Problems that Won’t Wait By Timothy V. Gatto

By Timothy V. Gatto
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
May 14, 2009

I believe that after two Bush Administrations and Clinton’s “populist” cover for his Administration that was run for the benefit of the people that have always controlled the United States, Barack Obama’s warm, fuzzy message of empty rhetoric has finally hit a brick wall with the American people. Americans just don’t trust government anymore and they are tired of the same old empty promises that promise change but deliver nothing except the status quo of a government run by the wealthy, connected people for the wealthy connected people.

This week has been particularly transparent in regards to whom actually runs this country. During a Senate committee focusing on health care, the absence of any one individual or group that supports single payer health care was readily apparent. When people started to speak out against the fact that this particular gathering was attended by health care suppliers; the HMO’s and the insurance companies and their respective lobbyists, as well as those elected officials that have taken huge campaign contributions from these same interests, it was no wonder that the police started escorting anyone that made any protest about the make -up of this particular committee.

Montana’s Sen. Max Baucus last Wednesday unveiled his proposals for reforming America’s health care system, including expansions of government-funded programs and a requirement that everyone have or buy health insurance. The articles that described the committee’s suggestions left out the fact that the proposals the committee came up with were all tied in to private, profit driven entities that required individuals to purchase health plans from the private sector. It was no wonder that when individuals who were in the audience complained that the committee was made up of private health care providers and lobbyists; they were escorted from the venue by the police. Senator Baucus was asked if he had any suggestions on how to keep the focus on the goals of the committee he replied “more police”.

The Democrats have a golden opportunity to enact a national government subsidized, single- payer health plan that would provide health care for all Americans. This however, will never happen as long as our representative republic only represents the wealthiest of our citizens. This is a fact that lies at the root of most problems the government has as far as meeting the basic needs of its citizens. As long as our elected officials have their political campaigns funded by powerful business interests and the lobbyists that represent them, those that cannot afford to pay to play will be consistently ignored when it comes to basic services.

When government sponsored health care is discussed, the old argument of how to pay for it takes center stage. The specter of socialism is invoked and the threat of taxation levels of 60% or better are used to strike fear into the heart of our citizens. The truth is that of all of the wealthiest industrial nations, the United States is the only one that relies on private providers to furnish health care to its citizens. The average tax in America is 30.2%. In Sweden, health care is a public service financed almost universally through taxes. The rationale for this system is to ensure equal access to high-quality health care for all residents, regardless of domicile or income level. The 290 Swedish local authorities and 21 county councils are responsible for providing a major part of all public services, including health care, and are entitled to levy taxes to finance their activities. Taxes are levied as a percentage of citizens’ income. The average overall local tax rate is 31%.

Healthcare isn’t the only problem that America can’t seem to solve because of the way political campaigns are financed. There is a laundry list of problems that can be tied directly to the way in which politicians get and keep their influential positions. When Dwight David Eisenhower warned us to “beware the military-industrial-complex” in one of his last speeches to the American public, he had ample proof of why he felt he had to warn America. We are now at the point where defense contractors not only fund the politicians that will be “business-friendly”, a number of them also own huge segments of the mainstream media. General Electric, the world’s largest supplier on nuclear weapons also owns controlling interests in the following:

GENERAL ELECTRIC –(donated 1.1 million to GW Bush for his 2000 election campaign)

Television Holdings:
* NBC: includes 13 stations, 28% of US households.
* NBC Network News: The Today Show, Nightly News with Tom Brokaw, Meet the Press, Dateline NBC, NBC News at Sunrise.
* CNBC business television; MSNBC 24-hour cable and Internet news service (co-owned by NBC and Microsoft); Court TV (co-owned with Time Warner), Bravo (50%), A&E (25%), History Channel (25%).
The “MS” in MSNBC
means microsoft
The same Microsoft that donated 2.4 million to get GW bush elected.

Westinghouse Electric Company, part of the Nuclear Utilities Business Group of British Nuclear Fuels (BNFL)
whos #1 on the Board of Directors? None other than:
Frank Carlucci (of the Carlyle Group)

Television Holdings:
* CBS: includes 14 stations and over 200 affiliates in the US.
* CBS Network News: 60 minutes, 48 hours, CBS Evening News with Dan Rather, CBS Morning News, Up to the Minute.
* Country Music Television, The Nashville Network, 2 regional sports networks.
* Group W Satellite Communications.
Other Holdings:
* Westinghouse Electric Company: provides services to the nuclear power industry.
* Westinghouse Government Environmental Services Company: disposes of nuclear and hazardous wastes. Also operates 4 government-owned nuclear power plants in the US.
* Energy Systems: provides nuclear power plant design and maintenance.

This is definitely a problem when huge defense contractors not only control the politicians, but also much of the media where the majority of Americans get their information. The situation is not hopeless however. We are at the point in this country where we must reevaluate the way we operate in this country. The old models just don’t work anymore and most Americans are now realizing it. One problem that the auto industry must face is “legacy costs”. This consists of paying pensions and health care costs for workers and retirees. It would be a godsend to the auto industries if the government were footing the bill for healthcare. It has been said that healthcare costs alone add two thousand dollars to the price of a vehicle manufactured in this country.

The solution to almost all of these problems is to enact meaningful campaign financing reform. We can no longer let the same people that control our media and our military weapons continue to select our political leaders. The truth is that most of our leaders are bought and work for the people that put them in office. It’s about time that our political parties and the people that work in government change direction and go back to working for the people that they are elected to represent. The problem is right in front of us. The control of our political system is so entrenched and pervasive throughout the “system” that it will take a majority of the people of this country to stand up and tell our political parties and the politicians that the status quo is no longer an option.

The people of this country need a new way to conduct business, specifically the business of the people. In order for us to achieve that goal we need people of vision and courage. This isn’t the first time that we have faced hard decisions. We need to make the right choices and soon. Time is not on our side.


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