UBI Is Not Enough

Andrew Yang is getting attention for promoting an idea which has been gaining traction for some time. Universal Basic Income or UBI.

I have written about UBI on several occasions. I am very much in favor of it. More and more jobs are being eliminated thanks to automation, while centralization has eliminated millions of jobs over the past 25 years. Much of that is thanks to advances in technology making it more efficient and cost-saving for companies to condense business operations into much smaller remote locations with far fewer employees. None of those jobs will be coming back because they simply no longer exist.

UBI would definitely create jobs and boost the economy considerably by increasing consumer spending.

However, UBI would have to include other components to be effective.

First of all, it would be counterproductive to make it truly universal. There should be an income cap where a person is no longer eligible. For an arbitrary number, say $100,000 but research would be beneficial to determine the optimum average number. Beyond a certain income, an earner ceases spending and instead places money in savings and investments. Any calculations would have to consider not only wages but income from all sources, including capital gains. If a recipient used the funds for other than spending in the economy, the effect would be removing any UBI funds received by that person from the economy. Instead, it would be horded in banks and stocks.

Second and most crucial is that price caps would be necessary, especially such as rent controls and food price caps. This is not suggesting a simplistic approach. It would have to be calculated by city or region due to price fluctuations from one geographic location to another. Without price caps being imposed, capitalists would take advantage of the increased average income by increasing prices, leading to the fears many state of increased inflation, nullifying any benefit seen by UBI. Once again, the ultimate effect would be an increased flow of wealth to the top and the money would be removed from the economy.

I know some will claim that price caps are somehow un-American or anti-capitalist. Yet this country is no stranger to price caps. There were once price caps on many items in this country. The subsidies we still have on dairy products are a remnant of price controls which once existed. There would be nothing anti-capitalist about dynamic price controls based on market conditions and imposed as a profit percentage for producers and retailers. We definitely have the technological means today for such price controls to be implemented and merely doing so would create a fair number of jobs.

The fact is, the US uses price caps right this minute in a form. Of course, they are called any number of other names and are primarily for the benefit of corporations. I am talking about corporate subsidies. Some people will object to price caps when they benefit the people of this country but if their corporate masters benefit, it’s okay because “capitalism”. Some estimates say we subsidize fossil fuels to the tune of over $700 BILLION a year. The military contracting industry is not only subsidized but is wholly and completely dependent on federal funding. Ethanol is massively subsidized. It is possible that subsidies for some of these items help keep prices lower. However, without caps we can have no real idea. One thing is true, which is that subsidies do not come free of charge. They cost taxpayers and drive up the national debt, meaning the subsidies of today will cost taxpayers for entire generations.

I’d say if we can afford it for corporations, we should be able to afford it for the people of this country.

No matter what, UBI is not as simple a solution as it is promoted to be. It is well worth looking into and implementing. In fact, it is mandatory. Without it, the economy is likely to collapse over the next few years. Wait until autonomous vehicles are being used in mass numbers and millions of workers lose transportation jobs. By then a lot of damage will have been done, so it’s better we start acting on UBI now.

Federally Guaranteed Jobs Versus UBI

Certain presidential candidates are promoting the idea of a Federally Guaranteed Jobs program. This proposal is competing with the idea of UBI (Universal Basic Income) proposed by other candidates.

First of all, one has to take into consideration is the fact that a Federally Guaranteed Jobs program does not equate to guaranteed federal jobs.

Think of it in this way. For decades we have had a federally guaranteed student loan program and federally guaranteed home loans. In each of these cases, the services rendered are not provided by the federal government, they are farmed out to be provided by corporate entities. The corporations make the profits while the federal government acts as the collection agency for the corporations, ruining your life for years should you default on any “federal guarantee”. Simply put, they do not guarantee the loan or service, they only guarantee that they will put the screws to your thumbs to collect for the corporations.

Right now, while federally guaranteed jobs are being discussed, our government contracts out most of the work being done. Contracts out to corporate entities who do the work for corporate profit, that is. Road construction and repair, building design/construction/renovation, food production and delivery, weapons manufacturing and research. You name it, the government probably contracts for it.

So it most likely means that when we talk about federally guaranteed jobs, what we are really talking about is federally subsidizing corporate profits. Above and beyond the level to which we already subsidize corporate profits through government grants and subsidies. We subsidize corporations through welfare and food stamps, allowing them to continue to pay low wages while collecting inflated profits. We subsidize the current and past bailouts of corporate banks through quantitative easing and the repo market. We subsidize corporate profits through sanctions and tariffs and tax breaks. We subsidize profits for wealthy investors and executives through bankruptcy laws that allow for pre-bankruptcy dividends and post-bankruptcy bonuses for executives. All while writing off unpaid debts to other businesses and individuals who will be forced to also declare bankruptcy or increase prices for the debts they were unable to collect. We subsidize through slashed benefits and seized pension funds.

So, let’s expand on that further, right?

It is only a very small step between federally guaranteed jobs to federally mandated jobs.

