People may soon beg for health care reform, but first things first…

Health care reform will come when the people really need it and that day may be near. The Wall Street Journal is reporting on its website that for the first time in history more than half the national cost of health care is projected to come out of government programs by next year and the amount paid by private insurance is dwindling as more and more people lose their jobs.

Kind of hard to buy private health insurance when you don’t have a job or unless you are independently wealthy.

So, in my perhaps simplistic way of looking at things this reinforces my now long-held opinion that President Barack Obama needlessly overreached in his bid to revamp the whole health care system.

What will the mass of people, even the tea party folks, do when they can no longer afford private health insurance and/or their insurance at the job plays out because their job played out. Get sick and die, I suppose, and maybe that is the way God meant it to be.

Of course many of the tea party folks clutch onto their Medicare or Medicaid cards already, no doubt. But they don’t like “big giverment” running things.

Personally I would rather see Obama tackle the unemployment problem a little harder. Even some government make-work programs would not hurt. There is always litter to pick up — clean up America! All able-bodied people should sign up for some type of government labor pool to clean the road sides and other such stuff before they get any public assistance benefits. And seasonal industries, such as agricultural harvesting, should not be subsidized by government unemployment checks.

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ADD 1: And that last sentence does not seem to go along with the general thesis of this blog post. Guess it was just on my mind. While I think it is a good idea for government to do what it can to promote employment I think it’s kind of contradictory of those business people and farmers who likely see themselves as stalwarts of free enterprise to actively participate in a scheme that has employees getting government checks for when they are not working at seasonal employment. Whole industries are subsidized in this method by the taxpayer. I’m not an expert in unemployment benefits and I do realize that it is a kind of insurance, hence the name “unemployment insurance”, and employers pay into the fund (a lot of workers think they pay directly into the fund, but I don’t think that is the way it works), but it is a government funded and staffed program nonetheless. In this economy what I seem to have come out against probably is a good idea — we need employment. I should have just excised that sentence. 

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I would like to see Obama do something to wind down these wars we are in if at all possible. We really need to seriously reassess what our objectives are and whether they are attainable. Fighting them over there before they come over here was a nice, if misleading and specious, catch phrase for the previous administration, but we have grownups in charge now — let’s rethink the whole thing.

On the other hand, the armed services do provide employment. We ought to have a larger recruitment effort and expand the military and free up the National Guard to go back to being a home guard available for natural disasters. The National Guard should not have to serve overseas, except in exceptional circumstances. Both the Guard and the regular military should be available for all types of public work here at home, such as fighting forest fires.

I have mixed emotions about the all-voluntary military. On the one hand we probably have the best fighting force we have ever had (not sure, of course, but from all appearances), but on the other hand we have relieved the public of the responsibility  and the need to worry about risking life and limb to fight for our country, so we may be winding up  doing more than fighting for our country, and when we do, I think we go wrong. From what I have read, if there was one thing most of our founders did not want was for this nation to revert to the old world ways of constant battles over territory and wars for wars’ sake.

And if ever the government could play a role in offering incentives — tax breaks, tariffs — to commerce, now seems the time to revive the near moribund United States manufacturing sector. Even the economic eggheads are starting to discover that service cannot stand on its own. It has to service something — and why not a restored and robust American manufacturing sector?

One problem I note from reading a recent story in my local newspaper is that we face the dilemma of bringing ourselves down to third world levels in trying to compete head on with other nations. A case in point is the famed 20-mule team Borax operation in California’s Mojave Desert (remember? Ronald Reagan used to be the host of Death Valley Days, sponsored by Boraxo). Seems the workers there have been locked out in a labor dispute with management. And now management has brought in cheaper workers. It also seems that we have to compete with places like Turkey in the production of Borax (mining) where wages are far less (I forget what, but here workers have been pulling down more than 18 to more than $20 per hour  –not huge, but nothing to sneeze at either for most folks).

While I believe American industry has to try its best to be competitive with other parts of the world, bringing down wages is not a good thing. And you have to ask yourself, do companies who bring down worker wages at the same time reduce management wages?

The answer is that we really don’t want to bring down anyone’s wages, labor or management. That is what threatens our economy today.

But back to where I started this blog. Come on Mr. President, start on the must do first, some of the rest will come in its time — and even though I personally support universal health care, it’s time may not have come — trust me, though, it soon will — very soon. People might even beg for it.

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