Watching parts of the Republican convention last week, I was particularly fascinated when the cameras swept to the the faces of the thousands of delegates in attendance, as various speechmakers gave their orations. For many, those faces were of pure, rapt adoration, as the promises being made would surely transform their lives into eternal bliss. Just elect the Romney/Ryan ticket, and thereafter, the sun will shine, the birds will chirp, and every morning we can tiptoe thru the tulips with carefree abandon. All the orator had to do was say: United States of America, we’re number one, and the crowd would erupt into screaming hysterics. Sort of like at a football game. It reminded me of films made by Nazi propagandists during the 1930s of Hitler’s motorcades through the hearts of Berlin or Nuremberg. Thousands would line the streets as young frauleins, with faces beaming in sheer adoration, would toss flowers at Der Fuher’s motorcade. Of course all that adoration turned to dust in the 1940s, as the war progressed and Allied forces were bombing German cities into piles of rubble. If there’s one thing I’ve learned after all these years, it’s this. If you’re unhappy with your life, or things aren’t going well, there is only one person that can make the changes needed to rectify the situation, and you all know who that person is. Yes, you can get help from outside sources, but it sure as hell won’t be from some lowlife politician.
That’s not to insinuate that there aren’t consequences regarding who gets elected to run our government. For example, in the year 2000, Al Gore was elected President, but was not allowed to take office. Instead the Supreme Court handed the Presidency to George Bush through a highly questionable ruling. Bush was determined to get rid of Saddam Hussein, then the unquestionably evil despot ruling Iraq. Bush initiated the war in Iraq (a war Al Gore would never have started) which did depose Saddam who was later executed. But the cost of this war was almost a trillion dollars, plus the loss of over 6000 American military and civilian lives, plus another 30,000 seriously wounded Americans whose lives are effectively over because of injuries such as blindness, brain damage, or being paralyzed from the neck down, etc. To say nothing of the over 100,000 Iraqi lives that were lost. But without the war Saddam Hussein would likely still be in power, so one has to weigh the costs and make his or her own determination as to whether it was all worth it.
In any event, watching the convention last week, one could see the expressions of the true believers that I wrote about last time, on the faces of many of the delegates, and I’m sure we’ll see the same expressions of pure adoration when the Democratic convention starts tomorrow. So I thought it might be worthwhile to look at some actual facts surrounding this upcoming election. You know, those pesky little things that politicians like to mumble over when making soaring promises that never seem to materialize. Take Medicare, for example, a subject I’m quite familiar with since I’ve been on it for quite awhile. Medicare is a reasonably good plan but nothing great. It doesn’t cover stuff such as eye exams, eyeglasses, hearing aids, dentistry and a bunch of other stuff that seniors increasingly depend on with advancing age. Plus there’s a significant co-pay with every doctor’s visit. Every senior knows that if one depends on Medicare, one must also acquire a medigap policy with additional premiums to pay, in order to cover what Medicare does not. While Medicare premiums are not unreasonable, once the cost of a medigap policy is factored in, costs start to add up. But costs to the government are going up even faster, so Paul Ryan has a plan to address this issue, that is so convoluted that I won’t bore you with the details. The bottom line, however, is that new seniors entering Medicare would have to pay a lot higher share of the doctor’s bills. That’s it, plain and simple. The Democrat’s plan is to pretend that Medicare is not going broke, and keep it as it is.
Both positions are ridiculous, because neither party will face the true issues. Of course Medicare costs will skyrocket as people live longer, baby boomers for example, and as new and expensive medications and therapies come onto the market. But the answer is not to make vulnerable seniors, especially those on the lower rungs of the economic ladder, pay thousands of dollars more than they can ill afford, as the Republican plan would stipulate. The solution is simply to raise the age of eligibility to say 70, instead of 65 as it is today. Raising the eligibility age would be entirely justified, because life spans have significantly increased over the years since Medicare became law in the 1960s. The same is true with Social Security which is also going broke if nothing is done. Just raise the retirement age, commensurate with increased life spans and the problem is solved. Yet both parties will spend tens of millions of dollars on obnoxious and obscene TV commercials, accusing the other side of destroying Medicare and Social Security. Such is the nature of politics these days.
The important thing to remember is that when people vote for President, they’re also voting to bring in the entire Democratic or Republican establishment to run the country. That can be a frightening thought. For example, the Republican platform has a section advocating the total elimination of all abortions, even in cases of rape or incest or where the life of the mother is threatened. When Romney is elected President the people who wrote that policy will be brought in to oversee social issues. (Romney has said he would advocate allowing abortions in those limited cases. Who said he wasn’t all heart.) It’s also interesting to note the men who drive up in black limos and go into these conventions through the side entrance, as quietly as possible. These are the multi-millionaires and billionaires that fund the Presidential campaigns, and they expect big-time payback when their guy is elected. Currently, there are about 14 billionaires in the Romney camp, all old and religiously fanatical white men. Of course Democrats have their billionaire backers too, so it might be worthwhile to research out which set of rich white guys who will really run the country, you want controlling your lives. In any event, as I’ve said previously, Mitt Romney is the best candidate the billionaires could buy thus far.