A huge difference between UBI and federally guaranteed jobs is the chance for self advancement. UBI is suggested as an income for every person as a means of meeting their basic needs, hence the term “basic”. It should cover food, housing, shelter and ideally basic medical needs. Thus, if a person wishes to move beyond absolute basics in their existence, they can work part time or full time, even overtime as their needs or desires dictate. Their employment income serves as a means forward beyond mere existence.

With the guaranteed jobs program, this does not happen. The income from the job serves as nothing more than spinning your wheels. That job becomes your basic income. If you want to move ahead, you would be exactly where millions of Americans are at this exact moment. You would have to forfeit family and leisure time, subject yourself to more physical and emotional stress, chasing a higher income while paying more taxes in the process.

Which one sounds more like a move forward for our society, for the individual?

I have already written that UBI in and of itself would require additional measures to counterbalance the responses from capitalists. If you missed that article, you can find it here.

Don’t Be Impressed By Black Friday Sales Numbers

The media has been making a huge deal out of the large consumer spending numbers on Black Friday this year, touted as the most ever spent on Black Friday and a considerable increase over last year.

However, all of this is being viewed through a laser-focused lens. Absolute tunnel vision is in effect, giving a distorted image of the truth. There is a lot more which has to be taken into consideration than the numbers of a single day or weekend.

Timing is everything. The first thing to take into consideration is when Black Friday occurs during a given year. This year it occurred on 11/29/19. What does that mean? It means that 12/1 occurred on a weekend. The result is that Social Security, government and many other paychecks typically paid on the 1st of the month were deposited instead on.. Black Friday. If you have ever been shopping, especially grocery shopping, you know that the first weekend of the month is generally much busier than other weekends because of those consumers forced to live paycheck to paycheck. The last time that Black Friday and December 1st occurred on the same weekend was in 2013. (7 year cycle.) Guess what the media was reporting at the time? They reported how consumer sales had increased over the previous year for Black Friday. Not to the same degree, of course. We were allegedly coming out of the Great Recession and one has to take inflation into account, which affects absolute numbers AND percentages reported.

Changing shopping habits. Another thing to take into consideration is that remote orders for store pickup increased considerably this year. While part of this is technology-driven, it also indicates consumers are planning their purchases in advance. They know what they are going to buy and that is what they order. This has the effect of reducing impulse purchases made while shoppers wander through stores and buy more than they originally planned. If shoppers only buy what they have planned for, this indicates that spending will most likely taper off very quickly before mid-December, which will negate the gains reported right now.

A wider view. When we take all the above into account, the obvious becomes clear. We cannot look at a single day or weekend to judge consumer spending or confidence. Instead, we have to take a wider view and look at consumer spending both before and after Black Friday weekend. Not meaning an isolated view of one week before and after but at least 1 month before and after. This gives us a much more accurate view. Obviously we cannot really predict what the coming month will bring but we can look back at previous months. In October, retail sales increased by 0.3%. Statistically this is negligible to begin with. However, go back one more month and we find that sales in September had declined by 0.3%, which brings even the October increase to a flat even number.

Consumer sales do not equal consumer spending. Something else to look at is how these sales are funded. Consumer credit spending has increased and that is likely how much of the current spending was funded. Many consumers are still paying credit card debt from 2018. This is debt spending, which is not truly consumer spending. Rather than indicating consumer confidence or any improvement in the economy, it tends to indicate the reverse, that consumers are not in the position to spend actual income at this time. Even if they have the liquid assets to spend, they are not willing to part with those assets, which demonstrates a lack of confidence in the ability to recuperate those assets in the near future.

The Trump irony. It is extremely ironic that the neoliberal media is reporting how well sales are doing, which amounts to a claim that the economy is doing extremely well. In effect, they are stating that Trump is having a positive effect on the economy. This, even as they make concurrent claims that he is destroying the economy and the country. The numbers they are reporting literally increase support for Trump, even as the neoliberal media is pushing for his impeachment. Meanwhile the same corporate media on both sides report falsified employment numbers and simply do not report comprehensive numbers of layoffs and retail or manufacturing closures which have taken place this year. What they are doing is trying to play both sides in an attempt to force the illusion that capitalism is successful while trying to bring down the most capitalistic president to ever hold US office.

The rebound effect. Consumer debt is already at a level higher than any time in history, while labor income is the lowest it has been in decades in terms of real wages. Now consumers appear to be taking on new debt. If jobs which offer living wages are not created in mass numbers in the very near future, meaning the next few months, as debts come due we will see consumer spending plummet drastically as consumers are forced to reduce immediate spending to pay the debts. This will cause more layoffs in an increasing spiral downward for the economy. This is likely to concur with the end of the Federal Reserve bailout of unstable banks, resulting in the perfect storm for an economic crash the likes of which few people have imagined.

Anarchists: The Best Example Of Your Ideology Is Libya Today

I keep hearing people who claim to be ideologically left, yet continually espouse such sentiments as not voting, eliminating parties and outright eliminating government. This is more dangerous thinking than everything we are currently facing today.

Many, if they apply a label to themselves, call themselves Anarchists. Merriam-Webster defines Anarchy as, “ a state of lawlessness or political disorder due to the absence of governmental authority”.

