Political Opinions: My Opinions from Manufacturing to Medicare
I probably should have called this "my political rantings" but if I did no one would read it. Obviously this is based solely on my opinions and at my age I have plenty of them. I've been through Eisenhower to Obama and lots of stuff in between. I read and I watch the news and I have opinions about all of it. My questions are "How did we get this bad" and "Why"?
I've watched this country go from sitting on top of the world to being the joke of the world. We were once a financial leader with an untouched reputation. What happened? I don't know for sure but I have opinions.
Let's take manufacturing. On a small scale I live in an area where there were once many factories making shirts, pajamas, tools, computer parts, government contracted machine parts, and more. Now, nothing. I mean nothing! All of those places are closed and gone. Some have been turned into apartments and some still stand empty. Where did the jobs go? Where is the manufacturing industry today?The government has written a report on the challenges facing manufacturing in this country. One tiny paragraph from this huge report:
The automotive sector provides a good example. The production of automobiles stimulates the demand for everything from raw materials in the form of coal and iron to manufactured goods in the form of robots to the purchase of services in the form of health insurance for the automobile companies’ employees.
It's nice that the government is aware of this but foreign competition has put a very large crimp in the automobile industry's sales! Smaller, more efficient, and less expensive to make foreign cars have been knocking American cars right out of the ballpark. We need to wake up and make cars the way we used to...cars that run without recalls, and cars that last like the tanks of the fifties and sixties. If we do however, we then are faced with gasoline prices. We can't afford to run those cars because the price of gas continues to rise, no longer month by month but now seemingly minute by minute. We're looking at prices of $4.00 a gallon! International drama is driving our gas prices up and there isn't a heck of a lot we can do about it! We can conserve gas, build more efficient cars but that won't affect the price of gas imported into out country. The price of a barrel of oil affects the price of a gallon of gas. it's a world wide problem. I could write this whole hub about just this one issue!
Facts about the tax code
The U.S. tax code is now 3.8 million words long.
75 years ago, the instructions for Form 1040 were two pages long. Today, they are 189 pages long.
The IRS spends $2.45 for every $100 that it collects in taxes.
The United States is the only nation on the planet that tries to tax citizens on what they earn in foreign countries.
In 1950, corporate taxes accounted for about 30 percent of all federal revenue. In 2012, corporate taxes will account for less than 7 percent of all federal revenue.
Moving right along, what about taxes. What about taxes you say? File your income taxes and you'll see. Federal tax filing will take a big bite out of your budget for sure! Then, depending on where you live, there are state taxes as well and that doesn't count the taxes you pay every day on everything you buy. Just focusing on our federal and state taxes, this is a truly volatile subject right now with the likes of Warren Buffet saying he isn't paying his fair share because of the way taxes are structured. To quote Warren:
Last year my federal tax bill — the income tax I paid, as well as payroll taxes paid by me and on my behalf — was $6,938,744. That sounds like a lot of money. But what I paid was only 17.4 percent of my taxable income — and that’s actually a lower percentage than was paid by any of the other 20 people in our office. Their tax burdens ranged from 33 percent to 41 percent and averaged 36 percent.
Isn't that a bit of an eye opener? On top of that the rich have ways to use additional tax breaks to pay even less of their fair share. How in the world is this fair? I know they 'pay' for the government, but what ever happened to "taxation without representation is tyranny"? We are not being represented fairly. When did our representatives stop worrying about the people and just catering to the rich? Maybe Warren Buffet should be running for president!
And speaking about the president, what about Obama's stand on Medicaid and Medicare. Medicaid is a joint federal and state venture that provides Medicaid coverage for those with low income and low resources. It was created in 1965 and each state administers and operates Medicaid in their state. Okay, that's how it works, sort of, but in 2001 46 million people were getting Medicaid benefits. In 2008 49 million people were getting Medicaid benefits. Want to know what the figures are now? We are well over 52 million. It's a good thing to help the poor and society has an obligation to do that. However, has anyone REALLY looked into the fraud involved in Medicaid? Read any local newspaper on any given day and I guarantee you will see at least one article about someone arrested for Medicaid fraud - very often food stamps. Of course there's also doctors over billing, abuse and neglect in nursing homes, and the list goes on. Stopping fraud and abuse could save this country millions, maybe billions every year. The hardest part is tracking down the fraud and though many states have set up bureaus, committees, whatever to look into the fraud they don't seem to get very far. Maybe it's time to get serious.
Then there's Medicare. Medicare is an entirely Federal Program that provides medical coverage for those over 65. Again, something we should and must do in good conscience. However, we're now being told Medicare is going broke and will soon no longer exist. Where does the money go? I know there are baby boomers supposedly draining the system but money is paid into Medicare every day by every working person in the US (except of course politicians). Even after retirement you continue to contribute to Medicare. Even those with medical coverage use Medicare Part D. Baby Boomers paid into Medicare and their children continue to pay into Medicare. Medicare does not pay all of your medical bills, you need supplemental insurance unless you have a lot of money to pay out of pocket expenses, which applies to very few.
You can't blame it all on us. Rising medical costs play a big part in Medicare's woes. The cost of medical care is rising faster than the economy but is ending Medicare the answer? Isn't it time to look into the rising cost of medical care? Again, there's fraud in Medicare as well. Fraud and deceit seem to be on the menu for all government programs. I wish I knew what it would take to stop the fraud and have the government regain control of its programs.
President Obama is proposing $50 billion for transportation projects in his new budget. Now call me naïve but I don't see where this is a bad thing. I know it's spending money but...can you imagine driving over a bridge and not worrying that its infrastructure isn't going to collapse before you get to the other side? Or, what about riding down a mile stretch of highway WITHOUT any potholes in it? These are bad things why? What about jobs? Using that 50 billion for transportation projects creates a myriad of jobs. Not just working on the projects but the materials to build/repair the projects. We're talking mega jobs here. Granted they won't be forever jobs but nothing is forever in today's economy. I mentioned Eisenhower earlier, did you know he expanded the Interstate Highway System? That's the system of highways that connects all major cities. Do you think it was cheap? The main thing is it worked, provided better transportation and jobs, and its expansion continues to the present day.
Weapons....how do you even begin or end a subject on weapons in a world with China, North Korea and Iran? Fortunately I have never had to face an enemy with a gun in my hand, knowing if I didn't shoot him, he'd shoot me and most of us will never be in that position, but in a world filled with terrorism and terrorists who knows? Can we put aside our weapons as a nation with all that goes on? Can we ever trust Iran to deal honestly and without weapons or attacks? Psychological warfare is only a small part of the war terrorism wages. Weapons and destruction are a much larger part. How can we defend our nation and our freedoms without weapons? We need to have a Defense budget that will keep our nation and our people safe. I am not a proponent of war but neither am I a proponent of watching a new Hitler rise from the ashes in poor countries. We have a responsibility and an interest in all the harm that one human being inflicts on many. Especially when they are defenseless.
I guess my main point in all of these rantings is I want our better world back. No time in history was perfect and no time in the future will be either, but being a nation we can be proud of is perfect. Being a nation that always does the right thing and helps the underdog both in our own nation and in others is a goal to strive for. Dreamer? Probably, but I can dream and hope can't I?
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