Archive for the ‘health care’ Category

We need each other

2017/08/11

Thinking about socialism, and socialist countries got me to consider the countries in the far North, like Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Canada.  These are places where people have to count on each other for survival, and work together to get through winters.  In more temperate climates, people exist without having to share, and can get by without being checked up on by a neighbor.  Going off the road in a car does not mean danger of freezing to death in most of the U.S.

The less we feel part of a community, the less we will sacrifice for that community.  As we become more wealthy, we are reluctant to share that wealth with those we do not consider part of our group.  We have got to realize that we are in this together, and that we will need each other at some point in the future if we want to pass anything on to  generations to come.

The contribution that we make may be small, perhaps only a moment out of a lifetime, but that moment will be a critical one for everyone.  We all have worth, and we need to be reminded of that, frequently.

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The Better Wealth Care Act

2017/06/25

The Republicans in the Senate are scrambling to pass a bill gutting the health care system in the United States before anyone can examine it.  The bill was drafted in secret, without input from doctors, insurance companies, hospitals, or those who it will affect.  The primary purpose of this bill is to allow taxes on the very wealthy to be reduced.  Those taxes have supported the expansion in Medicaid which has allowed millions of people access to health care for the first time in their lives.  (I don’t consider emergency room visits to be ‘access to health care’.)

What the Republicans are basically saying is “we don’t care about you, you little grub.”  They don’t feel a part of the community, because their wealth allows them to survive outside of the community.   Our society is under attack by people who are afraid of society, of community, of sharing the surplus.  They don’t view the average person as a person, but as bunch of numbers; productivity, age, pay rate, etc.  People are a resource to be mined, exploited, used up and thrown away.

The supporters of this bill are not concerned with health care, they only want wealth care.  More tax breaks to the people who would never be able to spend all what they have.

The West in crisis

2017/05/07

France teeters on the edge of a anti-Eurpopean revolt, the United States seems locked in a internal war, and England has decided to leave the European Union, which it was never completely a part of.  Spain, Italy, and Greece, the foundation of the Western mind, are trapped in financial suspended animation.  Germany’s premiere auto maker admits to designing vehicles to cheat on emissions tests.

Social issues, such as financial in-equality, health care, and retirement benefits are becoming very important in the U.S., eroding the dominance capitalism has had for the last 150 years.  Church attendance is at all-time lows, yet many people are interested in spiritual growth.  Evidence indicates that Russia meddled with the American election, throwing the result into question.

The acceptance of capitalism and materialism in areas outside the West is very troubling, because they are not working very well in the West.  Greed for ever increasing profit, disregard for environmental issues, and lack of sustainability are becoming trademarks of the Western world.  The West consumes the majority of the world’s resources, yet represents only a fraction of the world’s population.  That is unlikely to continue, especially as countries like China adopt automobiles in place of bicycles.  We all are going to be riding bicycles soon, I think, and we will consider ourselves lucky to have them.

The wrong stuff

2017/05/01

America was made great by companies working together with employees to build products which would last and last.  America was made great by governments investing the public’s money into roads, bridges, and water systems.  America was made great by working people sacrificing part of their lives to an employer, or by people who built their own empires from the ground up.

America is being destroyed by greed, the belief that work is somehow demeaning, only fit for inferiors.  Greed which drives corporations to focus on practices which drive away customers; cutting costs often means cutting staffing, so there are fewer people to provide customer service.  The emphasis on profit has become obsessive, driven by shareholders who demand an income from lending money to a company.

Capitalism may have been great during the early years of the United States, but it is doing great harm today.  Wealth is so concentrated that the economy is capsizing.  Debt is considered an essential financial tool, instead of last resort.  Banks no longer are lending depositors money, but money from investors hungry for immediate rewards.  Many dwellings are mortgaged for more than they are worth, and there are vacant homes all over the country.

Taking care of the people should be the most important aspect of society, insuring that there are healthy, educated, well-fed people to perform the work needed to support an advanced society.  Single-payer health care is an essential aspect of an advanced economy, protecting the employer from the costs of employee’s health care for life.  This health care should include dental, vision, and behavioral aspects, as the prevention of problems is far cheaper than dealing with the problems.  Providing minimal housing is another essential government role, insuring that everyone can sleep indoors if they want to.  We don’t need a three-bedroom home for every person, but a shipping container can provide superior protection from the elements for a very small price.  How you fix up the inside is up to you.

