The Deficit, National Health Care & Propaganda #5

What’s so bad about a Deficit?

Before going on let us examine the harm in a growing budget deficit.

First fact: a growing Deficit accumulates a growing Debt with a growing Interest. This Interest must be paid continually. The Interest Payment doesn’t touch the Principle. The Payment does not produce any goods and services. It just keeps growing if the Budget continues at a Deficit.

Second fact: Because this Interest Payment is part of the Budget it comes out of the General Fund. This means that Taxes must be generated to make this Debt payment.

Third fact: If the Taxes are spent on this rising Interest Payment, these funds are not available for anything else, such as Social Services - which they would have been - had they not been spent on the Interest Payment.

And where does this Interest Payment go that could have been used to repair the infrastructure? Into the pockets of the wealthy – bankers, investors and the like.

Of course debt, in and of itself is not harmful. It is only harmful when it gets out of control. Credit cards provide a good example. We buy ourselves the computer, take the vacation, buy the new car - do things we always wanted to do - not on our savings - but on the credit card.

As long as our income is sufficient to make the payments, everything is fine. Many splurge and then pay this excess back over time, until they can splurge again. This is also fine. The credit card debt and payment only becomes a problem when choices need to be made between rent, food and the credit card payment. In other words there are obvious problems when there is not enuf money to pay for necessities. This occurs when the Debt Payment, Expense, Income ratios are out of balance.

These extreme scenarios, while realistic, are somewhat simplistic. Let us examine a more complex situation as illustrated by the story of …

Sam’s Pissing Wars and his Magic Credit Card

Sam and his Family had a great collective income, to which everyone contributed. But they also had lots of expenses. Both fluctuated dramatically. As income rose, expenses also rose, as the standard of living of his large family always rose to match the growing income. Unfortunately when income fell, the Family’s expenses remained the same or continued rising, as his family rarely cut back – having grown accustomed to a better life.

Due to these Malthusian circumstances Sam regularly had a money shortfall. Fortunately he had a Magic Credit Card funded by his Family - which he could always use to make it through the difficult times until income rose again – as it inevitably did. Although this strategy worked quite well under normal circumstances, Sam’s violent nature jeopardized the system.

Occasionally Sam, who happened to a bully, went out on extended drinking binges - where he would inevitably get into a pissing contest followed by a fight - which would get him into legal trouble - which costs scads of money. Although Sam had been given the magic credit card for emergencies or for the inevitable cyclical fluctuations, he used the Card for his legal expenses - which he incurred while fighting over his drunken pissing contests. Fortunately Sam was extended plenty of credit because his Family had such a large income. Unfortunately he had to cut into the Family Budget to pay for his legal troubles.

No more music lessons or vacations. More importantly health insurance and house repairs became unaffordable. The quality of his children’s education dropped. No funds were available for his Family, because he was spending so much money on his pissing wars. Although Sam was still able to make his payments, the quality of his Family’s life began to decline – especially when compared with other families whose income was far lower than theirs.

Some of Sam’s children protested that he should cut down on his wars so that there would be more money left for the Family. Yet Sam persisted in his expensive power tripping. A faction of the Family began to organize itself against Sam because they felt he wasn’t acting in the best interests of the Family.

While Sam could easily overpower individual family members and small groups he knew that the collective power of his entire Family was greater than his. Afraid that his Family might rebel against his excesses, he began to justify his violent alcoholic binges – explaining that they were good for the family. “They insulted us. I had to defend the family honor.” While those agitating for change, laughed at this absurd reasoning, many others wanted to believe in Dad - ‘after all he is our protector’.

Unfortunately a huge faction in his large extended family had grown accustomed to the drama of Sam’s violent binges. The sense of urgency - immediacy - bigger than life - historical - were a few of the descriptions that were bandied about. Indeed those who were loyal to Dad accused the others of undermining the strength of the Family - of being traitors. Conversely those who questioned Sam’s excesses accused the others of behaving mindlessly due to brainwashing - which was also bad for the Family. Those who were in the middle were forced to choose sides - despite the fact that they really didn’t know who to believe.

Besides the erosion of their standard of living, the previously united Family was fighting amongst themselves - rather than dealing with the root of the problem – Sam’s too frequent pissing contests. With the Family fragmented into factions, Sam continued binging on his favorite drinks, power and greed - this despite the continued suffering his pissing wars caused his Family.

While Sam’s battles started on the legal level they eventually accelerated into military action and war. Of course all the expenses from his pissing wars went onto his Magic Credit Card. Although these wars impoverished his Family Sam always justified any expense associated with these ego conflicts. “I’m sorry there is no money left for health, education or culture. But this important war that I’m waging to defend our Family’s pride is very expensive.”

