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This Is What Democracy Looks Like

Today's Note From a Madman

February 11, 2008


More Economic Bad News

For the past few months, every time President Bush opened his mouth the lie "We have created jobs for (fill-in-the-blank) months in a row. Last month that blank was 52 months. It, of course, was a lie. Just this past August, the economy - the Bush economy - lost 18,000 jobs, and that's even after including the Bush spin.

Well, President Bush has done it again. The latest Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers available from its Department of Labor website, shows that the big number - non-farm payroll - has lost another 17,000 jobs in January.

You can bet your bottom dollar that when The President speaks about his economy, if anyone can find him and is able to ask him a question, that is, you could bet your last dollar (worth about fifty cents today) that he'll take credit for a "near-record rate" while telling us all that his economy is on the rebound (still?). But it truly is worse than that.

"About 1.7 million persons (not seasonally adjusted) were marginally attached to the labor force in January, up from about 1.6 million a year earlier. These individuals wanted and were available for work and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey."
-The BLS report

That's right - if you've been so discouraged by the lack of jobs, and even if you has looked for a job for twelve months in a row, if you had decided to take a break from your search during the height of the Holiday season, you simply weren't counted. To put it another way, there are nearly two million Americans who need to work but can't find a job.

Spin it President Bush, spin it.

And while most groups remained working at about the same rate from December 2007 to January 2008, "Black or African American" workers lost an additional two points worth of jobs, raising their unemployment rate from nine to 9.2 percent. And that figure, again, doesn't include those who are considered "Disgruntled".

Many of the "jobs Americans won't do," as President Bush puts it, tell the story as to the decrease and the recession that seems to already be here. Manufacturing jobs were reduced by 28,000 and construction jobs were reduced by 27,000. Even the jobs that Americans have to do, those which can't be outsourced in the "service-providing" industry, were lost as well, down some 11,000 jobs.

One has to wonder if there are any jobs left for Americans, whether they "won't do" them or not.

What goes along with too many Americans looking for employment and not enough jobs to employ them with? the reduction of earnings, that's what. During that same December 2007 to January 2008 period, the average weekly earnings of the average American worker declined by forty-two cents per week. And even though $0.42 doesn't really sound like a lot of money, it is the equivalent of billions of dollars in income to the American worker and an addition of billions of dollars into the coffers of bug business, the true "base" of Haves and have mores", as stated by the President bush himself.

In short, as we look toward relief from an administration who has used every excuse in the book, we have none, we've heard the Bushies blame the economic decline on 911, on immigration, on Hurricane Katrina, but we've never heard them say or do anything other than "tax cuts". Even Ronald Reagan, the great tax-emancipator, ended up raising taxes when it became all-too-apparent that his theory of trickle-down economics just didn't work.

It's just too bad that this president, even at this late hour, still doesn't get it.

-Noah Greenberg

In response to "Heath Care Mandates", Carol Yost writes:

I guess I just have to keep watching you guys. I don't get the time to read Madman very much, but each time I do, there you are again with all sorts of wimp-out healthcare plans that have to be exposed for what they are. Of course you're entitled to your opinions, but what copouts you are, Noah Greenberg and Robert Scardapane!

First, those awful healthcare mandates. WHY does anyone think people have to be FORCED to buy insurance after getting a little reimbursement or discount? Don't you realize everybody who is at all sane is DESPERATE for healthcare coverage? Not only that, with those mandates, people get FINED for not signing up! How stupid and unconscionable! People don't buy health insurance for the simple reason that they can't afford it. If they don't buy health insurance after being offered a discount or subsidy, it's because they STILL can't afford it, and that discount or subsidy or tax break isn't enough. There's no room for a mandate. You just have to make the healthcare accessible. The only reason people talk mandates is that they realize whatever carrot is being offered to other people, especially low-income people, isn't enough, but they don't care, and they're going to make it a crime not to buy something you need but cannot afford. Good Lord, deliver us! It's like fining people for being homeless or hungry.

I know you said that the mandates should be for affordable healthcare only, but mandates need not and should not be in the picture. Everybody wants healthcare. When you talk mandates, it's proof that you really don't advocate getting healthcare that is affordable to everybody.

The insurance companies, those big, fat billionaire corporations with CEOs gorging themselves on perks you could buy a small country with, are benefiting from all this. Look at what Humana posted recently, for starters (link below). 71% increased profits over the previous year! Oh, they need our help, don't they?

Don't forget that, with mandated health insurance, those fat companies will still be maximizing their profits by denying care every way they can. Think of all the lives lost. It happens all the time, literally.

Now, Noah Greenberg, you write of single-payer health insurance as desirable but not achievable. I've heard that so very many times. You know, if everybody who said, "Good idea, but we'll never get there," about single-payer, would simply get out there and work for it, we'd have had single-payer yesterday. We can't work with the insurance companies. We can force them to cover everybody, but we can't force them not to maximize profit and destroy people's lives. Profit should not be made from people's illnesses or fear of same. Period.

About 262,000 people are estimated to have died from health-insurance denials since the start of the Iraq War in March of 2003. These were insured people. Could have been mandated. Doesn't matter. They're gone.

You should see Michael Moore's SiCKO, which is up for an Academy Award. He doesn't specifically mention single-payer in the film, but he has spoken for it in interviews, and what he shows happening in other countries where there's much better healthcare availability would be approximated by Reps. Conyers' and Kucinich's bill HR 676, for single-payer. Under this bill, caregivers would not be employees of the government, however, but the government would pay all healthcare costs, covering everybody in the USA, funded by a low tax. See www.healthcare-now.org for details. It would be FAR less expensive than what we have to pay now, for criminally inadequate coverage.

You write of the lobbyists as being too powerful, and that's why we can't get single-payer. Do you realize that as long as you don't push for single-payer, even though you realize it's the best, and you push in the opposite direction, you are ALSO a lobbyist for the insurance companies, and an unpaid one at that?

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-Noah Greenberg