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When Will Politicians Start Caring About People's Actual Problems?
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When you crank out five editorial cartoons and a couple of opinion essays a week, not to mention opining on the radio about this issue and that, it is easy to forget about the basics.

The big issues.

The stuff that really matters to you. It’s just as easy to forget to ask: What are our political leaders doing to address our most pressing problems? This is, after all, their job. It’s what we pay them for.

Pew Research Center pollsters regularly ask Americans what they consider to be the problem that worries them most. On April 15, the No. 1 Biggest Problem in America was “the affordability of health care.” Fifty-six percent of respondents called huge medical bills “a very big problem,” and 30% said it was “a moderately big problem,” for a total of 86%. That’s pretty much everyone. It even includes people who have “good” insurance through their employers.

“Health care costs is the only issue of the 15 asked on the survey seen as a very big problem by a majority of Americans, though about half say that the federal budget deficit (49%), violent crime (48%), illegal immigration (48%) and gun violence (48%) are very big problems,” Pew reported.

This is proof positive. The Affordable Care Act obviously hasn’t fixed the problem it was designed to address: skyrocketing medical expenses. According to Gallup, a whopping 80% of patients still worry a great deal or a fair amount about health care costs, a number that has remained essentially unchanged year after year since Barack Obama became president.

What are the two major political parties doing about health care costs? Not much.

Democrats think we should be grateful for the crappy system we have now. Three weeks ago, the White House announced that President Joe Biden had placed a phone call to Obama to celebrate the 10th anniversary of “Obamacare.” Biden campaigned on adding a “public option” to the ACA but then left it out of his budget. He floated reducing the eligibility age for Medicare from 65 to 60 but dropped the idea when asked where the money would come from. Democrats have no plans to fix “Obamacare”; they think it’s perfect as is.

Not that the Republicans are any better.

The Supreme Court ruling in favor of the ACA has forced the GOP to give up on its vague Trump-era “repeal and replace” mantra. Now they’re saying nothing at all. “If the Republicans have a health care agenda, they haven’t shown their cards,” Drew Altman, who runs the Kaiser Family Foundation, recently told Politico. They whine about “Obamacare” to get votes. But they don’t want to change it.

To recap: Americans worry about high doctors’ bills more than any other single issue . Yet neither party is even talking about, much less trying to actually do, anything to ease our pain. No wonder only 26% of Americans think Congress is doing a good job.

Run down the list of Americans’ other top priorities and you’ll find the same lack of responsiveness from “our” elected officials. Forget actual action. Our “public servants” don’t bother to give us lip service.

So it goes with other Big Worries: no action, no ideas, no hope.

ORDER IT NOW

Biden’s coronavirus recovery and infrastructure spending plans blow up the budget deficit that voters cite as their No. 2 most worrisome issue; Democrats have no plan to offset their spending by, for example, slashing the constantly bloated Pentagon budget. Republicans, obsessed with social issues, release easily ignored boilerplate statements that the deficit is too high, which presents “like a rote effort; like Republican karaoke,” as Scott Galupo described it in The Week. Not that Republicans have any credibility on the issue of fiscal responsibility.

On the No. 3 Big Issue, violent crime, both parties offer, again, nothing. Republicans and Democrats alike are urging municipalities to not defund the police; they want force levels and tactics to remain where they are now. Neither party offers an alternative or additional approach, such as an initiative to increase access to mental health treatment. In the absence of a new response, nothing much will substantially change, as Biden tells donors.

Neither party has a real plan to address Top Issue No. 4, illegal immigration, or No. 5, gun violence. Democrats and Republicans alike intend to leave the southern border partially open in order to allow employers access to cheap labor while continuing mass deportations to terrorize those workers into accepting slave wages. Neither party wants to do anything substantial about the proliferation of handguns used in the current spasm of violent crime or question whether we still need the Second Amendment in the 21st century.

My point here is not to discuss the specifics of health care, the deficit, crime, etc., or what the best solutions to those problems are. Nor am I out to blame one party more than the other. My point is that neither the president nor Congress nor either of the two major parties are addressing the issues we care about in a credible way. When a political system fails to respond to its people’s concerns or even take them seriously in the first place, it is doomed.

No one should be surprised when the whole bankrupt piece of garbage implodes.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Deficits, Health care, Joe Biden 
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  1. TG says:

    Ah, but you see Mr. Rall, we are not supposed to think about these things. We are supposed to turn all of our energies to combating ‘systemic racism.’

    Never mind that the 600 or so billionaires that pretty much run the country are driving the working class into the dirt. Let’s scream and yell about ‘systemic racism’ and ‘Black Lives Matter’ – but only screaming and yelling, mind you – but never, ever, shall we actually address any real issue of real importance to the working class (of any color).

    Oh yeah, and letting biological men use the woman’s bathroom. Yes, we can talk about that one, that’s permitted.

    Because you see, addressing any real issue is ‘racist’.

    • Agree: meamjojo
  2. Class issues, money issues–like where it all went–are all that matters.

  3. mijj says:

    democracy is done when the last dollar is counted

  4. Thomasina says:

    “When Will Politicians Start Caring About People’s Actual Problems?”

    Never. Narcissists don’t think of other people. It doesn’t compute.

    • Replies: @goldgettin
  5. meamjojo says:

    Obamacare/ACA did achieve at least one good change – the elimination of pre-existing conditions.

    What people are often surprised about with the ACA is that if you are poor enough, you can get a near zero monthly plan cost. But what they don’t tell you is that they will still nail you with a deductible and co-pays that could cost you between \$3-7k!

    Most people have read about how the average person couldn’t even raise \$400 for an emergency. So having to pay \$3k-\$7k annually + your monthly ACA payments makes healthcare unaffordable for a wide swath of people.

