#We are the 41% – The sound that the OWS movement is really making to the rest of the 99% (Part 1)

Alrighty, time to throw my hat in the ring. It’s time for me to put a different point of view out there maybe against, a tiny bit with the #OccupyWallSt movement.

Who are the 1%

According to the “demands” this is a movement against the top 1%.  By definition, per IRS and census records that includes anybody making $516,633 as of 2010. Interestingly this does not only include those big ‘ol Wall Street execs or brokers, but also many more… here’s a little breakdown, brought to you by the wonderfully liberal blog Mother Jones.

Who are the 1%

Who are the 1% (according to Mother Jones)

31% This includes upper management (non-finance): this is not only within “big business”, but the other 95% of corporations around the US as well.

15.7% Medical: doctors who have spent 8-15 years on a single goal, spending as much if not more than the average American, simply to get educated in their field.

13.9% Financial professionals: who again, are not all those who took bailouts or bonuses.

8.4% Lawyers: though nobody likes lawyers :-P.

4.6% Computers/Technical/Engineering: again, a group of highly skilled focused employees or even employers, who have worked to get to where they were at as well.

4.3% Not working or Deceased (WTF?). I can only assume this includes estates and those who have retired and are living off their past investments.

4.2% Skilled Sales: though I have a disdain for salesmen, those that prove their worth are in the 1% as well.

3.8% Blue collar/service: since there was nothing describing what this meant, I can’t really comment.

3.2% Real Estate: ah, real estate, this can be split into a couple of different levels. First would be those who simply invest in real estate, which includes taking risks on investments in areas that just may not work out. The other in those who actually try to sell you the homes.  The latter, if doing enough sales, can really pull in a hefty sum, but it is dependent on the location [location, location] as well as the current economic environment.

3.0% Business Operations (non-finance): Again little information was provided to go along with the chart; however I will assume that this includes Executive Assistants, Project Leads, etc.  The income would also really be dependant on the company, and the area and field in which the company operates.

2.3% Entrepreneurs: This would include those taking risks in putting their faith in their product.  A product that in most cases they created themselves, and have a personal connection with, as well as a personal investment with.

1.8% Professors and Scientists: These are some dang highly paid professors, but if they have proven themselves, then power to ’em. Again, Scientists also have to prove their worth before reaching this kind of income, unless there are shady deals in play.

1.6% Arts, Media, Sports: I assume this includes actors, professional sports teams, news casters on major networks, etc. This is an interesting bracket, as you do have to prove your worth for the position, there are also limited resources for these fields, at least to meet the standards required.

0.9% Unknown: Ok… not sure where that works out, but I guess there’s need for wiggle room.

0.8% Government, Teachers, Social Services: This, again, is an interesting bracket. Considering that they are not paid by private companies, but rather yours an my tax money. I won’t discount the worth of some of them, but the fact that they show up in the 1% intrigues me.

0.5% Farmers & Ranchers: Hard working bunch, and if you have been successful in managing your farm (be it produce, or livestock), then you have all the right to earn a wage equal to your success.

0.2% Pilots: I never realized these guys made that much money, but I can almost guarantee that you have to have skill and do your job well to make it into this level of pay, cause you really can’t just sneak into this field.

Who are the 1%. Well, an interesting couple of things show up in nearly ALL of the positions presented above. Risk and Skill. In order to be part of the “1%” you have to be able to prove your worth, or take risks to make the money required to be in this bracket. An interesting thing that is not shown, is what percentage of the income that the 1% makes is distributed among these different positions.

Where it all began.

Now, I’m not going to just blatantly defend all these groups. For example, several of the big banks out there took advantage of the TARP bill passed during the Bush administration. This basically bailed out “failing” banks with money from our pockets. Some of these “failures” were due to the increase in defaults on home loans that began to occur in 2007.  However, this goes a bit further back as well.  During the Clinton administration, there was a push that “owning a home is part of the American Dream, and we need to push to put every American in a home of their own.” This was flawed, as in order for every American to own a home, they would also have to be able to pay for it. Well, to do this there was a push by the Clinton administration, as well as the democratic Senate and House later in 2006, to provide these low interest loans to anybody who wanted them. This is where the blame goes to the banks for providing the subprime ARM loans, “betting” against money that was not yet there, and selling them as “safe” to any who would believe them.  Now, the blame is not all theirs, though. I myself was not sold on these loans, in fact I was immediately skeptical, and this was outside of my hatred for ARMs (adjustable rate mortgages). However, not everybody did their research, nor did they pay attention to the fine print, and instead bought into it, hook-line-and-sinker.

