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Forum topic by fussy posted 12-30-2011 02:53 AM 3115 views 0 times favorited 141 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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980 posts in 3286 days

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.
Set REAL standards for learning, have more than one path—vocational as well as college prep—, make the curriculum effective—agree on a math program and stick to it, teach proper English, and above teach CIVICS. Personal responsibility, code of conduct, critical thinking, reasoning. An EDUCATED populace is strong. An UNEDUCATED populace is easy to manipulate. Make PARENTS equally, or more, responsibile for their kids’ performance in school. If they don’t show up so many days, a parent goes to jail. Same with homework, behavior, attitude, etc. Parents send little kids to school telling them it’s not important, they don’t have to do that, etc. and use video games and tv to occupy them so they don’t have to parent. Make parenting classes mandatory for every expetant couple, or sadly woman.

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.

141 replies so far

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3207 days

#1 posted 12-30-2011 03:45 AM

As long as you think the problem is rich people not paying enough taxes and mean old greedy buisness owners making too much profit are the main problems, you are indeed correct. We are doomed.

You state that the inequality of the distribution of wealth is at its greatest in our history. I can’t respond to that without pointing out that if you study economies of other countries all over the world there is a common theme. The more socialist, a country is, the greater the “inequality of the distribution of wealth”.

I’m getting too hot under the collar to stick to your ground rules so I’m going to leave now. But I just want to say you should work a few months in one of the Central or South American countries to see what real inequality of distribution of wealth is. I have and it was a real eye opener.

View HorizontalMike's profile


7770 posts in 3150 days

#2 posted 12-30-2011 03:46 AM

How does an agnostic say “amen”? Here we go… ”A MAN” who stands tall in the face of adversity truly IS a man.

My only REAL comment deals with this:
”A EDUCATED populace is strong. An UNEDUCATED populace is easy to manipulate.”

So true! To limit education, in ANY fashion, only plays into the Party’s hands of those who limit such funding. Period. And a limited education only leads to the type of manipulation that ends up with “ISOLATED INDIVIDUALS” murdering other citizens such as politicians, abortion doctors, and minorities, IMO.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View fussy's profile


980 posts in 3286 days

#3 posted 12-30-2011 04:45 AM


I am sorry tha you’re upset. The whole purpose of this is to get people to THINK outside their normal way of thinking, get to the root of the problem, work TOGETHER without rancor r prejudice or pre-conceived positions, and come to a conclusion TOGETHER. In the words of Benjamin Franklin, when the Continental Congress was vascillating over declaring independance, “Gentlemen, If we do not hang together, we will most assuredly hang seperately!” Same here. We have to throw off all the enmity and divisive positions set in stone, and find a way out of this; ideology be damned. Take a look at your tag line, and Kentucky’s motto. Think about it. Unless you’re one of the 1%, in which case you may be excused, you are one of us, and I am one of you.; We are the PEOPLE and we need to realize that and work together. Not to reach your conclusion, or my conclusion, but OUR JOINT conclusion. We are up to our armpits in alligators and you seem to be defending the ones who are fleecing us. Please try to think this through. It’s too important. We need you, we need each other.


-- Steve in KY. 44 years so far with my lovely bride. Think I'll keep her.

View Viktor's profile


466 posts in 3654 days

#4 posted 12-30-2011 07:17 AM

crank49: “The more socialist, a country is, the greater the “inequality of the distribution of wealth”

Completely false, at least among OECD countries (lets compare apples with apples).

View derosa's profile


1590 posts in 3071 days

#5 posted 12-30-2011 07:26 AM

Only issue I see is mandating parenting classes, come up with some sort of incentive program under the health care system to strongly encourage participation. Other then that I’ve always felt that most of what you’ve posted is largely common sense. Part of it is that we need to get the younger generations participating. I’m a gen-Xer and as a group we are well known for not being involved; I spend a lot of time trying to get my fellow classmates and friends involved in anything but it is an uphill battle.

