Obama to Allow State Innovation on HCR

President Obama announced today he will support efforts in Congress to allow individual states to enhance health care reform as long as they follow certain criteria such as not adding tot he deficit.  This effort could advance the enaction of single state single payer.  Healthcare4AllPA under Chuck Pennacchio has been trying to pass such legislation here.  It could cut local, county and state costs for employee provided health care by billions.  The Affordable Care Act requires that no such individual state effort be allowed until 2017.  President Obama now supports bringing that down to 2014.

On February 28, President Obama reiterated his belief that States should have the power and flexibility to innovate and find the health care solutions that work best for them and announced his support for accelerating State Innovation Waivers and allowing states to apply for them starting in 2014.  

Beginning in 2017, the law allows States the flexibility to receive a State Innovation Waiver so they may pursue their own innovative strategies to ensure their residents have access to high quality, affordable health insurance.  These strategies – which must provide affordable insurance coverage to at least as many residents as the Affordable Care Act and must not increase the federal deficit – could include allowing large employers to purchase coverage through State Exchanges or increasing the number of benefit levels to provide more choices for individuals and small businesses.

Under the bipartisan “Empowering States to Innovate Act” introduced by Senators Ron Wyden, Scott Brown, and Mary Landrieu, State Innovation Waivers would be available three years earlier than under current law, so long as States meet certain criteria, including certifying that their proposals would cover at least as many of their residents as the policies in the Affordable Care Act would have covered.

The proposal offers States more flexibility while ensuring that all Americans, no matter where they live have access to affordable, accessible health insurance.  Additionally, the proposal includes built-in protections to ensure that these waivers do not increase the Federal budget deficit.  

The Affordable Care Act already creates a critical role for States.  It provides them with the flexibility and resources necessary to innovate and implement reform in the manner that works best for them. The law has already made nearly $2.8 billion available to states and every State has taken steps – and, in some cases, bold actions – to implement the law and improve health insurance accountability and affordability for their citizens. States can design their own Exchanges, shape their Medicaid programs, and take the lead in enforcing patient protections and reviewing rates increases of private insurers.  

Empowering States to Innovate

Under the Affordable Care Act, State Innovation Waivers allow States to propose and test alternative ways to meet the shared goals of making health insurance affordable and accessible to all Americans, including those living with pre-existing conditions.  Specifically, State Innovation Waivers are designed to allow States to implement policies that differ from the new law so long as they:

·         Provide coverage that is at least as comprehensive as the coverage offered through Exchanges – a new competitive, private health insurance marketplace.

·         Make coverage at least as affordable as it would have been through the Exchanges.

·         Provide coverage to at least as many residents as the Affordable Care Act would have provided.

·         Do not increase the Federal deficit.


Let the chips fall where they may…redux

Like all reasonable people with a mind of my own & the courage to dare to change that mind, I am exercising a change of mind.  

I am still thinking the theme of “Let the chips fall where they may” is a good one to go with, but the context & meaning just got a whole new dose of perspective.

My original context was one of somewhat resignation & passive defiance or implied acceptance of what was going on in the country and the world.  Frustration, along with the general apathy that has pervaded most of America led me to feel that maybe some needed to become shell-shocked out of their stupor before they’d really understand the import of what’s unfolding around them.  

However, I think we’ve reached passed that point, finally & while the din of protest & the outrage against those who are trying to undo this nation is still in its fledgling phases, I know it can and undoubtedly will grow, as more and more the lunatics of the TEA Party and those sympathetic (emphasis on pathetic) to their causes come forth to be counted & publicly recognized for their nonsense & ignorant treachery against our fellow Americans.  

So, in that spirit of not wanting to be too quick to dismiss it all & realizing that things were quite as dead or as asleep as had been thought, I’m back on the beat.  I’m getting off the can so to speak & ready for more.  

It is time for unapologetic villification & verbal or written castigations of those who are hell bent on deconstructing America for their own greedy, seedy & destructive purposes.  We’ve apparently let history lapse in our memories, but sadly we are about to be reminded in new, horrifying ways of the crazy evil that can come from even those who profess to uphold a righteous & upright sense of morality & whose best intentions are not just paving the way to hell, but making it an 8-lane blacktop, complete with express lanes!  

