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Not seeing the woods for the trees
Our benevolent government set aside $1 billion to entice Americans to trade in their old cars (25 years or older) called gas guzzlers for a credit of up to $4,500 to be applied to the purchase of a new “gas economy car.” Now our economic geniuses in Washington discovered that the “give away plan” was so successful that they ran out of money and have proposed a new infusion of cash to $2 billion … yes, two more billion on top of the first billion. When I went to school and learned arithmetic that came to $3 billion. That’s your money tax payers! I guess the government will just print more money to cover the additional amounts wanted. Isn’t that nice.
This is a perfect indication of the irresponsible mentality of the generations in control of your money. As the TV advertisements ran, “I want it all and I want it now” forget how we are going to ever pay it back or balance our out of control spending.
The bottom line is not how old your car is or that it uses too much gasoline, (drive slower, heaven forbid), but forget that old car is paid for and you don’t owe a cent on it. If you have maintained it over the years, that is change the oil, and filter on a regular basis, you might be getting good service out of your “old” car.
No, the government suggests that you race to your nearest car dealer and purchase a new car with hardly any money down as the government will give you up to $4,500 on your old car. Never mind that you will be once again in debt paying monthly payments of several hundred dollars. Yes, in Debt. Just like our government is. After all, we all should be in the same boat as our out of control Washington spendthrifts.
The old saying goes: “Let’s not keep up with the Jones’ but drag them down to our level!” Forget the fact that you might lose your job in the near future and not be able to pay the car payments. Guess the auto dealer will just reprocess the auto and resell is as a “Used” car. With companies across the country scaling down their workforce, and by the way declaring current profits, everything looks economically rosy. Forget about all those unemployed folks currently taking unemployment insurance (until that runs out) and what do they do then? Recently, Wall Street is clapping their hands together saying that the economic problems are nearing an end. What about the 10 percent unemployment across the US? And the government wants you to buy a new car. Give me a break!
Why are Americans once again letting the insurance companies dupe them into being afraid of Health Care Reform?
A scare tactic being used is “rationing”. If you have a PPO or an HMO you already have rationing. Ever hear of lifetime limits? Read your current plan. Many hospitals are currently training their nurses to discuss end of life issues with elderly patients. Is this rationing of services or empowerment of patients?
Medicare and the VA are “government run.” Try taking those away from seniors or vets!
Are insurance companies just afraid of capitalism? Why don’t they want a government run option? What are they afraid of… competition?
If you are lucky enough to have a plan from your employer you may be satisfied but if you lose your job, can you afford insurance? How many of our entrepreneurs are staying in dead end jobs just for health insurance? What is that costing our country in terms of creativity and innovation?
Since Teddy Roosevelt, a Republican, we have been trying to provide health care to all Americans. We are the only modern country that does not offer basic health services to all our citizens. The time is long past for reform.
Out of step
As Sotomayor rightfully moves closer to confirmation, it is important to understand the court she is about to join. The current conservative members of the Supreme Court are badly out of step with the values and beliefs of mainstream America. Only 40 percent of Americans have a favorable view of the Court, which is viewed as blatantly partisan (think Bush v. Gore 2000). Lifetime court appointments are the root cause and should be eliminated like we eliminated the open-end terms of the President. Sixty percent of us support this action. Most other democracies, including European ones, and all States except Rhode Island limit judicial terms.
Our recent conservative court decisions consistently side with corporations and Republican dominated special interests. They have held that citizens have no constitutionally protected right to education (much less an equal one); that weirdly shaped congressional districts are permissible for incumbent and party protection (but not for electing racial minorities); that publicly owned television air waves can sponsor closed debates between Democrats and Republicans but exclude third party candidates, and that rich private corporations have a constitutional right to spend unlimited cash to influence public initiatives and referendum campaigns; i.e., free speech is for sale. The ultra-conservative five gutted, in whole or part, the Gun-free School Zone Act, the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, the Violence Against Women Act, Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the low-level Radioactive Waste Policy Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, often on States’ rights grounds—one of the battle cries of the old Confederacy. Does this sound like non-activist judges? Then, of course, there is the one vote margin that brought our worst ever president into office. That alone should be enough evidence of the need for change.
Scalia is probably the biggest hypocrite on the Court with his judicial activism masquerading as strict constructionism. Thomas is not far behind. He owes his career to affirmative action and this apparently sticks in his craw so much that he consistently votes against it, apparently to prove he is worthy. When picked by Bush as the “most qualified candidate,” he had never argued before the appellate courts, authored books or articles, and had no legal briefs of note. He is almost worse than Scalia.
We should establish 15-year terms to ensure that federal judges do not lose all touch with reality through decades of ivory tower existence. A 15-year term, without reappointment, would provide some insulation from political pressure. The members of the Federal Reserve Board, who also need to be shielded from political pressure as they oversee the nation’s economy, serve only 14 years. Staggered 15-year terms would create an opening about every 2 years so each President would make two nominations providing more of a long-term ideological court balance. A mandatory retirement age of 75 should also be established.
To increase the ideological balance, judges could be nominated alternately by the President and the Speaker of the House and confirmed by 60 percent or 2/3’s of the Senate. Since neither party usually controls 60 votes, it would move the parties toward bipartisan consensus. That would be a real plus in today’s non-functional partisanship.
Our Federal court system is ideologically broken. We can fix it but it takes effort. You can bet conservative ideologues wouldn’t support such an idea. But the day will come.