Posts Tagged ‘debt ceiling’

A New Social(ism) Contract?

October 8, 2013

As near as this under-employed citizen can determine, the (over)simplified net effect of the Affordable Care Act will be this:

A big pile of money will be collected from employed people who can afford health insurance, and that money will be used to ensure health care for poor people who would otherwise not be able to afford health care or health insurance.

This will help poor people. Everybody else will, by premiums or by taxes, ante up some money to assure that the po’ folks will be minimally cared for whenever they have health or medical problems.

Okay, this working Republican can live with that, even it will cost me a few bucks, because, you know, I have a heart and I am a Christian and we’re all in this together and I don’t want to see riots in the streets etc etc etc.

My mind wanders every day between the poles and polls of this controversy, as I am under the influence of so many information sources, whether it be sound-bite Congressional rhetoric, or a morning email from Erick Erickson, or listening to a panel discussion on Diane Rehm or hearing Tom Ashbrook orchestrate an exploration of the issues, or reading a UPI report.

Here’s the problem: Our original social contract, which is the Constitution with its tripartite governmental institutions, does not effectively address all the divisions that arise in this post-modern predicament. For some people, such as Tea Party folks, or persons of independent means, that incongruence becomes a big objection to what is happening now. For others, who are poor or who want to, by grand design build a great society, our Constitutional freedoms and rights are not such a big issue.

Since the New Deal, the disparities and eccentricities of capitalism have driven us away from the original social contract enacted in the Constitution by our nation’s founders. We’ve tacked on Medicare and Medicaid. This is not your father’s oldsmobile; nor is it your grandmother’s household with muffin-buns and berries by the steamy kitchen window. We have evolved to a post-democratic, post-republican, post-capitalist, post-expansionist, post-consumer-waste welfare corporate State.

And hey, it is what it is, like it or not. This is 2013. I mean, 1984 was 29 years ago already.

But the libertarian folks who identify with  Constitutionally-protected rugged individualism are still with us. God bless ’em. They figure we didn’t sign up for this redistribution hijinks. I can relate. I live in a mountain town that was named after a musket-totin’ trailblazing pioneer named Daniel Boone. I wish everybody had the initiative and self-respect that the libertarians have. But alas, there are many other folks out there in the great cities and amongst the urbanized conglomerates who  are quite comfortable, even fat n’ happy, depending on the System that we’ve patched together, which is not the same as the visionary government that our Founders had wrought from the virgin soil of a vast contintent back in the day.

Now this whole Affordable Care vs. Obamacare mirage has got us all torn up, living on the edge of fiscal disaster or social dystopia or government shutdown or Default or  some combination thereof.

We need a new social contract. I propose a national referendum on the Affordable Care Act so we can settle this thing once and for all. Instead of depending on the Democrats or Republicans to interpret the polls, let’s take a real vote on the issue so we’ll know where the simple majority of Americans stand on this landmark issue of subsidized health care.

Glass half-Full

Train Wreck?

September 21, 2013

Recently, the Speaker of US House of Representatives, John Boehner, called the Affordable Health Care Act a “train wreck.”

If the new law wasn’t a train wreck already, after yesterday’s proposed defunding (239-180 vote) in the House, it is now.

It is a defundsive derailment. This is, like,  Congressional terrorism, y’all.

But then so was the Declaration of Independence. This kind of conflummucks has happened before. There’s nothing new under the sun; that’s what the Bible says. (I don’t know what the shariia rendering would be.)

I think the Republicans don’t like a government takeover of health insurance because they think taxes will go sky-high in order to pay for it, and methinks this is true. This situation is a little like colonists in Boston, back in 1775, who resented paying taxes to their absentee King, George III. So they had a Tea Party in Boston Harbor. Remember that from 5th grade history?

Americans are still expressing their freedom with tea Party tactics, but nowadays their celebrations are all over the map, farflung from Boston, in places like  Peoria, or I suppose, Macon, Pocatello or Bakersfield.

On the other hand, or, the other side of the Aisle, as they say in Washington, maybe the Dems have been caught up in a little revolutionary activity of their own. I seem to remember that back in spring of ’09 or ’10, whenever it was that Affordable Health Care Act was passed by Congress, it was some “Reconciliation” hijinks somewhere between the House and the Senate that got the Demmie legislation rammed through to become law.

I think you could have  also called that Congressional terrorism–an earlier version, and also, btw, a Democratic version.

