Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Breaking Down: healthcare and other cultural artifacts

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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?

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3 Comments:

At October 19, 2011 10:20 PM, Blogger rob payne said...

I think the Democratic Party has outlived its usefulness if it indeed was ever useful. My own views have changed much since the days when I thought Democrats were better, or even that liberals actually stood for something which they do not.

When I mention Obama’s murderous ways to an old friend, a liberal, he says it’s too bad but I can tell he doesn’t really give a fuck. Obama is a Democrat but most important of all is that he is black, it’s so obvious that this is more important to my friend than anything else in the world, certainly the death of small children won’t shake his love of the Democratic Party and liberals in general.

Speaking of blacks and health insurance it is interesting that Kyle is black because it is the black population and other minorities that suffer far more than the white segment of the population when things go wrong economically. The irony is that Obama being black he has the support of many blacks, or did, likely still does I suppose, and yet he is the worst thing to come along for black Americans. His job plan is a fraud, he has done nothing regarding the housing bubble of which blacks and other minorities were purposefully targeted by the banksters. The banks encouraged people who could not afford a house to buy with no down payments only to force them to lose their homes when the balloon payments kicked in. Blacks by all rights would be cursing Obama if he was white (which he actually is for all intents and purposes) but since Obama is black they don’t, or haven’t in the past. I know I am generalizing here but I don’t think I can write a book here in the comments section.

The two party system was designed to keep the rabble at each other’s throats, the Democratic leadership has seen to it that no other party can ever be a serious challenge to the two party system on which the thieves thrive. People love to talk of the wisdom of the founding fathers yet they were by and large the wealthiest of the colonists as well as slave owners. I bear no love for the founding fathers nor do I think what people and historians have built them up to be is factual. In their time only land owners, think people with more money than most, were allowed to vote. The colonial economy was based on slave labor. In fact I dismiss the founding fathers as being of any real importance. But then I no longer view government as anything but an evil concoction that we could learn to do without.

We have all been indoctrinated but that doesn’t mean we cannot struggle to rid ourselves of such vile mind bending. All my life I have been aware that something was amiss and it is only when one views government for what it actually is that pieces begin to fall together.

 
At October 20, 2011 9:50 AM, Blogger Jonathan Versen said...

Hi Rob,

"We have all been indoctrinated but that doesn’t mean we cannot struggle to rid ourselves of such vile mind bending. All my life I have been aware that something was amiss and it is only when one views government for what it actually is that pieces begin to fall together."

Very well put.

As far as I can see one reason for OWS having caught on the way it seems it has is because large numbers of people also see the Democratic party as having outlived it's usefulness.

Of course OWS being a big deal today is no guarantee it'll count for much of anything several months from now, when more people start thinking about the 2012 election, and we know who the undoubtedly scary GOP nominee will be, etc. But you know that.

http://deadhorse1995.blogspot.com/2011/08/4th-way-or-possibly-5th-way-sorry-ive.html


Regarding Kyle being black, I remember a piece by Glen Ford in Black Agenda report a while back who argued that the ascendancy of BHO meant that blacks were no longer honest about politics because they felt compelled to defend him. I don't remember when it appeared exactly. Maybe you told me about it, or you mentioned it in Halcyon Days.

 
At October 20, 2011 12:56 PM, Blogger Karl Franz Ochstradt said...

"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!"

He was going so well until his closing snark... which wrongly assumes the choice is government-endorsed private contractor profiteering, or government-endorsed bureaucracy-inefficiency-bloat-which-is-preferable-because-less-costly-on-its-face-in-some-people's-view.

If he had a clue, he'd see that both of his supposed Only Two Options are arguments for why the State is a wasteful entity that shouldn't be trusted.

I do not prefer bureaucratic arrogance+laziness to contractor profiteering. I despise them equally.

They come from the same root problem:

bureaucratic arrogance, and nanny-state-ism.

In any case, government fiscal waste on outside contractors (often called "consultants" to make it seem like they're just "advising" and not deciding) has been a problem for at least 20 years and in my view has been worse in Donkey governments than in Elephant ones.

 

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