Sunday, December 4, 2011

Pessimistically Optimistic

Getting out of bed every morning is a little more painful each day. My back aches or my neck creeks or something hurts that didn’t the night before or shouldn’t no matter what.
My wife suggests we get a new mattress but I would prefer a new back!
Naturally that’s not covered in our world ruled by insurance companies and their puppets in government.
Those guys are the real pains although not necessarily in the back.
But I started thinking about how my life is generally ruled by costs when it comes to many things and in that way I guess I am normal.
(Me, normal? Nahhh!)
I don’t just buy the first new item that hits store shelves even if I want it or even need it. Like most others I tend to shop around or wait for coupons or some way to lower the cost before plunking down my hard earned cash.
And if you know me you also know my motto when it comes to discounts is, “30% off is still 70% on!”
So when I find a good price on something I also make a final determination of need.
I have become a slightly open-door closet pessimist in that I feel everything that can go right or wrong will tend to lean toward the latter first!
That philosophy is not as bad as it might sound since if you feel things will always go wrong you may occasionally be pleasantly surprised, although far less these days than you might believe.
I guess I have felt that way for a long time because in college I always expected a ‘D’ grade or worse so that when I got ‘C’ and above I was ecstatic!
Of course being a pessimist has its downside especially when you tend to be correct!
I mean if you think something bad is going to happen to you and then it does should you be happy and feel vindicated?
Using that logic I must be happy to have trouble rising in the morning.
But painful personal pessimism aside I would like to address our nation’s outlook on life as we know it.
More and more of our day to day lives is being ruled by that supposed bane of the Republican Party, big government. But contrary to their lip service mantra that is as it should be in a recession.
During hard times the people occupying the lower levels of the wage earning spectrum have more trouble making ends meet. Government programs such as unemployment insurance and free or low cost health care become life lines against financial ruin and even death.
But the problem is these people don’t tend to have a cohesive voice and definitely don’t have a powerful lobby through which to get their plights heard.
And thus they are an easy target for those in power to point to as financial drains on our economy.
Does anyone believe a Koch brother would offer a penny to save a sick poor man?
Alan Grayson famously put it more succinctly if in a less politically correct way with his “die quickly” label of the Republican healthcare plan.
But when the opposition to a fair policy for all Americans continues to chip away at every facet of our democratic ideals we the people are faced with a struggle beyond precedent.
We even lost an incredibly intelligent well spoken champion of all humans in the fight for fair and balanced health care when the Republican Party blocked President Obama’s appointment of Dr. Berwick as administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid.
Why you may ask would they do so?
Who is this awful terrorist wannabe that our leaders on the right feel must be booted out of existence?
Read about him – I cannot do this great man justice here.
Simple changes that go unnoticed have hidden agenda that turn out to be ways for the wealthy or big businesses to retain more profit at the expense of the individual.
For example the recent push to stop prostate screening for men until they have symptoms will negate the yearly PSA exams for millions. Proponents of stalling the test say it is a pain in the butt and could have false positives.
But a quick “light of day” exam of the motives of the proponents reveals a simple fact, the benefit to stopping those life saving blood tests goes directly into the pockets of the insurers.
Personally my first PSA exam was just as I hit 50 and lo and behold the discovery and subsequent treatment of what was found most likely saved my life.
Another huge savings of profit for the poor insurance industry is the lessening of mammogram frequencies.
What does the Republican Party have against women?
When the poor die due to a lack of quality health care they do so quietly. Their passing will not be announced as Breaking News on Fox. (This just in, a homeless and former Viet Nam veteran died outside the emergency room today saving tax payers thousands. Thanks Sarge! And now here’s Gretchen with other fun news.)
Naturally wealthy people pass away as well but if there is a ‘cure that money can buy’ rest assured they will not rest trying to find it before resting in peace!
One common thread in both of the above cases, insurance companies did not have to pay a penny.
Now all of these policy changes may be lumped under the heading of getting government out of your lives, making it less intrusive. Yet how does that square with the concurrent push for laws such as “personhood” which would allow the government to peer into a woman’s uterus at time of conception?
Zygotes of the fallopian tubes unite!
Clearly when it comes to the policy wishes of the Republican Party hypocrisy should be its middle name.
So why are so many average Americans still willing to vote for the phony party of family values? Why do so many voters tend to be masochists?
Remember, “What does a sadist do to a masochist – NOTHING!”
But in this case the sadistic tendencies of the ‘right’ are doing quite a bit to the electorate.
The middle class and poor have been used as wallets from which the wealthy and large corporations have dipped into as needed.
In order to get policies in place to help the majority of Americans it will take a touch less spending on foreign wars and defense as well as a bit more tax revenue overall.
Let’s see if we can help the lives and livelihood of the American voters as much as we appear to be trying to help the rest of the world. Don’t stop foreign aid but at least match it with the same fervor here.
And when it comes to taxes simple minded logic will say that a one dollar increase from three hundred million Americans should hurt less than a three hundred million increase from one guy! But anyone with a modicum of intelligence knows that percentages of wealth will show the fallacy in that thinking.
The pessimist in me feels I may never be able to rise out of bed totally pain free again but a tiny optimistic voice is wondering if I could cure the pain for less than a co-pay large enough to fund the CEO’s next vacation home.
Oh well, it look as though I’m in the market for a new mattress! 

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