Friday, November 7, 2014

Where to go now?

So, Brussels was burning, might even still be burning, with all the conservatives crowing about their victory, telling liberals to eat crow, it was not high on my list of interests.  It should have been.  You see, the country has taken a conservative turn, and the middle class, poor, and elderly are angry about it.  Not the kind of angry we appear to get here, where we rant on Facebook or blogs.  Not the kind of angry were you write an angry letter, or leave a heated voice mail on the phone.  Like so many European countries, they get angry like Bruce Banner.  And we should not like Bruce when he gets angry, he grows to ten foot tall, turns green, and becomes the Hulk.  And Hulk likes to smash things.

But we can learn something from what is happening there, and what is happening here.  You see, voter turnout in Belgium, is nearly 90% (the figures are around 88%).  Here in the US... Around 50% on a good year, nearly 60% on an outstanding year, but really closer to 35-40%.  So, now those of us who were in the front lines, trying to get people out to the polls, trying to get the message of what we wanted to do, where we need to go, what the GOP will do have double the egg on our faces.  Not only do we have to hear the "This is a referendum" talk, but we also get to know that less than 50% of the people actually voted (when the numbers come in.

So, here is the deal to the liberals, conservatives, libertarians, you think that both parties are the same, whatever you are...  I don't care if they are electing a dog catcher who is mentally retarded, or Willy Wonka for the same position, figure out which one has the stance you like, figure out how you are going to vote, and do it.  Our country is beyond unhealthy right now, and voter apathy, a lack of a clear majority voting only makes it worse, because the money thrown at elections, the party of no, and greed will win and drag everyone down.

SO Boehner and McConnell have an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal, and being a stingy asshole, I refuse to buy a subscription to it.  So, I had to do a little more legwork and find others who have shared it with the world.  All I found was a blog on the Wall Street Journal website, that gave select highlights of their plan.

I am going to assume that their first priority will be to bring jobs in, and work on the economy.  Hey that sounds great.  But you have to weigh the costs.  The want to defund or outright repeal the Affordable Care Act, which for the millionth time, is nearly word for word their own plan (which shows how far they are willing to go to obstruct everything).  They claim that the House turned out bipartisan bills, but they were sacked in the Senate.  But lets look at what they are planning to do first.  By repealing the PPACA, they are the same bill, it would mean that your insurance company could place caps on how much insurance you have.  So, if you are a non-smoker, and you develop lung cancer, you may or may not be able to get your medical bills covered.  People like my mother who has more per-existing conditions that Carters liver pills, would either continue without medical insurance, or she would have to pay an outrageous sum for it.  That does not help the economy, as our economy is based on people spending money.

The GOP wants to start building the Keystone XL pipeline.  While this will be a boom for a time (3 years max), because of the need for workers while building it, the truth is it will only have less than forty full time employees when finished.  It is said that it will decrease energy prices, but there are talks that it will lead to less production of gas, and adding an increase to the cost of producing gas.  Both will lead to higher gas prices.  Depending on the source, you can expect to see a 15-25 cent a gallon increase.  Not much, but when you are already stretching everything you have, that can be a real killer.  Just think about what you have paid for gas the last two or three years, and add a 15-25 cents onto the gallon.  Think about where you would be now with that hanging over your head.  This does not take into account what happens if it leaks oil somewhere, the amount of CO2 it will put into the environment that is already taxed, and the fact that it will be a 1700 mile long oil pipeline that will have to be secured (that is a very large target for a terrorist, and its a soft target, their favorite kind). 

We are back to the PPACA in the next highlight but not for any other reason than it dictates that full time employment is only 30 hours a week.  They want to restore the 40 work week, as it would mean more money for us, and lower healthcare costs.  Of course they neglect to mention that the reason healthcare costs are so expensive is 27$ for an aspirin.  Now, they are talking about repealing portions of the bill, but ultimately it will be the entire thing.  You see, it was created in such a way as to be self funding, and by taking away a tax on medical devices, it will cut funding from this bill.  The requirements that employers cover workers who are full time, or pay fees is also on the block.  Now, some might say that it is a benefit to employers, and they are right.  The problem was, and will be those employers who cut hours down to ensure that workers are part time.  Rather than keeping someone working 30 hours, they cut them down to 29.5 and they are free to make the employees cover their own insurance.  Rather than 29.5, these employees will be at 39.5 and what is the difference, seventy two dollars and fifty cents before taxes.  When you have to buy your own insurance, its going to get ugly fast, and put more debt on those states that have expanded Medicaid.

They seek to update the government by simplifying the tax code, and fix the antiquated government bureaucracy to deal with modern problems, such as disease control, caring for veterans, while giving to us a smaller simpler government.  At this point I feel I need to make a very sarcastic comment.  I feel like we are entering the era of working 160 hours a week, in a place that if you get up so you do not soil yourself that you will be replaced, while working for a dollar a day.  I feel like Charlie getting a Wonka Bar, and winning a golden ticket which allows me to go see the chocolate factory owned my a miserly psychopath who ultimately gives one of his lucky winners the joint, because his anti-psychotic medications are starting to kick in, and he can no longer ignore the plight of his Oompa Loompas. 

Just in case you were wondering, they do actually exist.  But they want to take care of disease control?  I think the government has done a pretty damn good job with Ebola.  As for caring for our veterans, it was the GOP lead house that screwed around with new VA hospitals, and a Senate that did the same thing, while blaming Obama for doing nothing.  By fixing the tax system, they mean more tax cuts for their overlords, and at this point, they will get it.  We have seen 30 years of reducing taxes, and none of it has been good.

The final, and at this point I do believe in the devil, and we have elected him and his clones to the House and Senate, they say they want to give more support to charter schools, they want to fix an education system that denies choices to the parents, while also denying a good education to too many children.  Charter schools are private schools, which cost money.  So, once again, poor people get the shaft on the super high end primary schooling.  The middle class might be able to swing vouchers to get their kid in the door, but how long that door stays open, we shall find out.  They want parents to have a choice in education, alright.  Yes, to some extent parents should have a say in their children's education.  But, I am not a fan of the teach the controversy deal, and lets get frank really quick. 
Most parents are too busy, or too uneducated to properly decide what is the best path for their children in education.  You will have children in southern states, and highly religious states learning about creationism before evolution.  Why not teach Alchemy before Chemistry?  Rather than Government, we can have Christian philosophy.  When parents are given the ability to put the limits on education, they go with their own biases.  Rather than having age appropriate sexual education we will have Mr. Mackey running around all the class rooms scream "Sex is bad, mmmmkay?" along with other popular hits from South Park....  "Drugs are bad, mmmmkay?"

So, when an election comes up, for the love of whatever you love, take your ass to the polling place and vote.  If you cannot make it, use early voting, or vote absentee.  Just go vote, so we can move on past this crap already.