NOT PARIDISE LOST, JUST OPPORTUNITY LOST

 

The Beatles song seems like a million miles and years ago. We had a moment in America to heal a horrible wound.  We elected an African-American President, well part African-American.

His mother no one disputes was an American citizen. His father was of African decent. According to our law no matter where in the world he was born he is an American citizen since his mother was a citizen.  So what did  a large part of the country do? Question his citizenship, request his birth certificate, denied that his birth certificate when produced was valid.  He was an American citizen by being born of his American mother. Four plus years of lunacy has gone by and the crazy are still analyzing the record of his birth.  Our last Republican candidate John McCain was born in Panama and no questions were ever raised of his citizenship because he had American Parents.

So we have neglected the economy, we have not had reasonable debate on Medical Care for all of our citizens because the Republican side of the house has declared war on a duly elected president.  Never mind that there last president in the White House was absent without leave from his military duty, started two wars that were not paid for, and forgave the rich any responsibility for helping the country that is the source of their success.

We now have the poverty rate of some third world countries. We have an infrastructure that is failing; from bridges to water delivery, sewers to power distribution, health care to a fair tax system.  We have been robbed by conservative ideology, and they have a plan to take the country further down the path toward an oligarchy.

Instead of healing a 200-year-old wound and working with a good man who had a view of fairness for the poor and middle class, the right has decided to stay with a policy of ruin. Bigotry has raised its head as if the whole era of civil rights never happened.  We are seeing a majority of our states taking up voter rights restrictions in the name of security of the vote.  Governors in many states are turning their backs on their uninsured citizens and not supporting the Affordable Care Act. We have replaced our old plantations with a for profit prison system that is mainly populated by the descendents of the slaves who built the economy of a young nation.  We have 25% of the worlds prisoners with only about 6% of the world’s population.  If we continue down this path which seems to be the course, it will take a slave revolt  to move the needle of change back in favor of the majority of the population.  “What slaves you say?” 1% of our population controls over 90% of the wealth, and the middle class has seen its wealth eroded for the past 40 years.  The fortunes of the middle class, poor, and minorities have been devastated by the actions of a small number of wealth Wall Street and Bank traders.  Why has no one labeled with their true title-TRAITORS!

Imagine if the right-wing was as interested in education and health of the nation as much as they are interested in every one having all the armaments they want.  Imagine if the right-wing was concerned with women having the same rights as men in controlling their bodies.  Imagine if religion was not a weapon to demean anyone who does not believe in a power beyond them that does not look like a bearded white Anglo Saxon savior.

 

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Living in the Bible Belt you would think that prayer is action. Once we have prayed all is good. Well that is not entirely the reaction. We do have a Kitchen, Hotel and training school for the homeless here in Springfield Missouri.  We have a Council of  Churches that reacts to local and national disasters.  The Convoy of Hope is centered here in Springfield and they do tremendous work.

When it comes to our violent society we have prayer and conversation, but little or no action will happen.  I went on to the National Rifle Association web site to see if there was any reaction to the  most recent tragedy in Aurora, Colorado. Not much besides no comment until all is investigated. The National Rifle Association is not representative of its name. They are the National Any Fire Arm that is Invented is OK Association.  Why do they back assault weapons in the hands of madmen, devices that were never made to more accurately take a Bambi out of the woods. I’m in favor of hunting and sports. I am also in favor of the national good and the ability of someone to have life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That includes the ability to live a long life with out someone cutting it short after I have spent my money for my family to sit down in a movie theater.  What possible use is there for a purchase of 600 rounds of ammunition, a full body armor suit, and tactical weapons.  Last I checked my call for deer to be armed has not been heeded by any elected body.

A discussion or reasonable gun controls could begin. Work needs to be done. I am not a dreamer. I know that if we were to have reasonable gun control these events would not be stopped. However they might be cut in half or reduced even a little more. We need to step beyond prayer into action and our legislators need to grow spines and stand up to the National Any Fire Arm that is Invented is OK Association.  NAFTIIOKA.  WHO WOULD BELONG TO AN ASSOCIATION WITH THIS COMBINATION OF LETTERS. Looks like the acronym of a nefarious group that would back the killing of innocent Americans. Could be a foreign group under the influence of some very un-American group.

