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Posts tagged ‘politics’

Forgive my Political Rant

the white houseEvery so often, what goes on in our governments makes me crazy, and I have to vent. So if you don’t want to hear it, here’s your fair warning.

I’ll start with the federal government, since it is such a big, soft target. I listen to Jay Carney sit there and say it is irresponsible of the Republicans to either let us default or play politics with that possibility. I agree that all this is  playing politics, but how do we get into this situation? By not making any of the difficult decisions that would keep us on some kind of balanced, planned course. How about instead of castigating your rivals for a current situation, you’all sit down and MAKE A BUDGET. Jay CarneyOne that MAKES SENSE, and doesn’t bankrupt our country. This congress is like someone who has a broken leg and doesn’t want to go to the doctor, afraid of the pain of getting it set. It’s just going to hurt all the time till you do that. This has to be the weasliest pack of politicians ever. What I wouldn’t give for 5 real grownups in Washington! Both the debt ceiling and the fiscal cliff would be non issues if we had budgets passed for the last 4 years. I think the biggest problem is having a government that doesn’t have to follow it’s own laws.

 

That brings me to the State. I live in New York. Much like the federal government, it’s about as dysfunctional as it gets, and apparently always has been. I was listening to a NPR story about how the Tappenzee bridge got put where it was, not because it was the best place to put it, but so it would be outside the jurisdiction of the port authority. If you harbor any illusions about the innate goodness of humans, politics will cure you quick.

Angry andrew

Anyway, most of you know, Andrew Cuomo, our fearless leader, created a huge uproar with his “sweeping gun legislation” passed in the middle of the night. ( How brave!) I won’t comment on that here, enough is being said by others. I will say, does anyone else think he’s starting to look like one of Fred Gynn’s relatives? Herman MunsterWhat I wanted to comment on was something else he announced in his “State of the State” address. He wants to build non-Indian casinos all over New York State, since they are not getting along with the Indians, and revenues are not being handed over like they would like.  Now, if any of you “poo-poo” the slippery slope phenomena, it hasn’t taken us long to get from “no gambling, period” to “well, lotteries help the children” to “We’re not allowing gambling, it’s on Native territories”.  It just drives me nuts when it’s wrong until they need the money. And why do they need the money? Because just like the Feds, they can’t say no and make a smaller budget.

Ok, time to wipe the spittle off my lips from sputtering in anger. I’m better now. Till the next outrage.

Personal Resbonsibility, What’s Yours?

Mea Culpa

I’m a big fan of personal responsibility. I don’t think we can clean up the world, unless we are cleaning our own house. However, I caught myself thinking something today that made me wonder about my own attitudes. I was cleaning the cat box. I use the clumping cat litter, and I was wondering if it is bad for the environment. My next thought was “They wouldn’t be allowed to make it if it wasn’t”. Outside of how ridiculous that thought is (can anyone say “superfund”?), it was an obvious dodge of personal responsibility. In this case, I want to dodge it, as I love this stuff. It makes keeping three cats easy, neat and not stinky. How often do we avoid considering personal responsibility because we don’t want to change?

The Tie In

I live in New York state. Often called the “Nanny state”, since we seem to have more “it’s bad for you” laws than any other state, other than California. Most of us poo-poo those laws, citing personal responsibility. The cat box this morning made me reconsider that. How many of won’t change until forced to, because we like the thing that might not be good for us? They don’t have to ban clumping cat litter for me to stop using it, but the negative qualities would have to be dramatically and forcefully shown to me in order for me to change.

I can’t say I quit smoking because of the indoor smoking ban, but it certainly helped. Going through the mini- withdrawals I had to endure each time I spent time in a public building was an added incentive to quitting. Make it easy to do the right thing, hard to do the wrong is the basis of behavior change. Is it wrong to have our governments to participate in these efforts? What if a company doesn’t exercise personal responsibility and makes a product that hurts people? Is our only recourse tort law? Of course, bringing up tort law reminds us that anything that can be used for good purpose can be used for bad, 10 times over!

