Capitalist Socialism

As citizens of this once prosperous nation, we are now confronted with an economy second only to that of the Great Depression. As severe as our economic situation is, our politicians once again fail to feel the pains of the common American and lack the compassion and leadership to address this — let alone try to solve it.

There are approximately 50 million Americans without healthcare, and our unemployment rate is at unspeakable levels — millions of Americans are still losing their jobs. With these shameful statistics before our nation’s eyes over the past year, Washington still has not responded with any sign of true leadership or even a word on bailing out the common American by offering some form of safety net. This is reserved exclusively for politicians and corporations.

One of the obstacles for not offering universal healthcare is the fear America will transition into an era of socialism — a nemesis and political ideology our nation has fought for years. This is quite ironic since all of our politicians are the prime recipients and promoters of socialism — Republicans and Democrats alike.

Our elected politicians forget the largest single employer in the United States is government. Under our current system of government our politicians vote for higher taxes in order for them to receive the best healthcare available for them. They vote themselves high raises — even for their poor performance — and they are guaranteed benefits when leaving office. And they never have to worry about their jobs being eliminated, downsized or outsourced. Most politicians still make more money than the average American after leaving office, either through working as lobbyists or for some special interest that had supported them during their respective terms. It would be interesting to find out what the unemployment rate is for former politicians, as well as their average income. Basically, they have created a socialist utopia for themselves at the expense of every American — a utopia they wish not to share with the American public. This is such a hypocrisy and insult to the American people. Just think of all the wars and entanglements our nation gets involved for the sake of stopping the spread of socialism. We are truly a nation of double standards.

America has implemented a form of socialism that offers safety nets just for our political elites and big business in the form corporate welfare. Actions truly speak louder then words, especially in this case, where our leaders proudly display their arrogance and lack of conscious and good will toward the plight of the common man.

I heard a rumor in my youth in the form of a faint whisper that we are a nation based on Judeo/ Christian beliefs. I cannot remember reading the gospel of wealth in any Holy Writ. But I have read extensively in the morals of commerce written by our elected politicians who exclusively benefit from socialism, while promoting a harsh form of capitalism for the common man; and a liberal capitalism for our corporations with its many inept executives who receive bail out bonuses for their poor performances financed by the taxpayer.

Under such an elitist system our politicians personally benefit from socialism, and corporations who benefit from capitalism, all at the expense of the common American, who for the most part is unemployed, underemployed, due to outsourcing, without health benefits, and without any hope of assistance from our politicians.

Unfortunately we are no longer that great nation we once were due to our lack of morals and new gospel of arrogance and greed. The Republican and Democratic parties today are like two hungry wolves fighting over the dead carcass of the American taxpayer. ...

Dr. Richard Cirulli
White Plains, N.Y.

Repurpose Insurance Firms

Regarding Ted Rall’s “Half Healthcare, 100% Dead” column [8/1/09 TPP]: Rep. John Conyers’ (D-Mich.) HR 676, “Expanded and Improved Medicare for All,” would save $400 billion on administrative costs. “Single payer is the fiscally responsible solution ... HR 676 is politically attainable and the right thing to do,” says Mimi Signor’s letter in the 11/23/08 St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Medicare has a 4% administrative cost; group private health insurance, 12%; and individual plans, 28%. Michael Moore’s Sicko documentary shows how single-payer health care in Canada, Cuba, England and France outperform US fee-for-service where insurance company clerks deny potentially lifesaving cures as “experimental” and those without “suture self.”

Single-payer was proposed by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the 1930s. He said, “The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.” President Harry Truman, in a 1945 message to Congress, said, “Health is a national concern.” The English made single-payer work in 1945. President Lyndon Baines Johnson [in 1965] established Medicare, a successful single-payer healthcare system for seniors. As more Baby Boomers retire, more will be on it. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s father was a self-employed entrepreneur, owner of an interior decorating store next to Chicago’s Merchandise Mart. He could not afford medical insurance and his final illness wiped out his estate. This inspired the Clintons to work for healthcare reform.

At the end of the Cold War, Congress established a Base Relocation and Closing Commission to relocate defense resources. It can do the same for insurance firms. Their salesmen made good teachers. Perhaps it’s time for them to be “Gone with the Wind.”

Joseph Kuciejczyk
St. Louis, Mo.

Free Enterprise Hoax

How the same financial geniuses who created this economic meltdown now assure us they can resolve it makes one wonder. This is the very definition of arrogance. These people allowed insatiable greed to overwhelm whatever amount of self-control and sound judgment they may possess.

Their latest and perhaps most asinine statements are those regarding their attempt to create regulations which will govern entities deemed “too large to fail.” Say what? By definition, “too large to fail” implies “too large to exist.” Thank you, Jim Hightower, for pointing out the obvious.

What is needed is a return to many of the regulations enacted through the “New Deal.” A vibrant American middle class was a direct result of these rules, which provided opportunities, yet put restrictions upon “wanton greed.” Over the last 20-some years these regulations were deemed “burdensome” to the economy. So, one by one, they were discarded. The results are today we are living in the aftermath of a world created by corporate benevolence. If that is not an oxymoron, one does not exist. The lesson learned needs to be that a self-regulating free market is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated upon the American public. Are you listening, Sen. Inhofe (R-Okla.)?

