Woke Crap Will Ruin Liberal Economics

I have been very disappointed to see “progressive” become a synonym for “woke.” If that continues, I will not be using the word “progressive.” Where does the silliness end? Anybody that knows me understands I am left-of-center on economics. The war of the 1% on everyone else is real. Monopoly capital has a stranglehold on America and we are becoming one of the most unequal economic societies the world has ever seen. But, does that mean that race is the paramount issue in America today? Absolutely not. Yet, a “progressive,” is expected to toe this racist woke line that white people are bad, that whites have much to make up for,  and shame on white people for not standing with radical black racists making truly bizarre demands. If we don’t accept this narrative we are threatened by the mob for a reservation on Cancel Island. Enough is enough.

Throw in the agenda of LGTBQGYVPWZRidiculous and I’m pushed away even more from progressivism. The “left” at one time was a term used almost exclusively to describe where one stood on economic issues. That day is far behind us. So, who wins from all the division? Answer: the uber-wealthy who are making out like bandits while attention is focused on these phony race and gender issues. It seems our elections are now decided – in major ways – by where we all fall in this phony woke crap from the so-called left. These people are engaging in a phony movement that will push the cause of liberalism back twenty years. I’ve had it. I will not hesitate to call out the Maoist cultural left which harms the cause of economic justice for all people.

Two recent articles seem to hit the target for me:

Andrew Sullivan on all this woke nonsense

An opinion piece on Bill Maher

Those two links sum it up for me. I am tired of being called a “conservative” because I despise woke Maoism.

In 2016, I wrote an article (A Few Modest Proposals) that lay out an aggressive agenda on economic issues…

– I still support a true National Health Plan. Public funds but private doctors. A variation on the Canadian model.
– I still support breaking up the big banks and ending their outsized role in American life.
– I still support a several-Trillion-Dollar plan to rebuild America’s deteriorating infrastructure.
– I still support ending corporate welfare (public money grabs of, by, and for the wealthy).
– I still support a massive crackdown on criminality. Communities must take every measure to stop crime and quit worrying about what color the criminals are. Safe communities and law & order should not be conservative issues or liberal issues – they are community issues.

This is where I stand. Don’t call me conservative – but don’t call me progressive either. We can all think as individuals, no need for boxed-in labels that say more about our intellectual laziness than anything. No matter what you choose to call me – just don’t call me “woke.”

Mike Swickey

 

 

My Medical Bill Story

I have received one letter after another, one phone call after another, about an overdue bill my local hospital says I “owe.” One way that Americans can be responsible and help lower health care costs is to actually request and receive an itemized bill for all services, products, injections, etc. I have asked for an itemized bill on four seperate occasions from the hospital group (a huge conglamerate) and have yet to receive one. I have received what the hospital considers an itemized bill but, by definition, is not. Their bill shows very broad categories that tell me nothing. You and I would not be expected to receive a receipt for, say, groceries and only find:

Meat ——— $67.08
Vegetables — $41.73
Snacks ——- $31.07

Would we?

An itemized bill, by definition, is item-by-item.

MEAT
Pot Roast —-$11.95
Deli Ham —- $9.54
Prime Rib —-$21.00
Prime Rib —-$21.00

You get the idea.

Seeing a truly itemized bill for a surgical procedure from a hospital is eye-opening. You’ll see everything your insurance company and you were charged for. Some of it is legitimate and frankly, most times the bill is full of things you never used. You’ll see the cost for “Facility Fee,” “Recovery Room Fee,” “Warmed Blankets,” “Consultation.” (with who? For what?), “Wheel Chair Use,” (to take you to the car even when you tell them you are fine and will take it from here). I’m not sure what you call this, but the closest I can come to is — scam. The simple fact is that most people find a truly itemized medical bill for a hospital procedure is full of garbage that you didn’t ever use.

But first, the trick is to even get a truly itemized bill. They do not want you to see it and they believe the broad categories are enough for you to pony up a couple of thousand to their “Patient Billing” department. Even after your insurance company has paid them ten thousand dollars! In other words, we allow the healthcare industry to normalize doing things in ways that we would never accept with anything else.

And then, more bills for the same procedure: surgeon, anesthesiologist, imaging, radiologist (to read the images), the list can be quite long. Yes, you really need to get an itemized bill for all of these bills and challenge them when they are wrong or obviously padded. Many times you will find they are asking you to pay what the insurance company already did. Yeah, the more I think of it, I am absolutely certain “scam,” is the right word.

All of the above is another reason we need single-payer health care sooner rather than later. The Medical/Insurance/Hospital complex has seen their day. Huge profits have been made and it’s time to end it all by eliminating multiple payers in health care, offer menu pricing for all procedures and services, and bring the fleecing to an end.