I’m not going to say that people were just dumb… though some obviously made some terrible decisions. But the blame does not simply belong to the “money grubbing bankers,” but those who did not do the research needed for such a large and significant purchase decision. This leads us, though, to where we are now. We are currently in a financial crisis. Our country, has slowly grown into one of “credit”, and reliant on debt, to get what we want now, instead of when we can afford it. Not only has the populace become dependent on credit, but so have several companies. And since credit is scarce now, and demand is down, there has been a heavy drop in employment opportunities in simple fields, as well as an increase of overall unemployment.

Who is doing the “Occupying”

Now, the Occupy Wall Street crowd doesn’t seem to fit into this group entirely.  (See Parsing the Date and Ideology) This site parsed all the images on the “wearethe99percent” tumblr blog. It grabbed ages and words, and numbers, and all and created some interesting graphs.  What struck me the most is the fact that a majority of those posting images about their problems were, on average 29 years old. I got a bit of a chuckle. I myself am 29. I do not have a degree (yet, still working on it, but other priorities took precedence). I do have a job, one that I left a very comfortable job working for my dad right after high school to get. These individuals, however, had a heavy focus on “jobs”, “debt”, “work”, “college”, “pay”, and “student”, including just under 120 single instances pertaining to student loans.  This really rings a bell to me.  According to the parsed numbers, a large portion of those posting on the site are either fresh out of college, or a couple of years out of college. This also appears the case in most of the images from the protests themselves.  This doesn’t truly represent the “99%.”

This is why it strikes me that these folks are not only in it for a change in how (1) government works in terms of corporate donations, and (2) how those few who screwed folks over to get to the top need to be brought into the light, but also that they want their “just desserts,” cause it’s just not “fair.”  I agree that there needs to be some limitations on lobbying, and corporate donations towards campaigns.

[As an aside, I will agree that it was a mistake that the SCOTUS ruled that corporations can be considered “people.” This was done, however, for a couple of reasons. One reason was simply the fact that it prevented the government from having control over the corporations, yet almost on too much of an absolute scale. I agree that the government has no place in how a company is run outside of work environment regulations (OSHA), and the limited labor laws already in place. However, allowing them to be “people” this also opened up another door to allow corporations to provide increasing amounts of donations to candidates or parties (on both sides of the political line). This needs to be limited, if not removed completely.

However, removing lobbying completely is not the answer. An example of this that I like to use, is the concept of a company developing an awesome new product that could save the lives of thousands of soldiers.  In order for that company to get their name noticed, and their product recognized, they have to have somebody present it to those in Congress and the Pentagon.  This is where the lobbying should end though.  Once  you’ve got your product recognized, then that’s as far as the meetings go (until the product is actually chosen to be purchased, but that is not part of the lobbying realm anyway).  This goes for social products as well.]

Anyway, back to the subject. These folks are not really protesting the 1% cause they have all the money (cause they do not, though they do have a large portion of the nations wealth), but instead because they did not get “what they were promised.” It is another point that really strikes me.  Nothing is promised.  The Declaration of Independance provides the “unalienable rights” of “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” It is what the US is based on, the ability and “guarantee” that you can live life, have liberty, and pursuit what you feel will provide happiness.  What it does not guarantee… the happiness itself. They are generalizing all of the 1% as those money grubbing sleazy bankers… though, yes they do exist, they are only a percentage of that 1% (a portion of the 13.9% in fact). They vilify the rich as hating the poor, and not wanting anybody to succeed, so that they can make more money. However, in reality, a majority of that 1% got there out of hard work, risk, sacrifice, and a grasp of how to have faith and appreciation in what they do.

