|Forum topic by fussy||posted 12-30-2011 02:53 AM||2581 views||0 times favorited||141 replies|
12-30-2011 02:53 AM
OK campers, I am going to try something new. A short preamble. I love this country. I love the principles that guided and molded it during its’ creation, the principles for which it has stood, that has made it a beacon of hope to the world and the place of refuge for people of all stripes. I love it not just in a flag waving “we’re #1!” way. I love so deeply that it hurts, so badly that a big, formerly strong man weeps at the thought of how far we have descended from the lofty peaks we enjoyed not too long ago.
I have to leave this world to my children and grand children, and I am afraid I will be leaving them a broken promise. I would like to live long enough to see it fixed, but at 65 and in less than perfect health, I have to confront the fact that I probably won’t. The least I can do is try to start the process.
We didn’t get into this mess overnight, or in the last three years. We have been disintegrating for a long time. One cannot blame the left or the right, they all are culpable. We can blame only ourselves for allowing it to happen.
A couple ground rules: I am going to state some opinions, personal, reasoned, honest, but they will be MY OPINIONS. What I would like to have happen is for you folks to read what I have to say, think about it, and if you have something to say, do so in a calm reasoned way. Try to leave idology out of it. Please, no conservative vs. liberal stuff, no finger pointing, no name calling. This is hopefully to be a way to start listening to each other with respect for the other’s point of view and right to express it. Try to keep your responses rational, thoughtful, and polite with the goal being to find a way to 1) talk to each other without shouting, and 2) by doing so, begin to see the depth and causes of our problems. Recognizing a problem in its’ totality is the first step in solving it.
OK, now for my thoughts. I apologize in advance if I seem a bit windy. I’m just a bit windy. The problems we face are the very real possibility of the total collapse of the Republic. Financially, we are in deep kimshi. The inequality of distribution of wealth is at its’ greatest in our history resulting in huge upheavals in the way the country works. I would bet my life that no one on here is in the top 1% in income. We are the 99%, the ones in the trenches struggling to get by, and in many cases failing. We have the largest percentage of children living in poverty in the developed world. Same for infant mortality, families living with food insecurity, families living with the threat of homelessness, the list goes on. We have the most expensive health care system in the world, with more of our population being denied care because of cost than anywhere in the developed world. Health care reform has tried to bring people into the health care system, but the cost is unsustainable. The middle class, the life-blood of the Republic, is disappearing leaving the uber-rich and the rest of us. As resources dwindle, likes rats in a cage we turn on each other in fury and panic. WE ARE DIVIDED.
We are divided on purpose. The jobs didn’t go to China, India, Kingdom of Pishtoff or where ever as a natural process. It was done deliberately so that stockholders would get a better ROI. Simply put, greed. Some industries naturally move to lower wage countries as their development peaks and ways to increase productivity diminish. That is true of some, but the bulk of the jobs shipped overseas were sent for greed. American workers are the most productive in the world, but still it is more pofiable to pay lower-slave-wages, have no worker protection or medicalo care, no environmental protections, no business ethics considerations. Just get it done cheeply, Send it to Wal Mart, market it and the schmcks will spend their last dollar to get it.
The system works this way because we have career politicians who will get in bed with any special interest who will give them money for reelection campaigns, lobyists who will provide the money delivered by big businessesw who then get to write the legislation regulating their industries. Sweet deal, except, as usual, the 99% gets screwed.
Solution 1) Strict term limits. The President can serve no more than 11 years, do the same to both houses. The time in in Congress would be absolute with NO going to lobbyists or consultants, and NO PENSION. Limit the motivation to stay in office to a desire to SERVE, not enrich oneself. If a deficit of more than 5% of the budget occurs in a given year, ALL are inelegible to receive pay, period.
2) Take the corrupting influence of big money out of the electoral process. Make elections publicly funded by a budgeted fund, with STRICT spending rules, and NO outside money or campaign ads allowed at all. Keep it between candidates, keep it clean, cheep, and HONEST. Money is not speech. One’s voice should not be louder that anyone else’s just because he has more money.
