The Myth of Voter Fraud & Those Taking Advantage of the Lies

A great article in the NYT on True the Vote, a national group focused on voter fraud, and their actions in many minority voting districts in swing states. It also covers how True the Vote and similar groups have no proof of the massive voter fraud they claim is rampant across the nation. They are just their to prevent and intimidate the minority vote.

Read Here


On the Occupy Movement and Lehman Brothers Collapse On Year Later

Another good NYT op-ed by Joe Nocera on the upcoming anniversary (9/17/2011) of the fall of Lehman Bros. and the beginning of the Occupy movement.

Read Here. 

Rich Politicians’ Supposed Impoverished Past A Joke

A good article here from the Post by Richard Cohen on how at the RNC & DNC, politicians and their wives tried to identify with “common people” by reminiscing about their supposed days of poverty. Cohen, though, points out how they all had some advantage with which to escape a life of being poor that most of impoverished people do not have the luxury of possessing.

Read Here.


The Reality of Health Care Polls

As we close in on the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act this week, more and more polls have appeared in the news getting the reaction to health care reform and the impending decision.  For instance, ABC News reported the country is both against the health care law and against the current health care system.  But they included some polling numbers that should be noted:

Positive ratings of current care, for their part, peak among senior citizens, at 86 percent – perhaps ironically, given their enrollment in the government-run Medicare program. Current care ratings also are higher, by 15 points, among people with $50,000-plus incomes, vs. their lower-income counterparts. And strongly favorable ratings of current care spike, in particular, among people in $100,000-plus households.

In other words, people who have easier access to health care compared to the people who don’t, even if that health care is government backed, like it.  This is related to an interesting point if you have been watching much of this polling data recently.  Something has been strangely left out of most of the polls.  Most of these polls seem to avoid asking or reporting how many people thought the ACA didn’t go far enough.  Slight majorities may be against the reform but this does not take into account the number of people against the reform because they wanted a more universal system, such as Canada or Germany.

The big problem with not acknowledging this reality is it seems people are just against the ACA and therein want the status quo, which is clearly not the case as the ABC News poll indicates.  We also know people like many of the provisions the ACA is enforcing (or on its way to enforcing barring a full overturn by the Supreme Court).  For example, from CBS News/NY Times data:

85 percent said insurance companies should cover people with pre-existing conditions and nearly seven in ten supported children under 26 staying on their parents’ health plan.

But we are mostly told we don’t like it without explaining why.  Take for instance an article from the Wall Street Journal.  The article has plenty of polling data but only says this regarding people saying it didn’t do enough:

The health-care law has stirred deep passions on both sides of the partisan divide, including among some liberals who think it didn’t go far enough.

No polling data included as to what percentage believe this.  Not exactly surprising the Murdoch-owned WSJ might gloss over this part of the debate.

One poll that did include this data states, “27 percent said it didn’t go far enough.”  What people want to assume about what we should do on health care based on this information is up to them.  But one thing seems to be clear and that is the media doesn’t do enough to point this fact out in the debate and it is certainly possible what the majority wants is being drowned out of the conversation.  And if the majority wanted something, we would of course get it, right?…Right?

Probably not.  Take the Buffet Rule for instance.  Gallup reported a 60% majority favored it while CNN reported 72% in favor.  Despite these large majorities, the rule died because we live in a democra$y and that’s how democra$y work$.  Rule of the money…excuse me, many.  Maybe it’s many with money.  I’m confused.

The point is we’ve seen a lot of polling data on health care but the media has not been completely honest with us.  If they were, we might figure out the majority wants something the powerful interests at the top don’t and that is simply the same access to the same health care they have and enjoy (and approve of as noted above).  Even if it’s government backed like Medicare.

Supreme Irony: Would a ‘single payer’ health care plan be less vulnerable to the court than the Affordable Health Care Act? – Yahoo! News

Supreme Irony: Would a ‘single payer’ health care plan be less vulnerable to the court than the Affordable Health Care Act? – Yahoo! News.

Very interesting read from Jeff Greenfield on the potential judicial ruling concerning the health care mandate as well as the constitutionality of a single payer system.  His article is not about right and wrong in the health care system and it just looks purely at the idea of whether certain factors would survive judicial review or not.  He states the mandate is almost certainly unconstitutional but a single payer system would survive review, for example expanding Medicare to everyone.

I previously argued the upcoming decision by the Supreme Court on the Affordable Care Act could potentially speed us to a universal type system and Greenfield’s points might add a new wrinkle to that argument.  If a ‘Medicare-for-all’ system is the only one that would be deemed constitutional by the courts, it may ramp up the fervor for its passing.  The likely overturning of the mandate this month by the Supreme Court might fuel the conversation for a universal system faster than expected since it potentially could be viewed as the only way to fight rising costs.  Only time will tell.