-- A posse ad esse

View fussy's profile


980 posts in 3286 days

#6 posted 12-30-2011 07:50 AM


I can go along with that. Poor parenting is a self-replicating problem. One generation begets the next. The same with welfare. We have to be able to help people to pull themselves up without addicting them to help. However, in order to make people qualified for a job, and give reasonable hope as a motovator to leave welfare, it would seem to be necessary that there be JOBS available. Back to the old corporate greed question trading jobs for profits.

A company we studied in North or South? Carolina, the name escapes me now, was piloted by a ceo who stated that his primary motivation for starting the company and keeping it going was to provide employeement for his employees. He had his, said he didn’ need the money, but felt a responsibility to pass it on. Steve Jobs was of that ilk too. We need more, what is it Russ, love for our fellow man? A Novel concept.

The younger generation will be a lost generation unless we get it together. I’m worried about the NEXT generation.


-- Steve in KY. 44 years so far with my lovely bride. Think I'll keep her.

View TCCcabinetmaker's profile


932 posts in 2590 days

#7 posted 12-30-2011 08:27 AM

My problem is you still want to tax income. As long as people’s incomes are taxed, there is no way to get ahead. It’s what the gangs and mobs used to do in the 1800s. You want to work, you gotta pay me. It’s called extortion by the way, at least when the mob does it….

Tax imported goods. I’ve seen figures for this suggestion, and honestly, it would fix the deficit in a few years, as well as provide protection for american workers. Nafta, Gat and any like trade treaties do NOT benefit anyone. Trade imballance does not benefit anyone, even the poorer country. What happens is unscrupulous people move in to make what they can as fast as they can without any consequences.

-- The mark of a good carpenter is not how few mistakes he makes, but rather how well he fixes them.

View rance's profile


4267 posts in 3396 days

#8 posted 12-30-2011 09:42 AM

Fussy, I agree with you. I have a few words/ideas that need to be put into practice:

  • Responsibility
  • Consequences for actions
  • Accountability

In no particular order. Just some of my rants:

  • Jobs overseas = greed. Maybe taxing imports will help this, I don’t know. But I’m for it.
  • Career politicians – They need term limits, boundaries.
  • Cut gov’t costs – Start with a flat 17% tax for people, AND businesses and eliminate 90% of the IRS.
  • Introduce accountability – Tie congress’s pay (and other’s, all the way to the top) to their accomplishments.
  • Under NO circumstances do we allow the(our) gov’t to borrow any more money. They have to learn what we have been told and are learning and practicing ourselves. We don’t depend on credit, we learn to live within our means.
  • Make the banks and individuals that fail, fail. Don’t bail them out. This gets back to accountability and responsibility.
  • Require our leaders(yes, ALL of them) to use the same resourses we do, starting with health care.

There is more, but discussing this makes me want to vomit in their(DC’s) general direction. I HATE OUR GOVERNMENT and what it has become.

Are you justified in being mad? Absolutely. Is LJ the place to get results, probably not, but the folks here need to be woken up as much as any other. So other than voting them out, how do you affect redirection?

Is there any expectation that we will ever get back on track? I believe so, but it will take a rebellion, and/or a revival.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View fussy's profile


980 posts in 3286 days

#9 posted 12-30-2011 10:03 AM


A couple things to consider. One, it is simply the cost of freedom. Taxes are not that high. As a matter of fact, taxes as a percentage of personal income, are at the LOWEST in over 40 years. Taxes on the uber rich are even lower, and for what reason? Job Creators? In almost a decade of tax cuts for them, where are the jobs? Look around. You may not have noticed this little economic blip. Big businesses are sitting on trillions of dollars in profits. Have been for quite a while. They’re not hiring. Won’t hire until we start buying. We can’t start buying until they start hiring. Catch 22?

Jobs starting going overseas big time in the ‘80s, but we didn’t notice. Most of us anyway. Remembe “Greed is Good”. Guys like Carl Icahn and others loike him got their start buying companies in trouble because of the economic turmoil of that period. Instead of putting money in to rebuild them, they broke them up, gutted them, sold the parts, made hyuge profits and danced to the bank while thousands of people were left jobless.