Developed countries around the world negotiate with our own drug companies for good prices. Here in the United States only insurance companies and the U S Military bargain for good prices.  Medicare and Medicaid do not.  So we subsidize drugs for the world and a small percentage of our own citizens. Every developed country in the world with the exception of the United States has universal health care for their citizens.  Long ago they abandoned the pain for profit model that we use. They have a combination of solutions some involve private insurance, some are completely tax supported and some are a combination. So there are models out there that have worked for dozens of years. Nothing has to be reinvented to bring universal health care to the United States.  Because of the special interest of the AMA and big Pharma we languish in the back waters of medical delivery systems. We have the most sophisticated health capabilities in the world and yet we keep a fence around it so millions of our own citizens have no access.

In the middle of the worst economic down turn since the 1929 Wall Street crash, with a Republican Party that has gone completely off its rails we are not looking with optimism at the great potential we have.  Instead in the name of some political purity pledge to a proven disastrous direction we build nothing, we exclude all reasonable actions to move in a positive direction.  Thirty three million people moving into the health care  pool of insured people offers tremendous potential.  We will need more Doctors, Clinics, Hospitals, to say nothing of all the insurance agents to get every one enrolled.  Millions of dollars will be moving through the economic system.

We could improve this even more with a single payer system. Sorry we would lose a segment of the insurance industry and would not have to have thousands of agents out selling a program that every  citizen with a social security card could take advantage of.  Employers could go back to making the widgets they love and not have to have a staff in their personal department dealing with health insurance contracts.

Our citizens would be free to take employment that they were most interested in instead of looking for a company that had a good insurance package.  People with health conditions that could be better served by a new climate could move without fear of loosing their coverage.

Interesting that the Supreme Court has given what amounts to a provisional reprieve to the Affordable Care Act that will continue to be attacked by the right-wing.  Instead of accepting the Republican proposal that was enacted by their candidate for President and working to improve it we will fight, and people will die and the rest of the developed world will continue to be bemused that we will work so hard against the  interest of millions of our own people as we continue to subsidize their health care systems.

We will being  hearing a lot of lies from the right on the Affordable Health Care Act. It is a step to lifting the United States one step up toward the direction the civilized world has been for a long time.  Unfortunately it will still be used to the advantage of the Profit for Pain industry, called Health Insurance which is really a wall between health care providers and anyone who by ill fortune has a health problem.

There are little tragedies in life that lead to hope.

On the phone with my wife from anywhere on the road it is likely I will hear the sounds of the house behind our conversation. One visit to our vet in Maryland some years ago while one of our dogs was being tended to I was left in the small waiting room with a patient I had never seen there before.

“Chirp”, and of course I chirped back, and we continued the chat until Sue came out of examination room with Bentley our new adopted puppy.  The veterinary clinic was small and narrow, one doctor and very little space.  We had recently changed from a vet who had an unresponsive staff in a larger practice. I asked where the male gray cockatiel had come from and if the owner was picking him up.  The vet said the owner was a man with a couple of cats and the bird had learned to say, “Here Kitty, Kitty!”,  and had put himself at risk of being a snack.  The bird had been intrusted to the vet.  “Chirp, Chirp,….” , no “Here Kitty Kitty!” at least for the moment.  We named the bird Buddy, and some time later got him a companion. We had two dogs who were mildly curious but did not respond aggressively to Buddy’s call.

Sue and I have always been curious and amazed about the senses of the animals who have shared our lives. Some have fears of thunder and can tell if a storm is coming long before the forecast from the weather station.  Pylon a mixed breed lab would sit and stare at a point in a wall for no reason that we could detect, then several days later we would see a mouse and start the hunt. When the mice were gone Pylon would stop her wall gazing. This was a seasonal event for a couple of years.