Taking care of the people is like taking care of your car.  Unless you don’t care about costs, taking care of tools, vehicles, or plant and equipment is essential.  People are our most valuable resource, and we have been exploiting people without mercy.  The rewards for submitting to the constraints of employment have been diminishing for decades.  Our spiritual lives are frequently empty and barren, amidst a society obsessed with material things.

Our culture  of greed is making people sick, to the point of killing each other, and themselves.  Our society is destroying us, exploiting us to death.  We cannot go back to earlier days, nor can we afford to continue as we are.  Change is inevitable, and the longer it is delayed, the more disruptive it will be.

Destroying our community

2017/03/22

Without community, humans are nothing, for they will lose everything they create or accomplish, when their life ends. Community can preserve the creations of the individual, and build upon the accomplishments of its members. Community is what gives us strength in times of adversity, community is what helps us to find work or other resources, community is essential to the human existence.

Community is under attack, being gutted, by the wealthy of the United States. They have no sense of community, feeling no inclination to share their immense wealth in ways that create meaningful work for everyday people. The tiny fraction of the population which controls nearly all of the wealth resents any suggestion that what they are extracting from the community is, in any way, shape, or form, the property of those whose work made the wealth. Their incredible wealth has made it so that they can live beyond the community, without the need for others to help with the children, or the gardening, or the housework. They pay servants for those services, thus maintaining a barrier between themselves and the working class people.

The ‘haves’ label as communism any attempt to improve the community which requires the redistribution of wealth. Yet, without community, there would be no ‘haves’, or ‘have-nots’, because humanity would have perished long ago. If we do not take care of each other, eventually we all will encounter a time when we need help and there will be no one there.

Are community and society evil?

2017/03/06

There is a lot of talk about how ‘socialist’ the Affordable Care Act is.  To me, socialism is society at work, the caring for of the individual by the group.  If we ditch society, what have we left?  The individual?  Individuals die, leaving behind nothing except what they have created that is of value to the group.  Society, the group, may survive, but the individual will not.  The group, the community, is what our effort should benefit, because if we make things better for everyone, they will get better for us, too.  But ‘community’ is very close to ‘communism’ in some people’s dictionary, and communism is the mortal enemy of capitalism.  Except in China, apparently.  Any talk of ‘sharing the wealth’ brings out rabid, growling conservatives, bound and determined to protect everything that they have acquired.

For too long have humans been able to survive as individuals, without the aid of the community.  Being a member of a group, a community, was essential for survival for most of human evolution.  Being a member of community is also the only way that what we have accomplished, what we have learned, will be passed on, remembered, used.  But wealth has made it so that some can believe that they are above the community, that they do not have to contribute to the welfare of the group.   To these people, society is an enemy, an adversary.  They view individuals as faceless drones, of no value beyond their ability to work and to consume.  They are comfortable exploiting these workers because they are not part of the same community.

We can now look back at our home from outside, from the orbit of the Moon, for instance.  What we see is a single planet, which we all share.  No longer can we pretend that we are separate from any others.  We are all in this together.

 

Trump this!

2017/02/12

 

President Trump, could you please talk to your multi-billionaire friends, and convince them to shake loose some of that money that they have so much of?  It would really help, because there is enough wealth in the U.S. to buy everyone a house, a car, a college education, and healthcare for the rest of their lives.  But it is locked up in the hands of a few, where it just sits, or is used to create even more wealth, by manipulating numbers instead of making actual work happen.

Raising the minimum wage will simply make it so that you can be broke with more money than ever before, because everything will get more expensive.  Unless the greedy people agree to give up the massive profits that they are taking with no effort on their part.  Sometimes, profits are so large that the owners could double the wages paid and still take home a tidy sum.  A lot of the money is going to pay dividends, which is where people get paid for doing nothing.  Lend a company money by buying their stock, and they pay you every year, even if they end up paying you more than you lent them.  Isn’t that a nice system?

