Dean Clancy has a five point plan, then what?

Dean Clancy has a Five-Point plan to repeal ObamaCare.  Let’s assume it is as bad as the detractors say. Breaking things is easy. Making something worthwhile that works, not so much.

What are the anti-ObamaCare people doing to combat the health industry oligopoly? If they put this much energy into working with their political opponents to reform or reinvent the health care industry to keep costs reasonable there would be no need for ObamaCare. Ballooning health care costs put a greater drag on the economy than taxes.

Since 2008 my wife and I pay for our family health insurance out of pocket. Our premium started at around $1400/month ($16,800, plus co-pays). This year’s premium is $2300/month ($27,600, plus increased co-pays). That’s a $10k or a 64% increase (not including co-pay increases) on top of an already obscene amount of money. During that same period of time (2008 – 2012) inflation trended down from 6% in 2008 to -2% in 2009 to 2010. And is now about 1.75%.

Leaving aside the discussion about whether health care was already too expensive in 2008, health insurance companies, hospital administrators, doctors, most other medical professionals, medical supply and device manufacturers, the pharmaceutical industry and the insurance executives were already making record salaries and profits.

How the hell can anyone explain increases like that as anything other than greed? Why isn’t the Republican controlled House of Representatives or the Tea Party providing any constructive leadership?

Where’s the five point plan to cage the rapacious health care beast?  In my own personal economy, halving health insurance increases over the last four years equals the cost of a modest car or a year of tuition at a state college, or the bassoon my daughter needs so she can pursue a career in music.

I admit I’m not an economist. Neither did I, along with most of our legislators, most of the the pundits, and the average American, read the entire Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. So maybe Dean’s right. Maybe the law stinks. But damn it Dean us regular folks are drowning in health care costs. Since you don’t like “ObamaCare,” where’s your five point plan to overhaul the health care system?

Is Obama really a Commie or are you just lazy?

Lately some of my conservative friends have joined the Right wing chorus in calling Obama a Marxist. I suspect few have actually read Communist Manifesto. I also suspect they’d be hard pressed to show clear and convincing evidence. Yet they’re all too willing to pin a scarlet “C” on his lapel.

This observation has nothing to do with supporting Obama or Romney in the next election. Neither does it have anything to do with critiquing his performance,  a subject about which much can be said. I’m thinking more about how we use language in our discussions about important issues. Having recently slogged through much of the Communist Manefesto, which should be marketed as a cure for insomnia, calling Obama a Marxist is hyperbole and a lazy argument.

The language we choose controls whether the discussion is a fair exchange of ideas or a blood sport. Describing him as a European style Social Democrat. comes closer to the mark. But even that isn’t really accurate. To me he’s more of a Roosevelt Democrat. Labeling him thusly sets Obama squarely within the mainstream of the modern American political spectrum while leaving plenty of room to disagree with Obama’s policies and for criticism of his performance. But voters then must think for themselves.

I’ve also been contemplating the other Roosevelt as well–Teddy. He understood the American economy and our culture are at their best when there’s a greater distribution of wealth.

Just as unfettered socialism leads to dissolution, monopoly and oligarchy are the end result of unbridled Capitalism.  With both come a host of social ills that impoverish people and our country. No offense, but anyone who thinks lazy people will work without necessity or  businesses will police themselves is a moron.  History has shown empires crumble when people get lazy; human degradation occurs when a small group of people control all the wealth and power.

The American way is based on a wider distribution of wealth and power. That makes America unique in history and what makes it a great country. This situation did not happen by accident. It required a culture of civility and acceptance of policies and regulations that limit the big guys while creating  opportunities for the the small guys.

Nobody with the intelligence and drive to succeed likes limits or rules that stand in their way of achievement. Yet both are foundational elements of our way of life.

To be sure limits are there to be pushed and rules to be questioned but no one gets his way all the time. An unwillingness or inability to accept that is a sign of immaturity.

Coming back to my thoughts about language and how it shapes the public debate, lazy or cynical rhetoric that pander to prejudices and fear are divisive by definition and  rob us all of the opportunity to thoughtfully consider the options.

Feckless partisanship and an unwillingness to compromise have  resulted in unproductive  conflict.