The trend only accelerated from there. CEO’s loaded the boards with other CEO’s, not to help run a business more efficiently, but to assure themselves of huge salaries and bonuses, fabulous perks, and golden parachutes. They, in turn served on the boards of their friend’s companies to reciprocate. In order to keep profits up and keep the stockholders in line, and with the Bush administration’s encouragement (Compainie with off shore offices don’t pay taxes in the US) began moving jobs offshore at a record pace. The trend continues today unabated. Go to any town in the US and look around. Do you see anyone working?

Talk about taxes, TC. And I am not picking a fight. This isn’t a debate as much as it is a discussion. We’re all friends here and we need to be tolerant even of an old man’s hopless mutterings. As I said before, taxes are lower than at anytime I can remember. If everyone was working, after a while, we could cut a bit more. The problem is, not everyone is working. Taxes in Germany are a good bit higher than here, but they have low unemployment, a trade surplus, a health care system that works AND doesn’t break the bank. Now how do they do that? We whipped their patushkas in two world wars starting from scratch. What do they know that we don’t? It can’t be the quality of their manufactured goods; our manufacturered goods are STILL the envy of the world. Buick is one of the most popular cars in Japan, and IS the most popular import. It can’t be productivity; American workers are the most productive in the world and have been.

They do it structuring their system to reward companies for creating and maintaining jobs in-country. They make it difficult to move jobs overseas, and they make it a bit more expensive to bring goods from the outside. Not enough to start a trade war, but the point is made. And they do what Germany has allways done, they take pride in their people, products, and their homeland. The medical industry is tightly regulated, pharmaceutical profits are strictly limited, banks and banking qare regulated to prevent most of the excesses we’ve seen here. In short, they are united, they consider the common good, and they all work for it.

They pay more in taxes, but because they haven’t had to deal with the rampant corruption we have, because they haaven’t been fighting two wars on borrowed money, because their leaders WORK TOGETHER instead of stating for the record that their goal is to make the current leader fail at any cost: because they do this and we don’t, they have prospered and we haven’t. They simply get more bang for the buck.

What to do and how to do it? That’s what this is all about. I think we have been sold a pile of whatever with free market economics. The market will not regulate itself, it will continue with wretched excess as long as we allow. Regulation does not ‘kill jobs’, it insures them. Regulation protects ‘us’ from ‘them’ and levels the fiels. Does anyone here want to go back to the days when rivers caught fire with boring regularity? Give up environmental regulation. Want to come home from the job in one piece, or don’t you mind the risk of injury or death on the job? Give up OSHA. On and on.

One other thing, TC. Why do they call Social Security and Medicare entitlements as if it’s something obscene? You and I have paid into it all our working lives. Who would put up with State Farm telling us we weren’t “ENTITLED” to collect on a policy we had paid for because it was inconvient or costly to them? Think on it. Thanks for the input, TC. There are no easy solutions, but fighting and doing nothing are not among them. Best wishes and goodnight.


-- Steve in KY. 44 years so far with my lovely bride. Think I'll keep her.

View fussy's profile


980 posts in 3286 days

#10 posted 12-30-2011 10:17 AM


Ok, I won’t go to bed just yet. You hit one out of the park. I like most of your ideas, especially accountability, responsibility, and , and, uh, I’m sorry, I can’t remember the third. JUST KIDDING! Absolutely correct, and it starts with parenting and Russ’ suggestion for volantery parenting classes tied to health care.

Is there ANY hope of change? ABSOLUTELY! You said short of voting them out. No, NOT SHORT OF, VOTE THEM OUT. BOTH HOUSES, CLEAN HOUSE AND START FRESH. MAKE IT A NATIONAL PUSH FOR STRICT TERM LIMITS AND ELECTION FINANCE REFORM. We are in agreement. It has to start somewhere, and this may be an odd place, but for cryin’ out loud, it has to start somewhere. Thanks Rance for your input. Chew on it and come back with more good ideas. There is hope. You have to believe. To paraphrase Einstein,” If you keep doing the same things with the same people, why are you so surprised when you keep getting the same results?”


-- Steve in KY. 44 years so far with my lovely bride. Think I'll keep her.

