I have nothing but respect for small business owners, at least for those with a social conscience and who truly treat their employees with respect and realize how important they are to their business. If you are the conscientious business owner you say you are, then I applaud you. We need more like you. But the problem is that many, if not most, business owners, are not so conscientious. In those cases we can't just leave it up to the "invisible hand" of the free market to make them do the right thing. Too many workers languish for too long at the hands of unscrupulous, stingy business owners with no social conscience, and it is not enough to say that those employees can just go look for another job, especially when there are so few decent paying jobs out there and there are too many employers who do not do the right thing.
It is not right for the government to take too heavy a hand in the way businesses are run, but there need to be minimal standards in place regarding things like a minimum livable wage, worker safety precautions, and safeguards against environmental degradation. I, like most liberals, do not call for a Marxist state or even all-out socialism, but rather a balance between a free market and socialistic policies that take into consideration the common good. And like or not, if you live in a civilized society, such as this society purports to be, there IS a common good that needs to be taken into account.]]
I do not have a visceral hatred for all things conservative or for free market principles. I acknowledge that much good has come from the free market and that conservatism has a legitimate time and place in the scheme of things. I happen to believe in a healthy balance between liberalism and conservatism. You, on the other hand, and most conservatives today, seem to have a knee-jerk, irrational hatred of all things liberal, going so for as to call liberalism a "disease" or a "mental illness." Where does that come from?? The Republican Party even used to embrace certain facets of liberalism. I really don't get what has brought about this impassioned hatred and repulsion for any and all forms of liberalism among you conservatives today.
Now, I have wasted more time on this site than I should have. I have better things to do. Rickaroo is leaving the building.
Okay, I lied, I guess. One last response from me.
You say that nothing "justifies putting the system upside down." But when over 40 million Americans (pre-ACA) cannot afford or do not qualify for health insurance, and tens of millions more Americans have thoroughly inadequate health plans on account of not being able to afford comprehensive coverage, then something is rotten about the system and needs not only putting upside down but revamping entirely.
People who are rich enough to be able to afford good health insurance or who are fortunate enough to be able to get it through their place of employment, like to remark how wonderful our health care system is, without having an ounce of awareness or understanding of what uninsured people are having to endure. We might have the most technologically advanced medical care in the world, but something is draconian and less than advanced about the way we go about providing it for the people.
The overall health of ALL Americans is of vital importance to the wellbeing of this nation, and as such it should not be treated as a commodity and sold on the open market, unless it is tightly regulated. Medicare has worked well for decades and has been a much more cost effective way to provide health care. The problems Medicare is experiencing now are not due to the Medicare system itself but are due to the problems created by our overall health care industry in general, with its escalating costs (with or without Obamacare) and its inadequate yet extremely expensive way we go about providing it.
You lib/socialist haters like to say that the government cannot do anything right and that private business always is more efficient, but that is not true at all. The Post Office, Social Security, and Medicare have worked well for decades and have been cost efficient (until only recently). Many private businesses have not lasted as long or have been as successful as those government programs, not necessarily in terms of profit but in terms of achieving what they are supposed to achieve. Not everything in life is supposed to be made a profit from, contrary to what you die-hard capitalist worshiping blowhards like to think.
You say that "going to the political left won't fix anything," but
it's funny how this nation was never more productive and prosperous, with more people able to achieve the American Dream, than the 3-decade period following WW2, when FDR's liberal policies were in affect. Since Reagan came on the scene, with his massive tax cuts, rampant deregulation, and his anti-government ideology, we have been in a constant downward spiral, with the few brief periods of economic growth we have experienced benefiting only the rich, with no "trickle-down" making its way to the middle class and the poor.
Timbo, I have wasted too much time with you. The asininity of your comments does not deserve the dignity of any further replies.
