The recent elections have brought some emotional and some real political relief to a beleaguered Middle Class, but we need to point out a few things that MUST happen or our society will literally disintegrate. For so many years now, Republicans have been listening to a siren song of false promises and false accusations that they must stop now and reconsider.
If you are a Republican, you must ask yourself whether, without realizing it, you may have gone off the deep end. Republicans tend to see themselves as religious, traditional (whatever that means to each individual) and rational. But the people who have been pandering to Republican voters have been feeding them lies in such subtle ways, that many, if not most, Republican voters are persuaded that they have the facts, not the Democrats.
Here are just two of the many lies Republicans have been told. And here are some of the real facts that anyone can look up to get at the truth.
1. Republicans say that cutting taxes will increase tax revenues. The facts are that we have cut taxes at least four times under the Republicans and the government went from less than a trillion dollars in debt to more than $14 trillion in debt. About $8 trillion came under the eight years of the Bush Administration.
This whole idea is not only wrong, it is actually a fraud. You have a Republican government that spent $8 trillion more than it earned in tax revenues during the Bush-Cheney administration alone. It was a totally Republican government for most of that time, and certainly a Republican government when the huge tax cuts were approved and when the wars were started.
Cutting taxes on the rich does not create jobs, does not stimulate the economy and does not facilitate the growth of small business. The facts are so clear that you don’t really need any studies. Clinton balanced the budget the last four years of his Presidency. He created 22 million jobs when he actually raised taxes over the negative votes of every single Republican in the House or the Senate.
If you look it up on the Bureau of Labor Standards web site, (probably www.bls.gov) you will see that Bush, for all his spending and tax cutting, only added 1 million jobs to the economy.
In 2003, in the Bush Administration, an economist by the name of Douglass Holtz-Eakin took a chance on proving that cutting taxes increases government revenues. He was the Republican head of the CBO, the Congressional Budget Office, the organization relied upon by both parties for impartial budget data on which to base legislation. The study results showed that tax cuts do not pay for themselves in revenues derived from increased growth.
In fact, the CBO study showed that only between 1% and a maximum of 20% of the cost of tax cuts can be recovered. In other words, the Bush tax cuts cost about $1.8 trillion. That means that only between $18 billion and $360 billion could ever be recovered. Remember, this was the CBO under Holtz-Eakin in the Bush-Cheney regime.
So why didn’t we say…wait a minute….this isn’t working? Well, the question is….why didn’t you? Why didn’t the Republicans say…hey…this is going to add at least $1.764 trillion (or more) to the debt each time we do it? If you are a Republican, why didn’t you object?
The reason no one objected is that you didn’t hear about it. There are four major television outlets for this kind of news. Three of them are controlled by Republicans and the fourth tries to be objective…”he said, she said” journalism. There are several thousand radio stations in the country and no one denies at any time, anywhere, including Republicans (they’re proud of it) that 90% of all political and news commentary is delivered by paid, Right-Wing commentators. (Actually, they are propagandists, paid by the corporations and the very wealthy who do not want to pay higher taxes.)
Do you think that Rush Limbaugh is an entertainer? He is not. Rush Limbaugh is paid $40 million a year by corporations who advertise on the radio networks on which he appears. In return, his job is to spread misinformation about items that will propel their agenda, like the destruction of investment regulations, or defeating anti-pollution legislation. He attacks the unions relentlessly because the unions are the only organized groups that have enough people to counter the toxic effects of this devastating corporate agenda.
Rush Limbaugh’s lies on legislation like health care for poor children and the negotiation of drug prices that would have helped keep some elderly alive have hurt so many people that he broadcasts from a hidden studio, appears only with bodyguards, and would not stay alive, literally, if he were surrounded in some neighborhoods of some American cities. He has done so much damage and has spewed so much hatred that he is literally a “wanted man,” dead or alive, justifiably, in some areas of the country.
Some of the people who are sponsored by the rich, like Ann Coulter, appeal only to Right Wing racist, pro-life zealots who listen to her monotone rants to bolster their own attitudes. The problem is that she lies a very large percentage of the time.
Simply go to the Internet, to www.mediamatters.org and type in “Coulter.” You will then see innumerable instances of her lies balanced against the real facts and the references to the legislation or the actual words that a legislator used, not her distorted interpretation of it. The same is true for dozens of other propagandists, from Glenn Beck to Sean Hannity to Michael Savage that you can find on that site.
2. We need to repeal Obamacare. Not only is this wrong, but the single most important thing we could do to help our economy and our personal lives is to pass a public option to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Here’s why.
When the President began to create the “health reform” legislation, over a million people were being bankrupted a year by health costs that their health insurance didn’t cover. About 100 million were receiving health insurance increases of about 15% per year. Let’s go back and visualize what that meant. (And it hasn’t gotten any better yet, because Obamacare cost-reduction doesn’t go into effect until 2013. That was the negotiation from the health care industry just to get talks started.)
So that means that in 2001, if it cost you $1,000, then the next year, it cost you $1,150, then something like $1, 265, then something like $1,400 and in five years your costs would virtually have doubled. But it didn’t start at $1,000 did it? And it wasn’t limited to only 15% per year, was it? Of course not. Many people are paying $1,500 a month, even more than $20,000 a year. The median cost for a family of health care is $15,000 in 2011.
