It’s called the bait and switch. It’s the most effective con game ever created. The conman offers to sell something bright and shiny to the mark. When the mark looks at what he bought, he sees that it’s not a bright and shiny as he thinks. The conman made it look better than it was. The old bait and switch works best with intangibles. If a mark buys a watch and it turns out to be a piece of crap, the mark can go to the police. He can identify the conman in a line-up, or get his friends together to beat the hell out of the conman. You can’t do that with ideas. Ideas are intangible. That’s why the bait and switch works so well in politics. The mark put all his money and his energy into a dream, and the mark isn’t willing to let his dream go. The mark will even make excuses for the con. Bill Clinton campaigned by promising the public a national health plan. To this day there are people who will not admit that Clinton conned them. The idea is so bright and shiny that they cannot even admit to themselves that the guy who promised it to them was lying.
Barack Obama has promised America something even brighter and shinier than a national health plan. Obama has promised us hope, and hope is the most intangible idea of all. Like the song asks, did you ever have a hope sandwich? That’s when you have two slices of bread and you hope that you get some meat. We have our two pieces of bread, where’s the meat? When are the troops coming home? When are we going to get our national health plan? When is Wall St. going to be held accountable for its crimes? So far, Mr. Obama has not given us any definite answers to those questions. He has been elected because we hope he will give us acceptable answers to those questions. I voted for Nader because Obama did not answer those questions.
Obama has not given any satisfactory answers to those questions, but the American voters continue to hope. They assume that Obama will improve health care even though Obama has put his health care plan on the table, and it sucks. Obama has made quite a lot of talk about the economy, but he has not mentioned the fact that the SEC and the FTC as well as the Treasury service have been underfunded to the point where they cannot do their jobs. Wall St. commits major crimes on a daily basis. Will Obama put a stop to it?
What we can expect is more hope. Barack Obama is a fantastic orator. Were he a life insurance agent, he would have a place at the million dollar round table. The man is that convincing. I can just see Obama telling us that we have to keep the troops in the Middle East to protect the victims of our own invasion. We will all still hope that the troops will come home soon. While Obama plans to throw billions of dollars to his supporters in the health care industries, we will continue to hope that the HMOs choose to treat our illnesses. By the same token we can continue to hope that we can keep a house over our heads and hope that our jobs are not shipped to the mysterious East.
Then there are the issues that both Obama and McCain have just mentioned in passing. Obama’s energy plan is utter and complete insanity. Wake up and smell the coffee, folks, the planet is out of cheap crude oil. Gas prices are going to jump higher than a kangaroo with a kink in his tail. Obama wants to build more nuke plants. I was an eye witness to the Three Mile Island disaster. Nuclear reactors are not the answer. Obama is promising us another meltdown. The next one may very well bring us into a “China Syndrome”. The nuclear fuel could melt through the container and make thousands of miles of the United States hostile to all forms of life. Obama does not seem to care about that. Unlike the new solar technologies, nukes will bring tremendous profits to his backers. We already know that profits come before human life. We are just supposed to hope that Obama’s energy policy doesn’t kill us all.
Then there is global warming. We are watching new and stronger hurricanes hitting our eastern coasts. Polar bears are losing their habitats. Entire forests are being decimated by insects because the natural cycles are broken. We continue to hope that Obama will support the ecological regulations needed to keep global warming from getting any worse. At the same time the homeless can keep hoping that somebody will realize that it is not their fault that the jobs have been shipped overseas or that it was not their fault that their mortgages melted down. We do have a lot to hope for. Will Mr. Obama deliver on any of it?
If Bill Clinton is any indication, I doubt it. Clinton joined with Gingrich’s so called second revolution and decimated the social safety net to make sure that displaced workers had nowhere to fall but the streets. If Nancy Pelosi is any indication, I also doubt it. Nancy was George Bush’s number one girl. She voted for everything he asked for. She took impeachment off the table and made sure that Georgie could rape and ruin to his heart’s content without any sort of consequences. I fully expect Obama to act the same way. Bill Clinton and Nancy Pelosi taught me the futility of hope.