I shall fight these scoundrels with every ounce of my being.  It would be best, if out of what is to come that we could achieve a better sense of true balance & much better understanding of a few things:

1. We are all citizens of our nation, we each make up our government, in some way or another, from the community level to the national level,and that that must never be forgotten by those who we elect to serve as our leaders.

2. Prosperity is the hope & engine that drives a nation to achieve great things, but when prosperity becomes greed, hope dies & success is cut off.

3. Individual liberties should not be abridged but for the protection of others from legitimate harm, injury or death.  However, we must not let individual liberties come between the ability of our nation to function and our communities to thrive.  

4. All points of view should be understood & studied, but so to must the interaction of views so that the need to embrace extreme positions is minimized on a large group scale & perspective is kept in balance.

5. Love, above all other considerations should be behind the motivations of those who are in positions of decision making or legislating, when they carry out their work.  Not the selfish love that is greed or lust, but the love that understands & seeks to make wiser, informed decisions.  

News & Notes February 28, 2011

Today is the final day of AdultBasic.  Tomorrow 42,000 Pennsylvanians will awaken to a life with no basic health care coverage thanks to Gov. Corbett.  Democrats offered to trim legislative budgets or use their surplus to fund the program to no avail.  ABC used to be paid for by the Blues with excess revenues.  The PA Blues are sitting on billions in retained profits but have no cash to maintain this vital program?  Perhaps it is time to revisit their non profit status.

The Oscars were last night which explains why I was late getting going this morning.  The snorefest began with a neat dream sequence for hosts James Franco and Anne Hathaway.  She was refreshing and made few errors while he was resplendent in white tights during the opening number then seemed stoned the remainder of the night.  The event dragged on and on and on.  Why couldn’t they have found real singers?  I actually saw The King’s Speech and thought it wonderful.  Kudos to Colin Firth who was nominated last year for the film A Single Man.

Gov. Scott Walker failed to listen to the thousands who protested at all fifty state capitols Saturday and ordered his Capitol building emptied last night.  Gov. Walker, that is the people’s Capitol, not yours.  Protesters remained in their building.  Perhaps we need a giant rally this weekend in DC.  Here is a 92 year old standing up for Wisconsin at Saturday’s rally in Harrisburg:

Let’s remember, it wasn’t public workers or pensions which created the deficits but failed Republican policies.  Dick Cheney infamously said “deficits don’t matter.”  They do but where were all these Tea baggers when George W. Bush doubled our national debt in eight years?  His tax cuts for the rich, two unpaid for wars and recession are what created the deficits.  Where were these morons then?

Be careful if you have a miscarriage in Georgia.  A new bill in the GOP’s war on women would make that a capital offense.

Treasurer Rob McCord is touting how much unclaimed property has been returned to the people.  Funny, I’ve had a claim in for over two years and his Department won’t even respond.

Another gas well exploded late last week near the Ohio border.  Fracking fluid in storage facilities blew up.  This is what we’re injecting into our drinking water and rivers. The New York Times reveals just how much fracking fluid is being used to pollute our waterways.

The hacker group Anonymous has taken down Americans For Prosperity, the Koch brother’s astroturf group supporting the Tea Party.

Campaign Manifesto #3: On The Road, Defending Social Security

So it’s Day 3 of my fake campaign for Congress, and we’ve run into our first obstacle

The Fake Campaign, as you may recall, is fake headed for Wisconsin, to show solidarity, and we’ve fake hitched a ride on a delivery truck headed for Rush Limbaugh’s Florida broadcasting studios-but we fake found ourselves caught up in the all-too-real Giant Grip Of Winter that has seized the Midwest over the past week.

We’re back on the road now, but we were stuck for darn near a half-day there at Wall…and if you know anything about South Dakota, you know there are really only two things to do in the City of Wall: you can shuffle back and forth between Gold Diggers and the Badlands Bar, partaking of numerous intoxicating liquors along the way…or you can head on into Wall Drug (the same one that’s on all those bumper stickers and signs) and partake of the finest display of Giant Jackalopia on the planet.

The Campaign, naturally, chose Jackalopia-and that’s why today’s Manifesto is all about the fake impromptu 5-cent-coffee-fueled Social Security Town Hall that we held in the Wall Drug Mall for several hours while we waited for I-90 to reopen.