That, of course, is the whole reason people are against the government getting involved in areas that should be relegated to personal responsibility, since  governmental laws ALWAYS have unintended consequences. One law does not fit all circumstances. In New York City, Mayor Bloomberg has gotten much criticism and praise for banning trans fat, supersized drinks and making it a law that calories had to be posted in menus. Are people only angry because they don’t like being told what to do? Is there a threat to trying to eliminate unhealthy things? To further complicate things, since we are already in the process of socialized medicine, do you have the right to do what you want, if I have to pay for it? Do I have the right to tell you what to eat if you weigh 250 and are a type II diabetic, and that is costing my tax money to pay for?

Let me know what you think. I don’t know for sure. I don’t want laws that stop me from doing what I like, but I can’t see the harm in guiding behavior in healthier lines, since we have companies doing so much to affect us psychologically and emotionally to buy their products that don’t help us at all. Can we educate everyone and inoculate them mentally to resist? Or do we legislate that companies cannot put certain things in their products, or use certain tactics to sell the items. Does knowing better actually lead to better behavior? I can attest that knowledge alone does not create change.

I am Forced to Rant About Healthcare.

This blog is my outlet for my rants when my loved ones get sick of listening to it. The whole issue of health care is one of my rants, but I have avoided talking about it for the most part, since it is pointless, no one in power even hints at my position. After hearing what is going on with several of my friends, I have to talk about it. You can say our current system is broken and needs to be fixed, but I think that is like asking the fox to fix the hen house.

Medicare has a part A and a part B. According to the older people I have been talking to, Part A is what you get automatically when you turn 65. That only covers hospitalization. Part B is what the government has been tinkering with, and you have to buy that, like regular health insurance. Depending on which plan you choose, the price and benefits vary. Now you can get Part B subcontracted through regular insurance companies. According to my sources, if you buy Part B insurance at age 65, it is around 150$ a month. If you wait, as they have done, till you are in your 70’s the price jumps to over 1000$ a month. The rational is that those who bought at 65 having been paying in over time, while the late comers will draw more than they pay. You could easily argue that those who bought it at an earlier age have also been using it more, so it evens out, but that is not the governments reasoning. My friends said that barring serious illness, it is cheaper to pay the doctor.

Which brings me to my point. I think all that we have been doing so far is silliness. Why is the government dealing with health insurance at all? Rather than pay insurance companies, and add a layer of bureaucracy to the whole mess, why not subsidize health care directly? Pay all doctors a flat salary, say 50,000$ a year. They could then charge a sliding fee on top of that, so that the poorest and richest could each afford to go. Make it illegal to not treat someone, regardless of ability to pay. Hospitals too, would get a base amount, to help keep them afloat, for treating the poorest people for free, or at a limited cost. Cap what they could charge, so greed wouldn’t get out of hand.

Universities already get billions in tax dollars and endowments, they are the ones creating new medicine.  Let them partner with companies to develop new treatments and drugs.

I’m not saying I’m all in favor of the government running the show at all. We seemed determined that that is the way to go. All I’m saying is if that is what we want, lets do it without lining the pockets of the insurance companies that exist for no other reason than to siphon money out of the health care system. They do what they do FOR A PROFIT. Which means they charge MORE THAN IS REQUIRED. Not to mention they don’t produce ANYTHING related to health care.

I’m Ok, Just lost my breath for a moment. Really, I’m ok. I AM calm.   Seriously though, I don’t see why this wouldn’t work better. I know why it won’t happen. It’s too big. Insurance, existing only to make money, has money. Money is Power. It would be like trying to slay Goliath to get rid of health insurance now. Not to mention that it is entrenched in our mental view of the world. No one even talks about affordable health care, only affordable insurance. We have blinded ourselves to the elephant in the living room.

If anyone out there can point out where I’m wrong, or has a better idea, I’m all ears. Please enlighten me. I don’t mind, I have plenty of other soapboxes to climb on.

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