There are those in the “We are the 99%” crowd at these protests, that are truly in trouble financially, out of no fault of their own; however, looking at the numbers, they are fairly scarce.  But we can’t truly identify that, as there is nothing backing up the stories and anecdotes that the protesters claim, instead we have to take them at face value, and not question them… cause if we question them, we’re just awful people, and 1% sympathizers.

The Rest of the 99%

I am a strong proponent that in order to get ahead in life, you can’t simply float along, and expect things to show up on your doorstep. Here is a little bit of history on my part. I am 29, married, with 2 kids. I currently have a nice home, not too big, and not too small, and also paid for on a fixed rate mortgage. It is the second home that my wife and I have owned since we were married. We both grew up working for everything we have. I have not yet finished my degree, as family came first, but when I was in college those first few years, I also worked to pay for it. The first year was paid for by a scholarship that I had acquired from applying myself to my studies, and graduating with honors, and in turn being recognized for it. I can imagine some folks saying that I was lucky, yet I will rebute that by saying that I also applied for the scholarship; I recognized an opportunity, and took advantage of it, not expecting it to just be handed to me because I did good in school.

After school, I went to college, working the entire time. In fact my first 1 or 2 years consisted of me getting up and either going to class or going to work (depending on the day of the week), and then upon completing either class or work, going back to class for an evening course.  It’s part of the sacrifice that I mentioned earlier. You can’t expect to move ahead without sacrificing something now, for something better later. I grew up with a love for computers (ever since I first played on my dad’s IBM 8088). So, after looking at the job field, and finding the niche that I wanted to specialize in, I went for a Computer Science degree. One problem though, computer science can only get you so far, so I began to learn some web programming on the side (on my own time), partially out of necessity, but also out of a growing enjoyment in it.

I won’t say that I didn’t have any fortunate opportunities though. I had several other options in work; however chose to help my dad out in his company (that he had created along with one of his fellow teachers).  This did provide a very open area for growth; though, I still had to work hard, and meet deadlines, and follow the rules, I was also able to work on expanding my knowledge base. I did not work there forever though.  In fact I gave up that very comfortable job, and took a risk in a new field, getting my foot in the door of an engineering company. I didn’t start part way up the ladder either.  Instead I started on 3rd shift call center help desk.  Not the most glamourous position, but it did get me in the door.  I also didn’t simply do what my “job description” said I was to do, I also pushed outside of that comfort zone into other areas, eventually getting my name, and in turn my resume, noticed by some of the upper management.  It then lead, after only 9 months, into me getting in to the web programming position I am in now.

This is where I am now.  My wife and I had started our family, and instead of spending my time in class, I decided that it would be more beneficial to me and my family to work and “bring home the bacon,” than to finish classes that I simply could finish later, once we had settled in.

The rest of the 99% who are not at these protests do not necessarily all agree with the protest crowd. In fact a lot of us are at work trying to make ends meet, or trying to get ahead via hard work and determination.

Conclusion of Part 1

For now, this is going to be a bit open ended. I hope to get a bit further into the subject in Part 2, including where jobs come from , and starting at the bottom.

I’d like to leave you with this quote:

The U. S. Constitution doesn’t guarantee happiness, only the pursuit of it. You have to catch up with it yourself.
– Benjamin Franklin

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Appreciating what you have

This mortal world provides all kinds of material things.

Don’t worry, I’m not trying to get all holier than thou in this post, but the subject does deal with the material aspects of life, and how you acquire them. Simply put, you appreciate the things you earn, more than the things you are given. I guess that kind of brings me to the point of this post, and likely has given you an idea of what I’m trying to get at.

In today’s economy, just about everything has gotten exponentially more expensive.  Insurance, food, gas, homes, schooling, etc. Some of this is due to the slow devaluing of the US Dollar (ya, I believe that it is under way, thanks to QE1 and QE2 and the possibility at a QE3). Others are due to increases in regulations and increases in costs and new taxes for items (remember the price you pay is the “retail” price, not the cost of the item itself alone). Now, I will admit right here, I don’t have a degree in Economics, but I’m not stupid by any means, and have a well honed grasp of mathematics and common sense, as well as a well developed work ethic.