Sitting quietly, doing nothing,

Spring comes, grass grows by Itself.

–From the Zenrin Kushu, attributed to Toyo Eicho

I-90, the main route from West to East (if your fake trip begins in Seattle, as ours did), was closed at Wall, South Dakota for about 24 hours this week, but this particular delivery truck just absolutely has to be in Florida by Monday…and the delivery is so important that to get us back on the road we now have a special escort of two South Dakota Department of Transportation snowplows and two 2011 “new and improved” South Dakota Highway Patrol Dodge Charger Pursuits (now with longer lasting brakes!) to make sure we get to the Wisconsin line in the shortest time possible.

With the weather being what it is, Jenna and Tendei, our driving team, have been earning their money, in a big way, this trip, and for the moment Tendei is asleep, while Jenna and I mull over the conversations we had tonight, me and the caravan of Wall Drug customers who gathered, first by the snake-oil salesman (that’s not hyperbole, either: they actually have an anamatronic snake-oil salesman), then out in front of the Western bookstore, and finally over by one of the 5-cent coffee stations.

It was my fault: standing next to the snake-oil salesman got me thinking about all the lies we hear every day about Social Security…which I mentioned to the 30-something couple standing next to me, young son in tow.

“If I didn’t know better, I’d guess the next words out of his mouth are going to be: ‘I’ll never see a dollar of my Social Security anyway, so who cares how they fix it?’.”

He looked back at me, all surprised: “We’re not ever going to see any; they tell us that all the time.”

“Yeah, I know…but it’s a big ol’ load of hooey, and I’ll tell you why: Social Security is funded by payroll taxes that are, for the most part, paid out as they’re collected, that means there’ll always be money that we will use to pay benefits, unless we just quit collecting that money altogether, which is not likely.”

We were beginning to gather a few others around us (hey, we were all stuck there-nothing else to do…); that means my gestures were getting a bit bigger-but there’s a nice echo in there, and you can be heard.

“The way things work now, if nothing changes, there will be enough money to pay out all the benefits we expect to pay until 2037. After that, if the ‘pessimistic projection’ plays out, even if nothing else changes, we can still pay 75% of what we expect to pay for about 50 years after that. We only look out 75 years at a time, so we don’t have a projection that goes out past 2084…but, pretty much, as long as we keep collecting the money, we’ll still be able to pay the benefits.”

I looked over at a 40-ish couple that had come over to listen: “What about you two? Right now there’s a lot of talk about ‘fixing’ Social Security by making you wait longer to retire or by making sure cost-of-living increases don’t really keep up with inflation. Don’t y’all feel like if they do that, you’re just getting screwed?”

It was almost like Parliament and “Question Time” in there for a second (which is not a George Clinton reference) as the 15 or so folks listening began to “harrumph” in agreement.

“Well how about if I were to tell you that I could fix this problem, and that I could do it without raising the retirement age or messing with your cost-of-living…and that I could do this in a way that gives every person in this room a tax cut at the same time…and that, even though I’m running for Congress, I’m not a snake-oil salesman?”

About two lives ago I used to be a failed stand-up comic (true!), and it is possible to know when the crowd is turning-and this was one of those moments.

The 40-ish husband looked at me and said, basically, that I did sound like a Congressman-and not in a good way.

“I know you don’t believe me, but listen to this: if you turn a wrench or carry a tray or do anything that makes under, basically, $105,000 a year in wages, all your income is taxed for Social Security…but if you make a million a year, you don’t pay any tax at all on the last $890,000…and if that income was taxed, we wouldn’t have a Social Security problem.

Now you don’t hear much about this back in Washington, and there’s a couple of reasons why: right off the bat, this President and this Congress don’t want to be accused of ‘raising anyone’s taxes’; beyond that, 2012 is coming fast, and both the President and the Grim Weeper are trying to be the one who can look at the voters and say: ‘I’m The Slasher, and I will cut the deficit and balance the budget faster than the other guy’.

Lots of people think cutting Social Security will somehow cut the deficit and reduce the debt, even though it has nothing to do with it at all, and some of them figure that if they campaign around cutting everything that government does it’s gonna help their political future, and that includes cutting benefits for people just like you, instead of just funding Social Security with a flat tax for everyone…even the rich.”

This argument, I might add, was starting to gain traction.