Of course, they will attempt to apply the third definition, which is, “ a Utopian society of individuals who enjoy complete freedom without government”. We’ll get to that.

Many also adhere to Libertarianism, which I have raged against previously, pointing out clearly that Libertarians are NOT, I repeat NOT Progressives.

Libya is the best example of anarchy and capitalism. If you want to know what Anarchy and unrestricted capitalism looks like, look at Libya today, since the US-orchestrated destruction of the Qaddafi government. They have no elections and no viable government. They also have open slave markets in the streets, lack of food, lack of water, armed gangs running the streets. Unrestricted capitalism means unrestricted. That means anything and everything is for sale. Including human freedom and life. If you cannot pay, your freedom and perhaps your life will be surrendered. Because of lack of government, lack of laws, lack of law enforcement, your freedom and your life may be forfeit even if you DO pay. After all, who is there to insure that your abductors or abusers hold their side of that bargain?

Define no government. Those who call themselves Anarchists or Anarcho-Socialists (aka Libertarian Socialists) have an objection to the existence of a centralized government, especially one which controls the economy. In general, they protest against the collection of taxes. Meaning any existing government would have to be self-funded. In other words, only those who could purchase their way into office would hold office. They claim that all humans should be self-governing and they toss in the Socialist label to try and legitimize their claims that this would be freedom or “liberty”. Their ideas would serve to empower the rich and the most brutal in society. Why would anyone think that the rich and violent would not threaten and control anyone opposing them? That already happens right now!

Their labels are oxymorons. No matter which label they choose to apply to themselves is self-contradictory. You cannot be in favor of social liberties while denying funding or oversight to the very programs which provide for the welfare of the people, especially the young, elderly, poor and chronically ill. What they propose is survival of the privileged. Not very social, is it?

A Socialist government still needs a central government. Understand something. Any time you gather a group of people together, including civilians, to define rules of conduct in any way, you have created laws and regulations. Those laws must include penalties or there is nothing to stop anyone from violating those laws. Without defined laws, courts and means of enforcement, what results is mob rule and vigilante justice. Without laws and a system to enforce those laws, who protects the general public? Who stops businesses or anyone from selling unsafe medications and medical equipment? Who enforces food safety? Environmental protection? Worker safety? Consumer finance protection? Child labor laws? Wages?

Who saves capitalism? Opposing a government basically means opposing safety, security and the general welfare. It also means opposing capitalism itself. In 2008/9 it was inadequate financial regulations which led to the financial collapse. Who did capitalists turn to? Who saved them? The government. Right this minute, the Federal Reserve is creating roughly $180 billion PER DAY to bail out unstable private banks which would otherwise collapse. Those banks became unstable by placing money in risky investments. What are the banks doing with the money loaned to them? Bailing out the risky investments, of course. In all honesty, without government, what stops banks from taking your deposits and closing their doors?

Don’t vote? If you choose to not vote, that is your personal choice. You have chosen to silence your own voice which could at least be used to help raise the chances of increased ballot access for third and fourth parties. So do not act like not voting is making a statement. That is passive-aggressive whining. It is highly unlikely that there ever has been or ever will be one candidate for any office that you agree with absolutely. It is a matter of balance and priority. If you don’t see anyone you like running for office and you want to be so much of an activist, get out and run for office yourself. Instead of sitting on your ass criticizing, put yourself on the line and be the one being criticized. Be the one trying to find the balance needed to improve things. Be the one to offer solutions, not just complaining about problems.

Revolution? Anyone who reads my writing knows I absolutely oppose violent revolution. That kind of violence always gets out of hand and causes harm. The ones who advocate violence have some fantasy that they will be immune to that violence. There’s nothing humanitarian about their ideas. Does any of this mean that I do not expect violent revolution to occur in this country, at least in limited pockets? I fully expect that to happen. Does that mean I will shy away if it comes down to an outright physical confrontation between varying factions, including the government against the people? I will be right there if and when it happens.

However, IDEAS are what are truly revolutionary. Knowledge, truth, peaceful negotiation. Unity across party lines is revolutionary and what the oligarchy truly fears. We will not gain that unity by attacking one another using labels and contrived divisions between us. We will not gain that unity by violence. None of us can expect to agree on all points with all people or even most people. We have to be dynamic in our allegiances by joining with one group for one goal and another group for another goal, etc. Not only can we accomplish more that way but we gain stronger bonds with a wider variety of people. We build COMMUNITY.

Yes, we absolutely need changes to our system. That’s not a question. We need a system which bails and benefits the people, not the banks, not the corporations, not the warmongers. Let the ones throwing money into failed investments fail. Only then will they learn their lesson.

Banding together is anything but anarchy. Banding together as some propose for the purpose of destroying the government with no viable alternative is mob rule. Destroying the government would result in mob against mob, gang against gang. Which is not very Utopian, is it?

Pt 2- Universal Healthcare Would Have To Be Adopted Gradually

I really did not think I was going to have to write a follow up on this one. I should have known better. So, this follow up is really to address the contradictions I have encountered from the left.