But here is why the President felt it necessary to take on these huge, greedy health care corporations. Since President Clinton left office, inflation has gone up about 25%. In other words an additional approximately one-fourth of what it was in 2,000. But health care costs have doubled and then gone up an additional one-fourth or more. Health care costs have gone up five times faster than inflation.
Why? Because health care is not a business but we here in the United States now, since Ronald Reagan was President, treat it as a business. Until the Reagan Administration, hospitals were non-profit organizations. They were run by the Catholic Church or the Lutheran Church, Adventists, or dedicated, private, non-profit organizations like the Shriners.
The rest of the world…all of the rest of the world without any exceptions…does not allow their health care institutions to make a profit. It is clearly a conflict of interest, so logical that there is simply no debate outside this country at all. The weakness in our governmental structure is frankly on display when health care is discussed. For example, it is not defensible to say that one citizen should make money on the misfortune of another. It is further indefensible to say that a business will make more money if it is doing less of what it is designed to do and will make less money if it does more of what it is designed to do, i.e. does what it does best.
If you insure someone and that person gets sick and you take care of them, it may cost you a great deal of money. The better you take care of them, the better you are succeeding at what you do. But the more you do, the more money it will cost you and therefore the less money you will make. So, you succeed at your business but you lose money at your business. The point: it is not a good business. It should be run by non-profits and by charitable and religious organizations.
There is a further problem that makes the situation even worse. Not only does the health insurance industry pay for more costs to insure that care is done appropriately, but a for-profit organization must add on whatever profit it needs to reward stockholders. Today, because corporate managers have run amuck with their business procedures, as much as an additional 40% of costs is added on to health care to cover executive salaries. The average health insurance industry CEO makes $14,000,000 per year. And other top executives make similarly high amounts.
The reason is that it is not a free market. You cannot simply go out and buy health care on the open market the way you can vegetables or soap flakes. The health care industry lobbyists have tied up all the financial aspects of health care and health insurance into a system where there are only a couple of companies per state that you can buy from and those companies can deny anyone who may cost them money.
The reason that the health insurance industry spent $400 million in one year in lobbying and advertising efforts to obtain the votes of legislators and demeaning and ridiculing a very soundly competitive piece of legislation is that they see their fat paychecks dwindling and anticipating that when Americans catch on, a public option will destroy their fat-cat paydays. The fact is that the industry has become corrupt, with many good people leaving it and many bad people staying to collect high salaries literally over the dead bodies of some American citizens.
So why repeal? Why the term “repeal” of health care and not “reform?” It is really quite simple. Repeal means that you cannot add on to the bill, which is pretty minimal at this point. The current bill only asks for some cost reductions, a few add-ons to existing services and requires an intra-state pooling of insurance companies to create larger pools of people and to compete with one another to bring down health insurance premiums.
Repeal would mean that you cannot introduce a public option into the price negotiations of the health insurance pools because…with repeal….there would be no intrastate competition for better rates…no regional health insurance pools. Without the health reform act, there would be no pools, no negotiation and no reductions in premiums with the threat of government stepping in to say…not good enough so here’s the government’s health plan option…compete with this.
So what are we saying? We are saying that the health care situation is as simple as this. President Obama knew what a gigantic fight the Clintons had carried on with the health insurance industry in the prior attempt at reform. He also knew that today not only the insurance industry but the 1,600 radio stations carrying Rush Limbaugh and the Fox News Channel would start virtually every hour with a new lie (like the “death panels” lie) about health care reform. They are paid by the health insurance industry to keep Americans from voting in health care reform.
So what did the Republicans do? They trashed the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act at every chance they got. It was good business. They are being paid by the health insurance industry to do it. The constant drumbeat has created a public reaction that now in many polls says that the American people no longer want health care reform. Which of course is stupid and here’s why.
There are several Republican proposals. And because they have succeeded in brainwashing a large number of very stupid Americans to ignore facts and listen to their Right Wing commentators, they have put up proposals that basically keep things as they are only make them worse or…offer solutions that basically disassemble the meager health care plans we do have now that work, like Medicare!
It is astonishing how foolish many of these average American Republicans are. They are often so bigoted and so racist or so religiously fanatic that they are willing to listen to people who are paid to screw them. Rather than saying that they hate abortion but at the same time don’t want to be screwed by health insurance companies, they join things like the Tea Party which pretends to care about the people but is almost 100% funded not only by the rich but by a mere handful of the super-rich who don’t want people to have any health care subsidies at all. No insurance. No nothing. Just two million bankruptcies apparently, instead of one.
So that is why “repeal” is so important. They don’t want to make health care more affordable. And they don’t want the remotest possibility that the government can intrude with regulations forcing them to take care of people. This is only a good business if you can deny coverage when you know it will cost you a fortune to take care of someone.
Making health care expensive is how the CEOs earn fourteen million dollars a year. Keeping 50 million Americans from health insurance coverage may sound to you like a challenge for society and a tragic blow to many Americans who become injured, get sick or are attacked by a disease. “Repeal” rather than modification means that they can continue to disallow these tens of millions of Americans from having health insurance and thereby add to their coffers by simply taking everyone’s personal assets and savings in return for health care services.