I’ve been putting off writing a new article today because I wasn’t sure I had the energy to write a scathing critique of U.S. domestic & foreign policy. Honesty, I wasn’t even sure that I could choose which the most important issue was.
So here’s a quick poll- which of the following is the most serious issue to you? What would you want at the top of the president’s to do list?
–Health care costs are spiraling out of control. A) Between 2000-2006, health care insurance premiums have risen over 70% B) 20% of our nation’s GDP goes towards health care costs- $2.3 Trillion annually C)For every dollar in insurance premiums collected by the private sector- 30% goes to “overhead” (such as CEO compensation), compared to only 3% in federal health care programs (Medicaid/Medicare). D) 47 million Americans have no health care. E) Insurance companies can legally deny health care insurance to people who are ill or have diseases.
-For years people have been trying to raise the alarm about the erosion of civil liberties and the constitution. A) The Patriot Act is widely regarded as a serious infringement upon the constitution & rights of citizens, and yet it still stands on the books. B) Guantanamo Bay, which has violated the constitution by indefinitely imprisoning individuals is still open 6 years later, (currently detaining at least 520 people) – and the Bush administration continues to refuse to close it. C) For the first time in U.S. history, an active military unit is scheduled to be deployed this month within United States borders. Their mission: to train & prepare for “crowd control”.
-Despite the War on Poverty, and the supposed burgeoning middle class, income inequality is still growing in the nation. A) Today, the top 1% of the population own 47% of the wealth, the top 19% own 44% of the wealth, and everyone else (80%) only control 9% of the wealth. B) An American working 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year at the federal minimum wage ($6.55/hr), with no vacations or sick days, would only bring home $13,642 a year- and that’s before taxes. C) In America, the average CEO of a large company makes 364 times that of a line worker.
-Our stature in the world has greatly fallen, and many would say that our foreign policy needs to be completely revamped. A) Last time I checked, we were still in Iraq, spending $10 billion a month. B) Rhetoric is increasingly being directed at Iran, painting them as a serious national security threat (kinda like Iraq) C) The United States continues to make cross border raids into sovereign territory (Pakistan), without consulting with their government (Pakistan isn’t a huge fan of this). D) The United States has essentially acted unilaterally for the past 8 years, talking loudly & carrying a big stick. It hasn’t endeared us to anyone.
-The subprime mortgage crisis that spawned a worldwide market meltdown demonstrated the dangers of market deregulation, and endless pursuit of profit. A) In less than two weeks time, Congress passed out a bill that would authorize the spending of $700 billion in a financial bailout. B) The national debt clock in New York is no longer valid- the debt won’t fit on the digital ticker- $10,469,604,562,348.63 (Don’t worry- they are ordering a new clock). C) Iceland (yes an entire country) is just about bankrupt as a result of holdings in risky investments D) Retirement portfolios have been heavily hammered by the resultant stock market volatility – indications are that many are delaying retirement hoping for better days.
-Okay, so I’m biased, and slightly left of center. The major issue is something else. (tell us what you think it is)