Some have claimed that because I am stating that universal healthcare would have to be phased in that I am in some way against universal healthcare. The first thing that is obvious about that argument is that they have not read my writing, including the entire first article. They claim they did, of course but if they did, the indication is worse. It means they are arguing for the sake of feeding their addiction to conflict. I made it very clear on too many occasions to count just how much I am in favor of universal healthcare, so their arguments hold no water at all.

Rational approach. Every single thing that I write comes from a rational perspective. In this case, I have not only formally and informally studied economics for over 30 years but have direct experience with basically everything involved. I have been a nurse for over 25 years. I have written medical protocols. I have worked as a subcontractor for multiple insurance companies and the longest position in that respect I resigned from because of my own ethical objections to changes in criteria which denied needed imaging studies. Lastly, I have been writing about politics for years. Thus, I know politics, economics, medicine, medical protocols and the insurance/medical funding processes.

Compassionate approach. Not only is everything I write rational, it is also humanitarian in nature. My detractors on the first article are still absolutely set on the idea that insurance company employees would be able to transition directly and immediately to a government universal healthcare system. That would not happen. It could not happen. It is all but impossible.

Location, location, location. First, detractors are making the completely erroneous assumption that new jobs will be created in the same cities in which they currently exist. That would not happen in the majority of cases. There may be a select few jobs available in larger cities created but not enough to replace all the jobs which would be lost by a long shot. Maybe they think workers can simply pull up their entire lives and relocate to where the new jobs are created. Leave their homes, their families, their friends and all that they know for the sake of a paycheck. A few may be willing to do this but they will be an extreme minority. That thought process also takes no account of what that would do to the housing market. So, who is thinking about the direct welfare of those workers and their families? Me or my detractors?

Money is not healthcare. Detractors have said to me that insurance is not healthcare. I agree. Know what else is not healthcare? Throwing money at the problem. I explained in detail the challenges of training, building and expanding systems, contracts, staffing, etc. Just funding is not enough. Throwing money at a problem does not make it go away. The moment that universal healthcare passes, I explained that the stock market will plummet. Perhaps they think this only has implications for rich investors. However, it would definitely affect the average American who has a diversified 401k. People could lose a significant portion of their life savings within hours. Just funding would not create the needed systems and medically trained personnel needed to provide the care and services required. Who is thinking about the average American with retirement accounts and the lapse in services? Me or my detractors?

Staffing, education and licensing. I covered this in the first article but let me repeat it. Medical training takes years. Implementing universal healthcare will place a heavy burden on the system we currently have. Waiting times will lengthen and there is already insufficient staffing in many geographic areas. Yes, you can increase pay/bonuses/benefits but then you merely move the shortage from one place to another. More people will have to be trained and licensed. Would you want your family member in a hospital which was still accepting patients at half the minimum staffing levels? I have been a nurse long enough to have had 14 patients on a surgical unit, 40 patients in inpatient hospice with one CNA, over 60 in a nursing home or skilled nursing unit, over 300 patients one time in a long term rehab unit. Those are the kinds of things that led to the nursing shortage and almost made me leave nursing. Do you want that back? Who is thinking about patient safety and who is not? Me or my detractors?

Overburdening. One thing is absolutely true. Before you can train people into a new system, the system has to exist. While those opposed to me claim workers can be trained into the existing system, the Medicare/Medicaid system is not created or equipped with the resources or even protocols needed for a universal healthcare system. However, let’s say the protocols and computer systems existed. What happens then is that you overburden the current workers with training new employees. Even after a person is trained, they have to have their work overseen and reviewed for accuracy for weeks or months. That includes for fraud, waste and abuse. During this time, the processing time for claims would be extended considerably. Perhaps taking weeks or months. So, who is thinking of the people who are actually ill, acutely or chronically during this period? Me or my detractors? Who is thinking of the stress level placed on already overworked government employees? Me or my detractors?

Offshore effects. Not many Americans have any realization as to how much of their medical claims process takes place in other countries. Yes, your private medical information is sent to other countries on a daily basis. I know this because of my experiences doing preauthorization for medical imaging studies. One big reason for this is that the insurance companies pay workers in other countries far less than domestic workers. I have also worked in medical facilities that send imaging studies to Australia to have reports written. That’s so they do not have to keep a Radiologist PhD on staff at all times. Now, while I strenuously object to our medical information being sent to other countries, I accept the fact that the workers in those countries rely on that employment for an income. An immediate change to universal healthcare would leave them without an income with no warning. So, who is more compassionate to those workers? Me or my detractors?

Probationary period. One cannot deny that implementing universal healthcare would be harshly scrutinized and criticized by capitalists. That includes the capitalist media who make many many billions per year hosting advertising for insurance and drug companies. So, how would they be reporting on this transition? If we suddenly had tens or hundreds of thousands out of work, waiting times and processing times extended to months, a stock market crash and seeming incompetence all along the way? Do you remember how much of a problem it was to bring the ACA online? The problems with the government portal? How many times the system crashed? The processing time to get people enrolled? Do you remember how the media reported on every single tiny problem? The absolute fact is that capitalists would be seeking any and every excuse to declare universal healthcare a failure. That is ALL they would report on all day, every day. While probably blaming Russia, of course. So, who is thinking of how imperative it is that universal healthcare be implemented in a way that considers all that can go wrong, plans for exceptions and has contingencies in place? Who sounds like they want it to be successful, me or my detractors?