“Look at where we are right this very second: standing in front of a Western bookstore…and if you go in there you’ll see stories of how people died of starvation and how land barons ruled counties with an iron fist and how we fought range wars with imported hired guns and shootouts in the streets.

Is that what we want to go back to?

It’s not what they wanted. The pioneers didn’t just build isolated ranches, they built towns, and towns with a schoolhouse, so that the kids on those ranches didn’t have to rely on a home school education. They had a Sheriff or a Marshal and a Town Council and a Judge, because they knew that they had to create some rules and establish some government.

Some towns in the Wild West, and you know I’m telling the truth about this, didn’t even allow guns inside the town limits…just like when Wyatt Earp was the Marshal in Dodge City and you had to check your guns if you were going north of the railroad tracks.”

You know what? This was working: the crowd began to nod with me, and I figured while I had the advantage I’d press the thing home:

“Now a lot of people probably think the fix is in, and what’s the point…but I don’t agree. There was an effort at the beginning of this Congress to force these cuts by threatening to stop providing any money for the Government at the beginning of March if the ‘Wrecking Crew” didn’t get their way, and the Tea Party folks came in here with a big ol’ war cry about ‘shut it all down’ and all that…but now that March 4th is actually drawing close, and the public is starting to figure out what’s up, the message is suddenly all about ‘maybe we can extend the funding after all’.

That tells me that the people who think cutting everything in sight because it looks good are finding out it doesn’t always look good to just go around cutting everything in sight.

Tell ya something else. A lot of the people who want to change Social Security want to change it into a system that rewards people who manage Social Security accounts, not the people who own the accounts, and if you look at what ‘privatizing’ the system is all about, that’s what it is: it’s just a plan to get more money out of you in the form of fees and charges, which is going to be a great big reward to great big political donors who have been trying to make this happen since the 1980s.

So here’s the reality: there is enough money in the system to pay for you and your kids to have benefits, even if no changes are made, and if you just make Social Security a flat tax, even for the rich, we are pretty much guaranteed to have every dollar we need until at least 2084, and we don’t have to cut benefits or raise the retirement age, or do any of that crazy stuff…and we don’t have to give up our hard-earned money to big banks and Wall Street in the form of new fees and charges on your Social Security accounts.

So I came here in a truck, and it has to be in Florida in a couple days, and my driver friend is walking over here, and that means I gotta go, but I hope I told you something about Social Security you didn’t know a while ago…and if any of you are fake voting for a fake Congressional candidate in 2012, I hope you’ll keep me in mind.”

And with that, I fake shook a few hands, jumped in our fake truck, and headed off to Wisconsin.

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Save the American Dream Rally-Harrisburg

More than a thousand people turned out in Harrisburg yesterday in support of workers and teachers in Wisconsin.  Rallies commenced in all 50 state capitols and other major cities including Philadelphia.  I attended the rally on the Capitol steps in Harrisburg where Mike Morrill of Keystone Progress emceed as workers and Rick Bloomingdale of the PA AFL-CIO spoke to the gathered audience.  Roughly forty or so Tea baggers congregated across the street protesting working people trying to save the American dream.  They even heckled the invocation.  I’ve never heard anyone heckle a prayer before.

The steps were packed with union workers, teachers and supporters of worker’s rights.  Many wore Badger red in support of the brave folks in Wisconsin battling snow and freezing weather to keep their American dreams.

A few pictures from the event:

ABC-TV: Oscar-Worthy, But Journalistically Unsound

by Walter Brasch

           The last segment on every Friday’s broadcast of ABC-TV’s “World News,” with Diane Sawyer, is a “Person of the Week.”

           Usually, those persons have gone out of their way to do something good for people, or have lived a long and distinguished life, or by their example give inspiration to others.

           Recent “persons of the week” have included a very special caregiver, a wheelchair-bound teen who does wheelchair tricks, and a homeless man who returned $3,300 he had found.

           However, this past Friday, the “Persons of the Week” were two actors. There’s nothing wrong with honoring actors and others in the creative arts. They bring us joy and, often, intellectual stimulation. But, the reason ABC News honored Anne Hathaway and James Franco had little to do with acting-and everything to do with advertising.