If you live with animals they become part of your routine and visa versa, so you notice little differences in the rhythm of day-to-day events.  I was out on a call one day and called back into the house to hear Buddy making a terrible screeching racket in the background.  I asked Sue what was going on and she said he had been making a racket for some time.  After a while he calmed down and we thought nothing more of it till the evening news.  There had been a relatively low-level earth quake along the southern Pennsylvania border with Maryland at the exact time of Buddy’s hysteria. Buddy only had an event like that one more time.  Just before Sue was notified of her mother’s death.  The bird had acted up at the time of her mother’s death in an airport some 45 miles from our home as she was making a connection for a vacation flight.

Along with Buddy and Holly we accumulated six parakeets over time.  From time to time we were saddened on finding one of them lifeless on the floor of their cage. We weathered the small tragedies with ceremony and a time of grief I still find a little strange.  I guess my feelings have always run close to the surface and are effected by the loss of the smallest animal.  Sue liked to hear their music through the day and our flock varied in size as we moved from Maryland to Missouri over a job change.

Buddy, Holly and Holly the second are gone.  The second Holly was lost about three months ago.  Just last week we lost one of a pair of parakeets that we had left, leaving us with one lone, lonely bird.  He was quiet for most of a day.  Sue said she was swearing off birds, we had enough dogs to keep us busy.

Ellwood the last parakeet got into his routine a little, but not with a song, no cheep, chirp, peep. I asked Sue if we should get him another friend he had been with us for just a few months and was young.  We have had parakeets live with us from a short five years to a long 15.  We have seen animals react to loss and the weight of the lone birds lack of song grew.

Within half an hour we were telling the dogs to watch the house and animal planet while we headed for the local pet store.  We didn’t get one bird–we got three.  All kinds of little noises come from the kitchen now, as the four of them get used to each other and their new environment. Elwood has been joined by Norris, Calder, and Stanley.

Any Hockey Fans Out There?

On the Climate of Change

Perhaps some of our legislators will need to feel the bite of 65,000 ticks on each of their bodies sucking out half of their blood supply each week to see that something is amiss.

The moose of the northern mid-west in America are already having that experience.  The warmest winters on record have dropped the moose population by 60% since 1990.  Ticks don’t die off if the weather is unseasonably warm. Moose are stressed in the winter if the temperature rises. They don’t move enough or eat enough to breed effectively.  The deer and wolf populations which are not so sensitive to the weather are growing.  So the moose fight for food and have more encounters with predators.  With modern air conditioning there seems to be no significant drop off in the population of legislators.

A coastal state in the USA which is dependent on sea-side tourism and development looking at a 30 inch rise in sea level by 2100, which would put half the state under sea water, have decided to ignore the best scientific studies; and have passed a bill that says basically that the projection will not happen and that the sea level rise rate will be the same as it has been for the last 200 years.  Not science by study and evidence anymore, but by legislation.  There is no evidence of legislators sprouting gills but many do have nice watercraft.  Perhaps they will eventually float away.

One of our states is so large is has a major impact on the school books that are used by the whole country.  They have moved creation theology into science studies.  They want to take any reference to our founders owning slaves out of the history books. The state has an abstinence only sex education program which has led to the highest teen birth rates in the country and close to the top rate of teens having a second and third child outside of marriage.  Since most of these children are born into poverty the state uses a disproportionate amount of Medicare money while saying they want the federal government to be smaller and less intrusive in their lives.

Of course with an explosion of new births the state is cutting its education budget for the very children they are creating.  The state has also made it virtually impossible to get birth control information, devices, or prescriptions.  Of course abortion is only available to the rich who can afford it by going to another jurisdiction.

We have gotten two Presidents from this state and a third made a laughable attempt this year.  He remains the governor of the state and does not support sex education or education in general.  He has governed over a consistent drop in national test scores by the children in his state.  A recent study of speeches in our Legislative and Executive branch show that there is a dumbing down of language.  There does not seem to be an excess of bright legislators, only an increase in their greed.

