Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Preconditioned Problems

No matter how many advertisements or how much ducking and weaving both sides are doing politically this year, health care and the US economy are both extremely intertwined at this point. Many demographics throughout multiple US voting populations are already in a different nebula than ever before (even compared to the 1930s). In 2010 a friend who was a salaried employee was laid off and became a contractor.  She had Cobra and stayed true to her republican roots telling me that she was a good worker and she would be able to get a salaried position for benefits again. I gently tried to ensure her, but also knew that she was in her early 50s and not in perfect health, so frankly, when her checks from Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) ran out, she had a snowball’s chance in hell of being gainfully hired for a salary even in the ballpark of her previous job when everywhere she was looking, the agencies could take a 22 year old at less than half the price and train them at a lower cost while only being required to provide them hourly rates with no benefits.  Under all scenarios, she would cost more on the books as a salaried employee and now had the most risk taking a contractor role, but would be on food stamps and in section 8 housing if she did anything else. She, like many others who were gung-ho for the Tea party or Libertarianism previously continue their idealism in the abstract, but are a bit more realistic at this point about what they have to lose or have already lost. Don’t allow her example to make you assume that the students are any better off as they get out with a B.A. or an M.B.A. they are in debt for close to 100K for where they are likely to still be paid a pittance and no benefits while basically being told, “take it or leave it.” Obamacare was more likely to get renamed Romneycare the instant the election was over, before Ryan came into the picture, but that will be a harder sell at this point.

The economic trickle down model (as many can infer from the overall aroma what that trickle seems to actually be); only ever worked if there was some long term incentive for the top 1 percent to maintain the peace. It oddly enough would require only a minimal amount of effort. Even Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un seem to grasp where the threshold is before their people have nothing to lose and their economy along with their safety becomes insurmountable. As the Euro jumps through hoops before the inevitable, they are less secure in that the comfort quotient may be even more tenuous before a collapse. The irony is that the America I’ve seen will put up with the hardships and believe the potential for getting rich enough to put up with an awful lot. They are also very brain-washable to a certain degree, but unlike any of the other countries mentioned they are both more armed individually and often do not take things lying down when their patience runs out. How do political or economic analysts determine that the American people will simply lay back in complacency and continue to watch their homes be foreclosed on, their jobs permanently gone, the suggestions by the government to be go back to school and get retrained to do the current trends of work but to do so you need to be eligible for a student loan on top of your current debt with the odds being tenuous that when you get out with that debt, just like your son or daughter, you are unlikely to make enough money to pay that loan off for over 20 years even if you are diligent and frugal from here on out. Topping all of this with an estimated 123,524 Veterans of the 1990-1991 Gulf War and of Veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and projections by Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government  of 712,551 additional Veterans who are all trained and able to access weapons and requiring medical care to some degree that they are generally not receiving or having to go through enough hoops to further aggravate PTSD and make prior ground operations seem less harrowing, 270 million guns in the hands of United States civilians, it is unlikely to result in a 1789 format where they were in an organized way executing the theoretically elite class in a civil war. Rather, they are more likely to look like a lynch mob. In 1970, when Kris Kristofferson and Fred Foster had experienced multiple artists from Janis Joplin to Gordon Lightfoot to Roger Miller singing their lyrics, “Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose…” I wonder how well they realized that commonly throughout the history of the earth, different people have generally had their majority be complacent until they had nothing left to lose and at that point, the end result of that “freedom” was never submissive and almost always brutal.

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