           ABC is broadcasting the Oscars, Sunday, and Hathaway and Franco are the hosts. To justify their inclusion, Sawyer led off the segment by telling us: “The torch will be passed to a new generation. The baby boomers no longer hosting the Oscars.”

           But, for two and a half minutes, we learned about Hathaway and Franco, and not the story of a change in the Industry. We even learned about what each would like to know about the other.

           In television, ratings, mixed with some demographic analyses, determine the price of advertising. The range for 30 second ads for scripted prime time shows is about $50,000-$250,000. For the Super Bowl, with the largest audience, 30-second ads this year went for about $3 million. ABC, which sold all ad time for the primetime Oscars telecast, charged about $1.7 million for 30 seconds advertising. ABC pays about $65 million to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for the broadcast rights. The Disney-owned company expects about $80 million revenue and is hoping for at least 43 million viewers for the telecast. And that doesn’t include the advertising for the pre-Oscar “red carpet” show, or the on-air promotions for Disney-owned productions.

           By Industry standards, if the ratings tank, ABC would have an obligation to return money to advertisers, something it definitely doesn’t want to do.

           So, in addition to running numerous Oscar-related commercials during ad time in the two weeks leading to the Sunday night broadcast, ABC-TV made its “Person of the Week” nothing more than another Oscar promotion to guarantee the network a strong “return on investment.”

           That decision alone damages a news operation’s credibility.

[Assisting on this column was Rosemary Brasch. Walter Brasch is a journalist/columnist, the author of 16 books, including Sex and the Single Beer Can: Probing the Media and American Culture (3rd ed.). He is a retired professor of mass communications and journalism. You may contact him at walterbrasch@gmail.com]

PA GOP BS Machine at it again…

…just got another mailer about Judy Schwank & how she’ll raise your taxes if you vote for her.  

People, sooner or later, taxes will have to be raised, if you really believe the ludicrous and dangerous notion that by simply cutting all the spending in the world, from the point of government that everything will still be ok, you are seriously out of your damn minds!  Do you like having cops, firefighters, emergency services, street maintenance and other basic stuff, like education, if so, you really don’t want to keep hitting the “cut only” button, by voting for people like Larry Medaglia.  

Today’s mailer features a PROMINENT lie!

They note in their mailer, ” NOW Judy Schwank Wants to Increase Our Sales Tax*”  

*Here’s the article that they reference:

“From the President: Time to Give Local Government a Helping Hand”

In the article, she doesn’t say she’d vote to raise the sales tax, but that the bill she references that would give a county an option to offset the need for property tax increases, would increase the current sales tax of 6% to 7%, and that she supports that type of option, after all avenues of merging & sharing costs on services and regionalization of services among counties and municipalities has been exhausted,  because pooling costs for savings can only go so far folks.  

What makes this even more of a crock is that under Medaglia, he’d support ending property taxes by making the sales tax apply to everything, not just what is taxed now.  So, your food bill, your bill for everything will go up!  What is more, if you can’t spend more to have it taxed, then the funds for the sales tax to fund the schools would be in jeopardy of not being fully funded and that might lead to having a sales tax that applies to everything and the reintroduction of property taxes or other taxes to make up for the shortfall, or else the district would just have to keep cutting from year to year to keep up with the variable nature of a sales/consumption based tax structure.  The reason property taxes are somewhat preferable to fund long-term costs like education, is that property values and property occupancy remains relatively stable over time and provides a much more reliable source of funding.  

Larry doesn’t want to really support our schools properly, even though he earns a good bit from at least RACC for teaching there part-time.  I suppose he’d prefer to teach to the undereducated masses than quality educated graduates of public schools.  You gotta wonder, since that’s what would be the likely impact if we got to a formula of school funding riding solely on the rails of sales tax.  

What is more, Judy actually favors doing away with property taxes and instead increasing,but a much lower amount, the income tax rate, which is also more stable, more appropriate based on ability to pay, and would get those who routinely pay thousands a year in property tax a true relief, but trading that for a few extra hundred per year in income tax.  

Of course they also tack on the current resounding whopper about 52% increase in property taxes while she was a commissioner, but don’t mention the need for some of the increases were row offices like Larry Medaglia’s office, running consistently in the RED, a deficit hole the size of Texas.  

