Black Lives Matter: Will Tinkering with the Police Solve the Problem?(Posted June 24, 2020)
How has America lost its way? The issue of “social justice” and the way in which both the current pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement have exposed not only the rot within the delivery system of social services but also the lack of any national commitment to solve these problems as well. Thus it is necessary to examine the ways in which two essential social services to Americans, health care and education, are provided in order to understand both the causes of our current problems as well as our inability to work together for solutions.
For health care, the burden of providing this service is imposed upon American industry. This is problematic for a number of reasons; first, it imposes additional costs on businesses and impairs the ability to compete internationally; second, offering healthcare is an option to businesses which may not offer it for financial reasons. Thus it should be no surprise that upwards of 50 million people have no health care at all while perhaps another 50 million have “catastrophic” care policies that kick in to provide very limited coverage if/when bills mount into the thousands. Otherwise little help is provided. Finally, if the company providing coverage goes out of business or if one is laid off not only is income lost but also one’s healthcare.
As for education, this vital, existential component is paid for by a property tax; this tax is levied on the value of one’s property in order to build and maintain schools in the community. In this context, the quality of education provided by this funding method must be examined bluntly: does anyone believe that people living in 50 thousand dollar homes will receive the same quality of education as those who live in 500 thousand dollar homes? The answer is obvious and exposes the grave consequences of income inequality in America.
So there you have it! Two of the most important elements currently available to ensure that children can grow up to become productive members of society are dependent on mechanisms that are not in any way structured to meet the vital needs either of the citizens or of this nation as a whole. As long as these needs are unmet, we will continue to experience the kind of trauma now tearing at the fabric of our constitutional order.
The America we love is in a great crisis, experiencing a grave pandemic coupled with economic and social turmoil. Strong, effective and caring leadership is required at this time. Sadly, none is forthcoming at present from either the White House or Congress. Why? — because we have failed to make this commitment to our citizens.
This dramatically illustrates the importance of the choices we make at the polls in November!
An Embarrassing Admission(Posted April 2,2020)
Gov. Kemp suggested yesterday that he only recently realized that the coronavirus could be transmitted from an infected person without that person having symptoms of the disease.
Comprehensive testing is needed in order to deal with this problem. Yet, despite the fact that we have known about the virus since December, we are still not able to do the volume of testing that is needed.
Denial seems to be influencing the decisions that are being made by government about testing. The governor of Florida not only allowed beaches to stay open last week but welcomed thousands of students to congregate and celebrate “spring break”. Similarly, Texas has just implemented a state-wide “stay-at-home” edict though it contains very selective exemptions, e.g., churches.
Have we in Georgia been infected by “denial” as well? Regardless, now is the time to act. The federal government needs to be forced to lead the effort to get control of this epidemic by acquiring supplies and testing facilities. And states like Georgia, regardless of our governor’s state of mind, need to force Washington to become engaged.
The virus is raging in America and lives are at stake – possibly in enormous numbers. Yet we seem to be incapable of doing the things -like testing – to help ourselves.
Will we ever be great enough again to save ourselves?
THE CASE FOR MEDICARE-FOR ALL((Posted March 11, 2020)
The coronavirus outbreak has exposed the very grave deficiencies in the dysfunctional American medical system.
Having lived in the Federal Republic of Germany with my wife and two daughters, I have for many years been an enthusiastic proponent of a national health system in the United States. The opportunity to speak with German citizens and observe the workings of the process there has convinced me this would be very beneficial to our nation.
The fundamental difference between the German and US systems has to do with the objective of each system: the objective of the US system is to make money; that of the German system is to provide high quality health care for its citizens. This has enormous implications for the way each system might handle an outbreak such as coronavirus.
In the macro sense, the German system has many substantive advantages: it costs about half of the US system, both on a per capita basis and as a percentage of GDP. Yet they get better results; for instance, they have longer life expectancy and much lower rates of both infant and maternal mortality. Further, it covers everyone and this has enormous economic implications if one considers that there is an extreme productivity cost here in having people drop out of the work force due to illness: we lose the productivity gain they might have provided and it costs the nation huge sums to sustain people who are impoverished(food stamps, welfare, medicaid, etc,). Also many if not most personal bankruptcies are caused by medical bills/problems, which worsens both the cost and productivity issues.
In the micro sense, the coronavirus has exposed three glaring reasons a change must be made in the way America cares for its citizens: First, the great difficulty in determining the extent of the infestation is a major problem, due in part to the lack of test facilities and also because people are reluctant to be tested for fear of incurring a large, unaffordable medical bill. Second, the reluctance to get vaccinated (once we get a vaccine) for exactly the same reason. Third, the low-income, uninsured individuals who contract the disease will go to work anyway because they fear losing their jobs and incomes if they stay home. Thus the infestation proceeds while our “leadership” dithers and suppresses the truth about the extent of the problem.
So there you have it. This country is facing an enormous threat to our national well-being – it might well be described as a national security issue. Yet the very thing that ought to be our salvation – our health care system — is the greatest impediment to our ability to save us from this scourge.
So, let’s move forward with the solution to the current problem: test kits for everyone, testing everywhere that is necessary, and development of the important vaccine — all accomplished at Federal Government expense. A national health system would implement this without hesitation.
The main argument against Medicare-for-all seems to be that “we cannot afford it” However, we are already affording it because we pay more than other industrialized nations in dollar terms and in lost productivity.
Its time to put the archaic, irrelevant, inefficient and dysfunctional American medical system where it belongs: on the ash-heap of history. The American people deserve better – NOW!
AN EPIC FAILURE IN GOVERNMENT(Posted Feb. 25, 2020)
It has been said that the right to vote is the fundamental building block in a successful democracy. If people are free to make their own leadership choices and are confident that the process is both fair and truly representative of the will of the people then the process will not only survive, it will thrive!
It is in that context then that I write today to reflect my concern as to what our government is doing that may well undermine that process and destroy the very system we have worked so hard to create.
Our intelligence community has told us that there was much interference in the 2016 election by foreign miscreants, particularly from Russia. And they have suggested that, not only is the interference on-going, but that is expected to continue in the 2020 election.
One would think, and indeed one might expect, that the Federal government would be mobilizing any and all resources to preserve and protect our election from any kind of outside interference. Yet that doesn’t seem to be the case. President Trump has done absolutely nothing to organize a collective effort to prevent this potential catastrophe. In fact, he has done the opposite – he is actively preventing federal agencies and employees from taking any preventive measures whatsoever. Two examples make this clear: first, he just fired the acting DNI (Joseph Maguire) for having allowed a staff member to make a presentation to Congress about Russian interference; second, he has indicated an unwillingness to sign any of the House-passed election protection bills now sitting in the Senate awaiting consideration.
The question we must ask our selves is this: is this inaction by the President not dereliction of duty? And should this not be cause for removal?
The answer is clear. Now all we need is for the Senate to do its job and protect our precious system of government.