For until greed can be exorcised from human nature, a regulatory process of some degree is an absolute necessity. Though dark, these times present an incredible opportunity to reshape the global economy. Are we bold enough to seize this historic moment?

Wayne C. Taylor
Bethlehem, Pa.

Lobbyists Govern

Walter Tsou (macman2@aol.com) has suggested that we read “Big Pharma has lured Dems into a Faustian bargain,” by Merrill Goozner (8/11/09, HuffingtonPost.com) to understand the close connection between government and the Pharma industry. In fact, as Jim Hightower has been quoted, “The corporations don’t have to lobby the government anymore.” Here’s the bargain: Pharma, in an apparently successful power play, offered an extremely modest “concession” of $80 billion of drug savings over 10 years. Goozner points out: the concession “amounts to a mere 2% of the total drug tab over the next decade, which is still slated to grow at somewhere between 1-1/2 to 2 times the rate of inflation ...” This Faustian bargain guarantees continuation of Pharma’s huge escalating profits, with the government agreeing to curtail regulation to control its  excessive cost to the country. It seems ample proof of Hightower’s  insightful quote.

Sid Moss
Elkins Park, Pa.

Corporate Health

Some states are taking strides to improve the lot of its citizens. Now to the Congress of the United States, the old saying is, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” But for 60 years the health insurance in the United States has been broken because the number of people who are uninsured and those who die because they don’t have insurance goes up and up. The Congress of the United States did nothing. And this administration wants badly to change healthcare in the United States. The same groups that oppose any real benefit for the public have lined up to oppose a public choice but only want to tweak or alter the health care in America. Well, guess what, it is time to say “No” to tweaking, “No” to altering, “No” to mandated or imported health care, “No” to all of these choices, but “Yes” to Public choice or Yes to government-run one-payer plan. Say it loud, say it proud, “No” to corporate health, yes to public health. Remember health is wealth.

S. Einhorn
Tampa, Fla.

Thanks for Brown

It was a pleasant surprise to find Ellen Brown appearing on the pages of The Progressive Populist. Her commentaries are a great continuation of her recent book, The Web of Debt, which should be on the desk and well thumbed by all who comment on the financial collapse and developing Great Depression II. It seems a Nobel (Bank of Sweden) Prize in Economics does not mean the recipient has any understanding of how money is created. Neither does it seem such an understanding is required of a Fed governor or a US Treasury secretary.

A delightful companion source of enlightenment on this subject is Money as Debt, a 47-minute DVD (www.moneyasdebt.net). Clips can be found on YouTube. Concerned citizens must inform themselves about the collapse of our financial system and learn how a better system can replace it. Prof. Bernanke [Federal Reserve chairman] and Treasury Secretary Geithner need our guidance!

Robert W Zimmerer
Longmont, Colo.

A Few Questions

Just a few things I am wondering about: 1) Why can’t the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 be overturned? 2) Why can’t former Sen. Phil Gramm (R-Texas) be spending some time in jail? 3) Why can’t the CEOs of Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase Bank of America and Citibank be fired, since they seem to be using the TARP money for everything but what it was supposed to be used for? 4) Why make the effort to regulate Wall Street, when Wall Street will just bribe some bought-and-paid-for politician to either kill or weaken it? When will [White House economist Larry] Summers and [Treasury Secretary Tim] Geithner be fired? Since it would appear they are looking out for Wall Street, not Main Street, whoever picked those two made a major mistake in judgment.

Dennis H. Kuykendall
Kuna, Idaho

American Exceptionalism

The recent highly publicized instances of adventurous American citizens innocently drifting across borders of countries not on our list of friends, and finding themselves at the mercy of their hosts, seems to be gaining momentum.

What is the attraction to recklessly operate in the vicinity of these borders? Adventure? Excitement? Or something more sinister, such as involvement with the CIA? This should come as no surprise, because a large number of such activities have been exposed over the decades since the end of World War II — of course ignored by the complicit “liberal” mainstream media.

These events are used as propaganda opportunities to prove to the world how much we care about citizens in distress, by dispatching celebrities, including a former president, to these places in an effort to secure their release, which then is celebrated with great P.R. pomp and bombast.

A more telling way of gauging the esteem (or lack thereof) in which we hold our own citizens, is to observe the abject poverty, homelessness and dismantling of social programs so rampant in this land of plenty.

One wonders how many innocent foreign subjects are languishing in US custody without a chance to have their case heard in a court of law, thus likely to die in one of our prisons of old age.

Imagine celebrities, or former Presidents, of these countries showing up here, provided they are given permission to enter, attempting to gain freedom for their citizens. Sounds laughable and absurd when others attempt to replicate what we deem our entitlement, doesn’t it?

Such is the case of arrogance and self-appointed “American exceptionalism,” which is quite offensive and certainly does not resonate well around the world.

Joe Bahlke
Red Bluff, Calif.

Letter from the Editor

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From The Progressive Populist, September 15, 2009

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