Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Lament of an Old Democrat

That's what I am: an old Democrat.  Not and "Old" Democrat, which implies a difference from "New" Democrats, but an old Democrat.  The fact is, I am old.  I was born more than 87 years ago.  I have had some ideals that recently I've concluded are unachievable.  They were always unachievable but I never believed that until recently.

Let's consider Universal Health Care.  That's an ideal that I cherish.  Many countries have achieved systems of providing and paying for health care that provide needed health care, including preventive care, to every resident.  Our country hasn't managed to do that.  The President has tried.  The Democrats in Congress have enacted a piece of legislation that can achieve that goal if it is allowed to operate.  There are political and legal challenges to the legislation.  Some States are refusing to cooperate with the federal government in implementing some of the provisions of the law.  Some individuals are mounting court cases against an unpopular provision, the requirement that everyone have health insurance.  Some Republican politicians have vowed to repeal the law if they are elected to Congress and if the Republicans gain majorities in the two chambers.

If the case against requiring uinversal insurance coverage gets to the Supreme Court and is ruled unconstitutional or if a Republican Congress repeals the entire law I will accept the real situation in this country, namely, that Universal Health Care can not be achieved in the United States.  This thought makes me depressed.

Closer to home, another discouraging thought is that the State of California is doomed to have insufficient tax revenue to provide all the services that the people of the State want.  Because of the screwed-up tax system, most counties and cities depend on the State for part of their funding.  Because of the deficit in the State budget, these local government entities will also not be able to provide all the services that the people want.  The only consolation to me is that the people of California are getting just what they deserve.  They have voted for this screwed-up tax scheme and for requiring the legislature to pass taxes and budgets with 2/3 votes rather than simple majorities.  This supermajority vote requirement gives undeserved power to the minority of legislators who believe that there should be no government at all.  They routinely refuse to allow the State to increase its revenue, yet refuse to specify which services they would like to se reduced.  Their ideal is no government, including getting rid of all the services that government provides, but they know that if they actually started eliminating services, such a public education, local police and fire protection, and street and highway maintenance, the voters would vote them out of office.

My ideal was that the public would be willing to pay the taxes needed to provide good services.  It appears that I was fooling myself.  The public demands the services and yet refuses to provide the funds to pay for them.  That's another depressing thought.

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