Tic, tic, tic, our legislators on so many issues are standing bent over with their heads in the sand.  The look back to a prior age is frightening.

We celebrated the election of Obama not so long ago. On inaugaration eve the Republican leaders deciced to be a Millstone around his neck. For what reason would politicians make this decision that would harm the country at a very vunerable juncture. Only for power of the few at the cost of life and liberty and happiness of the many. Instead of working with, compromising with, and negotiation with an elected President, they doggedly held to the failed policies of an unelected President. And as the first term of this good President comes to an end the Republicans still have the same dried up moldy bone clutched in their jaw. They have fought every positive move to bring about the reforms that would end, or at least limit, the excesses of Big Banks, Wall Street, Predatory Corporations, and Environmental Polluters. The Republican Party seems to have morphed into a heridatary remnant that must still remain in thier DNA, the Know Nothings of the 20’s,

Martin Brashir on MSNBC had a reflection for Easter on his show.  With the political discord we see today it was an apt piece of history to revive.

He reflected upon a sermon that was delivered in 1630, when a group of Puritans arrived in the Massachusetts Bay colony on board the Arabella.

The sermon was preached by John Winthrop who was the Puritans’ leader and it was entitled, “A Model of Christian Charity.” Winthrop told his shipmates that it was their responsibility to create a “city upon a hill” that would light up and be the envy of the world.

But how to light a city like that? Would it be the shiny stardom of celebrity or the blinding light of ostentatious wealth, or the endless power of political influence and control?

No, this is what John Winthrop said that such a community would need to do in order to become a city upon a hill –

 “We must love one another. We must bear one another’s burdens, make others’ conditions our own. We must rejoice together, mourn together, labor together, suffer together. Always having before our eyes a community where we are all members of the same body.”

This sure sounds like a political agenda for today.  The “City on the hill” part of the prayer has been used by both parties in elections at various times.

 Lets Reflect:

Do we love one another? Sometimes. This is such a hot one we cannot even define love. We use the word to define certain kinds of love as ok and others not acceptable because of the books of the three major religions.  And we do have this pretty well confused.  The early Christian Church blessed marriages between two men!

Do we bear one another’s burdens? Poorly. The safety net is full of holes and in need of a complete reconstruction and expansion. Unfortunately we have one party that just wants to demolish the remains of the net and drop more people into poverty and degradation.

Do we make other’s conditions our own? Poorly.  The poor and prison population increases and that is great for the prison industry which is booming. We make sure that there are better conditions for some and worse for others through our social and tax policies. Recently our Supreem Court gave lifeless corporations full citizenship with the right to spend unlimited funds to shape our political landscape. There is a constant fight by people of good will to make this better, but they face a strong head-wind.

Do we rejoice together? Yes when we kill an evil leader-Osama Bin Ladin. No when we elect our first American President of Color.

Do we mourn together?: Sort of – There was a loud outcry from a broad section of the population when Trayvon Martin was killed. But there was a good segment of the population who wish the story would have gone unreported. After all it was a mixed race person killing a black teen. We have not shown much concern for that type of crime historically.  Neither side is much in favor especially with the Right today.  Second for the 10+ years of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq the caskets of our servicemen and women have been unloaded off the huge air transports with out the eye of the press and the subsequent video on air.  After all it is only a volunteer military and only 1% of the population is making the sacrifice.

Do we labor together? No. We have reached a class structure in the United States that would be the envy of any 19th, 20th, or 21st Century Dictator. One hundred and sixty people have provided 80% of the money that goes to secret unlimited fund accumulation groups that sway our current Presidential election.  Union Rights are being canceled in Republican dominated states. Minimum wage, fair wage and equal wage laws are being ripped up as if corporations will treat their employees fairly without a heavy hand on their ledgers. More than half of our population is at or below the poverty line and all remaining social supports are under threat of elimination to make the situation worse. There is a two tiered tax system, low for the rich, and high for the middle class.

