Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Untied, We Fall

While I could not stomach the man sufficiently to watch Bush's State of the Union address live, I would like to direct any interested parties to a video resource the people at have put together: an annotated State of the Union.

There one can watch the sickening affair in its entirety, or skip to sections of the speech by selecting from the scroll of facts and rebuttals offered below the inset screen.

Probably not the best topic for me to touch on while trying to wind down, but I did want to point it out, especially with him not only pushing more disaster in Iraq as thousands more are being thrown into the meat grinder in an attempt to salvage Dubya's legacy, but in coming up with supposedly helpful health initiatives that flatly ignore the realities of acquiring health insurance for people who already have health issues.

The insurance industry must be kissing photos of the shrub today as they contemplate the soaking they'll give the US public as millions potentially line up, one by one with no leverage, to see what inadequate health coverage they can negotiate for themselves. This is a sham and a national shame. A responsible government, a government in touch with the reality of its citizens, would easily see the merits of a single-payer system in which the federal government takes the role currently set on the business-owner and uses the awesome leverage so many millions of people represent to negotiate the best plans for every citizen. Health care should not be some job perk.

Those who insist that this would mean the government administering our health care are, to be kind, grossly ignorant and apparently highly open to suggestion by lousy media outlets and the talking points of some big money interests. They would be no more administering our healthcare than our current employers are, and unlike our current employers the federal government would have and immensely longer and more powerful lever with which to secure for us the best deals. Instead, Bush offers almost meaningless tax cuts and a plan that will leave each of us isolated.

A push towards Health Savings Accounts, much like the attempts to scuttle Social Security and replace it with by your own bootstraps individual retirement plans*, is the rhetoric of the healthy and the wealthy and those who've bought into this as a false point of pride. Please, don't be tricked into seeing these things as matters of personal worth, as if we're talking about "hand-outs." That message is originating with the people who have the most to lose, both directly in wealth and indirectly in status.

It's frustrating. It's aggravating. It's appalling.

...and it's not the way I'm going to settle myself in for a scant few more hours (at best) of sleep before getting up again to get the kids off to school and myself to work.

*I'm not dismissing the value of individual retirement accounts to help secure a brighter future -- I'm in a retirement plan myself, with money being withheld from every paycheck -- but the promise of Social Security should not be systematically marginalized until it, a withered husk of what it once was, is buried by the powerful minority who never had much use for it.

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