Too many of my detractors are completely driven by emotion. That emotion is unreasoning, uncompromising, compulsive and selfish. As a nurse, I am trained and experienced in applying critical thinking to achieve results which are based on emotion, compassion, caring. As a nurse, I am also absolutely no stranger to setting my own emotions aside while applying that critical thought process or even doing what the patient wants when my own choice would be far different.

I am very much in favor of Socialism and my writing displays that. However, as a reasoning person I also think clearly that transitioning in that direction must be done gradually and with extreme planning. We cannot throw one system out completely without having a new system already built to replace it. That is the equivalent to learning you have lung cancer and the doctor’s response is grabbing a scalpel and removing your lungs with no anesthesia, no transplant organs. “Well, we have funding for it!” How would that work for you?

The whole point is that using critical, rational thinking to detail exactly HOW things can be accomplished effectively with the fewest complications does not lack compassion or emotion in the least. You would not want someone performing surgery on you or administering medications to you when they have no knowledge on the procedures. It doesn’t matter how much emotion they put into it, certain things take knowledge, planning and education. Your FEELINGS don’t matter if you sabotage the system you implement while causing very real danger to the beneficiaries of that system. If we cause more problems than we solve, we doom that system before it ever gets off the ground.

Care enough to THINK.

Universal Healthcare Would HAVE to Be Adopted Gradually

Many people voicing support for universal healthcare think it is some form of magic bullet that would be adopted and implemented in a single day and all problems would be resolved.

None of this is true. In fact, it would and should be adopted gradually over years to overcome the difficulties that would be encountered on many levels.

Supplemental insurance. This is a key sticking point for many people. I have pointed out that Tulsi Gabbard openly states her plan would include supplemental insurance, while Bernie Sanders admits his plan would as well but only under coerced admittance. Now, consider the fact that nearly every country that has universal healthcare also has supplemental insurance. If we moved to universal healthcare, think what would happen the day it was announced, if no supplemental insurance were included. That very day, the stock market would crash. Medical claims would be denied, even if previously approved. Tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of Americans would lose their jobs. Doctors offices, clinics, hospitals and pharmacies would be forced to close their doors within weeks. Not out of greed. Out of necessity. That would suspend or eliminate hundreds of thousands of other jobs. From there, downstream spending would plummet, causing more complications.

Of course, these effects could be very slightly dampened by legislation mandating companies to keep their doors open, insurance companies to honor claims, etc. That does not keep investors from selling off stocks, cashing in bonds.

By allowing for supplemental insurance, many jobs would be maintained. Investors would still pull funding but not completely.

Timeline. There would have to be a plan which included a specific timeline which phased in the introduction. This could take many forms, such as introducing specific existing medical conditions by target dates and culminating in universal coverage.

Job creation. I have pointed out previously that universal healthcare would absolutely create more jobs than it eliminated. Meaning living wage jobs. However, this process would not be instantaneous. One crucial aspect would be funding the expansion of medical professional training. This could take the form of federal funding or even federal training programs for each state for various medical professions, especially nursing, nurse practitioners, licensed physician assistants (not to be confused with medical assistants), etc. This training takes years. Even as hospitals across the country have been closing at a rate of 35 per year, the nursing shortage has continued. Universal healthcare would make that situation far worse and spread the problem to other medical fields.

Waiting times. You can definitely count on wait times for medical appointments of all kinds to be temporarily extended. The implementation of universal healthcare should include new systems which require less direct interaction with providers for basic care. Telephone and internet consultation systems have been developed which help with this and could be adapted to such a new system. Those would have to be expanded. The current systems are for profit and if they choose to not take part in the new system, they would have to be replaced with government run systems. Self referral for some specialties should also be an option with prior approval.

Medical criteria. While Medicare/Medicaid has a strong set of medical criteria already in place, it is insufficient to cover the needs which would be required under universal healthcare. The criteria currently in place cover existing conditions and less preventative care. Some of the criteria needed could be derived from insurance companies but would still require review, rewriting and implementation to incorporate into the system. Once again, this is a process which would take years to accomplish fully.

Billing and payment. While universal healthcare would simplify medical billing, the specific systems necessary for the scale of the system would have to be not only expanded and updated but more systems put in place to reduce fraud, waste and abuse. Funding would be a challenge in the beginning, as there would absolutely be a massive surge of claims by those who may have foregone medical care for years. After 2–3 years it would decrease and level off but there would be numerous adaptations to even figure out the right balance between cost to taxpayers and payments to providers. During that time there would be a lot of bitching and moaning about how unfair the system was, it was a bad idea, etc. Nothing of this scale happens without some kinks to work out.

Contracts and logistics. Medical facilities and offices have contracts with providers of services, equipment and medications. In many cases, these are dictated by insurance plans. Many of these contracts will have to be renegotiated, which again takes time. Of course, if all service/equipment/pharmacies are obligated to accept referrals from any provider, this will simplify things. However, don’t count on this happening right away because of everything detailed above.