View HorizontalMike's profile


7770 posts in 3150 days

#11 posted 12-30-2011 02:52 PM

Mandatory “parenting classes” need to start with the wealthy. Especially the ”helicopter parents” like the Chris Christie crowd. To be honest, IMO, the rich are far worse at parenting than the poor for the sole reason that the rich expect others to do the parenting FOR them.

Money is NOT parenting. Geez, just look at George H.W. Bush’s son-of-privilege “W” and how poorly he turned out, even after having ALL the monetary, educational, and job perks money could buy. Even being bought the Presidency of the United States could not keep him from screwing up further. And remember, “W” even had to go to court to overturn the popular vote in which he lost! And here we sit, paying for two very expensive wars that “W” built.

PARENTING CLASSES SHOULD START WITH THE RICH PARENTS! And THAT means several hours/days/years of on-going contact and supervision OF THEIR OWN CHILDREN.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View IrreverentJack's profile


727 posts in 3079 days

#12 posted 12-30-2011 03:57 PM

Come on Mike, Inattentive parents don’t have to be wealthy. It will be hard to mandate how much priority parents give children in their lives. I’ve always thought it common sense that children are the most important ‘crop’ or ‘product’ that we produce. There should be some basic principles that everyone can agree on, the importance of children in society should be one of them. That should be in a class taught way before parents are expectant. -Jack

View Bertha's profile


13551 posts in 2929 days

#13 posted 12-30-2011 04:13 PM

Very thought provoking post and I thank you for that. I would bet my life that no one on here is in the top 1% in income.
I would recommend against that, because you won’t survive it. I’ll only comment on one thing; and that’s the fact that we simply can’t afford our healthcare system. We want the very best, by the very best, we want it immediate, and we don’t want to pay for it. And it’s not the “overpaid greedy doctors”; it’s the cost of the desired technology. Health care reform needs to happen; but putting the government in charge of it is a very bad idea.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View fussy's profile


980 posts in 3286 days

#14 posted 12-30-2011 05:14 PM

Mike, and Jack,

You are Both right. Bad parenting cuts across all socio-economic strata. It is not a phenomanon common to any one group. The methods of bad parenting and the motivations for it differ as you look across different social strata, but the result is still the same; children who have no respect for themselves or others, no respect for authority, who are self-absorbed, with a rich feeling of ENTITLEMENT, and a feeling that rules do not apply to them. This problem goes straight back to my generation and what happened in the 60’s.

We rebelled, and rightly so, against all the artificial barriers; social, economic, racial, educational, sexualo (I didn’t get in on that, Too old-fashioned. I had good, strong parents. I knew in my heart I would die horribly if I crossed the line (Rance, consequences for actions?), you get the picture. As with pendulums, this took a giant swing, and we went from excessive control over us to acknowledging NO controlls. Not to re-hash (Not that kind of hash) history, we as a generation went a little too far. The really big problems came in how we educated our children, and how we (our generation, speaking collectively. Not all of us fell into this trap, but enough) looked at our kids and our relationships with them.

We wanted the best for them (rightly), and wanted them to feel good about themselves (ok up to a point), and we began to dismantle all the wisdom of parenting and teaching that had been built up throught our history (China’s cultural revolution of the same period comes to mind as an extreme example of what can happen when pendulums swing). We (collectively) began to question authority (good, for adults, indeed required behavior in a participatory democracy, not so good for children), and started changing the way we parented. We lowered expectationsand hence results, and continued til now in a incremental lowering of standards. A lot of went from being authority figures to best buddies with our kids. Helicopter moms are a logical extension of that.

How many of you have read John Rosemond? He is a behavioral psychologist who has colmns and radio shows (I beleive). Unlike the Dr. Spocks and others of that period who encouraged us to look at the”Inner child”, to center on his/her feelings, John believes in old=fashioned parenting. He says, and correctly, our grandmothers and, in my generation (1946) mothers-mostly- would never have asked the kinds of questions he gets.

They were sure of themselves and their authority. “Because I said so” was their reason for telling us something, and they made it stick. They weren’t buddies, friends, or playmates, they were IT.

Todays parents are unsure of and uncomfortable with their authority. As friends with children, all moral authority is lost. We can’t treat our kids as equals, because they are not equal. They are still children.