So, it is more of the same, one-sided, designed to piss you off and make you mad at Judy, so you don’t consider the facts and don’t look at the whole picture before you vote kind of thing.  It worked last year for the Republicans and look at all the crapola that is going on in this state and elsewhere where the same tactics were used.  Jobs are still NOT increases and even more jobs stand to be LOST because of the Republicans’ actions, and the government is on the verge of a shutdown because of their stubbornness.  We need to STOP voting for people like Larry Medaglia, who’s just another no account Republican looking to deflate Pennsylvania & America, while saying how he’ll bring jobs to Pennsylvania or revive the economy.  Yeah, for who Larry?! The everyday Pennsylvanian, or your rich buddies and special interest cronies who don’t need anymore help.  

See through their BS, Vote Judy Schwank, March 15th and don’t let the legacy of Mike O’Pake turn into a tragic shame.

In Case You Missed It: Third and State Blog for Week of February 21

This week on Third and State,  we blogged about the looming loss of health coverage for nearly 42,000 adultBasic consumers, a misinformation campaign on public- and private-sector pay, the problem with Arkansas’ gas drilling tax, and much more!

In case you missed it:

  • On health care, Chris Lilienthal blogged about the faith community’s call on Governor Corbett to preserve adultBasic health coverage for nearly 42,000 Pennsylvanians. Later in the week, Chris also wrote about a candlelight vigil planned for 5:30 p.m. February 28 outside the Governor’s Mansion to protest the end of adultBasic.
  • On public sector wages, Mark Price urged readers, in light of the battle over collective bargaining rights in Wisconsin, to beware of misinformation campaigns on the differences in public- and private-sector pay.
  • On the natural gas drilling tax, Michael Wood explains why a prominent Arkansas Republican, two-time gubernatorial candidate, and former gas company executive wants to increase his state’s natural gas drilling tax.
  • Finally, on jobs and the economy, Stephen Herzenberg cites New York Times economist David Leonhardt to explain why we need more action to create jobs.

More blog posts next week. Keep us bookmarked and join the conversation!

News & Notes February 25, 2011

Thanks again to Berks County Commissioner Kevin Barnhardt for sitting down with Kirk and me last evening for a lengthy conversation.  The County’s Open Records Compliance Officer contacted me today about emailing the requested information.

The President just announced sanctions against Libya for the brutal treatment of its citizens.  Prior to the evacuation of Americans there was little he could do for fear Ghaddafi would seize them to use as human shields.

Fox News Director Roger Ailes was implicated in a legal case where he told a News Corp executive (Judith Regan) to lie about her affair with Bernard Kerik.  George W. Bush was seeking to nominate Kerik (now in federal prison) as Director of Homeland Security.  Meanwhile leaked emails keep exposing Fox for slanting and fabricating the news.  Surprise, surprise…

Generals Stanley McChrystal and David Petraeus has been exposed by The Rolling Stone for using psy ops propaganda against Senators, Members of Congress and other VIP’s visiting his war zones.  Use of such methods against U.S. citizens is expressly forbidden under law.  The magazine remains one of a handful of journalism publications still doing in depth investigative reporting.  Maybe now we know why John McCain went batshit crazy.

The President of Penn Democrats threw a tough question at Newt Gingrich this week:

The Maryland Senate passed a bill yesterday legalizing marriage equality.  Elkton may once again be a marriage mecca.

An attendee at a Congressional town hall in Georgia asked when someone is going to shoot the president.  The Congressman thought it funny and chuckled.  It took him three days to make a statement.  This is the mentality which got Gabrielle Giffords shot and six people killed.

It’s about the jobs people

Let’s have a brief example lesson in economics as it relates to a hypothetic small community of people.  For this example: assume the community has a labor force of 100 people in total, with some indeterminant amount of children living with these 100 persons/families.  Assume there’s 5% unemployment (so 5 folks are out of work) and collecting unemployment, paid by taxes upon those who are working and those who are unemployed based on previous work they did.  There some mix of production/manufacturing, services, retail, & other industries in the little community.  The incomes range among full-time employed persons from 80,000 annually to 20,000 annually, depending on their job.  Everyone pays a graduated structure of tax based on their ability to pay and all the normal basic services one would associate with a community are provided through this tax funding so that quality of life is good and most of the residents are pleased with their community.  Everyone earns, spends, supports other business, and supports the community through taxes to keep the system prosperous, balanced & eventually the community begins to attract some more people to grow their size over time.  Things are generally going well.  

