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This Is What Democracy Looks Like

Today's Note From a Madman

April 16, 2008


In the Hands of the States

While on the road to a simple solution for health care in the US, I thought of an interesting way to pass the buck.

Now, passing the buck is not only a Bush past-time, but the only way in which President Bush knows how to get anything done. If it works, he's in charge; and if it doesn't, he just got bad advice, and then he passes that buck onto whoever he chooses as his scapegoat-du-jour.

However, passing the buck when it comes to health care coverage might be a good idea, and it could begin with Medicare.

Today, each and every one of us who works pays into the Medicare system, and it is a system in need of an overhaul in the worst way. Medicare works today by having all of us pay 1.45 percent of our income combined with our employer's contribution of an additional 1.45 percent for a total of 2.9 percent. And unlike Social Security, which has a cap, there is no maximum on that contribution.

Medicare insurance is collected by the federal government and then split with the individual states to use within their guidelines. I believe that the Medicare Insurance should be increased on the employee side only to 2.9 percent which, added to the employer's 1.45 percent gives us a total of 4.35 percent. And those who "earn" their incomes from the less-taxed (and no-taxed if President Bush and John McCain get their ways) income earned from Capital Gains would not be exempt.

But instead of allowing that money to go through the hands of the federal government to use in their usual, unwise ways, I believe that this money - all 4.35 percent of it - should go directly to the states, and here is my logic:

The closer you get to the people, the better the outcome for the people.

It's no secret that any money which comes into the federal bureaucracy comes out leaner than it should. And it's also no secret that when there is a surplus of any kind, the likes of a George W, Bush will reach into those various lock-boxes, leave (as he put it) "worthless paper" behind, and steal the money which we all need to be there.

By giving that money to the states, and earmarking it to be used only in relation to health care, that money will be better spent.

So far many of the individual states have taken the reigns of health care and made sure segments of their populations are sure to be covered. For example: Massachusetts' aim was t make sure each and every one of their citizens had the ability to be covered, and that legislation passed even in spite of the initial veto by its Republican Governor Mitt Romney.

And we all know the individual states and their closer-to-the-people representatives can ill-afford to use the same rhetoric which is used in Washington on a daily basis. They are more vulnerable to being tossed out by a displeased public and have to continually take the pulse of those people who put them into office.

Take the mortgage crisis as an example of what the states can do versus what the federal government won't do. According to today's Washington Post, many individual states feel that they can no longer wait for President Bush to use up his rhetoric on how many things he's going to do to clean up his mortgage banking mess. Those states are putting the money together, along with other resources, and with unique, quick acting ideas, they are helping their constituents as opposed to the federal government.

People can't afford to hear more "gonna-be's" and "we're working on it's" when it comes to health care any longer.

Putting all of the Medicare money into the hands of the State government and taking it out of the porous hands of Washington is not only a good idea, but one that could, and should, happen quickly.

-Noah Greenberg

In response to, "It's as if a new Perfect Storm has struck our shores, and it was born of privilege and ineptitude. And as it gets worse, we all have to wait and hope that its damage will be reversed by a new administration. But like Hurricane Katrina before, the feeling is that it has to get worse before it gets better," Robert Scardapane writes:

There is no doubt in my mind that Bush / McCain reckless spending on Iraq has resulted in plunging dollar value and recession. Glenn Greenwald at Brave New Films comments:

"The cost of the Iraq War is a grave issue. At Brave New Films, we are committed to spreading awareness about the devastating financial toll the war is taking on each and every one of us, let alone our economy.

"$3 trillion. That is what Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz estimates the war will cost our country. Make no mistake, this $3 trillion bill is crippling our economy and causing our Iraq recession. To put this colossal amount of cash into perspective, we've designed a game to help people really understand what $3 trillion dollars can buy. Get ready to go on a 3 Trillion Dollar Shopping Spree!


In response to, "Obama is clearly the more progressive choice. This is also the conclusion of The Nation magazine; the publication I respect the most as they are critical of both parties," Victoria Brownworth responds:

The Nation, for which I have written in the past, has been wrong before and it will be wrong again. They are wrong on Obama.

It's pretty hard to see Obama as a man of the people given the way he votes and talks. He says he was against the war but has voted FOR war funding all along. He doesn't show up to vote for most of the difficult votes--a pattern he established in Illinois. He says he doesn't take money from the oil companies, but he does. In addition he voted FOR the Bush-Cheney bill, which Clinton opposed. He refuses to mandate full health care. He basically said Clinton's working class voters are ignorant rednecks--something this working-class woman took pretty personally.

Obama's alleged progressivism is mostly alleged. There's nothing to substantiate it. You can proof text anyone's record and have conflicts with some of their votes. I don't support all of Clinton's votes by any stretch. But the majority of her votes are defensible.

Obama's contradictions are manifold. And focusing on his war statements--and not his actual votes--is a mistake. Samantha Power was fired not for calling Clinton a monster, but for laying out Obama's real strategy on Iraq, which is the opposite of what he said on the campaign trail. he has a history of saying one thing and doing another.

And Kelly Taylor writes:

Yo!! While I feel there are a number of positives about Obama, let's not forget that Obama has voted to FUND the Iraq war EVERY time it has come up for vote in the Senate. (Of course, he was not yet a senator when the initial Senate vote was taken before the war began.) And then there was his NAFTA gaffe that cast doubts as to the sincerity of his commitment to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement. I mean let's keep some perspective and put it all out on the table!

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-Noah Greenberg