In the news, and opinion

There was a letter to the editor in the Spokesman-Review this 14th of March where the author a Ryan Jacobson critiqued an Amy Goodman editorial that had been previously published in the same Spokane, Washington newspaper. He might have presented a fairly good argument, at least until he got to the last part of his letter

As for the costs of the war, Goodman puts the number at $104 billion a year. The 2011 budget is at $3.834 trillion, with $1.695 trillion being spent on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and interest on the national debt. If she were truly concerned about the middle class and the economy in general, Goodman would be addressing the real cause of the debt crisis.


I am going to guess that Mr. Jacobson doesn’t take a look at his paycheck and read the fact that Social Security Insurance or FICA is a tax that goes into funding Social Security.  Because Social Security is a self-funding program, what gets paid out to the retired elderly and those who receive disability Social Security is only what had already been paid in through the FICA tax.  So, is Mr. Jacobson’s real argument, that if we just kick the retired elderly and the disabled off such a self-funded retirement program that we can then do much to retire the national debt?  What would happen, is that the retired elderly would have something to say about their Social Security income being abruptly taken from them and the “money saved” would then be “used for other purposes,” to any party that even dared to touch this “third rail of politics.”  Oh yeah, they’d “electrocute” that party at the voting booth without question.  Social Security is actually self-funding as a payroll tax.  It is, as far as I know, not part of the debt crisis this nation faces.  And if Mr. Jacobson were to take a further look at his paycheck, Medicare is also self-funding.  A percentage of the over all payroll is withheld for Medicare purposes.  So, two programs that are literally self-funded that are meant for the retired elderly now become in Jacobson’s mind, a drag on the national economy.  At least he didn’t attack the teacher’s unions as a drag on the national economy.  Oh, and Medicaid?  Well the federal government doesn’t hand out Medicaid payments as far as I know.  Medicaid is supposed to be—state to state—medical assistance that the citizens of the state(s) in question subsidize as medical care when any of their fellow citizens are too poor to assume the cost of it for themselves.  What has that got to do with the deficit at the federal level?  Not a thing.  It can only add to shortfalls in state budgets when revenues don’t match the expected demands made on state coffers.

But I will guess that the chronically impoverished and the unemployed are a real drag on the national debt.  Well, perhaps Mr. Jacobson hasn’t considered this axiom:  “Give a man a fish and you feed him and his family one meal.  But if you teach a man to fish, he can feed himself and his family for a lifetime.”  That was an axiom that was much bruited about during the Reagan era.  I figured these were some of the wiser words to have come out of that time.  Only, it didn’t take long for such a conservative philosophy to get tossed in the dustbin of history.  As “conservative” became an enabler of the worst devils in human nature.  Today, even though we give the very wealthy and major corporations tax cut incentives to “teach a man to fish,” seems those major corporations who represent their own drag on the national debt, think that it is too spendy a proposition to teach the chronically impoverished and unemployed how to fish.  At least as long as they are fellow Americans.  Instead of looking for scapegoats to why the national debt is looming as a real crisis, let us look at the actual problems then address how we can find solutions for them.  The chronically impoverished and the unemployed after all, wouldn’t create a budget shortfall state to state if they actually worked and had decent wages.  They would probably help to retire the national debt for the same reason.  So, what’s the solution?  Until the business interests quit advancing their own interests before state and federal governments and actually realize that they bear the sole responsibility for kick-starting the national economy, scapegoating the poor and the elderly (after the teachers had been scapegoated) won’t even address the problem let alone provide a solution.



On “60 Minutes” last night, Dr. Sanjay Gupta was addressing counterfeit medicines or ingredients that find their way onto pharmacy shelves here in the U.S.  Apparently, it was bad enough that fake meds that come out of say Péru that only mimic popular American drugs and who’s active ingredients could actually sicken and kill the people who take them.  But even worse when drug manufacturers state-side, out-source drug ingredients from countries such as India and China; countries with poor quality control—because its cheaper—and end up with counterfeit ingredients that can also sicken and kill people who take the meds.

There’s a couple of things to be said about this:  First, big pharma isn’t prepared to hold itself accountable because another country that sold it the ingredients for drugs meant for U.S. Citizens, sold it the wrong thing.  After all, quality control, if we actually manufactured all ingredients for the meds in the U.S. would be a spendy proposition.  Then again, maybe the meds produced wouldn’t sicken and kill people who took them.  Or at least reduce the likelihood of that happening.  Second, it might be “cheaper” for big pharma to get its med ingredients from India and China, plus run the risk of getting counterfeit ingredients mixed into the pills that granny takes for her heart medicines.  But at the same time, the meds that granny takes are no cheaper than if they had actually been produced in their entirety here in the U.S.  I think this nation needs to stop deluding itself about the political ideology of the “globalized marketplace.”  If you want the thing done right, do it yourself.


2 Responses to “In the news, and opinion”

  1. In the news, and opinion « Jeh15?s Weblog | Says:

    […] posted here: In the news, and opinion « Jeh15?s Weblog This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged actually-self-funding, further-look, […]

  2. In the news, and opinion | Stunning Opinion News Today Says:

    […] More… Posted in Uncategorized Tags: Amy Goodman, Jon Stewart Changes Fox News, Responders Bill, Ryan Jacobson, Spokesman Review « FCO – UK to Send Search and Rescue Teams to Japan You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site. […]

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