Do we suffer together?  No. We have the highest percentage of our population in prison of any developed country. A disproportion of those people are people of color. A disproportion of the convictions for illegal drug use falls on people of color even though the white population consumes the largest amount of illegal drugs by far. How can this be true? Just economics they have more income to dispose of on drugs. Women suffer from lower wages and more demeaning job availability. Children bear the worst brunt of the countries poverty and abuse. This list could go on for ever.

Are we a community where we are all members of the same body? No. “The United States of America” Unfortunately we cannot seem to shake our DNA. Our Revolution brought about an amazing country, but division, separation, segmentation  has been a big part of our growth to greatness.  It did not take long to change an accepting native population into disposable enemies. Wholesale destruction of native populations as we moved west was accomplished with the full military might of the United States Government. Land rights disputes by The Native American Population continues to this day in our courts. We have grown so much that we voice loud our cries when repression and extermination of native populations happen in other countries. It seems that the Whigs and Tories never buried the hatchet when you look at our current political stalemate.  How many different ways do our most radical citizens on each side divide this country? Race, Religion, Nationality, Economic Class, Health Care, Women’s Rights, Tax System, are just some of the ways we are divided and if you think about it you can add more to my list.

 Please comment. Yes opposing views are welcome.

I’m really trying to understand what type of America we will have in just a few years if Republicans and the Far Right gain more influence then they have already won.

Economic Hero meets Social Issues

Henry Ford’s factory was a dysfunctional and costly as people quit within weeks of signing on to the repetitive crushing assembly line work.  It was expensive to replace and retrain workers.  At the time he did not think of the option to take his production to China.  He increased the pay so he could select and keep better and more loyal workers who were suited to the work. He was then able to produce cheaper cars, more people could afford them and by accident he raised the standard of living of millions of Americans.  So Ford did not raise the wage so his few thousand workers could afford his cars, he could care less.  But in effect he created a higher minimum  wage for millions.  Even though Ford was a tight wad from youth I don’t think he was in the 1% untill he realized a manufacturing dream in combination with an economic reality that changed our Social Contract. A man who was as cheep, tight, and cranky as any millionaire on the planet today realized that the best product idea was worthless without a good mix of product, price, and people.  Henry started the unheard of $5.00 a day pay for his workers.  That simple example launched one of the most successful product introductions up until the I-Phone. The political disconnect today is that there does not seem to be a realization that the Social Issues of the day are the Economic Issues of the day.

Why can’t our Republican Limited Resource Radicals not comprehend that the Social Contract is the Economic Contract with the American People?

So lets not follow Ford, and solve the problems of today’s evolving society with solutions of benefit everyone.  Where in the image of “America the Shining Example on The Hill”, is the concept that if some of our people do really well it has to be on the backs of a mass of suffering citizens.   We certainly want the current situation made worse by elimination of the minimum wage (Social Issue to the Right) which currently will not allow a person working 40 hours a week to rent a two bedroom apartment at fair market rates in any state of the United States (read Economic Issue).   God only knows what that person does for food and clothing for his children, and spouse.  No the last statement was not a sexist slip. In the Republican world women are back, bearing children, barefooted, and aproned, where they belong.  Not to worry we will take away their right to protest and vote to make this policy easier on all of us.  Perhaps the minimum wage, once a good idea, is outdated and we should look for a new model (Social and Economic) that takes care of those citizens we want to be invisible and just go away. God forbid that we find a way to raise the unwashed millions to the level of customers. Mayberry here we come, back to the future.

Lets eliminate Social Security.  Replace it with what? ( Who cares Social Security has Social right in its name it must be a Social Issue.)  A system backed by Wall Street investment community? Really? Really? After their stellar performance in bringing the nation to her economic knees. Seniors with social security checks still coming in were saved from complete collapse (an Economic Issue?).

