BRAMA, August 11, 2009, 9:00 AM ET|
Healthcare Insurance and Military Spending in America
By Boris Danik
If you live in the US and lose your job, you and your family also lose the
employer-provided health insurance, or must pay premiums (under so-called
COBRA arrangement) that are not affordable.
President Obama's ongoing drive for a sweeping health insurance reform is,
predictably, running into a wall of resistance from the Repubican Party
and all the lobbies it represents.
The GOP think tanks are churning out the usual soundbites: "Do you want
the government to tell your doctor how to practice medicine? Do you want
to be denied the freeom to choose your own health insurance?"
This stonewalling melange consists of deceptively wrong questions and
is aimed at those who have not yet lost their insurance or feel, sort of,
safe from being laid off or getting sick. After all, the 50 million
Americans without health insurance today (and increasing at the rate of
about 9,000 a day) is not yet a majority.
The main stumbling block (aside from ideological voodoism) against
providing health insurance for all Americans is the question of who will pay
for this. The government will need a revenue source to subsidize those not
getting it through workplace or unable to pay otherwise about $100
Marginal tax rates can and should be raised on high-earners, e.g. those
over $500,000 a year. But another very visible funding source, albeit
never mentioned, can come from a 10% cut in military spending, which now
is running amok at over $600 billion annually. The pentagon is like the
Aegean stables of the military-industrial complex into which money vanishes
as if into a black hole.
Pentagon's spending rate is now higher than it was at the height of the
Cold War, and is about one-half of the entire world's military spending,
although the US has only about 5% of the world population. At this rate it
is no wonder that the US has not enough money to pay for healthcare like
Western Europe does.
The military-industrial business, with its share of many scandals, is a
fantastically profitable trough in America for "investor" class because
it is the money coming directly from taxpayers' pockets, at no risk to the
well-connected. This enterprise is backed by a monumental media machine
that tells the American public how our military protects and defends the
entire planet against evil, and how our NATO allies don't do their fair
share, so that we must pick up the slack.
Remarkably, during the Bush presidency, opinion polls in European NATO countries showed that many saw the US as the biggest threat to peace.
Thirty-two percent thought so, according to Harris Research poll for the
Financial Times (July 2, 2007), conducted in five NATO countries in June
One wonders how such professed diligence and magnanimity from us towards
friends squares off with trickle-down healthcare for Americans.
Dr. Boris Danik
North Caldwell, NJ
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