Tuesday, when it was obvious to informed insiders that Brown would win in Massachusetts the word got out quickly. Sometime in mid-day I learned that health stocks were all rising. Health investors were smelling the defeat of health legislation. For the health business the status quo is victory. But, it is not a victory for the rest of us.
The comprehensive health bills now in conference should be defeated. But, health care reform should be pressed more vigorously than ever.
I would like to see Congress and the administration focus on attending to the known defects of our current health care system. Deal with the vast police work and all the repairs that have accumulated for a long time. There is such a long list. I think it is reasonably accurate to say most people associated with health service is over compensated. This includes hospitals, insurance companies, and down to providers such as physicians and various specialist. Procedures, should not be billed at such extraordinary costs as we see on every statement we receive from a medical service. It just can’t be justified.
The high cost of services come about as a result of prevailing monopolistic conditions. Congress should concentrate on breaking up monopolies and give the market a chance to control costs. Of course, this is a big battle. Health providers like their monopoly, and are likely to pull out all the stops to keep the status quo. To be effective you can’t side swipe cost containment. That is why independent analysis and think tanks have been so critical of cost provisions in the current legislation.
I know wider health coverage is very important and desirable. But, if we could reduce the abuses in the system we could get a better read on who cannot afford health care.
The health care mess should be cleaned up incrementally without a pause. Then, Congress could possibly find more than 31% of Americans approve what they are trying to do, each step of the way.
The people and their representatives need to let the health care industry know that the status quo is unacceptable. If so, maybe health care investors should be more vigilant.
Last nights election returns in Massachusetts portents the political volatility of the days ahead. When the financial bubble burst in 2008 that turned a big megawatt light on the political landscape. The light has proved so bright that politicians of all stripes have had trouble finding cover.
The health care reform process has produced additional focus on the political system. Health care reform was sought for a comprehensive fix. A mistake! Because there are so many facets to the piecemeal medical system we have constructed it has been most unworkable to attempt to correct everything with one broad piece of legislation. This health care focus has permitted the American people to witness an unacceptably ugly way to make sausage.
After the public watched the corruption of Nebraska and the corruption of Louisiana in the health care legislation other calamities started making sense. Enron,housing bubbles, million-dollar bonuses,and Wall Streeters in hand cuffs sort of explained the pattern of prevailing ethics in high places
Lack of common sense and lack of ethics has resulted in a dysfunctional government and dysfunctional economy. The political culture of lying and stealing must be replaced by sincerity and selflessness in politicians and policies. There are more Massachusetts to come.
The Republicans are well on their way to totaling the Tea Party movement. The amateur organizers of the supposely grass roots movement are also making a contribution to the spilling of the tea.
The Tea Party is having a conference in Nashville next month at Opryland Hotel. They are only charging $549 per person. That should bring out a lot of wage-earners and the unemployed to rally change. Organizers are paying their keynote speaker (Mrs.Palin) $100,000. I have also heard $ 120,000. The sponsoring organization is set up”for profit”. Some are already bolting the event and calling it a farce in so many words.
But the Republicans are converging on tea parties like vultures. Republicans! These are the same Republicans that had such a heavy hand in producing the dire conditions that gave rise to the rebellion in the first place.
These opportunists Republicans have their own problems within their party. They have leadership that is squandering money. They have too few candidates with back bone. But, most of all Republicans are philosophically confused. Important Republican policies for the past 30 years has been near 180 degrees opposite an populist agenda. Tea Partiers are populist. Fiscally, the Republicans got messed up with Liberians and Wall St. and wrecked our economy. To return to traditional Republican dogma would be very politically profitable in our day, but Republican and Democrats as well, are only concerned with getting elected and running money. Now, the money grubbers are invading the Tea Party.
In 1992 Ross Perot gained unusual popular support running for President by forthrightly addressing America’s problems. One day, someone did a poll and found Perot had near 40% support. Those were serious numbers and Perot was gaining respectability. Not too many days later his campaign was invaded by Republicans offering help. Perot even hired a Republican strategist to run his campaign. The end was in sight for Perot and not too many weeks later his campaign was in ashes.
The crashing and the cashing of the Tea Party, if permitted to continue, will likely bring on it’s demise as well. The Tea Party needs to do it’s own thing and rid itself of opportunist politicians.
The underwear bomber want go away and should not go away. The Haitian earthquake did compete for air time this week, but the terrorist threat is more real than before Christmas with most of us.
Maybe we should think the quieter it is the more imminent the attack. We would like to think that each terrorist event, successful or not, will bring a pause. It never does!
The terrorist see the West as a threat that will not go away. It is not that the West has been overtly provocative. There is scant evidence of that! It is simply our presence in a technologically shrinking world. They see us proselytizing their youth. Technologically, we are disturbing their culture, however tacit or without purpose — that is why we get called “the great Satan”.