Lets not have a National Health Care system because all of the other industrial nations of the world must be wrong by providing a sensible system that costs half of what we pay.  Health care is not a right guaranteed by the constitution (read Social Issue). When the constitution was written there was no health care as we know it. Things have changed wake up look around the virus, microscope, cat scan, and transplant surgery have been discovered and are in common use in spite of no authority written in the constitution.  As I write this our Ex-Heartless Unelected Vice President from Hell hath receive his first heart from an unknown (asked to be anonymous) donor. None of these medical items and events are mentioned in the Constitution not one.  Our system is a form of indentured servitude where the employer and employees are entrapped in a plan controlled by a huge insurance industry.  When an employee signs up to build widgets he has no knowledge of his new employers expertise in health care.  The Employer has no expertise in healthcare because it is not their core business and if they could get out of providing health care they would in a  minute.  We have by accident allowed a huge middle man the insurance industry get between the patient and the service and syphon off millions of dollars of revenue that could go to actually making life more healthy for real people (Economic Issue anyone?).

Lets not provide child care or family leaves for adoption, pregnancy, birth, and illness. (totally Social Issues).  Well since the Republicans are hell-bent on eliminating abortion you would think they have a plan for the huge crop of children that are going to arrive over the next twenty centuries of their new Reich.  Even Hitler  had a plan to support women and all those blond and blue-eyed offspring he encouraged though his youth sex camps.  In reality our workforce really depends on women to function, no longer is it a luxury for women to work.  We already have a very fair system that pays them less than men, well since they are stronger they can take the hardship.  We have a system that weakens families so many women and children are deserted by the males (Social Issue) who feel impotent after fathering children they cannot afford to support (Economic Issue).

Lets eliminate Unions (read Free-loading Social Clubs-Pure Social Issue right?), those radical Communists who think they deserve a portion of the success that their companies enjoy as a result of their labor.  Unions who brought you, benefits, sick days, child labor laws, vacations,  weekend cook outs, time to watch the NFL,  NASCAR time, going camping and fishing with your children, retirement plans, pensions, and yes employer supported health care, oops time to watch the NBA can’t forget the hoops. (Well the government has not gotten it right in over 200 years some one had to act.)  Really you want to stand up alone against a monstrously large insurance company and negotiate your benefits (read your Economic Issue) all by yourself. Really!  Who do you think you are, Clint Eastwood or Bruce Willis, or perhaps Jimmy Stewart? Now that you lost the battle with the Insurance Mogul and you realize that your hourly rate will not cover your childs care for aggressive cancer treatment, you put on your super hero costume and get ready for the next battle.  Dressed as Super Daddy you brace your boss and demand he triple your wages or you child will die. Feel you balls already tight in you super suit, pull all the way up into your stomach, as Boss Grinch tells you to clear out your desk because alternative dress day left with the Union that the Republicans destroyed.

Lets eliminate the Department of Education (read Social Issue) because a more complex world needs a better trained work force and we have already found those people in China, Ireland, Mexico, India, Indonesia, and all over South East Asia. Those people appreciate education and American children do not seem to have that drive any more. X-Boxes will keep them entertained into the next millennia (might this cross-over into an Economic Issue). No sense trying to tackle a difficult problem. Our Legislators would rather have a hearings on drug testing of over millionaire professional athletes (Read real citizens since they make a lot of money).  Our government has abdicated its responsibility to do the tough things like getting along with the opposition, making reasonable deals, compromise, think critically, and act in the best interest of All Americans.  Just forme it would be nice if I could believe that some Republican Legislators would leave the fine heritage of the Know Nothing Party behind (subject of a future blog) and accept basic science as a fact of life, not just a good idea that they can deny.

Lets eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency (read Social Issue). I spelled out the name because three letters don’t really get the message across that we only have one environment to live in and we have historically done a bad job of managing it.  We forget the Great Dust Bowl that devastated the mid west, was man-made.  We have barely gotten the ozone hole repaired by a world-wide accomplishment of eliminating CFC’s and we turn around and try to destroy it more effectively with the release of gasses from the thawing permafrost – not so perma anymore. , and destruction of the rain forest.  Let’s get our straws out and suck up every bit of precious oily fluids from below the surface of this planet.  When we have removed all the lubricants God only knows what friction we will have created.  And straws are really too ineffective.  Lets pump toxic chemicals into every crevice in the ground to bring up all the trapped explosive  gasses to the surface to be burned in a headlong race to extinction (could this also be an Economic Issue).