Quality of care. Even if we solve the problems of training medical professionals, that does not insure quality of care. With a system which would be burdened by a new large number of patients, I would expect some decrease in quality of care for a time, until we achieve a strong enough density of medical professionals to weed out the weakest links. I’ve seen horrible incompetency in my years in nursing. Just last week I had to explain to another nurse that DNR means Do Not Resuscitate, it does not mean Do Not Treat. Then I had to explain the difference. If we had a mad rush to graduate a mass number of licensed people, chances are quality of education, testing and oversight would be decreased as well if more oversight is not included in the new system, which would also take time. Oversight would have to be done concurrently with the phasing in of the new system.

None of this means that we should not be pushing for universal healthcare. We absolutely MUST push for it. Medical care should not be available only for the wealthy. It should be considered a human right above and beyond profit motives.

My entire point is that just passing legislation is not going to solve all our problems in a single shot. Changing our entire system will take time. It is a huge and complicated task, not just a change in paperwork. It affects all of our lives, not just a few. There are aspects of this that some who have an unearned sense of privilege will obviously object to. Others will object because they want to move instantaneously to a state run system with no option for supplemental insurance. While an eventual move to a truly universal system may be possible, even that seems unlikely. There should be supplemental insurance for things like cosmetic care, which the rest of us should not have to pay for. I’m certain that insurance companies would be able to devise special insurance plans for that purpose, if they do not already exist.

The US Is Not Ready For Socialism

When the majority of people spoke of Socialism for many years, what they really referred to is Marxist Socialism. Some confuse Marxism with Communism but that’s not exactly accurate, either. If you want a better distinction between the two than I can offer, I advise listening to Dr Richard Wolff.

In summary, Communism and the Bolshevik Revolution initially began with Marxist Socialism as a goal. However, it was diverted along the way by numerous forces which distorted it.

However, this is not about a history lesson. Nor is a full college course definition of Marxism the point I am making here. There are many sources for that information easily available.

If a person is informed on exactly what Marxist Socialism truly is, one can easily define it as a society which places the welfare and well-being of the society above that of the individual. It is the members of that society utilizing the resources produced by that society to help all members of the community. It involves strict regulations of resources and oversight of monetary policies to enforce fair distribution of goods, services and money. The regulations are determined by the very members of the society in question. Policies and laws are debated and voted into place by a democratic majority of regular citizens taking part in the process, each with an equal stake in the outcome and/or consequences of their decisions.

In opposition to Socialism is Capitalism, in which there is little to no oversight of the distribution of resources. The distribution of goods and services are unfairly diverted to those who gain the greater share of those resources, by nearly any means possible. Goods and services are produced by the many for the benefit of the few. Laws and regulations are determined by what benefits the already powerful, with no input by the members of society. The elite suffer virtually no consequences for their actions or decisions, while the consequences are suffered in severe form by the successively lower classes. In modern times, we can clearly see the capitalist system as a direct descendant of slavery and feudalism.

Unfortunately, in this country we have been basically banned from even discussing Socialism for decades. To even mention Socialism raised the contrived specter of an evil enemy, a narrative construct created by elite propagandists to keep the masses in line, subservient to the masters and mistresses of the manors. Generations have been indoctrinated to believe that capitalism is the only system which offers freedom, even as we sacrificed our freedom and our very lives on the altar of the capitalist religion. The servants have warred amongst ourselves to defend our own oppression.

Times have changed. Much of this is thanks to one of the most Socialist constructions ever. The internet. More specifically, social media. While nobody can deny that much of social media is emotionally reactionary behavior, ideas still manage to get through and eventually discussed if perpetuated enough.

This is why the corporate culture has been rising to attempt to censor these ideas. Yet then they must face the backlash of protests, outcries and, most importantly, the threat of losing their audience and consumer base which provides their revenue stream. The threat exists that users will abandon their platforms and form new platforms, never to return. So, should the corporate media sources tolerate some ideas for short term profit? Or censor speech in an effort to control the narrative? Capitalists will always and consistently choose short term profit, even when they know they will suffer some level of defeat further down the road.

One big problem is that our society still believes too much in capitalism as a model. They listen too intently to corporate propaganda fearmongering about the dangers of Socialism.

We have been emotionally conditioned to react emotionally rather than think critically or understand concepts. We have been conditioned to fear simple words without knowing their meaning. Yet this country has had Socialist programs in place for decades, without which the economy would collapse and humans would suffer. Social Security, public schools, public roads, worker safety laws, health departments, environmental protection laws, wage laws, consumer protection laws and more are all Socialist in nature. These programs and other Socialist constructs are responsible for millions of jobs resulting in trillions of dollars in tax revenue.

It is not taxes which are the problem but how those taxes are spent which pose the problem. Our taxes benefit the rich far more than society in general. Bombs and weapons create very few jobs and save no lives at all. Medical care, infrastructure and education save lives, improve lives and don’t directly kill anyone. Yet they create jobs across the country, across the planet.