President Trump, do the unbelievable thing, get your wealthy friends to spend their money on the masses, instead of just letting it sit in banks.  Talk them into paying for low-income housing, or public transportation, or music education, things that will raise the quality of life for everyone, and put people to work doing it.  Remind them that the tax rate on the very wealthy used to be 95 percent.  Today, it is closer to 30 percent.  Without the wealthy voluntarily putting a portion of their wealth into the community, the community will die.  And community is dying all across America.  Help us, please!

What do we want from Trump?

2017/01/21

The United States has selected a new president, and many people are unhappy with the choice.  If this is a good president, he will delegate authority to people he believes are knowledgeable about what they are in charge of, and work with their recommendations.  He will also address the most pressing issues facing our nation, not the least of which is the question of health care.

George W. Bush was saved from dealing with the issue by the terrorists, and managed to dodge it his entire time in office.  Barrack Obama inherited a situation which was becoming intolerable.  Because health care is included in most retirement programs, and states and local governments offered retirement, these agencies were facing steadily increasing costs.  Unions and other institutions also were encountering costs which threatened their solvency.  Future health care costs are factored into costs for automobiles, as assembly line workers have retirement packages.  Companies in other countries are subsidized by national health care, so that paying for future health care is unnecessary.

Profit has been the major impediment to providing national health care, the profits the insurance companies generate.  Some people claim to be spooked by ‘socialism, but I think that society is a good thing, for the most part.  The individual has inherent worth, which cannot be measured in terms of profit.  By existing, other people make my life more possible.  We are all important, we all have moments when we do something for someone else, no matter how hard we try not to.  We are worth being taken care of when we are sick or injured.  Health care means trying to insure that everyone is able to give their all, and that they will be cared for when they have.  Individual employers should not be forced to try to create a healthcare package for their employees, they should be able to rely on national health care for that.

Will Donald Trump be able to convince the Republicans that there is more money in national health insurance than there is in our current system?  Will he nationalize the health insurance companies, and pay them off over a period of years?  What will he do with the savings that would be generated by the reductions of health care costs?   Making money off of providing insurance for health care is not very healthy.  Health care should be between you and your doctor.  A single payer system simplifies the matter tremendously, as a doctor just submits the fees to the national health care system.

What made America great

2017/01/17

We are hearing a lot of talk about making the United States great again.  But what made America great before?  The people made America great.  People who were inventors, people who could figure out new, better ways of doing things.  People who were willing to work hard, and to share the fruits of their labors.  People working together were what made this country great,  people who shared a dream, who were willing to sacrifice some of today for a future they might never see.

Taking care of people is how we will make America great again, putting people ahead of profits, ahead of automation, ahead of shareholders, because it is people who create the wealth.  We must take care of our own, to insure that being elderly does not mean being forgotten, that being disabled does not mean being hungry.  We have created a tremendous technology, which has made levels of productivity possible that were unthinkable just a few years ago.  We all should share in the benefits of that technology, with higher wages, more benefits, more security.

When we treat people as being disposable, we all become disposable.

Imaginary bridges

2016/03/19

Trillions of dollars in wealth has been created in the last few decades.  Enough for every person on the planet to have a place to live, medical and dental care, and an education.  Several times over.  But this wealth is not improving the quality of life for anybody, it is for the most part chasing other money in an attempt to create more money out of nothing.  People who have billions of dollars can’t begin to spend it on goods and services, so the wealth is out of circulation, not flowing through the system anymore

There is another kind of wealth, the kind of wealth which benefits everyone, and which lasts and lasts.  My favorite example is a bridge, which spans a long, deep chasm, or canyon.  Going around takes hours, and lots of energy.  Every time that the bridge is used, the equivalent to the cost of the time and fuel is created, added to the system.  A highway allows goods and people to travel faster, with less effort.  That creates value.  A waterworks supplies clean drinking water to a city.  This prevents illness and death, which creates value.  These forms of wealth make all of us wealthy, because they benefit all of us.

Instead of investing in the future, building new bridges, roads, schools, our wealthy have been trying to accumulate even more wealth, with the sole intent of hoarding it.  They see it as a game, a pastime.  But they are sucking the life-blood out of our economy, taking all the energy, leaving none for even fixing what breaks.  The greed is destroying us.  We need to start building real bridges, fixing real roads, instead of making more funny money.