Everything I have, I appreciate. Whether it was given to me (gifts), or I worked to get it myself (pretty much everything else).  However, there are two kinds of appreciation.  For example, here’s where it gets into the political/social realm. I have a retirement plan.  I’m only 29, but I’m already working to be able to retire on my own money. There is also Social Security available (though in all reality it is “forced” upon you at a certain age). Sure, I have paid into my SS ever since my first paycheck when I was a Junior in HS, but it’s not the same.  Basically, my SS payments are going to pay for, at the moment, the portion of the baby boomers who did not have the foresight to work on their own retirement plans.  It also goes to those who are on disability, and need assistance (SSDI). However, part of my generation, and a large part of the baby boomer generation, expect to retire on SS alone, no matter how little or how much they worked or paid in. They appreciate the fact that it is there, but don’t really care where it comes from, as long as it’s there.  I on the other hand will have a different kind of appreciation for my retirement, as I will have the knowledge that I worked my ass off and contributed directly to my future.  Almost giving it a feeling of ownership, and pride.

Kind of a side point in this that inn our own individual ways, don’t we all wish that we had more money?  Isn’t that why we each look forward to review time, for that pay raise?  Isn’t that part of why we change jobs?  Isn’t that why we have garage sales or sell things on ebay?  Aren’t we all looking for extra money to spend on the things we want to?  What is wrong with that!?

The left plays these class warfare games because they feel guilty of the wealth they do have or they are envious of wealth they do not have.   In either case, their solution is to tax the wealthy, but what purpose does that serve?  How does confiscating wealth from someone who has earned it legally ease their guilt or improve their own situation?

I read an “open letter to Obama” on the subject of comprimise (which by the way is short sighted and rediculous in my eyes); however one of the comments caught my eye. A fellow named Chris Pruett posted in part of his comment (not taken out of context by the way):

I have “friends” who identify (or, perhaps more accurately, sympathize) with the conservative/ Tea Party movement who are oblivious to the fact that a big part of their agenda is cutting the very programs and services they will come to rely on as they age (or, heaven forbid, they get sick or injured).

This is where this post mostly came from.  He feels that the conservative/Tea Party movement are oblivious to the fact that cutting some of the programs (social security, medicare, etc.) is dumb because they will end up relying on those very programs as they age.  This is where he is absolutely incorrect. The views of conservatives and Tea Party members is that a person should take their future into their hands, and not expect the government to hand it to them.  It’s another view of my favorite phrase “personal responsibility”. Those who are conservative or right leaning, don’t plan to depend solely on a government program to fund them the rest of their lives.  More than likely, they to are working on preparing for their retirement, or are already harvesting what they have sewn.

On the part of his comment “(or, heaven forbid, they get sick or injured)” he is also assuming that they are not paying for health insurance outside of Medicare that is automatically placed on them at 55+. At the moment, I am paying for my family’s health insurance, it is through the company I work for, but I pay my share. I also plan to be researching and shopping around for other forms of health insurance for when I finally retire, therefore not relying on Medicare if I don’t have to.  This is how conservatives think as well.  Why wait for a hand out, when you could be working and planning ahead now?

In the end I will know that I have done my best to provide for my family in the future.  I appreciate what I have more, because I have worked for it.

The Blame Game

I’m getting sick of some of the blame game going on in Congress, with the President, and across Twitter/Google+/Internet in general.  I know some of my comments are going to seem as if I’m putting blame too, but please stick with me.

Our country is in massive debt, we all know that.  Over 8 years, Bush increased the debt by $5.7trillion, in the last 2.5 years, Mr. Obama has increased it by another $1.65trillion+ as of 2010.  Spending increases are the fault of both administrations.

Over the last several decades, this country has moved further and further into an entitlement society. More and more people expecting that the Government pay their way through life. Yes, there are those who simply can’t work, and who are disabled to the point that they can’t make ends meet (dispite assistance from family, etc.).  These people deserve assistance, as they have no other way.  I totally don’t mind paying my tax dollars into programs to help people like this.

