Posts Tagged ‘disease’

CAN WE AFFORD TO HOUSE THE HOMELESS?

January 11, 2014

It may sound callous and indifferent to say it would save taxpayers significantly to house the homeless. But we apparently live in a nation of many callous and indifferent people, who seem to think it’s in their own best interest to simply ignore the homeless.

Based on actual calculations by the state of Utah of how much it costs to arrest and jail the homeless and provide emergency room services, the average cost per homeless person to the taxpayers of Utah is over $16,500 per year. Utah has discovered housing the homeless instead, including the cost of providing a social worker, costs the taxpayers about $11,000 annually, a savings to the taxpayer of over $5500 per homeless individual.

Unlike many cities continuing to pour taxpayer dollars down the drain arresting, jailing and re-arresting the homeless, Utah has since 2005 began offering those without shelter an apartment and, the entire state is on pace to eliminate homelessness by 2015. While housing the homeless for no cost might not be the best idea, most certainly housing them for one-third of their income, regardless of what it is, would save taxpaying citizens significantly.

Not included in the above calculations, are many other additional not so obvious costs to taxpayers when cities refuse to provide affordable housing. Perhaps most importantly and least understood by American citizens in general, it is a well-established historical fact that pandemics and plagues typically arise among the poorest sections within large urban areas, where adequate shelter, nutrition and medical care is most lacking.

Scientists for several years have been warning that major plague is long overdue and could erupt at any time here in the 21st Century. Disease knows no economic or other boundaries and can quickly spread in all directions upward and outward. It isn’t an exaggeration at all to say that failing to provide adequate shelter, nutrition and medical care for everyone within our borders, is simply begging for national and global disaster to erupt. No one is safe from contagious diseases, regardless of how wealthy or insulated we may be, nor are any of our own children.

Many millions of federal, state, county and city tax dollars are spent in various ways on social outreach services and similar programs that would not be spent if there was no homeless population. And, many billions more are spent by private charities, where much of this is donated by taxpaying citizens. The total cost of private donations combined with various taxpayer funded social outreach programs, significantly adds to the cost of not housing the homeless.

With all costs included, it is at least 50% less expensive to house a homeless person, charging them one-third of their income, than to not house the same homeless person. American cities could begin buying up vacant homes and other structures and start housing the homeless, which would have the added benefit of reducing crime, stabilizing and driving up property values in distressed neighborhoods. Can we afford NOT to house the homeless? You decide.

Link to footnotes and documentation for this article

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DID THE DEMOCRATS REFORM HEALTH CARE?

November 9, 2010

Congressional Democrats, since the election of President Obama, have passed cosmetic legislation that will likely hurt more than help the majority of Americans, while greatly enhancing the bottom-line of banking, oil and health corporations.  Like their Republican partners in crime, they are allowing citizens to become more and more economically enslaved.   For example, government sources announced not long after so-called health care “reform” passed, that projected costs for health care will nearly double by 2020.

Many Americans fail to understand that when employers pay for health care, we are in reality, paying for it ourselves.  Employer cost for benefits is included in the “price at the pump” reality for all goods and services.  And because the cost is ultimately borne by us, there is in reality no such thing as employer provided benefits.

If a manufacturer, trucking company and retail chain provide benefits for their employees, consumers purchasing the manufactured products delivered by the trucking company and sold by the retail chain, pay for the cost of these benefits. This includes the factory workers, truck drivers and store clerks who receive benefits, when they purchase goods and services themselves.

When an employer doesn’t provide health coverage, as is the case for most working class and poor citizens, then it greatly disproportionately effects them.  Not only are they forced to pay for their own coverage or do without, they also end up paying for the health benefits of employees who do have coverage, in the form of higher consumer prices.  Instead, if health care was paid for through federal taxation, citizens would pay for it based on their tax bracket and ability to pay.

The reality now is, upper-middle class and wealthier Americans typically enjoy premium health coverage paid for by their employers. Meanwhile, all American consumers end up paying for “Cadillac-plan” provided expensive high fashion eye-wear, cosmetic surgery and braces on children’s teeth.  And, poor Americans suffering from cancer and diabetes often have no coverage at all. EVERYBODY pays while only a few receive premium coverage.