As Sam’s credit card debt grew, the interest also grew proportionately. At this point the Family’s income, although continually growing, was used to fund Sam’s wars and his debt rather than improving their standard of living. Instead of cutting back on these Ego battles, Sam first eroded his Family’s quality of life and then began asking them for bigger and bigger contributions to his excesses. Never did he entertain the thought that he had a drinking problem, which should be curtailed.

While his Family’s Health begins to suffer because of bad diet and lack of proper education, amongst other things, Sam didn’t care. He was too addicted to his favorite power drinks to notice anything at all - a functional alcoholic - headed for a fall.

Unfortunately Sam somehow convinced a faction of his Family that the expenses for his pissing contests were essential for their protection. Due to the Propaganda inspired fear these Family members were so afraid that they chose to spend the Family money on Guns for protection from harm rather than on Health – to make the Body warm. Then with energy so light without a fight we rise above the fears, which smear our joys with leering jeers. How queer.

No Money Left for National Health Care?

or

Why don’t we have national health insurance?

Deficit spending, one of the consequences of a bloated military budget, leads to a growing debt with expanding interest payments. When this interest payment becomes substantial it cuts into the ability of the government to spend on other areas. One of the areas that is almost always cut or under funded is medical care. The following article illustrates just one of the casualties of deficit spending - the lack of adequate medical care for the people of America.

A SB News Press Staff Writer writes this front-page article. I’m impressed. The evidence coming to the fore more & more is that the News Press is not being manipulated by the New York Times except to the level that the New York Times can cover issues not privy to a resident of Santa Barbara. My apologies News Press editors. How can you write an article on El Salvador, if you don’t have anybody down there? Instead you must exist on the journalistic junk food provided to you by the international news services.

Ah well, let us be thankful for small favors.

“Doctors & Hospital Executive urge US. health plan

By Melinda Burns

News-Press staff writer

Dr. Edward McGinn, a rheumatologist at Sansum Medical Clinic and chairman of the citizens advisory committee to the County Department of Health Care Services, “There truly is a health crisis in the US.” He said: “The System should be revised from the floor up. Health care -- if you can afford it -- is better in the US than anywhere else in the world. The problem is, we’ve become unaffordable.”

Ronald Werft, executive vice president of Cottage Hospital, painted a bleak picture of hospital costs. Until 1982, he said, Medicare covered all the bills for necessary care of eligible patients. But legislation that year set limits on what Medicare would pay, shifting the burden of financial risks from the federal government to individual hospitals.

That burden in turn was passed on to paying customers and employer insurance companies. Cottage, for example, gets half of its business from patients on Medicare. The hospital charges about $180 million for yearly care, but it collects only half, Werft said. Medicare doesn’t pay its share, he said, and the indigent cannot pay either.

It costs about $85 million yearly to run Cottage, Werft said. In 1990 he said the cost of care will increase by 7 or 8 percent. At the same time, Medicare funds are expected to increase only 2 percent. The hospital will thus have to make up the difference by charging its other customers 15 percent more, Werft said.

“It’s a blind tax for the paying customer,“ He said.

Since the 1982 legislation, 575 hospitals in the United States have gone bankrupt, out of a total 7,000. Fewer patients are going to the hospitals. Those who are hospitalized, shorten their stay. For the uninsured, the emergency room is the only contact with the health care system.

The US. spends $2,400 a person on health care every year- more than any other industrialized country in the world. Nationally wages in the past two years have increased less than 10 percent, Werft said. But during the same time, he said, medical costs have gone up 18 percent, and the cost of premiums have jumped by 30 percent.

Life expectancy here is 75 years, compared with 79 in Japan, which spends half as much money as the United States on health care. The United States and South Africa are the only industrialized countries in the world that do not have a national health care system.

Dr. Lawrence Hart, director of county health, called for regional approaches to health care that would help do away with what he said was an “arms race” between hospitals. Due to competition, hospitals are forced to lure customers with phones and televisions in every room.

Pilot programs to pool government funds for health care could be set up and run by communities like Santa Barbara. Such programs, he maintained would cut down on administrative costs and do away with absurd regulations on how the money is to be used,” he said.

“I see more and more tendency for people to draw within themselves and not wish to support the disadvantaged,” Hart said. “We get the government we deserve.”

Don’t be Tricked by Greed or Fear

or

The Technique of Common Underlying Assumptions

Why do fewer and fewer people wish to support the greater society?

A simplistic answer is Greed. The rich are greedier than ever.

A follow up question would be why are they greedier than ever? What social circumstances led to this situation? Certainly Reagan can’t be blamed. He was elected by popular vote. He must have been expressing some popular sentiment. There are simply not enough rich people to elect a president. It also takes a whole lot of working class people to elect a president. Why were Reagan and then Bush elected President when their policies were so obviously slanted towards the rich?