So our two Parties are both using legislative pyrotechnics to enforce their polarizing definitions  of revolution on behalf of We the People.

Fighting fire with fire.

One fire is ignited by the bumbling, frictionary heat of government control; the other is the street-level heat that we will all feel when the lower economic half of our population is wandering in ‘n out of hospital emergency rooms with no way to get medical treatment.

I think probably either way it is a train wreck.

It is then we will rediscover the truth, as spoken by somebody– maybe it was Tip O’neill or one of the Taft boys– that all politics is local.

Communities will just have to decide for themselves how they’re going to hash this stuff out. Each hamlet, town, city, or state (if they can manage some pragmatic caregiving on that level) must find some kind of consensus about how to handle all those po’ folk who keep draggin into the local Meds with gunshot wounds, bloody noses and/or cancer or deetees or dependencies or whatever the cases might be. I think my nurse wife agrees with this.

The way I see it, it’s either back to local medicine man stuff, or back to the future–as Orwell would say, 1984. One way or the other, we gotta keep this nation on the rails somehow, and reasonably healthy.


Glass Chimera

The Horizon of Deepwater (a prose gusher)

June 28, 2011

In the fall of 2008, the Treasurer of the United States, Henry Paulson, convinced the President and the Congress to bail out the financial industry so that the whole damn system of passing money and electrons around would not fall apart.
So Mr. Bush, with legislative help from the Reps and the Senators, injected seven or eight hundred billion of public money into the big banks and the big crap-shooting insurer that backed up those banks, along with the two huge quasi-public mortgage underwriters. At least that’s the way this taxpayer remembers it. Help me out here if my facts are a little amiss.
At the time, those powers that be had convinced us, in the frenzied imminent panic of falling markets and a deflating housing industry, that the entire structure of the way we do business in America and even beyond America would fall apart at the seams if we didn’t meet Mr. Paulson’s recommendations.
Of course we’ll never know if that universal implosion of American business and international commerce would have happened or not. The banks got their money, and we are still in a big mess, although not a catastrophic one as big as it might have otherwise been haha. We’ll never know. Instead of the sky falling on us with incalculable damage, we have been  able to creep through a couple of lean years in which the ever-present spectre hound of the double-dip has been constantly at our heels, baying for blood or possibly just for red ink, which looks like blood. These days, who knows the difference between any real thing and its hyped-up digitized alter-ego.
Now we’ve come full circle, and have got the same situation over again, except this time its not Hank having fits, but the chicken-littles who warn us of that debt ceiling bogey beast that will devour our already-suspect financial stability and digest it, and then egest our fiscal credibility with overly-copious liquidity in turds not easily disposed of.

A little greece carefully applied will move things along nicely.

Meanwhile, the ratings agencies, the Moody, S&P and the Fitch, are making their obligatory noises of warning, walking their own wire of credibility while keeping fingers in the air to see which way the wind will blow.
Where were those rating agencies in 2008? What were they doing when they should have been sounding the alarms about derivatives and CDS and MBS and CDOs? Same as what they’re doing now–waiting to see which way the wind will blow to tip or not tip over our unwieldy bowl of  cards, 2011 version.
So now, if those stubborn, ole fashion Repubs in Congress relent and allow the Dems and themselves  to keep flushing paper and electronic dollars while running both the deficit and the debt ceiling into deepwater default–what will happen then, huh?
We’ll never know. When they’ve made their deal and then the Fed and Treasury have a new batch of paper and electrons to swish around  in the bowl of toil, we’ll never know what torrent of troublesome irresponsibility has have been flushed down into that great poseidon-adventure pipeline that dumps its dootee out who knows where, the ocean or somewhere, probably some unstoppable severed pipline a hundred miles off the gulf coast. We’ll never know. But at least we’ll still have money to play with, just like in 2008, and we can stay in the game with the blessings of the bondholders. Flush on!

Glass Chimera

On the limitations of humannness

April 23, 2011

Law built his kingdom upon a foundation of strength,
hefting beams of order upon discipline length
Progress made her society of perfectible members
teaching reason and freedom among liberty timbers.
Love set up a clinic of hope and of healing
upon sacrifice and sweat and their warmfuzzy feeling
Truth tore it down, and sent all of them reeling
‘neath a sky that is falling and a chicken in every debt ceiling.

Cluck cluck Selah
whadya think about that
Thanks for the doughnut hole, so long.

Glass half-Full