Health Care Disaster Is Just the End of a Long, Long Road.

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The Republican Senate, House, President Trump (sounds so ridiculous!) and the Billionaires have written you out of health care. And they will do more…cut taxes for the rich, end efforts to control air and water pollution, spend untold wasteful, profiteering amounts on the military and gradually shut down Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security.

Unless you act, that is, get out on the street with unions, firefighters, nurses, average workers at restaurants, airports, libraries, hospitals, auto repair shops–everyone–average Americans will lose the future. Right now, wages do not go up because 80% of the income, and there are hundreds of billions earned every year, go to the top 1% while 300 million Americans share the remaining 20%. You wonder why so many people struggle these days? Because Trump is right…the system is rigged. He should know. We elected one of those by whom the system was rigged.

Our American disaster did not happen overnight. The new Republican health care plan to repeal health care for tens of millions did not come into the mind of Mitch McConnell last week. This plan, so cruel and so damaging to the budget and perhaps even the stability of the few remaining Middle Class families, and devastating to the now vastly expanded number of poor working class families (more working people on food stamps than at any time in our history) came about as the result of years of Republican catering to and harnessing the spending power of the worst of the Neo-Fascist Right Wing Rich.

The con-man Donald Trump didn’t appear as if by magic on the political scene. He didn’t appear out of some white puff of smoke. The Republican Party, seeing that the Democrats in 2012, keeping a political campaign going right up until the Convention and then coming together, were able to dominate that election, decided, as usual, with more money from more from the “dark side” billionaires than ever before, supported  an unheard of 16 Republican candidates for President starting about a year early.

Some were clods who are now Cabinet officials. Others were failed governors. Two were from families who left Cuba when their friendly administration, dictator Fulgentia Batista, was deposed by Fidel Castro. One candidate was a woman, Carly Fiorina, whose claim to fame was that she had been a failed CEO at a giant computer company that has since recovered. The odds-on winner was supposed to be another, smarter, better Bush. It turned out he wasn’t smart enough to avoid being submerged in trash talked by Donald Trump.

Trump turned Jeb Bush, a reasonably successful governor, a man with a proven high IQ and perhaps the best of the weak administrative records in the entire gang of 16 candidates into a bumbling also-ran. He did it by displaying his nature as a perverted, grotesque, beastly, swaggering swine. What we did not know at the time is that this is the kind of person the majority of Americans had hoped to find—this majority of like-minded, racist, thuggish troglodytes. We proved with our votes that we really and finally are the ugly Americans the rest of the world says we are.

You see, we should not expect an superior, economical, efficient health care plan from our Congress and President. After all, we no longer have any standards. Reagan removed them in 1987. He was probably already slipping into dementia and the list of bad decisions he made for this country was coming to rest within one of the worst records of government corruption in our political history.  Eliminating the standards for political talk on the supposedly government-owned radio and television electronic air waves—a principle held since the very first days of radio–had about the same effect at the time as the later admission by the Supreme Court of unlimited money into political campaigns with Citizens United.

People like Rush Limbaugh capitalized on this and with no restrictions whatsoever on political speech began to attack Democrats and Moderate Republicans and anyone who didn’t agree with his racist and chauvinist comments and the points of view of his Right Wing global corporate sponsors. At first, Limbaugh and his imitators were relatively harmless, as a fill-in on afternoon radio if you were driving between, say, Oklahoma City and Albuquerque. Or if you were an under-educated, underpaid, less-than-median-IQ worker in New York City or Chicago or Dallas who simply wanted to blame your troubles on an “effete, Liberal educational establishment” in the universities—where, God forbid, they might seek science for answers instead of a minimal understanding of the New Testament.

But then, when Clinton allowed corporations to buy almost unlimited numbers of radio stations, the Conservative Right Wing element in this country took notice. Soon, a cretin similar to Limbaugh was appearing in every major market and he was spewing his venom on the Clintons for thousands of stations for networks like Texas-based Clear Channel or Citadel Broadcasting. And while the Clinton economy became one of the longest (eventually it became the longest) period of economic growth in our history. Limbaugh and the other Right Wing radio hosts had the job of converting the great unwashed to the message of the billionaires. That message was cear. Liberals were self-serving, not working for the good of all. College professors, not affluent, relaxed middle class parents and not the lack of discipline, were turning our young people into left-leaning, lazy, unpatriotic sycophants. Conservatives, they said,  would save it by cutting taxes on the rich, giving them more money to send their children to righteous, God-fearing—white—private schools.

But the solid south and the rurals and the other hicks, who later would be so desensitized by Limbaugh and Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity and other lesser-paid, but still millionaire, mouths, would go on over years to form bands of White Supremacists, anti-feminists, anti-gays, and so-called patriots.

