Breaking Down: healthcare and other cultural artifacts
Above: "Man Robs Bank for $1 To Get Health Care in Jail/"
Liz Goodwin, Yahoo: Suspected domestic abusers go free as Topeka city, county officials bicker over funds
A bitter argument over money in Topeka, Kan., means that city and county authorities have neglected to prosecute or charge people suspected of domestic battery since Sept. 8.
In other words, the local justice system has spent a month effectively sending the message that misdemeanor domestic assault will go unpunished--at least for now. The dispute started last month, when Shawnee County District Attorney Chad Taylor announced that a 10 percent budget cut to his office in 2012 meant he would no longer be prosecuting any of the city's misdemeanors, effective immediately.
The Chronicle for Higher Education,August 11, 2010 "Salary for Interim Commissioner Raises Eyebrows in Louisiana":
Should Louisiana’s interim higher-education commissioner be making $25,000 a month—plus $1,500 a month for housing and $600 for a car?
Balloon-Juice, "This class war thing is more complicated than you'd think":
Archer, 52, abruptly quit her job on Aug. 19 as the No. 2 official at the powerful Department of Administration. She made $124,000 in that position. She was to start the following Monday as legislative liaison at the Department of Children and Families, but began taking paid medical leave that day.
She is making $99,449 in that job – $39,129 more than her predecessor. That 65% pay hike was possible because Walker’s fellow Republicans turned 39 civil service jobs into political positions earlier this year.
Daniel Politi, Slate, Sep. 15, 2011
Postal Service Could Get Slower:Plan calls for shutting down more than 250 mail processing facilities and eliminate 35,000 jobs.
CNN, "Financially-strapped cities cut jobs, services"
Christian Science Monitor, "A long, steep drop for Americans' standard of living"
New York Times, "Use of Private Contractors Don’t Save Government Money, Study Finds"
The government paid billions of dollars more to hire contractors than it would have cost federal employees to perform comparable services, according to the study.
via Gary Farber who writes, "The study found that in 33 of 35 occupations, the government actually paid billions of dollars more to hire contractors than it would have cost government employees to perform comparable services. On average, the study found that contractors charged the federal government more than twice the amount it pays federal workers. Remember: government is inefficient, and privatization is wonderful!"
Louisville, Courier-Journal, September 9, 2011: "Sherman Minton Bridge closed indefinitely due to structural cracks"
via Thom Hartmann,"America’s infrastructure now ranks 16th in the world"
The Sherman Minton Bridge is just one of several bridges in danger of collapsing –- As the American Society of Civil Engineers points out, 34% of all the bridges in Kentucky are considered “structurally deficient.” Of course – Kentucky is the home state of Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell – who opposed increased infrastructure spending in the 2009 stimulus bill – opposed it again when Republicans blocked a jobs bill in 2010 – and threw cold water last week on President Obama’s “American Jobs Act” that includes billions in transportation infrastructure products. According to a study by the Urban Land Institute – our nation’s infrastructure needs $2 trillion worth of repairs.
CNN, September 13, 2011: In one year, 2.6 million more poor
Amy Bingham, ABC News, September 13, 2011: "Tea Party Debate Audience Cheered Idea of Letting Uninsured Patients Die"
Carrie Gann, ABC News, Sept. 2, 2011:
Man Dies From Toothache, Couldn't Afford Meds
A 24-year-old Cincinnati father died from a tooth infection this week because he couldn't afford his medication...According to NBC affiliate WLWT, Kyle Willis' wisdom tooth started hurting two weeks ago. When dentists told him it needed to be pulled, he decided to forgo the procedure, because he was unemployed and had no health insurance.
I'm tempted to leave it there and let the reader make her own conclusions. But in 2014 when the so-called Affordable Healthcare Act fully kicks in, people like Kyle Willis and dollar bank robber James Varone still won't have universal healthcare, they'll have a universal obligation to purchase insurance, which isn't exactly the same thing. And if they don't they'll be fined. The plan, of course, is designed to be fully implemented after the 2012 election, and to include subsidies for poor folks.
Why was it designed this way? Was it a good-cop,bad-cop routine played out(and still playing out), not in an interrogation room on a television show, but on television screens nonetheless, before millions? Was it because the republicans are supposed to sweep in and gut funding for the Kyle Willises who need subsidies, so the democrats can't be blamed, and the GOP can tell their supporters they tried their damnedest to get rid of Obamacare altogether, but all they could do was defund it, because the courts wouldn't "let" them get rid of the individual mandate? And so the democrats who voted for the mandates could say, "let us back in power, see what happens when we're not there to protect you?"
What do you think?