What The Hell Are We Doing?
I have been living, for the most part, full time in the U.S. for about three years now and have some real concerns about what the hell are we doing here? I really mean that. I’ve heard and brushed off the term “sheeple” as a tea party slogan but really, what the hell is going on? I just want to point out a few things that are not hidden, not secrets, but things that have been widely reported on but no one seems to give a dam.
I’ll start first with healthcare. The last time I had healthcare from an employer, my payment was $375.00 per month for my wife and I, (we have no children). Not too bad you might think, but our deductible was $8000.00. We used to joke that if either of us actually got sick we could fly 1st class to Thailand, stay in a private hospital attached to a resort and still come out for less money than what our deductible would cost. When I left that job I inquired about COBRA and the quote was $900 per month, with the $8000. deductible.
John Baynor, who is trying to kill off Obama care, is now forced to use the plan. He pays $449 per month for himself with a $1000 deductible. Now I’m not surprised he wants to repeal Obama care because previously he was paying $433. a month for full family coverage with a $700 deductible.1 That’s a stiff increase for a man who’s net worth is only five million dollars.
Moving on, I have lived in some pretty corrupt countries but the corruption is always on the surface, blatant almost. Stories like a small contractor that was asked to bid on a huge bridge contract by some mafia characters got the contract, but somehow the money went into someone else’s account. Or a man that was arrested for fighting in a gambling house. The police were dumbfounded at his identity because he was supposedly already in jail serving a life sentence. Here, in the United States, the corruption is equally blatant but it doesn’t seem to matter. In some cases it’s legal. Take for example Florida’s governor Rick Scott. Governor of the second largest state in terms of Medicare recipients. Scott used to be CEO of a hospital company IN FLORIDA, a company that had to pay $1.7 BILLION in fines to the government for Medicare fraud. Somehow that made him perfectly qualified to get elected as the Governor of the state.2
How about Illinois Congressman Dennis Hastert? He got a $207 million federal earmark to build a parkway near his home where he also happened to own some land that he later sold. He started government service with a personal worth of a few hundred thousand dollars and left eight years later a multi millionaire. Do I need to mention Dick Cheney and Haliburton? His net worth is rumored to be anywhere from 19 to 90 million, after his former company had a few contracts for the gulf war.
Here’s the kicker. I’ve been to a few places and have shot a few guns in my time, but after 49 years I can safely say that I have never shot a polar bear, nor have I ever met anyone that shot a polar bear. This is not surprising since polar bears are considered an endangered species. Having said that, I am at a complete loss to understand why Representative Michael Crapo from Idaho sees the need to change a law about importing dead polar bears as trophies. Specifically, “A bill to amend the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 to allow the importation of polar bear trophies taken in sport hunts in Canada before the date on which the polar bear was determined to be a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973.”3 If they shot a polar bear before 1973, what the hell have they been doing with it for all years? If this is not an elected official doing a favor for rich friends I don’t know what is. I don’t want to even go into the fact that this bill also redefines and allows sport shooting on conversation lands. Spoiler alert, the NRA will be happy.
This sort of corruption is so in your face that I’m not sure corruption is the correct word. It’s kind of like someone stealing your car while your still in it and you don’t notice. As we arrive at the airport I say goodbye to the traveling student and quickly pull out my Smartphone to do a couple of quick calculations. As it turns out, 4 trillion dollars would buy 30 million all electric Nissan Leafs that happen to be made in Tennessee. It wouldn’t end our need for oil but I’m sure less people would die from accidents in electric cars then have been killed from IEDs in Afghanistan.