Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Santorum on Obamacare Revisited

"I am not a witch. I am not what they say. I am you."
Rick Santorum's most recent rambling on Obamacare was dismissed by critics as an unintelligible conspiracy theory, and idiotic. A closer examination of Santorum's explanation illustrates elements of his thought process and insights into the true objectives of the Tea Party.

He states that Margret Thatcher- a conservative icon- did not take on the British national health system. He continues, postulating that health care is free, regardless of who provides it, until you get sick. "Then if you get sick, and you don't get health care, you die and you don't vote." This was the condition for millions of Americans prior to Obamacare who, incidentally, tend to vote Democratic.

I am reading between the lines here, but, as they say, when in Rome, do as the Romans do. I believe that Santorum sees the remedy for Obamacare- and I cite his reference to Thatcher- as the acquisition of political power by the Tea Party. Once they take control they can "take care of people who can vote and people who can't vote, get rid of them as quickly as possible by not giving them the care so they can't vote against you. That's how it works."

This man ran for president. Then again, so did Pat Paulsen, but he was a lot more entertaining.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Naked (nearly) and Afraid in West Palm Beach

West Palm Beach, Florida is home to two ultra right-wing media groups: Newsmax and Rush Limbaugh. Both organizations have little substance and the inability to analyze events logically. Their "messages" are conveyed with well-worn talking points and platitudes. They evoke fear and then play upon that fear to manipulate their constituents, and reinforce the like-minded.  Ultimately, they are only concerned with the accumulation of wealth and power, and nothing else. It must be noted that Newsmax offers its subscribers tips on how to maximize their Social Security and also deal with Alzheimer's.

In this right-wing utopia, political corruption abounds, the foreclosure rate is among the highest in the nation, and there is a striking lack of "wage-compensated" jobs, with many working on commission, percentages, or tips, hoping to be compensated for their labor, after the fact. Pensions and benefits are as common as green eggs and ham.

Florida Governor Rick Scott has declined the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act to add another challenging element to the lives of working people. He also stifled a federally funded trans-state rail system that would have made it easier for people to commute to jobs. And, at the same time, he instituted harsh measures to restrict and inhibit unemployment insurance.

Whether man-made or not, it is getting warmer, a lot warmer. This further adds to the stress of residents. One hospital, along the I-95 corridor, advertises its ER wait time on billboards, and touts its competency in treating strokes. And homeowners' insurance is among the highest in the nation due to the ever increasing threat of hurricanes.

I have an acquaintance who sells real estate, on commission. He continually complains that there is a lack of middleclass housing on the market. He says that it is either multi-million dollar homes, with too much competition and too few buyers, or "starter" homes with low commissions and the near impossibility of arranging bank financing. He laments that he could make a good living if he just had a lot of buyers for 300-500K homes.

I have another friend who is a firefighter. He is replete with stories of gang violence and car crashes. We joke that it is the price we pay to live free, unimpeded by laws and regulations.

All things being what they are, with a stressed workforce, and the general quality of life, it is not surprising that innovative high-wage businesses are not born here, nor do they seek to relocate here, despite the lack of a state income tax.

Finally, I can't help but wonder why Mitt Romney would settle on the Left Coast in California, and not settle here in West Palm Beach, among the "fruits of his labor." On a positive note, because of the weather, you don't need much  in the way of clothing in this land of green eggs and ham.