When Republicans talk about supporting “small” business, what their agenda is really helping, is very large private businesses and publicly traded corporations that gain significantly from tax reductions. Average wage-earners lose far more in service cutbacks than they ever gain by tax reductions.  And, when Democrats talk about “reform”, it invariably results in the same thing, such as the projected rise in health care costs we all have to pay for.

Legislation backed by both parties severely hurts small business and the average American citizen and, the direction both parties are pursuing will ultimately enslave the masses beyond pre-20th Century industrial reality.  And, it will eliminate any semblance of legitimate business, while driving more and more people into financial ruin.

Did the Democrats really reform health care?  Is the Republican agenda any better?  As long as politicians are allowed to be bought and sold by wealthy interests, does it even really matter which party is in power?  You decide.

Link to footnotes and documentation for this article

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DOES BELIEF IN GOD CAUSE WAR AND OTHER HUMAN OPPRESSION?

April 20, 2010

Is it really accurate, as some intellectuals claim today, to blame belief in God as the cause of war and other human oppression?  Is this any more correct than blaming science and education?  Isn’t it more honest to instead, blame people who mis-use technology and belief in God for their own nefarious purposes?

Obviously, someone can aim the fickle finger of fate at war waged in the name of religion.  But, even before the invention of the wheel leading to ever-improved knife, spear, bow and chariot design, human science and education has been intricately entwined with waging war. Military applications have long been interlaced with government-funded science, education and modern space exploration.

Consider the Manhattan Project, nuclear missiles and space-ray weapons.  And, the rise of oppressive imperialism alongside industrial age invention; the American, French, Russian and Chinese revolutions; WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam and Iraq.  Incalculable human oppression has been aided by science and technology and, waged in the name of nationalism, democracy, capitalism, communism, socialism, fascism, anarchism and other intellectual idealism and often, just plain old fashioned human greed and lust for gold.

Arguably because of their belief in God, billions of people have helped the sick, poor and oppressed masses throughout the ages.  Consider names like Isaiah, Socrates, Jesus, Gandhi, Albert Schweitzer, Harriet Tubman, Helen Keller, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr., Cesar Chavez and, celebrities like Danny Thomas, Jerry Lewis and Martin Sheen.  Consider the Union Rescue Mission and LA Mission on Skid Row in Los Angeles.  Throughout the European “dark” and Middle Ages, many individuals, including some popes, established public hospitals, housing and bread lines.

Consider modern electricity, medicine, surgery, global travel, computer technology and other marvels of a 21st Century age of science and wonder.  And to be fair, weigh this in the historical balances against WMDs, global mass pollution, depletion of fisheries, rain and other forests, fresh water pollution, mountains of garbage and cesspools of toxic waste left in the wake of the “Age of Enlightenment”.

Why is oppression waged in the name of Christianity, Islam and other religions any worse than that waged in the name of manifest destiny, communism and fascism?  Is human oppression a result of sincere belief in God?  Or, is it rather, a result of human beings wrongly using the sincere beliefs of others for their own devious purposes?

Isn’t it more likely that we all contribute to the negative downside of human history, whenever we fail to treat other people as we ourselves, wish to be treated?  Isn’t it more accurate, as Jesus pointed out and as Freud, Jung and modern behavioral science agree, to blame the “seething mass” of irrationality and frustration buried deep within individual human beings, as being the real cause of our problems?

If we are going to rationally and fairly blame something as being the “cause” of our problems, maybe it’s wise to first take a good look in the mirror.  Does belief in God cause human oppression?  You decide.

Link to footnotes and documentation for this article

SHOULD EVERY AMERICAN CARE IF EVERYONE HAS HEALTH CARE?

October 17, 2009

Some historians claim disease has wiped out more people than all wars combined.  Yet, in spite of the known historical record, Americans continue to ignore the inevitable consequences of contagious disease; consequences including significant preventable illness even for those with health coverage, large productivity losses and national leading to global plague.

Some plead we should care about the less fortunate while others pretend private care is preferable, in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.  Today, U.S. citizens pay much more for coverage than citizens of any other nation, yet we are ranked 37th in health care quality and even lower in availability.

Several former Soviet block and Southeast Asian nations offer better coverage; even Cuba has a lower infant mortality rate.  Over 45 million U.S. residents have zero health care; at least 80 million more have highly inadequate coverage.  More and more citizens with expensive plans are being refused coverage for expensive problems.