However, a few years later, the largest business in town decides that it has to cut wages to workers or else it will move out of town, because it got a better offer (tax free business for 10+ years) & the owner wants to keep more of his money to himself.  So, reluctantly the workers agree to take a pay cut to keep the factory for a while longer, but the workers that made about 30,000 annually are now making 25,000 annually & had increases in benefit costs too.  The growing size of the community is requiring them to build a bigger school, which means tax rates must increase, so that means it will be harder for those workers to survive on the higher taxes.  In turn, they are spending less at other businesses, which is causing some to consider closing or limiting their employees to only part-time hours and no benefits.  In turn, they don’t have the ability to maintain their families as well, and some have to seek help from public agencies to afford their basic needs, which places another demand upon the community to raise taxes again.  

In this brief example, we saw a community generally in balance, with most aspects of it working cohesively, fairly, and fruitfully to everyone’s general benefit, but alas eventually one large decision by the largest area firm caused rippling effects that cost the area much more than it would save any one person.  What’s more, if the firm completely leaves and is not replaced by other firms, then not only will the community shrink but so will its ability to function as a community.  

Now, imagine this example playing out on a much larger scale across and entire country, with lots of big firms doing the same thing that the firm did in my example or worse, leaving altogether, and then also taking it 1 step further, lobbying to have laws passed that prevent tax increases to the business or granting large write-offs to the wealthier of the firms managers and owners, based on their income.  So that eventually the community’s leaders have to turn to the rest of the people and ask from them to do with less and to help them less, thereby causing more poverty, more suffering, and causing people to want to leave the community entirely.  However, if this is going on all over the country, then moving elsewhere is not any better than being where they are, or maybe they have no way of getting there to try and improve their lives.  

Folks, this is a microcosm and a reality of what has happened and what is happening right now in our country.  It is the sad life and future or demise of America.  It is what happens when a few individuals want to put their own importance & their own wealth/greed & power over the health of the community or the country.  We are a nation of individuals, but we are also part of a community, like it or not.  You can’t be both on an island as an individual and pretend you’re still part of a community when it comes to realizing how you affect the community.  It’s this split-personality mindset of how people regard themselves and their communities that is part of why things are the way they have become and we didn’t try to stop it sooner.  

However, if we don’t speak up now, it is about to get much measureably worse and if you didn’t feel it before, then boy are you in for some rude times ahead.  

This is why I will exclaim now and forever more that economic health is always about jobs, if people have them, we all function better as a society, than when so many are without. Why are we letting the whining demands & selfishness of so few rule the day, when it comes to bringing our communities, our countries back into balance?  Why do we buy the half-truths and lies of those who want us to believe that major cuts are the only way to save ourselves from bigger problems.  It is like curing the cancer patient by cutting away all of the body that might become cancerous only to kill the patient in the process.  

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The reality is, by cutting jobs, public, private, or otherwise, we are further disrupting the balance and removing even more revenue from the tax base of the federal, state, and local governments.  Whether you like public employees or not, they pay taxes, they give back part of what they earn in taxes every year and in benefit costs in most cases.  The same is said of private workers as well.  It is all a cycle like the natural cycle that brings our lands regular nurturing precipitation.  Without it, there’s draught and loss, with it, there’s bounty and fertile lands to grow more prosperous.  It IS that simple folks.  I don’t care what your politics are, we are in this together, get used to it, or else get ready for some really ugly stuff to hit the fan everywhere.  Can we avoid self-destruction, because that’s where we’re going right now.  Stand up to these bullies, these fools who are driving this crazy train, and say firmly ENOUGH! NO MORE! It is what those who’ve been oppressed for decades in the Middle East & North Africa are doing right now and it is time we also took a stand (albeit without the violence certainly), but with the same firmness that says to those who’ve had the lion’s share and gravy train for a long time that the party is over.  They want to tell the rest of us that very same thing, but it is they who are out of line and making our country and communities malfunction as bad as they have.  These are facts, not suppositions, not conjecture, not some particular political whim, but the reality of what is to come if we don’t all get on board and hold those accountable who’ve been able to wiggle away from it all this time, while our communities  have been slowly dying a horrid demise.