Archive for September 10th, 2009

Obama Health CareI have said it before that I am hesitant to talk about political things in this blog, instead focusing on my work as a painter.  It’s kind of like the old advice about not talking about religion or politics, especially given the fact that I am, in fact, a small businessman.  But there are some things that are too important and this is one of them: healthcare.

President Obama addressed the congress and the country last night in what I thought was a very effective speech.  I could’ve done without all the standing ovations which I thought sometimes disrupted the president’s rhythm but the shots of congress were very revealing.  It was very effective to see the sour faces of the Republican opposition all gathered together and to see the doubt on their faces at points as to whether they should  stand and applaud.  There was Eric Cantor disgracefully disrespectful as he twittered away.  There were some who stood and waved papers as though they were birthers holding up their birth certificates.

But most revealing was the shout of You lie! that  emerged as the President spoke about the plan not covering illegal immigrants, a point that has been verified by a number of non-partisan fact checking organizations.  The culprit was Joe Wilson, a South Carolina republican who showed the world the face of the party who has devolved into one of obstruction for their own short-term political gains rather than of one who fights for the betterment of the American people.  It was ugly and was an overt indicator of the disrespect the republicans have for the President.  He thought this was a town hall meeting, I guess, where you can yell down anyone even when you’re obviously wrong.  The only bright spot from this is that his opponent in the next congressional race, Rob Miller, has raised over $100,000 in contributions since last night .

I was glad to hear the President speak about the cost of reforming healthcare in relation to the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan  and to the costs of the Bush Tax Cuts.  The very same republican congressmen who wholeheartedly voted to ransack  our future to line the pockets of the the very wealthiest now claim we just can’t afford to do this now.  Well, the Bush Tax Cuts by most accounts will cost us over 2 trillion dollars over the decade with some putting the cost at closer to 2.5 trillion.  Close to a trillion dollars of that went to the top 5% of the population.

Now to be fair,  these figures don’t take into account the stimulative effect of the tax cuts but even right-leaning sources such as the Heritage Institute put that figure at about 25% of the total cost which means that these tax cuts still are almost twice as expensive as reforming all of healthcare.  And that’s before you factor in the stimulative effects of a better and more universal healthcare system, such as jobs being created to meet the needs of expanded care and costs being lowered via better preventative care.  The worst part of the tax cuts is that they directly depleted our coffers, reducing our income tax revenues to a point where we would be in trouble at this point even without the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, whereas the proposed healthcare will not,  in theory, add anything to our deficit.

So how any of these republicans who voted for the tax cuts can seriously declare that reforming healthcare now is simply another indicator of their willingness to sacrifice the betterment of the American public for their own political gain.  I hope President Obama was serious in his promise to directly confront those who spread lies and fear, to make them accountable for their actions.  This is also something we can do as citizens.

Be aware.  Check the facts.  Be proactive, not reactive.  Let your voice be heard.  Now.

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