You self-absorbed haters of Obamacare can whine all you want to about how bad it is for you now that uninsured people like me can finally get access to affordable health insurance. But you know what? You can go f#ck yourselves. Don't you dare tell me that laziness or stupidity on my part is what put me in my circumstances and therefore I don't deserve to get the same decent health care as you who can afford it. I have worked hard all my life and lived well within my means. Hell yes, Obamacare IS a step in the right direction, but it is only a step. We still need universal health care coverage, something like Medicare-for-all. Health insurance has NO BUSINESS WHATSOEVER being in the hands of private, for-profit companies. Health insurance, at some point in everyone's life, becomes a necessity, and as such it should not be sold for profit on the open market, like a car or a pair of shoes.
As for this comment from you: "Why Obamacare was 'misdesigned'
was to make employers and individuals so mad that they would turn to single payer. If that is what you libs wanted, why didn't you ask for it all along? I know, you knew it would never pass until everyone was pissed off."
If you had been paying attention you would know that most libs had indeed been asking for it all along, and many of us were pissed off that Obama took it off the table before it even went up for a vote. But then, paying attention to what we libs are actually saying is not your strong suit, is it, timbo? You just like to take every opportunity to mouth your usual hate-filled rhetoric against libs and the idea of liberalism in general.
I should also mention that I had developed a limp and recurring pain in my hips and my legs, but being without health insurance I could not afford to go to a doctor to have it checked. It continued to get worse, to the point that I was no longer able to work a full-time job anyway, or at least one that required my being on my feet for long periods. I should also add that my 89 yr.-old mother, who lived alone in Monteagle (I was living in Chattanooga at the time), was in poor health and needed someone to look after her. Being the only family member left to take care of her (my dad and my sister had died a few years earlier), and loving her enough to want to take care of her anyway, I moved in with her. She was in no shape to withstand a major move, so I thought it best to make the move myself. I cared for her for 2 years, until she died, 2 1/2 years ago.
My legs and hips had gotten worse and I was barely able to walk but I managed to find a part-time job while also caring for my mother. At this point my unemployment had run out and I had used up most of my savings. My mom was not rich, living entirely off her SS, but she had her own modest place, fully paid-for, on 4 acres of land out in the country, and she had no outstanding debts other than her living expenses.
After my mom died, my legs and hips had deteriorated to the point that I needed a cane to walk, but I still managed to work my part-job. It was impossible for me to work full-time so I was forced to start drawing SS at 62. I was making ends meet but I certainly did not make enough to be able to afford health insurance, as a decent policy would have cost me well over $500/month. I was in good health otherwise so I was trying to hold out until I would be eligible for Medicare, even though my hips were constantly getting worse and I knew that soon I would most likely not be able to walk at all.
When Obamacare passed I didn't know if it would be something practical and affordable for me or not. I looked into it but didn't really entertain high hopes that it would be of any use to me. I was extremely and pleasantly surprised to discover that I could get a policy that was affordable AND comprehensive. I then went to an orthopedic surgeon in Winchester who told me that I had osteo-arthritis of both hips and needed total hip replacement. So far, I have had one hip successfully operated on, and I am due to have the other operation performed in mid-October. I can't wait to be able to walk normally again, and completely free of pain.
Re: timbo's second comment:
Sir, I do not need to volunteer for Obamacare. I already have it. And you know what? I am happy to report that I have had great success with it!
A little bit about my personal history:
From 1999 through 2009 I had a very good job as a district manager of a merchandising company. I had a company car, expense account, and great benefits, which included an excellent comprehensive health plan. I was good at my job, enjoyed it, and had planned to work until I was at least 68 and then retire (I'm 64 now). But as a direct result of the Recession that hit in '08 the company folded. I had already survived 3 major downsizings and layoffs but the company had stretched itself as thin as it possibly could and it was forced to shut down.
I collected unemployment for a year and in the meantime I looked for comparable work or any work that paid a decent wage, taking a proactive stance and sending out resume after resume after resume. But with my age working against me, and the job market being as depleted as it was, there simply were no decent paying jobs to be had. Yes, I could have taken a job at some fast food joint or at Walmart, but I wouldn't have even made enough to make my house payment and buy groceries. I was drawing $275/wk. from unemployment and while it was far less than what I was accustomed to making, it at least covered my basic necessities (I have always maintained an excellent credit rating and I had very little credit card debt). I had substantial savings in my 401k and in my savings account but after my unemployment ran out I was forced to start dipping into them.