By 1982, Reagan lowered income taxes on the rich, and increased America’s debt, with his tax rebate and exorbitant military spending. Simultaneously he cut social services and raised taxes on the working class. When spending rises and revenue drops in one area, they must be raised in another. The military and social services are inversely related just as are taxes on the rich and taxes on the working class.

While these are purely financial balances, the question is why did Americans vote Reagan back in for a second term? This question is especially relevant seeing as how there is an order of magnitude more working class people than rich people. The taxes of the working class were doubled and the social services, which frequently go to these same workers, were cut. Why did they continue to vote for him?

To answer this complex question, let us first examine our initial simplistic response - Greed. When introduced it was mainly applied to the Rich. Now it is being applied to the Working Class. Let us see how it works.

A major method used by Propagandists to enable the Public to better swallow their Garbage, is the technique of common underlying assumptions or common implicit beliefs. The common underlying assumption that they love to use is that we are both greedy and worship materialism. With the Jimmy Carter fiasco the Propagandists realized that the American Public is socially conscious as long as it doesn’t have an effect on their pocketbooks. When social conscience and the pocketbook come into conflict the pocketbook always seems to win.

“It is easy to see that the Public are just like us,” thought the Establishment. “They too believe that money buys happiness. Let us focus on that emotion, build it up, magnify it, and we will be able to lead them around by the nose. Let’s hit ‘em with ‘Lower Taxes, Reduce Welfare Spending’ – one of my favorite hooks. The American Public always goes for it. Catch more suckers that way.”

The underlying message is: ‘Lower taxes means more money for you, and if you have more money you will be happier. Further the reason taxes are so high is because of spending on social welfare. Therefore vote for the candidate who promises to reduce your taxes and ‘welfare’ spending because they are certainly on your side.”

“Everyone knows that receiving money makes one happy,” the worker thinks. “If I just had more money I would certainly be that much happier. They are taking my tax money, which would, of course, make me very happy and giving it to those welfare mothers, who don’t work for a living like the rest of us. It is not fair to take the money that would make me very happy and give it to someone who is not working. This is not fair. I am going to vote for someone who will lower my taxes and reduce welfare spending. Then I’ll certainly be happier. For we all know that the more money you have the happier you are.”

Everybody benefits from social welfare

The reality is all Americans benefit from social welfare, which includes public education, roads, libraries, as well as assistance for the poor, sick and aged. We save ourselves loads of money by pooling our resources to provide these social services.

Think what it would be like if each of us had to build our own roads. Or on a more immediate level, what if going to school was a matter of economic choice? What if your parents hadn’t saved enough money and you had to pay for their medical expenses? What if you had to raise your own army? All of these things cost huge amounts of money. It is a simple logical step from here to see that the rich would hire their own soldiers, general and army to protect their wealth from harm - only they would be getting adequate medical care - only they would be getting an education - only they would be making decisions - and then only in their best interests - as it has always been.

Indeed in most of historical time this is the way it was. Universal education and literacy is a recent phenomenon (the last few hundred years). Public armies have existed intermittently throughout history but have been the exception rather than the rule. Mostly it has been the King’s army, the Duke’s army, the Emperor’s army, the warlord’s army.

Medical care has always been for the rich. It is only now in the 20th century that first world [industrialized] countries have begun providing government supported medical care to its citizens – that is every country except the United States, whose citizens have been so propagandized that even the suggestion of national health care causes them to begin frothing at the mouth and spouting inanities like ‘Don’t take away my freedom’ – ‘Keep the government’s hands off my Medicare’ [a government program] & “Beware of the Death panel.”

The point is that less taxes will not make any of the working class wealthier if they have to spend more on medical care and education because the government does not provide these benefits.

Military Spending the Problem - Not Social Services

Taxes are not the problem. The bloated military budget is the problem.

Without the deficit spending, based upon an unnecessary military buildup, the debt would be lower, the interest payments would be lower, and there would be much more money left over for social services – which would save each of us a bundle of money by reducing our expenses. For instance the government could reduce our expenses for health and health insurance - which is not being provided by most companies anymore - saving us hundreds of dollars a month or more.

Thus while our taxes would remain the same our expenses would drop - leading to a net gain both financially and in terms of security. The security of knowing that one’s medical expenses will be taken care of no-matter-what is a great load off the mind. Giving us one less thing to worry about. This frees our Mind to enjoy our materialism that much more.

But fear is a powerful emotion. Based upon their voting record, it seems that most Americans have a greater fear of the aggression from other countries than they do for their own health - this despite the fact that America has not been invaded for almost 200 years (although we’ve done lots of invading) – this despite the fact that health becomes an issue for nearly 100% of the population at one time or another.

Ah well. The Delusions of Power are overwhelming. The Propaganda of Fear is thick. The Infection is Deep. The layers of Grime that cover the Mind are many. Hopefully the disease is not fatal.

Start some Mind and Body cleansing before it is too late.

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