Every week, more citizens lose employer-paid care and retirement benefits, including long-term coverage for less healthy retirement years.  Depending on provider, 10-30% of every dollar spent on private coverage goes to overhead not related to care, while less than 8% for government-sponsored Medicare does, even though Medicare helps the oldest and sickest among us.  Very plainly, private health care as we currently have, is not the solution.

Politicians on both sides of the political charade continue to pretend they care about America’s security, while continuing to ignore our immediate health care reality.  Whether or not we care about our neighbor is only part of a larger equation, because disease knows no boundaries.  Children of the poor can, have and will, infect children of the wealthy.  Medical facts clearly demonstrate that private coverage is no guarantee against contagious diseases.

In reality, less than 1% of U.S citizens can afford to pay for their own catastrophic needs.  All forms of private health insurance are “shared responsibility” programs,dependent on the majority of those covered to remain healthy, while majority pay-outs go to the sickest minority.

Yet, right-wing media pretends coverage is not a “shared responsibility”, that we should all take care of our own selves.  People who claim this have never faced $250,000 per year cancer treatments on a working class income.  And they clearly don’t understand their own immediate financial jeopardy if they were to lose coverage.  Or, what can and will happen to their own children, if their neighbor’s children remain uncovered.

Scientists claim our planet is overdue for a major disease epidemic, while history clearly dictates that all of our politics, education, science and weapons won’t protect us against the onslaught of disease.  And the media is clearly failing American citizens by not instructing us accordingly.

Is it fair to say that citizens who do not push for immediate affordable and adequate health coverage for all persons residing permanently or temporarily within our borders, are decidedly unpatriotic?  Is it fair to say they don’t even care about their own children?  You decide.

Link to footnotes and documentation for the above article

WHAT IS THE REAL RIGHT-WING AGENDA?

October 17, 2009

Right-wing extremists are the first to wave flags and pretend how much they believe in the Constitution and yet, they constantly whine and complain we can’t trust the government.  Apparently, they were asleep at the wheel during civics class, when the rest of us learned we the people are the government.

How many times must we endure Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh blather on and on about how we can’t trust our own selves, the government?  We can’t trust ourselves with tax dollars, we can’t trust ourselves with health care and we most certainly can’t trust us the government, to decide a convicted felon shouldn’t be armed to the teeth with every bazooka-type weapon imaginable.

Apparently, the so-called conservative “right” can’t even get our own Constitution right.  The idea of democracy isn’t to openly condemn ourselves by claiming we can’t trust the government.  Rather, the idea is to elect leaders to represent us and, to replace them when they instead, become right-wing corporate stooges and vote against our best interests.

Besides pretending to care about the unborn while totally screwing the already born, what the right-wing agenda really amounts to is, “we don’t believe in spending tax dollars to actually help taxpayers”. Rather, their goal is to use tax dollars for enhancing the bottom-line of the military industrial complex and otherwise, enriching corporations at the expense of us the taxpayers.

Any and every use of taxpayer dollars that will actually benefit taxpaying citizens is branded as “socialism” over and over again, the new all-purpose “red scare” bait-and-switch term of the 21st Century. The now entirely discredited Joe McCarthy appears “fair and balanced” alongside these Savage Nation and Coulter forty-five toting, hate-mongering meglomaniacs.

Education is supposedly high on the right-wing “safe issue” list, but conservative legislators consistently vote against increased spending for education.  Whatever they can’t eliminate because of political popularity, such as Medicare and Social Security, they try to “reform” into oblivion, creating huge funding black holes designed to funnel trillions of taxpayer dollars into big pharma and other deep corporate pockets.

Otherwise, the right-wing agenda is to convince average Joe Americans that all regulation of any kind is evil.  When in fact, wise regulation is what keeps tainted meat from ending up in all-American hamburgers, Joe American construction workers safe on their jobs and American Air Lines planes from falling out of American skies.

Wise regulation is the reason banks were relatively sound under Eisenhower.  While deregulation is obviously why they began their substantially crooked turn for the worse under Reagan, controlled by bloated greedy bastards of mass deception by the time Bush Junior was finished cutting a final slice out of the deregulation corporate mega-pie.

Is branding human beings “illegal” and blaming them for job losses and contagious diseases any different than what gave rise to Adolf Hitler and Auschwitz?  What is the real agenda of slave masters? What is the agenda of pure evil?

What is the real right-wing agenda?  You decide.

Link to footnotes and documentation for the above article