While our grasp of the benefits of Socialism is improving, we are not yet evolved enough for Marxism. Even the vast majority of those who support Social Democracy are still prone to the mindset of capitalism and consumerism which we have been immersed in for our entire lives. We are not yet evolved enough emotionally, educationally, intellectually or even spiritually to move directly toward Marxism. Just by virtue of the psychological and emotional maturity of our populace, any possible move toward true Socialism will have to be done by gradual steps. We already see the lesser evolved populace fighting in favor of their own oppression, their own suffering, their own insecurity, even their own deaths. They are simply unable to break free of their indoctrinated programming.

One must recall that the two major countries that have utilized any form of expansive Marxism both did so only after being decimated by world wars, the USSR by WWI and China by WWII. People were desperate, their cities, infrastructure and economies laid waste. They enacted Socialism as they rebuilt their socioeconomic systems and even then only with extreme struggle and civil unrest. In addition, they both faced the exact same adversaries which we face now- Corporate influences and the capitalist-enabling US government, backed up by a massive military force. Yes, if we try and move too quickly toward Socialism, we will definitely confront US military force and militarized police on our own streets, in our own homes.

I have no doubt we can eventually make the move toward Socialism. It would be natural social evolution and maturation. It will simply have to happen over a long period of time and include mass education to prove the concept. Each of us in favor of Socialism can help by pointing out the Socialist programs we already have in place and their benefits to both society and the general economy. Still, even we must accept the fact that the only way it will stand a chance of occurring is for us to follow in the same economic path by which it has taken hold in other countries. That is to say, capitalism MUST fail completely, forcing the majority of the population to come to complete realization that a new system to replace it is mandatory. Our only other choice would be reinstating slavery. If that happened, who gets to choose who the slaves would be? What would happen to those who did not own slaves or resources? Their labor would not be needed on any significant scale. To a populace blind to the fact that they are already enslaved to debt, desensitized to our own suffering, to give up more rights may not seem like a frightening concept. Our society has become secure in our own insecurity.

The necessary collapse of capitalism is coming soon. It has been inevitable for many years and is completely unavoidable at this point. The illusion can no longer be maintained. It will be the capitalists who have used the capitalist system as a religion, a drug, a means of self definition who will collapse as the system collapses. People who define themselves as capitalists will be unable to adapt, unaware of who they are without their possessions. Sadly, we can expect many to take their own lives rather than adapt. Some may try and take the lives of others. It will be tragic but we must expect it.

It is time for us to face these facts at this moment, without waiting or trying to defer the mental evolution to a later date. It is time for each of us to be the grownups in the room. The already evolved will find no true challenge in adapting to such a reality. We will have no problem leading the way forward.

What Happens When A Student Defaults On a Federal Student Loan?

Right now we are seeing the highest rate of defaults on federal student loans in the history of this country. This situation is unsustainable on many levels.

What happens when a student defaults on a federal student loan?

First, take a look at what the term “federal student loan” means. The term refers to a student loan which is backed by a guarantee by the federal government. In other words, the US federal government promises the bank that they will be reimbursed for the loan, even if the student defaults on the loan.

If you have ever been at risk of defaulting on a student loan or entered an agreed upon period of nonpayment due to some form of hardship, you know the steps that occurred. First, your loan is sent to a federal office. What you may not know is that the federal office at that point pays the bank for the balance of the loan and they assume the balance for a period of time. This is generally considered a “rehabilitation period”, during which no additional interest accrues on the loan.

At the end of that period, the loan is farmed back out to lenders. You have no control over what lender picks up the loan, so you may get the same lender back or a different lender.

If you are then unable to maintain the payments on the loan after all deferments have been used up, the loan is considered in default by the lender.

At that point, a federal office again assumes the balance of the loan, paying off the bank. This is when real problems begin.

Once the status on the loan is considered to officially be in default, the federal government will take any means necessary to collect the balance of the loan, in addition to interest, fees and penalties. Those steps can include placing a mandatory lien on a percentage of your paycheck, seizing your tax refunds, and in extreme cases they can seize your bank account assets, investment accounts, Social Security payments and more.

Disability, age and even death does not stop collection efforts. If you are married and die, your spouse becomes responsible for the balance of the debt. So any funds left to your estate can be seized. If that is insufficient, your spouse’s Social Security or pension can be penalized until paid in full.

Once you default on a federal student loan, the negative mark on your credit rating is basically permanent. It does not roll over in 10 years as other debts do. It follows you for life. Declaring bankruptcy does not apply to federal student loans at all.

In cases where the government is unable to collect the balance of the loan, the federal government (meaning you, the taxpayer) assumes the balance of the loan.

This is the extent to which the federal government goes to insuring the profits of corporate banks. Meanwhile, very little protection is offered to the student/borrower. If a school fails before the course is completed, that does nothing to erase or lessen the debt owed by the student. With no protections regarding age, extended illness or even death, you can understand clearly that your money is worth more than your life to our government.

I have explained in recent weeks how the Federal reserve (which is not a government entity, yet determines federal national debt) is bailing out banks right this minute. Banks which are at risk of failing due to taking on risky investments. By the time the Repo Market bailout ends, the risk to the federal debt will exceed $4 trillion, which is far more expensive than paying off all student loans would cost.