Correct the tax imbalance. We ALL have to pay for our Liberty. Warren Buffet, one of the richest men in America believes he and his contemporaries need to pay more. Both from a moral perspective and from a fiscal perspective. We can’t cut our way out of this mess. The rich, the JOB CREATORS, have had it their way for almost a decade. Where are the JOBS? They are coasting and boasting while we are toasting.
3) Fix the schools. I am not talking about putting prayer back-kids pray before every test, I’m sure. We need to regain control in the classrooms. Discipline is gone, classes are disrupted, and teachers and administrators have no way to control the situation with no means of discipline at their command. The result is that kids who want to learn can’t and teachers give up. Stop making kids FEEL GOOD about themselves, stop trying to eliminate those annoying standards and giving smiley stickers for a high school kid wh goes tinkle in the potty.
4) Get medical care under control. In our for=profit system, costs go up at far greater rates than inflation and is not reflected in quality of care. Hospitals are major vectors of terrible diseases simply because of a lack of basic cleanliness. Nursing homes, besides from being ruinously expensive, are quite often a chamber of horrors. Prescription costs are though the toof, some doctor’s fees are laughable. Needed tests are sometimes prohibitavely expensive, while a whole industry has sprung up around things like diabetes test strips, ambulatory assist devices, and on and on. Fraud is rampant and we are loosing ground. Big Pharma does what it wants, writes its’ own rules, and we pay the price. We have seen how the market regulates iself. Other countries, England, Germany France, Italy, Japan, S. Korea, Austraila, Sweden, Denmark, etc. regulate, in some way, costs of ALL medical services and consumables. ALL. The medical industries wailed that they couldn’t operate that way, but they do and they get along just fine. Consider, No one goes bankrupt in any of those countries because of medical costs, and No one has to choose between eating or taking their medicine. INSTEAD OF WONDERING HOW AND WHO IS GOING TO PAY FOR IT, LET US LIMIT THE PROFITS THEY ARE ALLOWED TO MAKE, ELIMINATE FRAUD AND CORRUPTION, AND REDUCE THE COST OF MEDICAL CARE RATIONALLY, NOT BY RATIONING.
5) Eliminate speculation on commodities futures, ie. foodstuffs, oil, pork bellies, et al. It doesn’t encourage production or benefit the producer. It simply drives prices higher on critical items while enriching rich peole.
6) When banks are too big to fail, do as Iceland. Driven ti the brink of collapse by the avarice of their bankers, Iceland in its’ recovery let the banks fail. Then prosecuted those responsible. How much sense woulod it make to do the same here. Immediately after receiving bailouts, demanded by congress, they allocated several billion dollare for BONUSES for the very one who drove the train off the track. Regulaate the investment banking, indeed the entire banking industry, much more stringently. We have seen how they regulate themselves.
7) This is the last for now; I have to go fix supper, but it’s most important. We ARE DIVIDED AS NO TIME IN OUR HISTORY. A political fact has allways been if you have no solutions to the problems, distract the people and divide them. Start a war, or pick issues sure to be controversial, push them, stir the prople up, and they won’t notice them running off with the piggy bank. Well, we’re divided. Conservative, liberal, gay rights, gun controll (I use both hands-give me a break), abortion; all important and all deeply felt, but they are not the important issues. As long as we stay bitterly divided we will not be able to solve these or any problems. As long as we stay divided, we will be at the mercy of the special interests and their political lackeys who care not for us or the Union. As long as we stay divided, this nation will continue to give up its’ place in the world, continue its’ downward slide into insignificance, and the hope of humanity will be lost.
I love this country, and I want it fixed. There is more than I have expressed here, but it is a start. Please remember what I said. Think, reason, and discuss civily. Prove that we can work together. This was the United States of America; let us make it so again. The motto of my home state is, “United We Stand, Divided We Fall.” Think about it. I await your responses.
God Bless America
-- Steve in KY. 44 years so far with my lovely bride. Think I'll keep her.