If You are a True Capitalist, Then You Hate Babies

A true capitalist knows how much of a drag babies can be on their businesses.  If the government forces the capitalist to hire a female through equality laws, his business now runs the risk of spending the time training and getting that female experience only to lose her for a few months when she gets pregnant and bears a child.  This hurts his business and his profits.  Until a few years later, of course, when the child hits the ripe old age of five and can start making shoes.  Then it is back to raking in the big bucks for the true capitalist.

An article posted yesterday at The Nation explains this same story from another angle: that of the parents trying (and increasingly failing) to make ends meet after giving birth in the United States because of laws that protect businesses over families.  The biggest issue as indicated by the author is not the lack of leave time, which has been addressed through FMLA, but the lack of pay during that time and businesses heavily cutting that back.

Almost 30 percent of employers offered paid leave for new mothers in 1998; only 16 percent did in 2008.

Realistically, even 30 percent is rather abysmal in the richest country on the planet but nearly half of that is obviously far worse.  The article also describes the story of one woman who experienced complications with her pregnancy and lost her job because of the extended time off.  This makes her a part of an important statistic from the article: “over a quarter of all workers…either quit or are let go of their jobs when they need to take leave.”  It’s a dog-eat-dog world and when one dog has to stop eating for a medical purpose like giving birth, the people at the top who make the money and the policies just don’t care enough to help them out the way they should.

And in the United States the lack of a universal health care system adds another layer to the job loss.  Parents now may have the added worry of having to care for a newborn with either no coverage or increasingly expensive premiums with no income.  Which would help explain one of the reasons the U.S. continues to rank so far behind so many other countries in the infant mortality rate.  We are still nine spots below the hated Castro regime in Cuba and thirty-eight rungs down the ladder from those awful socialists in France.  Those anti-capitalists and their love of children!  How dare they take care of babies in spite of the free market!

But I guess there is good news in the U.S.  There are folks out there who care so very deeply about children they are willing to take absurd legislative positions in the interest of children.  Therefore, I can only assume these same people will support some great social spending programs that will protect the baby and the parents from losing their jobs when a birth occurs.  Right…right?

Or maybe they will just give the baby a pat on the back when it’s born and say, “good luck out there kid.  Hope it doesn’t suck to start your life in poverty.”  Because that’s what Jesus would do.

Will the Supreme Court Decision Speed the U.S. to a Universal System?

As the Supreme Court decides which parts of the Affordable Care Act will be upheld or struck down this week, I wonder how this will effect the inevitable path the Unites States is taking toward a universal health care system.  The fact remains skyrocketing cost is the biggest problem for our system and the only proven way in human history to bring those costs down and cover everyone is through a system with heavy government intervention.  Everyone paying attention to this issue has seen the charts comparing the U.S. to other industrialized nations and has seen the inflated amount of money spent in America on health care with lesser results.  We are going to get a universal system at some point regardless of the opposition to it.  But how will this Supreme Court decision effect the timing of the change?

The biggest issue in the case will be the, at first conservative-championed and now conservative-loathed, individual mandate that states everyone must posses health insurance when the law goes into full effect two years from now.  The reason for the individual mandate is to bring down premiums for everyone by getting healthy citizens who think they do not need insurance to buy into a health insurance plan.  This premium money is then used to pay for the higher cost folks whose health is low or deteriorating.  Without the mandate, premiums for people wanting health insurance will be even higher and our problem gets worse.

If the Supreme Court upholds the mandate, it will likely prolong the march to the changes we really need.  Once the law goes into effect the infusion of money into the coffers of the insurance companies will slow the continuing rise in premium costs and keep the system from reaching catastrophic debt levels for a period of time.  Guessing when this happens is impossible since we have no idea where the economy and factors such as the unemployment rate will be in the years to come but we know it’s coming.

If the mandate is struck down, disaster hits much sooner.  Insurance companies will be mandated to carry the sick (the ones that can actually afford the care that is) and not benefit from carrying the healthy.  Typical premiums for everyone will increase to levels only the highest of incomes will be able to pay and eventually the system collapses.  Either way, major changes will come.

What will the health care system look like at that point?  Germany?  Japan?  The United Kingdom?  Who really knows?  There are lots of choices in how the government can help control the costs of the system contrary to most believing it’s either the U.S. way or the Canadian way.  The most likely path is a “Medicare for all”-type system since that is partially in place as we speak and would be the easiest transition.  Whatever happens then, one thing is clear now.  The system we are currently under is unsustainable in the long term and ACA doesn’t do enough to address costs, regardless of what the Supreme Court decides.  Change is inevitable.