Friday, March 14, 2008

Socialism for the Rich

I travel in a circle that includes a couple of people who worship at the altar of comedian Rush Limbaugh. They read the gospel according to Reagan and ascribe to a right of center orthodox view of the role of government.

They have voiced grave concerns about the health care plans of Clinton and Obama. They call them socialist. We will be just like Europe and Canada they proclaim. We will be a socialist country. There is little opportunity for a give and take dialog which delves into the nuances of the broken health care system in America. When I try to describe the travesty of the Medicare Drug plan passed by the Republican Congress and signed by President Bush, their eyes glaze over. Don't confuse them with the details. Regardless of the importance of a health care safety net for the most vulnerable in our society, they reflexively fall back to their socialist rant.

It is ironic, that people can be opposed to health care for children and the poorest members of our society, when at the same time we provide egregious support for the rich. Today, the government, in the form of Federal guarantees behind the JP Morgan bailout of Bear Stearns, has provided a safety net to the fifth largest bank in America. There is no safety net for the poorest of the poor, but there is a safety net for Bear Stearns which will allow its employees and management to continue to employed and continue to earn salaries that well exceed the national average.

Why is it okay or appropriate for us to bail out the big guys, but not the little guys. Socialism for the rich is okay, but health care of the poor is a red flag for the red meat right wing.

Lets call it what it is. This country works very well for the wealthiest. Remember the old line, "You never want to owe the bank a little bit of money. If you do, you're screwed. You want to owe the bank a lot of money. It not your problem then, it's the banks."

Bear Stearns has always been a high risk operation. It took big risks. It lost. Too bad. To bail them out is disgusting. But, in America, it is okay, because we support socialism for the rich.

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