Rational Gun Policies, Please!
The water just got hotter…
We watched a video of a man get shot because he had a gun in his car and told the police he had it. There was no threat. The police claimed to be concerned about a burned out traffic light – but the officer [per the video in the cop car] thought they ‘looked like’ a robbery suspect. The man died – a jury acquitted the cop. The NRA seems to be fine if you are killed for carrying a weapon if you are black. HOW is that possible?
We watch the some old white male senators hid in a room and prepare to ram through a new health care law in secret. Does it matter what the law is? Democrats are trying to stop this. Republicans leadership and the vice president are behind it. The media talks about the drama but not about the fundamental wrongness of this practice and what is means for law making. Most citizens are against the proposed changes but that is not impacted the officials that represent them. Why should it – another Republican just won a congressional race. HOW is this possible?
There are moves underway to privatize our National Parks. Once done, they won’t come back. There are moves to take any form of government service to private ventures. There is an assumption that government can’t run effectively [despite facts] and that private is better [despite facts]. There is no obvious resistance to this. HOW is this possible?
There are moves underway to make protesting a crime. There are situation where protesters are met with military level force even when they are not presenting any danger. And yet many are ok because a protest once slowed down their commute. HOW is this possible?
Even when a mass shooter targets a white Republican congressman who spook at an Alt-Right rally, there is no interest in addressing controlling assault weapons. The answer was to better protect those that ‘they’ care about. HOW is this possible?
Our voting mechanisms are under attack and the person who headed Cross Check – known to purge voters for having the same first and last name even when middle names and birth dates do not match is now heading the federal effort to ‘investigate’. We know Ohio turned off the security controls on voting machines. We know hacking included voter rolls and voting machine companies. We know most companies that supply voting machines are also politically active. Gerrymandering laws are in question. Yet no one is accepting the fact that perhaps our elections are not fair. HOW is this possible?
The water just got hotter.
It is time for everyone to prepare to accept that things are as bad as they could be and it could just be that ONE party not ‘both of them – they are both the same’ is at work. And that replacing Trump and putting in Pence may seal the deal because the only thing that has any investigation going is the actions of the president…. Remove him before you find out Pence’s role….. Pence pardons everyone …. coup complete.
What if it is what is looks like it could be – a corrupt takeover of a democracy by the wealthy and powerful inside the country as well as outside in an act of greed?
And the next move – taking away health care and social security – will make more people suffer and die.
What will you do?
Wait till it hurts you and claim ‘unfair’?
Remember – most people chose not to vote in 2016.
They were sitting in their lukewarm water just fine………
If the USA is up for sale, maybe ‘We, the People’ need to buy it….
We heard a lot about ‘pay to play’ during the campaign.
Only then it was a bad thing and it was clearly what you would get if you voted for Hillary. This claim was pumped up by the leaks and fake news that we now know was fueled by Russia. And by her opponent – who is now president.
Personally profiting from your office – that used to be a bad thing.
But now? If you watch from afar, access and influence are for sale.
Profit and Health Care don’t mix
“For-profit” – means you maximize profits and stakeholder value. It means it is about the money.
You charge the most you can. And you keep profits high.
Less regulation – you don’t lower costs, you make more profits.
More customers – you don’t lower costs, you make more profits.
Competition – well, what or who are you really competing with?
Doctors – supply is limited. Why should the good ones reduce their costs? They don’t have to. You would only lower your prices if you had excess capacity. But you don’t. So you won’t.
Hospitals – A lot of fixed overhead required. So it costs a certain amount to run a hospital. If fewer people can afford to pay, and you have to write off bad debt, you need to make it up somewhere – so you might raise prices. But there is no reason to lower prices.
Insurance companies – you would only lower costs if you can keep a decent profit margin and gain more profitable business. CBO said the premiums would be lower BECAUSE MORE SICK PEOPLE WILL HAVE TO GO WITHOUT COVERAGE. Since people who buy coverage will use less of it, you could charge less. But with the ACA repealed, you don’t have to. There is no motivation for insurance companies to lower prices when the risk mix if healthier. Why should they? If people are paying the rates they charge now, and profit margins are thin, why not keep the profits if the costs of those that you insure go down? That is what insurance companies did BEFORE ACA.