On the other hand, poverty is a mindset for the rest. The single mom, who works to make ends meet, would need assistance, yes, and as Welfare was originally set up to be, it should be temporary.  However, this administration, and the far left who follow him, believe that it should not be temporary, and that throwing more and more money at these programs will bring these people out of the slump that they may be in.  The reality, is that that is far from the truth.  The more money you throw at somebody who is poor, and has likely been poor most of their lives, is only going to leave them expecting more money, with no work to earn it.  These programs need to be reformed to provide assistance, not in monetary funds, but in guidance.

Some former friends of mine are an example of this. They had more children, simply because they knew the government would pay them more in turn.  This way the husband can just work part time, while the wife sat at home and pretty much lived the good life, letting her parents take care of the kids more than she did. They did decide to try and go to college, cause “that’s the thing that everyone does”, so they got a Pell Grant… since a portion of the Pell Grant is for expenses (books, travel, etc.), they were happy to accept it, and what came out of it was… breast augmentation.  Ya, exactly.  There was no responsible spending of those funds, only what they *wanted* not what they *needed*.

I have had this conversation with a few of my followers on Twitter.  Their argument was that the Pell Grant money is meant to be used for whatever they feel is needed.  I agree to an extent, as there are always helpful things that can help your college career, however, the “latest and greatest” are not a requirement. A new laptop is not required every semester, a new iPad is not a requirement, but a nice to have.  When there were proposals to cut the amount of money provided from the Pell Grant, there was outrage by many.  But not by me.  Eventually, the student must take responsibility for their education, not me and my tax dollars. How are students to learn responsibility, and how life really is, if the government continues to hand out money when they need it. I am a stout believer in personal responsibility, and that *you* are the one who can make you go forward, and prosper, not the government.

Another couple pet peeves added by this administration, was the increase in unemployment to 99 weeks (*REDICULOUS*) and the lowering of availability of food stamps to families making $50,000 or less.  If you are making $50,000 you should be able to provide for your family without government assistance.  You simply have to make the right choices, and not blow your money on what you don’t really need.  Everyone has to tighten their belts.

My last comment I’ll leave is about the misconception of who pays taxes and who does not.  A lot of Americans still believe the “rich” (the reason I quote this is because it also includes those making $250,000, though is always called millionaires and billionaires), don’t pay enough taxes. According to CBO records, the top 10% of earners pay 45% of the Nations income tax. On the flip side, 53% of Americans pay no income tax at all; yet are the ones calling to tax the rich.  This is despicable to me.  I make $60,000 a year, that is our family income. I also pay my taxes, Medicare, SS, and health insurance, and contribute to a 401k.  That drops that $60,000 a year significantly.  I end up taking home about 68% of that. This happens to everybody who pays income tax, state tax, etc.  Now, those who make $250,000+ are usually also business owners, and I know for a fact, that if you are a business owner, unless you want to be massively in debt, your money, is company money, so more likely then not, the payroll taxes come out of your pocket.  You also pay those quarterly, not just on April 15th.  In addition, companies also pay unemployment tax, social security tax, and medicare taxes.  If they decided to provide the benefit, they also pay a portion of the health insurance that the employee does not pay for.  How much does that really leave?  Not as much as you would think.

Yes, millionaires and billionaires could probably afford to pay more taxes… but why should they?  The burden is really on their backs and not the middle class.  It just feels that way, because the middle class doesn’t have the extra cash lying around.

Close loopholes, that’s fine, and makes sense, remove some subsidies from companies that don’t really need it (aka are already beyond the beginning stages of company building, and are making a profit).  But don’t blame the rich for “not paying their fair share”, blame the portion of the 53% who take the earned income credit (knowing they don’t have to).

Hot Topic: Wisconsin

Good morning everyone (or I may just be talking to myself, but I want to get this out there anyway)…

By now everyone knows about the Hot Topic of the Wisconsin legislation to remove SOME collective bargaining from state employees. Personally, I am in agreement with some of the proposed (and passed) changes. At the moment state employees, who are in some cases required to join a Union, pay a smaller portion of their benefits then their employers (the state) pays. In a way, WI taxpayers are paying the heavy portion of the state employee’s “benefits.