Re: timbo's first comment:
When owners of firing ranges are stupid enough to allow children to handle and fire automatic weapons, and when instructors are stupid enough to acquiesce to the stupid policies of stupid firing range owners, and when parents are stupid enough to allow their children to handle and fire automatic weapons, and when we live in a country stupid enough to even allow weapons of war in the hands of the public when they have no business being made available on the open market in the first place...then, hell yes, we "dishonest" liberals are going to use incidents such as this to push our "agenda" of, at the very least, getting certain restrictions placed on these infernal weapons of war.
I am not anti-gun, I am just anti-weapons-of-war in the hands of anybody other than soldiers or SWAT team members. And my understanding is that this particular firing range even had grenade launchers for the "sporting" pleasure of its customers. GRENADE LAUNCHERS?! WTF??
I am not so naïve to think that there is any possibility of forcing a recall on such weapons of war and making them illegal. They have been circulating openly in the public domain for so long that all the militia crazies and wannabe Rambos and hunters who think they NEED such weapons to kill their prey would scream bloody murder and rise up in revolt at the mere mention of a possible recall. But at the very least we can and should have much tighter restrictions placed on such weapons and force idiotic gun range owners to change their policies and not allow children to have access to them.
BTW...I don't see how you can even remotely compare this incident to falling off a ladder. This incident happened on account of the overwhelming stupidity of three people: the instructor, the firing range owner, and the parents. While individual stupidity might indeed be a factor in some ladder accidents, most of them happen from a misstep or a faulty ladder or haphazard placement of a ladder. There is no comparison. Timbo, you constantly come up with cockamamie comments that boggles the mind.
"According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average weekly earnings in July of this year was $843.53 (an hourly average wage of $20.61)."
What a meaningless statistic! In order to arrive at that figure one would have to take into account the exorbitant wealth of CEOS, white collar executives, and maybe even the top one percent. Without their numbers figured in, the average weekly earnings and hourly wage for the AVERAGE American would be, and actually are, much, much lower.
Interesting how Mrs. Smith skews the data to support the worn out and ill conceived conservative meme that poverty is strictly the fault of those mired in it, and all one has to do is be a bit more frugal and maybe work an extra job to pull oneself up by their bootstraps. And hell, let's even do away with those pesky socialistic child labor laws so that, if push comes to shove for the "have-nots," they can send the kids to work, like back in the good old days of the Gilded Age - the age that most conservatives and libertarians seem to want to take us back to.
There is indeed widespread abuse of the Food Stamps (SNAP) program, but we mustn't overlook the fact that it still helps a lot of people in genuine need and who don't abuse it.
Here's a suggestion for reducing the number of recipients by at least 20-30% practically overnight: Increase the minimum wage! If Walmart and the other big box stores and the fast food franchises paid their employees at least $10/hr., that would go a long way towards getting a lot of people off the government dole. Republicans want to whine about the large number of people on food stamps and welfare and how wrong it is for government to sustain them, but they apparently have no problem with government subsidizing these extremely successful businesses that refuse to pay their employees a decent living wage.
And you conservatives...don't even think about dragging out your worn-out old excuse that raising the minimum wage creates more unemployment and brings down the economy. There has been no historical evidence whatsoever that supports that theory. In fact, in states where the minimum wage has been raised substantially over the current federal level, their economy is doing better than the states that have not.
"The tools used by police departments today are critical to the safety of all the citizens and should not be threatened. If they are used improperly, there is a process to follow to hold the people using them accountable." - Robert Funderburk
Please enlighten us as to what that process is, sir. Seems to me that practically every cop we've witnessed misusing their "tools" does so with impunity, or at the most gets a mere slap on the wrist.
It used to be that cops showed up to protests in their regular attire and equipped with their regular tools, and if the crowds got unruly the National Guard was called in. Nowadays, if there's even the slightest whisper of a protest, cops show up looking like an army of Robocops and their menacing and militaristic demeanor is enough to bring out the worst in any crowd.