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Stagnant corruption in our time…

1) Micheal Moore’s Sicko is poised to highlight the failings of our healthcare system. Boy, do I know about the failings of the healthcare system. My cousin, who died of Lyme disease? Y’know, that disease you get from mosquitos that’s not West Nile virus? She died when she was 42.
Then there’s my dad’s hospital bills. The ones we’re still paying because insurance doesn’t pay for all of them. My dad died, what, 9 months ago, almost 10? That’s right, hope your parents don’t get cancer, because if they do, you can forget not taking out student loans! You can pay for treatments that didn’t even work out of the social security money you get for being an orphan! How fabulous!

Do you realize that 1/4 of all the money paid to insurance companies goes straight to profits? This is an old statistic, but in 1997, on average, we paid $2,000 more than Canadians do per capita. And all THEIR people are insured. That’s right, you pay $2000 a year for worse treatment AND not as many people are covered. Don’t you feel smart? Don’t you feel lucky to live in the United States of America?

2) For some reason, Mexico thinks that they should use our system of health care. Our exact same system. They do this by not taking care of their own people, so that Mexicans cross the border to better jobs AND hospitals that might treat their tuberculosis! Isn’t that great? We can have cheap labor and outbreaks of horrible diseases! I feel so special now. We should just keep providing emergency care to people who shouldn’t even be here in the first place.

All right, I’ll drop that disgusting tone. But the problem is totally real. There have been more cases of TB in recent years, mostly due to our immigrant problems. The immigrants come from a place where they didn’t get regular TB tests because their government isn’t willing to pay for it. Their drinking water is notoriously dirty; public health is not a priority of the Mexican government. Actually, the only priorities of the Mexican government I’ve noticed are a) not taxing rich people and b) sending people to the US to make money for their government. The rules of economics always boil down to supply and demand, and the issue of illegal immigrants is no different. So, what we need to do is cut off the supply, so to speak. We put pressure on Mexico to take care of its own damn people, they’ll stop coming up here in such overwhelming numbers, because the incentive will be less.

Secondly, we handle the demand. I know that the “bidness lobby” is incredibly powerful and relies quite a bit on cheap, immigrant labor. But the fact is, we need more raids. WAY more raids. I know raids are unpopular, mostly because they wreck lives. But if companies are in constant fear of being raided, then they won’t be so comfortable hiring illegal immigrants. And I think the penalties for employers should be incredibly heavy, so that it’s REALLY not worth the risk to hire illegals.

And I know that employers keep saying, “Americans aren’t willing to do these jobs.” Actually, Americans are not averse to working in restaurants, or construction, or gardening, or any of the various fields illegals work in. It’s just that American’s aren’t willing to do these jobs for such low wages. If they paid living wage, then we’d do it. Americans hate exploitative practices, because Americans are people. We hate torture too, because we wouldn’t want other people to do that shit to us. Before illegal immigrants, we did have a functioning capitalist economy. Exploitative practices are not totally necessary.

But actually, there is only one step that absolutely MUST be taken to improve the illegal immigrant situation. You know how, in the last bill, that one that got shot down, they said they’d speed up the green card/visa system so that the backlog would be taken care of in eight years? Hate to say it, but that’s not good enough. If the bill had passed, it would’ve been doomed from the start, because that time-frame is simply not good enough.

Let’s say you’ve just been hired to go work in Nebraska for twice the money you’re getting now. Let’s also say that, in order to live there legally, you have to wait eight years for your application to get considered, let alone passed. JOBS DON’T WAIT YEARS. Everybody knows that. Jobs, at best, wait a couple months, then they hire somebody else. Which is why I think that we should hire a whole bunch of extras to work and work and work until that backlog has cleared up. One year, 2 years at most to clear up the backlog, because then we will know who really should be illegal and who tried to enter the legal way but got fucked by our visa system.

3) I think I mentioned the business lobby somewhere back there. Well, the business lobby wouldn’t be powerful if money wasn’t important in our political life. By all reason, it shouldn’t be: the airwaves are technically owned by the people, but congress gave them away to the broadcasting companies some years ago, so now you have to buy your way onto TV. Just as I say it’s disgusting to make money off of people who are afraid of getting sick (health insurers), so I say it’s sick to make money off of things that aren’t yours to sell, and that includes the airwaves. If we give candidates free airtime, and make sure nobody gets more than anybody else (I’m including cable), then we will at least eliminate the problem of minor-party candidates getting no exposure. Also, candidates will no longer need to take so much money from corporations, because they won’t have to buy time-slots on TV, which are extremely expensive. Also, we should offer public campaign financing, and eliminate private donations altogether. Not the millions that they use now, you understand. If it was public, nobody would actually need that much, because the current system makes the game “outspend the other guys”; they have to keep raising money, otherwise, somebody else will have more TV spots, more brochures, more door-to-door salesmen, and the guy who still has money at the end is almost always the winner. Once in a while, somebody pulls an upset, but it’s the second-biggest spender that pulls it on the highest, not some truely small person.


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