I have no problem with state employees working with Unions over pay negotiations and over work conditions beyond the safety standards already set by OSHA regulations. But health insurance, and pensions are not a guaranteed right for an employee. They are what is called incentives. Benefits provided to help keep the job attractive to the worker.

Per the Univeral Declaration of Human Rights (Article 23):

(1)Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
(2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.
(3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.
(4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.

Nowhere does it say that benefits, such as insurance/pensions are the right of an individual, and therefore should not be covered by unions. I am a believer in responsibility, and in this case, the state is providing benefits, but the workers have a responsibility to pay their share towards those benefits, and not expect the state/taxpayers (including themselves) to make up the slack.

This is something that I think most of the protesters are ignoring. They are just blurting out “you’re stealing our rights,” yet, the rights stated in the document above, are still in place. In addition, nothing is stopping the workers from working together, not necessarily as an organization, but as a group of concerned employees, to make requests and propose changes to these other options.

Here’s another look, from the dictionary, as to the definition of “collective bargaining”:

It means a collection of individuals, allowing for a greater voice for those workers.

“collective bargaining
— n
negotiation between one or more trade unions and one or more employers or an employers’ organization on the incomes and working conditions of the employees
– World English Dictionary”

“collective bargaining 
–noun
the process by which wages, hours, rules, and working conditions are negotiated and agreed upon by a union with an employer for all the employees collectively whom it represents.
-Dictionary.com”

Again, nowhere in that definition does it state that workers can collectively bargain over insurance/pensions, it only covers wages, hours and working conditions.

This is my primary argument. It is felt that these are “rights being stripped from workers” yet, nowhere are these rights stated or determined, let alone backed up. I agree, that benefits can be provided, but in that case, the employee should pay equally what the employer pays, just like the rest of the world.

Now, last week, the WI reps pushed through a bill that was stripped of fiscal proposals, and pushed it through without a 24hour window. I don’t necessarily agree with the method, however, even if the WI senators decided to come back, they still would have lost to a majority vote.

With the current bill state employees will be getting the same limited Collective Bargaining rights of Federal employees, as well as the same rights as Private employees.  Is that not fair enough?

No, I’m not racist…

Alright, I’ve got to get this off my chest.  Just this morning President BO signed into law new legislation about removing the “bank” middleman from the student loan process.  Ok, I haven’t read the actual legislation, but did read this as quoted from the Washington Post:

He said the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 would save taxpayers $68 billion in the coming years by cutting out the role of banks and lending institutions as middlemen in federally guaranteed student loans. The money is to be channeled into the Pell Grant program, invested in community colleges and historically black colleges and used to make student loans more affordable by capping repayments at 10 percent of discretionary income starting in 2014.

Now, I am the farthest thing from racist as you can imagine, but this line really ticked me off:

The money is to be channeled into the Pell Grant program, invested in community colleges and historically black colleges and used to make student loans more affordable by capping repayments at 10 percent of discretionary income starting in 2014.

What the hell?  As I said earlier, I am not racist, and never have been, but why pinpoint “historically black colleges” in this legislation?  Again I come to the point of responsibility.  If these colleges cannot fend for themselves, then they need to be assisted in guidance not money.  What is the difference between a regular college and a “historically black college” anyway?  This I consider discriminatory towards not just whites, but all other races.

I agree, the black race has had it rough…. in the beginning.  They have all the same rights as anybody else now-a-days, and nobody is carrying around slaves anymore.  Get over it, and let’s see real equality, not pick a race and raise it up until it’s above everyone else, then pick another race and to the same.  Equality is the ability for anyone to do anything without being discriminated, and that includes gaining funding for colleges.

Health *insert suffix here* Reform… really?

Alright, time to hit the hot topic on everybody’s plate: Health Care/Insurance Reform.  So, which is it Washington?