Most important of all we want to include as much religious thought (Social Issue?) into our governing as possible. Remember how well Martin Luther got along with the Pope? What was that Inquisition about? What was the ratio of women to men accused of witchcraft in Salem MA? How many states were the Mormons driven out of until they met friendly seagulls in Utah.  Are the Israelis and Palestinians fighting of some distant religious difference?  Why was Hitler so disturbed by the Jews? The Crusades made a great under story for the Robin Hood movie, didn’t it?  I think our founders were profound in separating religion from any  official requirement for office.  Better your religious petitions to God be taken to a closed room and talked out with your particular creator in private, and should your petition be righteous you will be rewarded in public. (This paraphrase was a suggestion by Jesus and I don’t think he would be offended if it were carried out by copy cat believers of any faith.)

There is no separation between the Economic climate and the Social issues of any era. Class strata eventually brought down Empires and their Rulers.  Agriculture brought about a new social order.  Growth of industry changed the social contract.  The information age shifted the social order.  Hand in hand the economy and the social contract have in the past and will into the future march or slink or crawl down a difficult path together, it is not a choice.

NO, WE ARE NOT HAPPY!”

“STOP RESTATING THE MYTH THAT WE ARE!”

Every time a pol or a TV talking head states with authority that the majority of people are happy with their employer supported health care I hear a scream from my wife. “Who are they talking about?”  One year we were faced with seven changes to our health insurance plan by one employer. The employer was apologetic each time a change was forced by an insurance company who arbitrarily changed their rates upward sometimes by as much as 30%.  And I was not employed by some small mom and pop business but a large employer with thousands of employees all over the United States.  In spite of their size the employer was forced to go into the market and negotiate a new policy.

Several of the changes of course upped our co-pays and out-of-pocket, and annual expense limit, “three phrases that insurance companies use to describe the exact same thing”,  money that you have to spend on top of any premium.  Some of the changes caused us to change our health care providers from one medical group to another. In our location there is a duopoly of two health care systems so we got to know providers in both of them pretty well as we went back and forth.

Connecting health care to employers is a flawed system that came about through an accident of war-time economy.  Wages were fixed at a time of competition for workers during WWII, and employers somehow hit on providing health care as an incentive to attract workers.  During a time of relatively low-cost it worked fairly well, but as our health care system became more complex and expensive the employer model started to shred.  I don’t know the history of the “pre-existing condition”, but that was the spring that closed the trap on the employer and especially the employee.  You say why would the employer care?  Well, a person in his employee comes down with some expensive ailment as the insurance company starts to pay and total the cost of this individual they are looking to see how long are they tied to their contract before they can raise their rates to the employer. The employee is the rabbit in the trap, because with a difficult condition no other employer will take him on, even if he sees a much better opportunity in another location or employer he cannot move.  Unhappy employees who are hanging on to a job only for health insurance are not the most productive. Both the employee and the employer lose. The country loses big time as rates climb and productivity heads for other countries who have solved this problem.

If you don’t have access to Health Care you really do not have the right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.  So if you are a talk show host of a Politico of some stripe I and my wife will state that most people if they really think about the trap they are in will tell you that our Health Care System is not something to be happy about.  One of the biggest problem is that we have a giant in the room that has a big booming voice in the discussion who should not exist at all.  The Huge Middle man in the room that provides no medical care whatsoever is the Insurance Industry and their very expensive lobby.  For every dime that goes to an insurance company at a minimum two to three cents go to playing golf.  Playing golf is my expression for huge marble tiled building with plush executive suites, trips to exotic places for legions of sales people and executives, perks that are well beyond the reach of the average citizen who is denied coverage for their sick or disabled child.