Mike Swickey

 

A Few Modest Proposals

We’ll soon know whether Donald Trump plans to be the economic populist he claimed to be on the campaign trail. Will he lower the boom on crime in the executive suites as well as the crime-ridden streets? Will he finally hold Wall Street and the bank gangsters accountable and prosecute the crimes from 2007-present? Or, will we see a dismantling of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, repeal of Dodd-Frank, and a shutdown of attempts to reinstate Glass–Steagall?

I am hoping not to see the soon-to-be President Trump pander to the rich and powerful (like himself) and expand the corporatocracy over the people. If he does, we’ll see a backlash even harsher than Trump’s own surprise over the establishment political class. We’ll see divisions we haven’t seen in many years.

What might happen if President-Elect Trump extends the powers of corporate America over the people? If “Obama created Donald Trump,” then you’ll see President Trump throw gasoline on the fire of the movement that supported Senator Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primaries.

It isn’t a movement ala “The Bill and Hillary Clinton Coalition” of Identity Politics. That big tent of disgruntled/victimized groups fighting for their own race, gender, sexual orientation, insert-pet-divisive-cultural-issue, should be over. You saw the future of the Democratic Party in the Sanders campaign. The one with all the crowds, the one with all the passion and excitement, the one that was hoodwinked by the DNC who rigged the process for Mrs. Clinton. The Sanders movement was about income/wealth inequality, economic injustice, and bringing people together as a class to rebuild the great middle class in America. This movement is united by class – not Identity Politics.

Here’s a modest proposal (okay, several) to spell out the agenda I support…

– A several Trillion Dollar plan to rebuild America’s deteriorating infrastructure.
Rebuild our roads, bridges, airports, rail yards, schools…a massive WPA-like mission to save our crumbling national infrastructure. A trip to many other countries with modern cities will tell you this is a must.

– Private doctors, private hospitals, but with one payer.
Eliminate “health insurance” which serves no medical purpose whatsoever. All medical needs (including dental, vision, mental health) would be paid for by a progressive tax, mostly on the top 3% and the unearned income of the top 1% with a single, non-profit, public payer. Swipe a card that every American will carry and receive needed treatment. Health care would be universal, paid for, and available for all – regardless of “ability to pay.” The state of a person’s health should no longer depend on the size of their wealth.

Break-up and nationalize the Mega Banks, putting them under public control.
Massive financial and monetary policy reform. Return personal banking to the local communities with their original mission. End the independence and free-rein of our central bank: the private Federal Reserve. That champagne-popping party of collusion with other central banks around the world – as well as the revolving door to and from the Mega Banks – will end and the banks will be put in public hands. The central bank will be audited by Congress. There needs to be many changes in the shady, corrupt, Brave New Financial World that has gone on a tear redistributing wealth to the already very rich. Obscene amounts of money making even more obscene amounts of money by shuffling paper and to think they think they are “working” and actually, “earning” their ridiculous compensations. No. We no longer have capitalism in this country, the free market is a myth, as the big corporations take in billions in corporate welfare and it’s as if anti-trust laws don’t even exist. Monopoly capital has a stranglehold on our economy. That needs to stop. Soon.

– Outlaw private ownership of electricity and natural gas companies.
 These are the monopoly companies that provide services to our communities and bilk the consumers at every opportunity. Public utilities should once again truly be public. This would end the practice of for-profit corporate behemoths operating not to provide power and light, but to make outlandish profits using energy-to-the-consumer as their product. Production for use – not profit. The plunder must stop. It will happen sooner than many think.

– End corporate welfare.
Too many corporations, from retail conglomerates to sports teams to Big Energy rush to the public trough for tax-breaks and outright capitalization from taxpayers. Many of these corporations are the loudest proponents of so-called “Free Enterprise,” “Free Markets.” But too often we see socialism for the rich and powerful and “Free Enterprise” for everyone else.

Democratic Socialism is about the economy. It is NOT about Identity Politics. Bernie Sanders has understood this for years. The focus must be shifted away from individual grievance groups to a united working and middle class to fight the class war that has been waged on the people by the very rich for decades – without any real fight back. It has resulted in a corrupt, paid-for oligarchy masquerading as a democratic republic.

Make our communities safe. With an uptick in supportive measures for the poor and working class, there should be a downtick in property crime, thefts, robberies, etc. If there are not, the communities must take every measure to stop crime and criminals should be swiftly dealt with. Safe communities and law & order should not be conservative issues or liberal issues – they are people issues.

See? Just modest proposals (cough, cough). But It’s a start.

Mike Swickey