I’ve heard each term, “Health Care Reform” and “Health Insurance Reform” used nearly interchangeably lately.  It’s no wonder the nation’s confused.  To top it off, the media can’t seem to pick one and stick with it either, even the President and his advisors can’t seem to decide on a phrase to use.

Now, this isn’t going to go in-depth into the subject; in fact, it’s barely going to scratch the surface.  I simply want to put my point of view out there, and get it off my chest.

I recently read a little anecdote from a friend of mine.  He had checked the source at Snopes, and as far as I can tell, it’s legit.

The story pertains to a Dr. from Mississippi, who works in the Emergency room.  One evening, he was tasked to assist an individual.  Here is the letter he wrote:

“Dear  Sirs:

During my last night’s shift in the ER, I had the pleasure of evaluating a patient with an expensive shiny gold tooth, multiple elaborate expensive tattoos, a very expensive brand of tennis shoes and a new cellular telephone equipped with her favorite R&B tune for a ringtone. Glancing over the chart, one could not help noticing her payer status: ‘Medicaid’. She smokes more than one costly pack of cigarettes every day and somehow, still has money to buy beer.  

And our Congress expects me to pay for this woman’s health care? Our nation’s health care crisis is not a shortage of quality hospitals, doctors or nurses. It is a ‘crisis of culture’, a culture in which it is perfectly acceptable to spend money on vices while refusing to take care of one’s self or, heaven forbid, purchase health insurance. A culture that thinks “I can do whatever I want to because someone else will always take care of  me”.  Life is really not that hard. Most of us reap what we sow Don’t you agree?”

This is what needs to change.  It’s not that we currently can’t afford the assistance that our country provides, because believe me I know that we can’t.  But it is the people who take advantage of this assistance, and don’t expect any repercussions.  Even if the letter is a fake, it still points out truths that exist in today’s society.  Some people not all people, simply feel that the world/everyone else owes them something.  As long as they get what they want, and somebody else is watching their back, whether it be by Medicaid/Medicare or Food Stamps, then they shouldn’t have to pay a cent.

Now, I’m not against government assistance for those who need it.  I know people, and have family who appropriately take advantage of these systems; however, it should be the choice and responsibility of the person and not the government as to what should be used.

In addition, people should be held accountable for their actions; simply put, if you are going to use these programs, then you are also going to have to be held responsible for some of the cost.  Just because you get “free” health insurance through the government doesn’t mean that you can take that money left over and blow it on non-necessities.

Now, on a slightly different note, the corporate side needs to be monitored as well. Capitalism is a great thing.  It inspires competition and innovation.  Frauds and scams are not, and that is what I feel some of the current insurance companies, and in addition to that Doctors and Hospitals, are doing.  To inflate the cost of an appointment or procedure, just so that Medicare or an insurance company will pay more to the doctor or hospital is practically “legalized fraud”.  There needs to be a limitation on how things are priced and a standard put in place.  Plus the fact that hospitals can turn down payment, so that they don’t have to claim that they “accepted it” and in turn can turn people into collection agencies should be stopped, plain and simple.

To conclude this I simply want to note that responsibility, and accountability, both personal and corporate/medical should be a focus of our government.

Update: The bill got passed… not on through the next phase and to the Pres’s hands.  We’ll see how this all works. out.

Knowledge is power, and though the cliché may state it, ignorance is not bliss.

Welcome to the Edge

Good morning, and welcome to the edge of Red and Blue.

This blog is my personal notepad, my corner of the web to spread my ideas on politics, religion, and just about anything else.  I hope you enjoy and maybe even take a little something away from my personal thoughts on the world at large.

I’m sure that some topics that will be focused upon will be controvercial, but I’m not that worried.  If the left side can whine about their freedom of speech, so can the right.

Now, just to get things straight, I’m not a bible thumping wrist slapping Right Wing Conservative.  I did grow up in a house where, for the most part, the environment was mostly republican.  This has stuck with me, and in turn I have molded myself into who I am based on some of the values placed then.  This does not put me in the stereotype though.

I consider my views to ride the edge, a conservative view on the cost, with a personal/subjective view on the people.  Let’s see where that will get me.

Again, please follow along as I journey through current events, and as always, enjoy.