These latter were the fools who wrapped themselves in a flag while their sons and some daughters were dying in Iraq so that Dick Cheney, literally could go from a man with almost no assets to a man, after leaving the Vice Presidency, with a net worth some estimate at over $100 million, from war profits. But even these true believers in nonsense were not alone. Millions of voters who were not racists or even gullible hicks were persuaded by the lies of the increasing barrage of Right Wing Conservative talk show hosts to vote for “law and order,” and “trickle down” economics, and “immigrants taking our jobs” and the goodness and kindness and job creating gestures of what turned out to be people like those in Trump’s cabinet. Self-serving greedy billionaires.

These are the people who were conned into giving up their jobs and their futures by the propaganda they accepted through naivete and bigotry from Right Wing radio. Sadly, they also gave up the future for the rest of us, unless we can overcome their stupidity. These are the ones who eventually became the Trump voters. And they, far too many still are.

When people with radio skills realized the kind of money that rich White men with corporations were willing to pay for them to talk on the radio against unions, against Blacks, against regulations, against Hispanics, against Democrats and liberal policies in general, the floodgates opened. There are more whores of both genders as Right Wing radio hosts than there are actual whores among the followers of the Republican House and Senate.

In 2016, the Democratic Party lost the presidency to possibly the least unappealing candidate in American Presidential electoral history. The Red States blocked out many of the poorer and more elderly voters….and many college students. In addition, some Democrats chose to stay home rather than vote for Hillary. It was very foolish but she still won 3 million more votes than Trump.

In recent years, Democrats have also lost the Senate and House to right-wing Republicans whose extremist agenda is far removed from where most Americans see themselves. Republicans now control almost two-thirds of governor’s offices. They have gained about 1,000 seats in state legislatures in the past nine years. In 24 states, Democrats have almost no political influence at all. This was accomplished by a collection of Right Wing corporations, their owners and their top management who decided to join with a couple of men whom these people should have recognized as Neo-Fascist s, the Koch Brothers.

Fred Koch, the father of the current Neo-Fascist  Koch Brothers, Charles and David,  did his best to destroy Liberals. He called anyone who didn’t agree with his John Birch Society, Communists. Led by a pugnacious drunk and Senator from Wisconsin, Joe McCarthy, they did their best to ruin the lives of thousands of intelligent and thoughtful scientists, artists, legislators, writers, actors, directors, government officials and diplomats by indiscriminately calling them Communists. Some had been during the 1930 Depression-era. Others were simply targeted politically by McCarthy. That cost us the balanced thought of many Progressives and Liberals in our political and international life for at least two generations.

Today the sons of Fred Koch and their paid followers, like the Republicans in the House and Senate and at least 24 state governors and entire legislatures are guided by the new version of the Koch Family values. Not the John Birch Society but the American Legislative Exchange Council, acronym: ALEC. (See ALECEXPOSED.org) The corporate members of ALEC are everyone from Coca Cola to Boeing to COMCAST to AT&T. All the biggies. ALEC does whatever can be done at the local level to make things work for them and not you. They purchase the loyalty of  every Republican legislator they can buy.  They decide which state legislators will get campaign help and which won’t.

As a Democrat I am proud to say that I am only aware of one Democratic state legislator in the entire country, somewhere in the South, who is a card-carrying member, but I am sure there may be others.

What we know for sure is that ALEC has contributed to the elections of hundreds if not thousands of state legislators who agreed to do their bidding, even so far as introducing legislation written by ALEC itself. That is why the Democratic voting rolls are down and why Hillary Clinton didn’t win by at least another million votes. In Wisconsin alone, the ALEC-sponsored Republican, state legislature is estimated to have screened out 100,000 elderly, poor and student voters. Trump one by fewer than 10,000 votes. That’s good old-time, good-old-boy Fascism at work folks. Don’t let people who are eligible or could or should vote get to the polls. Win, not by popular consensus but by trickery.

Bernie Sanders makes so much sense. The Brits have it right. When things go against them, they can turn it around in a much shorter time frame. And there are still surprises, as happened recently. The Conservatives, thinking to increase their margins, actually lost ground to the Labour Party. They won with an appeal that struck home with younger voters who looked to the future. That is what we need here and now.

The Democrats have two big advantages before an election starts. We have the smartest, best educated and most idealistic voters. Young people, university students and their professors, beholden only to the truth and where it leads them, are primarily Democrats. The second advantage we have, if we use it, is the power of the elderly vote. There is no way to describe any piece of legislation that will come from a Republican Congress and signed by Donald Trump that will or could be helpful to those who are over 50 years old. Only those who are in the top income bracket, which, in Seniors, I would ascribe to those who have an income of over $200, 000 per year including Social Seurity. Because of the difficulties determining how long the current income inequality will last, even Seniors with substantial incomes never know how much they will need or for how long. The goal of making the rich richer has become the focal point of all Republican legislative activity.