We are engaged in a war for the ages. No matter what conflicts occur concurrently with this terrorist war it will remain and it’s nature and goals are unlikely to change or be effected by world wars and events. Much of the sizing up of the conflict has to do with the disparity in population growth. The Muslim world is growing rapidly and infiltrating Western countries. France is 30% Muslim. By contrast, the West is near even or negative in growth. Germany is a good example of an ageing country.
The terrorist are now recruiting into the non-Muslim world. They know our security agents are profiling, so they have to find recruits that will “blend in”. Many of these recruits don’t join terrorist organizations because they share some deep religious belief with the organization. They commonly join because it is an organization that provides them with a sense of security and belonging. So, many of these recruits may not inhibit a deep hostility to the West. They just have psychological needs and are vulnerable. Not everyone who joined the Ku Klux Klan hated Catholics and blacks, but that association or any association, lifted their feeling about themselves.
We cannot afford to fight a defensive war. We must be on the march. Wars will be started, fought, and concluded while this terrorist war with the West rages on. We must let the terrorist know we are here for the long haul. And, we are teaching our grandchildren they must fight the same war we fight.
Weather is such a dominant factor in most things, but particularly economic activity. We will pay a stiff price for this cold spell and I’m not referring to orange juice futures. When it is this cold, lifestyles have to go through a change and often that is a change that has to be paid with real money. By the time people get their check book prepared for Christmas credit card purchases a scary heating bill will also arrive.
This cold spell is touching multiple states and whole regions such as the South. Converting the current weather stress into economic meaning might be a difficult task for economists. Now, we have so many other factors as a result of the recession.
It’s too bad we can’t blame politicians for the weather. I guess we could blame them for not being prepared for known hardships. But Louisiana don’t see it that way. After Katrina and the failed levies they returned their politicians to office top to bottom. Much of one of the world’s great cities was reduced to rubble and filth, but Louisiana voters thought their elected officials deserved another chance. Only “heck of a job Brownie” got fired.
Six Republicans and two high profile Democrats Senators are calling it quits. Why not?
Some of these Congressmen were through according to their polls. Their constituency was finally starting to wise up. And, of course, these lead from the rear politicians, live by their polls.
But, we are not losing enough politicans. All that enormous dead wood up there and only a hand full volunteering to leave. However, it is more effective to vote people out of office.
Surely, this health care debate has revealed the overall incompetence, corruption, and surly nature of those the American public pays to write laws. When will Americans figure out it is their individual Congressman and Senators that need replacing?
If we placed the same demands on our elected representatives as society does on football coaches who could stand? The place would be near empty. I can’t think of a football coach, current or fired, that has as dismal a record as I commonly see in Congress.
Maybe football has a higher value nowadays. Sad.
From this point, coming out of conference with a health reform bill the President will sign into law looks fairly easy. The votes are there; maybe another sweetener or two here and there should close the deal. The Senate Democrats have a lot of experience, some recent, with sweeteners.
Early on, the Republicans didn’t want to have anything to do with health reform. They were intrenched in a pouting mode. Then, the Republicans actually come up with some good ideas, but they were not needed, neither the ideas nor Republican votes. Health reform was then left to the Democrats to mess up and they did a supreme job. That is, a supreme job of messing up. Both the House version and the Senate version are a calamity.
Nobody seems pleased with the bills. Many seem to think the final health bill will be counter-productive. That, it will make medical care and cost much worse. Those that do voice support acknowledge the bills are terribly flawed, but it merits approval as a start. Then, once it becomes law, it will be easier to amend. That is poor reasoning.
The “cost-neutral” feature has been somewhat sneered and winked at, unabashedly. The Congressional Budget Office, was enlisted to dress the cost up, give it some lipstick and a party dress. But, I think if you read the CBO more carefully, they will say the likelihood of any savings from the bills is a shot in the dark. Just, too many unknowns. Other, reputable analyzers say the bills are not fiscally responsible and will accelerate the debt crisis. The debt crisis looms anyway. The debt condition is fragile, and any small misstep could put us there.
It is hard to get adjusted to a normal winter. The whole country seems to be having a normal winter. I don’t know what this early winter cold weather will do to global warming advocates. Most people I know are skeptical anyway. I think it is difficult to argue with the thermometers. I have no doubt about the data, but I do have reservations about the outcome. However, it would appear that this cold weather would make it hard on Al Gore’s book sales.
This last decade has provided ample evidence, in various ways, that we are on the declilne as a nation. Even the mainline media are now writing about our loss of preeminence, both in relative and absolute terms.
Recently, I listened to part of a panel discussion, with the mayor of New York and other notables, voicing remedities. One well-accepted goal would be to address the failures of formal education.
But, the Wall Street crooks and thieves are well educated. Corrupt Congressmen and Senators, some of who have reached new lows in the health bills are generally well educated.
Oh, if life were so simple and solutions to problems so handy. Joyous new year!