at the thought of government-run healthcare are veterans, who benefit from taxpayer subsidized Tri-Care or use VA medical benefits. While this writer is by no means saying that they shouldn’t have access to this care, please keep in mind that according to wikipedia, the VA healthcare system in the United States is…gasp…Socialized Medicine!
Here’s an extra credit question for your favorite teabagger — Of the 223 countries in this world, which one has, in your mind, the most ideal health care system (other than the United States, which is undoubtedly your first choice), the one that the United States should strive to emulate?
Yes, perhaps the teabaggers would all feel much better if, similar to our means of supporting the military-industrial complex, we collected the money from the taxpayers (or alternatively, placed it on the national credit card, aka the Federal Debt), and then handed it over to the insurance companies. In that manner, it might be “invisible”, sort of like an ostrich sticking its head in the sand or placing a shroud over a bird cage. But remember, in neither case does this alter the reality that exists without.
For a fascinating game of “let’s pretend”, let us imagine the course of our nation’s history had the current cast of characters been in charge instead of FDR and company, beginning in early 1933. What would the last three-quarters of a century have looked like for the United States of America?
There is truly much to ponder, and we must take care that we don’t expend our finite energies pursuing imaginary demons. There are in fact many real, oftentimes less visible malevolent forces about which we most need to be concerned.
Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. — Dwight D. Eisenhower