A plausible example – A drug company makes good profits on a patented drug that, once prescribed, is taken for the rest of the person’s life. They can charge whatever the market will tolerate – and if the alternative is death or suffering, people will pay. The company is working on an enhancement and will get it nearly ready for approval. They will delay release until the patent on their current drug is ready to expire. That way, they can keep a monopoly on the drug and closeout competition. They notice a medical device start up has a device that would cure the condition and eliminate the need for their drug. While the device is being approved, the drug company buys the start-up. They continue until the patent is in place. Then the drug company puts release on hold. The ‘forever’ drugs are remain profitable. The device never makes it to market.
The Opioid challenge is fueled by routine prescribing of Opioid’s for pain despite the risk of addiction. Alternatives are available. But drug companies have created a protocol of Opoids being routinely provided for possible pain – not just real pain. What motivation is there to stop this practice in a for-profit model? Opioid addiction is bad for people – but not for the companies that profit from it.
THAT is for-profit health care.
What if the focus was on caring for everyone? What if the incentives shifted from profit to quality of care and quality of life?
You could run research centers that focus on finding cures.
You could run rural health centers focused on providing care.
You could build out mobile health care models for handling the homeless.
You could ensure that the focus was on prevention and invest in public school health education on lifestyle choices that impact health.
You could develop support systems for people who require care assistance on a prolonged basis.
And the profit margins can be used to expand the capacity to care for people.
This could all be possible…..
If you believed in providing health care for all.
If you understand that no one wants the cheapest care if it isn’t the best care.
If you cared about people instead of profits or corporations.
It’s Simple – why shouldn’t the top 2% pay into Medicare?
Form 8960 – did you have to fill this out when you did your taxes?
Probably not. This form details the Net Investment Income tax added as part of the ACA. For the 1st time, this applied a tax to Net Investment Income that would go toward Medicare.
Why is this important? Because many high-wage income earners do not earn income through self-employed or payroll-based formats. That means their income is not subject to payroll taxes. And Payroll taxes are how most of us fund Social Security and Medicare.
But what if you earn all your money through a trust fund or through investments?
Well before the ACA you didn’t have to pay into Medicare while you were working – AND you got the benefits of Medicare including the premium cap that sets a maximum limit on the premiums paid. That premium cap means the more you make, the lower % of your income is paid into Medicare Premium.
Sounds like a win-win, right? For those in the top 2%, it sure is. Now many could have avoided this tax by not taking their income – or putting off transactions that might trigger income just to avoid the taxes.
But some people do still earn a lot through payroll taxes, right? Well the Additional Medicare Tax had those people who earn more than 97% of us pay some additional tax into Medicare as well. [They had to complete Form 8959]
When the ACA is repealed and replaced, these two taxes go away.
And Medicare loses funding. And it is weakened. And it will be pronounced to be in a death spiral and the proposal will be whipped out that privatizes Medicare making it a voucher system helping the rich even more – and hurting the very people Medicare was created to protect.
WHY IS THIS OK?
Why is it fair to have the top 2% pay LESS for public services?
Why can’t we have a simple law that puts these taxes in place to fund Medicare and separate this from the mucking about with the ACA?
And let all of our elected officials go on the record as to why they think the top 2% should benefit from Medicare without paying anything into it while working:?
Better yet, how about asking every one of them to disclose how they will personally benefit from the elimination of this tax….
What would you do if you didn’t need to work?
Think about it.
What if you were given enough money every year to cover your survival needs so you could live modestly. You would have a safe place to live, enough safe water to drink, enough healthy food to eat, enough clothes to stay warm. You would have access to health care and not have to worry about how much it costs.
You don’t have to work to get money to survive – so what would you do?
What is the role of work for you in your life?
Do you believe – as many do – that people who don’t work are lazy? But what if they don’t have to work, are they still lazy?
For you , what do you need to be doing to make you feel like you are fulfilling your purposes for being here?
As we embrace the world that technology makes possible, including one that could end poverty if we decide that we should, how do you think about what it means to ‘work’?
If you suddenly did not need to work anymore, would you? And if you didn’t, what would you be doing each day? Have you thought about it?
What if there were places where you could go to collaborate with others on inventing something new or researching something to enhance our understanding or just to learn something new? Would that be your preference?
And if someone else decided to spend their days writing or painting, would you think less of them?
Notice – I didn’t mention how you would have your basic needs covered.
Would it matter to you how you received your basic income?
Because we are headed to a place where we simply don’t need all the people we have in order to produce enough basics to end poverty for everyone on the planet.
What if we produce a world where everyone starts with enough. They can choose how they spend their time – what contributions they choose to make.