The new health bill, even in secret has some revealing outlines. In order to meet targets which we know the Republicans in Congress have set, and which they telegraphed in their House bill, they must do some certain things. First, they must cut Medicaid by $839 billion dollars. This is basically everything that Obamacare included for Medicaid to make it available to everyone. Second, the Republicans must cut $663 billion in premium subsidies and assistance to the health care community for research, physician education, subsidies to physicians who participate in Medicaid and Medicare, research subsidies for new areas in medical, biotechnical and pharmaceutical research and best practices coordination.

In return for those cuts, the American people get less than $200 billion in what were other various kinds of subsidies and then $357 billion in “tax credits.” What does that mean? It means that, if you can finance your own health care, that is, have a savings account with $5,000, or $10,000 or $20,000 in it…just for health care…then you can buy a health care policy over that amount, with varying premiums and varying amounts of coverage, and those premiums will be subsidized by a “tax credit” a discount by the amount you spent on premiums against your income tax bill.

But that’s not the best part. The Republican House of Representatives  bill, the Affordable Health Care Act gives about $765  billion in tax breaks, returns those taxes—paid under Obamacare—to those who paid them. And who would that be?

Well, first it would be a reversal of a 3.8% tax on investment income and a 0.9% tax on income. These taxes only applied to those making over $200,000 or couples jointly making $250,000 or more. The Republican bill also repeals the mandate and therefore cancels the penalties on not having health insurance, as well as various taxes and penalties on insurance companies, drug companies and medical implement manufacturers. In other words, basically everyone in the Republican base. If you are a Republican and in  the medical field, it seems, you get a long-awaited present from the Republican Party.

And let’s not forget the wealth and the rich, the back bone of divisiveness and greed and inhumanity behind the Republican political success. Those donors to the rich and powerful become richer. The top beneficiaries of the proposed (thus fare announced) Republican plans for health care are those who make an average of $770,000 per year. They will take home an estimated 40% of the tax breaks and the top 20% will get up to 64% of the tax cuts. The reason of course is that the top 1% have more investment income and far higher earnings. The rest of the people, about 80% of Americans will share in some amount of the remaining 36% of the tax savings. Given the number of people in that 80%, hundreds of millions of us, and the increased costs of health care (the increase will be about $ Trillion more than Obamacare) it hardly seems worthwhile to ask for a check.

Why such draconian cuts in health care? Well, we’ve known what the Republicans have said for a long time, but now we have seen it. These enormous cuts to our health care are planned in order for the Republicans to make good on their promises to cut taxes again for the rich. In addition, when Obamcare was passed, it became clear to Republicans that the health insurance industry, medical manufacturers and others who were getting rich on the American people, were ready to spend hundreds of millions in campaign contributions and lobbyist benefits to Republican lawmakers (all the Democrats but one..Ben Nelson of Nebraska…had voted for Obamacare.)

So what have Republicans done? They, not the Democrats and not Obamacare itself, but Marco Rubio and his fellow Republicans de-funded the supports for insurance companies. As a result, what you have heard about did happen. Because the Republicans backed the government  out of Obamacare using a little known appropriations device, prices skyrocketed.

And the hypocritical Republicans, rather than think about Americans and their health care needs, saw an opportunity to shut down Obamacare for their billionaire friends who were paying a slight bit more and the health insurance industry that was terrified and is terrified that the American people will eventually figure out that only a system like the rest of the world, including Canada (the least efficient national health system but light years ahead of ours)  is what we must eventually have. In the meantime, the rich are getting richer and the estimates by CBO say that 20 million more Americans will lose health care soon, and many, many more than that over the next ten years will face increased costs, less coverage and a return to large numbers of personal bankruptcies.

When will the Trump voters learn that their pals, the Republicans are laughing at them? They are keeping the working poor, poor. And they laugh at all of us because a few propagandistic television commercials is all it takes to keep the “stupid middle class” in line.

The top 1 percant ( 3 million Americans) own more than the bottom 90%. You probably don’t know them. For certain, you don’t know most of them. But at the very top, they know each other, and they know how to organize to keep you in your place.

Mitch McConnell is the Republican leader because he has long been the top producer of campaign contributions to other Republican Senators. He never worried about re-election—still doesn’t—because the people of Kentucky aren’t smart enough to know that he works for exactly the kinds of people who want to keep them poor. Paul Ryan spends a good deal of his time flying out to Palm Springs or down to Marco Island to meet with the Koch Organization billionaires. The people of Janesville, Wisconsin are too ignorant or too stupid to realize that the billionaires will give him as much money as he needs to run as many television commercials as he needs to drown out the information being provided by his Democratic opponent.  Are these actions by the Republicans, by McConnell and Ryan worthy of being shot at by some lunatic from Southern Illinois? Most of us would say no. On the other hand, maybe he looked at the statistics, in particular the one that says that because–partly at least–of better health care, the richest people in our country have a life expectancy of about 15 years longer than our poorest citizens…and decided he would even up the odds a little.

It must be prepared to take on the right-wing extremist ideology of the Koch brothers and the billionaire class, and fight for an economy and a government that work for all, not just the 1 percent.