So that is where PART of the problem began. We see the fruits today in bankers who know boundries, no sense of right or wrong, politicians who fall in the same behavioral group, spiritual leaders -some, only some, but enough——.

Someone said the world is going to hell in a handbasket. Close enough. Our problems are not the failure of one ideology or another. They are not the inferiority of one party line over another. They are not the failure of the rich, or the poor, or teachers, or parents. Our problems are much deeper than that and to begin to find a solution, we need to keep looking deeper into ourselves and our society. The causes of this mess are deeply rooted and interlocked and twined together like the grain in a really disfigured Manzanita burl. One thing leads to another. And in that way, one thing leading to another, we will find a way.

Keep them cards and letters coming, folks. Thanks for looking and thinking.


-- Steve in KY. 44 years so far with my lovely bride. Think I'll keep her.

View fussy's profile


980 posts in 3286 days

#15 posted 12-30-2011 05:57 PM


The problem is not all greedy, over-paid doctors, but SOME ARE. In my personal journey through hell, I came across dozens of doctors who were in it to buy their BMWs. One in particular saw me, spent 15 minutes berating me for being deaf and being unable to understand his Pakistani “English”, ordered thousands of dollars in tests, never referred to and told me I was depressed and had fibromyalgia. Two weeks later, I was in emergency surgery at UK for spinal stenosis. By the time they figured out I wasn’t depressed, I was paralyzed from the neck down and less than 36 hours from death. He sent me to cpllections for $1800 (one visit, useless tests were billed seperately). I told him to sue me and we would discuss his diagnostic prowess in open court on the record. He slunk off into the darkness.

Over-paid doctors are part of the problem, but a lot of them, just as there are good and bad religious folks, good and bad mechanics, but there are problems. Pharmaceutical companies are a big part of the problem. One drug I take is colchicine to help with gouty arthritis. It cost $4/month at Wal Mart and works fine. It has been around for over 3,000 years and was developed in China. A company with deep pockets convinced the FDA to remove colchicine from the market and substitute Colchris. They got exclusive rights to a pill that does just what my old one did, made of the same stuff, and the price went from $4/month to $349/month. That’s a problem. The big pharmas got, because of their generous campaign contributions (see how the problems are linked? gets complicated), the opportunity to write the laws to regulate their own industries. They get to set the price they want, and to make certain it sticks, stuck in a provision trying to ban importation from Caanada and forbidding medicare to even try to negotiate drug prices. Yes, some doctors, most pharmaceuticles, for-profit hospitals are part of the problem. Especially when taken as a whole, our health care system provides less care to fewer people at a higher cost than any country in the developed world

Government can’t run a program? Medicare and Social Security work just fine if the politicians wouldn’t keep raiding the piggy bank to pay for pork that keeps them in office. It works. I can tell you from within the system, it works. And no I don’t feel badly about being on medicare. I am ENTITLED TO IT because I PAID for it all my working life. Get costs under control instead of passing the bill for care to the states or to the people, forcibly reduce costs—flagrant abuse of our money, and get it fixed.

Solutions will be painful for all. We have to change our notions of how things work. We have seen time and again how well self-regulation and policing work. It doesn’t. Part of government’s job is to protect the people. ALL OF THEM. Control is a necessity. Think government can’t run anything? Get a new government by voting out the carrier politicians all over the country who sap our life blood while they enrich themselves. Think government can’t run anything? Send the replacements in with strict orders; fix this mess, get it under control, work together or you’re history.

Failure of a government to govern fairly and honestly is a reflection of our failure as voters to participate, to consider carefully why we vote for one or another (he’s in and can’t be any worse than someone else is not good enough), and not demanding high standards of performance from our representatives and having dire consequences (Rance, do you hear yourself in here? Russ? Victor? TC? all of you?) for them if they fail. Like no re-election. Crank. Your tag line says it well. “diapers and politicians need to be changed often and for the same reason,”

The problems are deep. Reach down deeply, think honestly, and keep the dialogue going. Understanding is half the victory. Thanks.


-- Steve in KY. 44 years so far with my lovely bride. Think I'll keep her.

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