Republicans have no public service agenda except tax relief, which doesn’t build anything except more luxury for those who receive it, and Democrats only weakly advocate for what used to be the American ideal: that the more prosperous our businesses become, the more substantial the contribution should be to the common goods of infrastructure, safety, and the health of as many Americans as possible. Taxation is not punishment; it is investment. The United States Government, for years before the great lie of Ronald Regan’s “trickle down economics” fooled a generation and blinded the next, that far from being inept, it can deliver infrastructure, health, and national security IF it can collect the taxes necessary to fund them. Without adequate contributions from the greatest profit-makers, the government’s effectiveness is indeed limited and its power ultimately destroyed, leaving most Americans unrepresented and unprotected from ruthless “gouging” in all marketplaces, including health care. Isn’t it beginning to feel like that already for most middle and low income Americans?
ObamaCare was rare, broad-based public service legislation. It was about making health care available for the largest number of Americans, with attendant benefits outweighing the costs. The latest Republican Health Care bill is not for the benefit of the American people. Instead, its primary constituency is insurance companies. It proposes to make it easier for insurance companies to offer less coverage or no coverage to older, sicker, and lower income Americans while providing tax cuts that allow rich taxpayers to continue resisting a fair “tithe” (in Christian terms) for the benefit of the community, and to serve none but their own interests.
Why is this even called a Health Care Bill? Its main objective, as Republicans have been saying all along, is not to use American prosperity to create the healthiest and most humane nation in the world, but to create and protect profit for corporations and very rich individuals. The quest to eliminate regulation and taxation from every major profit center in the American economy has been the Republican agenda for decades. Therefore, this is only a “health care bill” because it addresses the health industry profit center–not the legitimate health care needs of Americans living in one of the wealthiest nations in the world. Sadly, our leaders and their prosperous and powerful masters, seem unmoved by the fact that going cheap on health care hurts the greatest number of Americans the most. Whatever happened to the notion of a nation’s riches benefitting the most (rather than the fewest) people?
And why can’t the Democratic Party effectively turn the tide on this stingy, luxurious deception of the American people? As much as I admire and appreciate the few individuals in Congress who are speaking out passionately from time to time, I can’t help wondering why Democrats can’t get past the outrage to articulate an alternative rhetoric that harkens back to what we accomplished after WWII in terms of social welfare and education, but also looks forward to what is even more possible with the resources and technology we have today. Don’t rail against Donald Trump. He doesn’t need the name recognition. Rail against the Republican Party’s exclusive service to a fraction of the American public they are elected to represent.
The Founding Fathers tried to build a government structure that would not allow “factions” to rule the majority, but that is exactly what the Republicans have allowed to happen. They serve a right-wing minority and a tiny but powerful constituency of the wealthiest individuals and corporations, and the rest of us are just so many wealth-generating units whose “entitlements” to benefits like sick leave, vacation leave, parental leave, child care, health care, and pensions need to be eliminated as much as possible to maximize the profits of the top one percent. Look at the Republican legislative and regulatory agenda over the past thirty years, and then look at the quality of life for middle and lower-income workers in this country, and it seems obvious that our interests are nowhere on the Republican radar.
That doesn’t mean that the Democrats are ready to save the day, unfortunately. I’m hoping for a Democratic Renaissance of public service ideals–not holding my breath, though.