Obama does not deserve a honeymoon period. Yes, it will be a rare pleasure to have a President who can pronounce nuclear, but let us not forget everything that we are hoping for. Let’s not let Obama forget it either. I hope his inauguration is interrupted by major protests. I hope he is flooded by emails and by petitions to end the war. Remember, change is not created by protests alone. We also need boycotts, works outages, strikes, and sit-ins. Johnson did not sign the civil rights bill because it was the right thing to do. That old Texas redneck signed it because there would have been civil war had he not. Don’t let a Black President fool you. Don’t be content to hope. Obama is not going to do anything for any of us unless we make him, just as Dr. King made Johnson sign the Civil Rights Act.
It’s astounding the lengths that the Democrats will go to in order to convince the rest of us that they are different from the Republicans. This is proved by the ridiculous health care reform plan that Obama is offering the voters. Needless to say, the Republican solution is simply bat shit crazy. The Republicans want to balance the budget by turning your insurance premiums into taxable income. Chevron will continue its free ride and the rest of us will have to pay for it by losing one of our remaining tax shelters.
Yet if you take a good look at what Obama is offering us, you see that he is not doing us any favors either. While the Republicans are simply giving the health insurance industry everything they want with a bag of chips, the Democrats are doing the same thing. The difference is that the Democrats are being sneaky about it. The Democrat’s plan will provide even more profits to the insurance companies with even less service to the consumers.
First of all, Obama’s health plan exploits the ignorance of the average voter. Few voters know that the government does not directly manage Medicare and Medicaid. They are managed by private health insurance companies as third party administrators. Medicare is managed by Blue Cross while Medicaid is administered by other health insurance companies on a state to state basis. So by expanding Medicaid, the Democrats are going to increase health insurance profits by billions of dollars. Another thing that voters do not realize is that Bill Clinton turned Medicaid over to the HMOs. This is the only thing remotely fair about the entire Democratic health care plan. The indigent poor will suffer as much as the working poor who will be required by law to give money to the HMOs. The poor can enjoy an equal amount of neglect by the for-profit health establishment.
The most obvious problem with the Democratic health plan is that it is totally unfair to everybody except the health care providers. It throws us a bone by eliminating pre-existing conditions. The health care providers can certainly spare that, considering all the money they will collect through federal subsidies. Otherwise there is no real benefit to the voters. The Democrats are not going to establish minimal standards of health care. They are not going to regulate the cost of health care. They are leaving that to the marketplace. We have all seen what that sort of non-regulation has brought us in the economy. Now the Democrats are doing the same damage to our health care.
The next thing you should notice is that the consumer is going to have to pay for his health care as well as taxes. Obama is going to create a mess of tax regulations to make the humblest of CPAs misty-eyed with gratitude for the extra work. Rather than simplifying an already impossible tax-code, Obama is going to make more work for tax-preparers and CPAs. That’s going to be more money out of the consumer’s pocket. It looks like everybody is getting something except for the voter. All the voter is asking for is to be able to get treated if he’s sick. Is this too much to ask for? Apparently Barack Obama thinks so.
All this can be avoided with a single payer health care system. Your insurance premiums are taken out of your taxes. As any insurance agent can tell you, the larger the pool you have, the more money you will take in and the less each person will have to pay. That means that by paying for health care on a national level, we will all get better health care for less. Being overseen by the government we can assure that everybody gets a minimum quality of health care. That means that a homeless person or Dick Cheney can come into any hospital and be assured of competent care for a hang-nail or for terminal cancer. Since Dick is rich he can pay for extra health care and get himself such luxuries as a private doctor or a private room. The important thing is that both get competently treated.
Health care providers will actually have to do something for their money aside from distributing it to their boards of directors. It will mean that health insurance companies will have to settle for multi-million rather than multi-billion profits and that CEOs might have to take a cut in pay. Poor babies, my heart bleeds for them. They should keep a stiff upper lip and remember that we, the voters, have sacrificed enough. Now it’s their turn.
This is still another reason that I am voting for Ralph Nader this election. I do not expect Ralph to win. I am not voting for the sake of winning, I am voting for the sake of making a point. If I cannot vote for a candidate who reflects my needs and values, I am voting to show my displeasure. I will be damned if I will vote for McCain and Palin, and the Democrats do not deserve my vote. I am voting for Nader because there is no other viable alternative.