The unbalanced system in favor of banks and rich investors, backed by the government, with the US government acting as a collection agency on their behalf, is one of the biggest reasons to take universal adult education seriously. Add this to the benefits to the general economy in terms of disposable income translated to consumer spending which would create jobs and it simply makes sense. Right now the interest applied to decades of student loan debt does nothing for the economy, it creates virtually no jobs at all. It merely serves to enrich the already rich. The debt lessens the ability of borrowers to qualify for mortgages, apartment rental agreements, vehicle loans and often disallows a borrower from being able to afford medical care. In many cases, it impacts food security for the borrower. This is a loan shark system of the highest degree which needs to end.

There is absolutely no excuse that “the richest country on earth” cannot afford universal adult education at the 2–4 year degree level for our citizens. Not when nearly every other developed country has such a system in place. There is no other country, has never been another country, with this level of student loan debt, this level of bankruptcy for what amounts to basic needs and services for our own citizens, only to prop up the profits of the privileged.

I Am The Revolution

I am the Revolution
I am Anonymous
I am Antifa
I am anti-media
I am anti-corporate
I am for an establishment but changing the one we’ve had for decades
I am all races
I am all genders
I am all sexual orientations
I am all religions
I am all nationalities
I am against war
I am non-violent by choice, not by fear
I am your ally
I am your defender
I am your friend
I am your neighbor
I am not going away
I am not backing down
I am the Revolution
I have been doing this my whole life
And I am just getting started

Boeing Is Just Another Symptom Of Failed Capitalism

Currently, Boeing is seemingly being raked over the coals in front of CONgress for their mistakes at best, outright fraudulence at worst regarding their 737-MAX jet.

The evidence keeps mounting that Boeing covered up information which illustrated how unsafe the MAX jet system truly is. This was done in an effort to bring the jet to market before their competition brought a new model to production. In other words, for profit.

Nothing but theater. The biggest problem with this is that there will never be criminal charges applied. It doesn’t matter at all if overt, intentional fraud is clearly demonstrated with full knowledge that human beings were going to die because of it. There is not even the suggestion of criminal charges coming out of these proceedings.

Not the first time by a long shot. We have seen such fraud committed by corporations for as long as this country has existed. Companies have intentionally dumped hazardous waste in waterways, which they continue to do as of this moment. Oil companies have hidden their full knowledge of the fossil fuel connection to climate change for decades. Drug companies hide drastic, even lethal effects of medications every single day. We’ve seen tire companies hide known catastrophic tire failures while continuing to produce and sell the same tires. Auto companies cover air bag failures. Vehicles that explode on low speed impact. Brake systems with known failures common on certain vehicles. The list can go on indefinitely.

No consequences. The biggest reason we continue seeing this is that there are no real consequences to this kind of corporate behavior. The corporation is typically given a slap on the wrist with a ridiculously small fine in relation to the consequences paid by consumers who are sickened, injured or killed because of such malfeasance. In this case, Boeing will likely have a fine imposed which still allows them to walk away with billions in profits. They will be forced to retrofit the MAX jets. Which will be done as cheaply as possible, so think about that. The CEO will be voted out or forced to resign while receiving a severance package worth dozens of millions of dollars. Boeing stock may decrease for 1–2 quarters, then bounce back. (If the economy doesn’t crash beforehand.)

This is not a flaw in the system, it is a feature of the system. The reason we keep seeing this over and over is because apathy to human consequences is literally built into the capitalist system. The word “capitalism” literally means a system which places profit (capital) above physical/emotional/environmental health or life/existence itself. Capitalism is a religion which worships itself and nothing else. There will never be consequences paid by the priests of capitalism when their actions have been for the purpose of promoting capitalism.

You pay for it. What will happen after Boeing is forced to pay a nominal fine and retrofit the death jets? Your airfare will increase. Your baggage fees will increase. You will pay for the theatrical performance CONgress is staging. Boeing will be faced with lawsuits and you will pay for those too. Just like you pay higher prices for tires, medications and vehicles. You subsidize the alleged “losses” brought on by products known to be unsafe yet that information is hidden, while the corporation posts higher profits, higher stock values, higher stock dividends and corporate executive bonuses/severance packages. Corporations poison and pollute the environment and you pay for it for decades, for generations in terms of over 1300 Superfund sites. You pay for it with your safety, with your health, possibly your life or the lives of your loved ones. You pay for it in stress, in fear, in hypervigilence, in loss of freedom of speech to protest against these same corporations, censorship by media corporations who threaten journalists who report negatively about advertisers, in laws favorable to corporate campaign “donors” while stripping more of your rights away.

No, none of what is happening with Boeing right now is an anomaly. It is business as usual. It is so normal that most Americans will not be listening, not be paying any attention to the CONgressional proceedings. Mostly because we know nothing will change in our favor because of this. For those of us that do pay attention, we can cheer, we can jeer, we can sneer. The result will be the same. That is, until we stop worshiping corporations, stop bowing down to the rich, stop allowing this to be just another day in corporate America.