It's more than just healthcare, its also the safety net at stake!

I'm angry and I'm scared with regards to what is happening these days.  Not just on healthcare, but also the safety net.  After reading Angrybird's sad note on the foreclosure, my anger simply grew. How could we allow this?  Not just the homes, but the jobs and the insurance and the schools.  Yesterday I got into a heated argument with a long time friend, someone who now I know probably won't speak to me. She's a libertarian who simply had (to use her own words)"fuck 'em if they weren't prepared, don't take from me!" attitude. Maybe just as well.  But I'm not one to leave someone to the wolves.

In the end, it comes down to a safety net.  The average citizen needs something like a social portfolio, akin to a stock portfolio.  A collection of programs or aid that every citizen should get.  Many generations have sacrificed so much, that to keep people on the verge of economic chaos does disservice to that sacrifice.

There is a group of politicians, who have the temerity to call themselves "Democrats" who are signaling they won't vote for the public option.

Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) cast serious doubt tonight on whether conservative Democrats will ultimately vote for cloture on the Senate health care bill if it retains a public option with an opt-out clause, and gave new details on yet another compromise that he says might work for them.

- excerpt from "Carper: Conservative Democrats Not Likely To Support Senate Public Option", Talking Points Memo, copyright 2009

There should be no compromise!  They have a majority in Congress, we have a majority in our vote, and the people are demanding a true robust public option!  Not something watered down.  Not something where some future GOP administration can co-opt with a crony private insurer to administer. Not something that can be substituted for a "Humana Public Option" or "Aetna Public Option Plan." They want a real health care plan that doesn't break the bank but also puts people before profits.

This country really needs single-payer, because the moral hazard found in for-profit health insurance has been so great and so abused. But here we have a chance for something akin to it.  And it should be something that is also part of something larger, a renewed safety net.  What we have now is scatter shot at best.

Lets take this public option (I like to call it PeopleCare, but hey that's just me), and use it as a building block towards this new safety net.  Organize the programs that work into that said social portfolio.  President Obama talked about electronic organization of health files.  How about also including things like social security or medicaid or even how much state money is going towards your child's education?

You have a right to this information.  It should be accessible to you.  When you organize these programs, it helps those who don't know about them find what they need faster.  How is it I can walk into a stock broker's office or a real estate agency and with a click of mouse button find what I own or would like to buy or sell? Yet it has been my experience that this isn't even the case for social programs? Why can't one simply walk in to see a social worker and ask to see what's available to her or him?

And what's available should be expanded.  If we have duplicate programs, consolidate.  But we need to start covering more than what we are doing now. Why must we settle on those forced on welfare to live in grinding poverty? Why can't we have a jobs program like the CCC or the WPA or take your pick of New Deal plans? Why can't we say we won't tolerate folks, who because of economic circumstances out of their control, have to live without dignity? Don't tell me this isn't happening, I've seen this with many of my disabled friends.  

Why stop with a public option for healthcare? There needs to be an expansion of public education funding for those who wish to go to college. They do it in Germany and Scandinavia.  This is an investment, not a liability! There should be an agreed to standard of living that is above the damn poverty line! These aren't animals, who should be thrown into a ghetto.  These are people who have been neglected by the system. Black, poor white, disabled, veterans, single mothers, children.  These folks, who the GOP and my former friend have either dismissed or ignored, aren't liabilities but true assets.  

We need programs for true urban renovation that is more than simply providing real estate for yuppy gentrification.  Detroit and parts of my hometown of Chicago to places in Ohio don't have to look like they do.  What you have there is neglect by those who control the commanding heights of the economy. There should be an organized effort to foster entrepreneurial development open to all, not just the connected few.

The free-traders and the libertarians and the Republicans lambasted "Buy American." Yet now we have Chinese-made wind turbines coming into Texas, paid for by American stimulus money, and temporarily hiring American workers.  This is not right, this is not just. We need an organized program that promotes locally-produced goods and nationally-produced goods.  Does that make me a protectionist? A pro-labor guy? Proud to say yes, because I know you can't have an economy that's 70% consumer. The best welfare is a good decent paying job.

I find it humorous in a vile way how folks like Steve Balmer from Microsoft can say that they must open up shop overseas because they cannot find programmers or engineers here.  That's poppycock! I've come across a lot of programmers and engineers who are out of work.  Once more, the safety net that we have fails because there was no program to coordinate and cajoled these corporate bastards into hiring here first.  No, but instead wage arbitrage reared it's ugly head again.

At the end of the day, regardless of what I've said on here, I'm sure you can agree that a safety net should be exactly that...a path away from economic danger.  You can't completely eliminate the inconsistencies of our economy, but we can do better.  We must do better.

Tags: Democrats, Economy, Healthcare, President Obama, reform, welfare (all tags)

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