    • Replies: @obwandiyag
  6. meamjojo says:

    Another important issue people are concerned about and even an unusual statistic was this report:

    California homicides jumped 31% last year, state report says
    Murder rates skyrocketed in major US cities last year amid a surge in violent crime
    1 July 2021

    Homicides in California increased by 31% in 2020, making it the deadliest year since 2007, according to state crime reports released Thursday.

    There were 2,202 homicides last year, 523 more than in 2019. The state’s homicide rate also rose from 4.2 to 5.5 homicides per 100,000 people.

    2020 had the most homicides since 2007 – when 2,258 people were killed – and the rate was the highest since 2008, according to the new reports from the California Department of Justice.

    Black people made up 6.5% of California’s population but accounted for 31% of all victims last year. Hispanic people – who made up 39% of the population — accounted for 45%, while 16% were White.
    ….
    https://www.foxnews.com/us/california-homicides-jumped-31-last-year-state-report-says

    The good news is that it was primarily blacks and Hispanics killing each other.

    But given that many businesses were closed for much of last year in CA and we were under shelter-in-place orders, WHY did homicides increase? I expected the opposite.

  7. meamjojo says:

    There is never enough money (for either party) when it comes to paying for what the common citizen wants. Healthcare improvement? Too expensive! Infrastructure repair? Too expensive! More prosecution of criminals? Too expensive!

    The only thing that isn’t too expensive to increase spending on almost every year is funding offense spending (I refuse to call it defense spending) by the Pentagon for the military-industrial complex.

    Instead of a defund the police movement, what we really need is a DEFUND THE [DAMN] PENTAGON!

    I don’t expect any politician to take this up because they all get a cut under the table, but why isn’t there a citizen movement to bring this forward and keep it in the news? Why aren’t there marches on Washington to protest military spending?

    • Replies: @Greta Handel
  8. Politicians will never care about people’s actual problems.

    For some details about Mr. Rall’s principal example, and how the true constituents use the political Establishment, (re)read this Glenn Greenwald piece from his Guardian days:

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/dec/05/obamacare-fowler-lobbyist-industry1

    Red+Blue politics channel dissent into participatory assent.

    Voting for either party secures the rule of both.

    • Agree: meamjojo
  9. @meamjojo

    I don’t expect any politician to take this up because they all get a cut under the table, but why isn’t there a citizen movement to bring this forward and keep it in the news? Why aren’t there marches on Washington to protest military spending?

    Fear.

    Most Americans have a childish veneration of militarism, and many others are terrified to be seen as “unpatriotic.” (This is one of the reasons that President Cheney sent Colin Powell to close the sale of the 2003 war crimes in Iraq.) Once in a blue moon there’s some ineffectual Congressional show hearing about \$500 toilet seats to blow off any buildup of dissent as people sit harmlessly in front of the TV, but few would dare question publicly even the financial cost of Uncle Sam’s Exceptional! place in the world.

    Even when, years later, the lies have been exposed and the waste of wealth and lives is plain to see, the likes of John McCain and Donald Rumsfeld still receive fawning sendoffs or a pass via feigned ignorance. See Mr. Sailer’s recent “Donald Rumsfeld, RIP.”

    Fear.

    • Agree: meamjojo
  10. When I first saw the title of this article I chuckled. The answer is never, which I thought would be self-obvious. There’s no money in caring about real world issues, at least not to the professional political caste that run the day to day operations. And there’s certainly no social capital to be gained by taking a stance that will negatively resonate across the echo chamber that passes for a free media these days. Easier to discuss nebulous, ill-defined problems like “climate change” or “structural racism” that can’t answer back or demand action.

    • Replies: @gar manarnar
  11. baythoven says:

    “The big issues.”

    But is the reader of this column supposed to be so stupid as to not recognize that Issue No. 3 (violent crime) and Issue No. 5 (gun violence) are essentially the same thing?

  12. We do still need the second amendment; look at the residents of New York City begging to be allowed to have guns to protect themselves; the SC should strike down NYC’s draconian unconstitutional gun laws; theres nothing the politicians can do about handguns; American citizens have the right to keep and bear arms unless convicted of a felony or judged mentally defective; typical Northeast Liberal Rall thinks because its the 21st century and we dont live on the frontier any longer Americans dont need guns to protect themselves but crime and violence are increasing; and the police/government is incapable of defending us.

  13. Lussier says:

    The Affordable Care Act obviously hasn’t fixed the problem it was designed to address: skyrocketing medical expenses.

    That is not the problem ACA was designed to address.. The actual problem that ACA was designed to ‘fix’ is that the reliable-cash font Hospital industry was losing money hand over fist providing free emergency room treatment to a massive portion of the population, which was low income or indigent, consisting of both legal citizens and illegal aliens, who were pulling 20k a year and could not pay for even the most modest doctors office visit..

    So, they waited til they were no longer physically able to wait for medical care, went in as indigents and probably went back another dozen times for the same issue since they had no access to a personal physician.

    This was an affront to cash-distributing lobbyists who suggested a scheme to bill / penalize all of those who were slightly above the indigent level for bogus ‘insurance’, with massive deductibles to ensure that no one could actually use it, except in the event of a health catastrophe. This was a marked improvement for the bottom line of the Insurance and Hospital industry, because – previously – people were also waiting to seek out emergency room care until they had no other option, but they did not pay.

    This also benefited the Democratic party, because they now controlled a seemingly perpetual ‘sword of damocles’ hanging over the heads of this well-monied lobby, in which they made the point to these donors that the only interest standing between the masses of unwashed Dem street voters and Single-Payer, was the Democratic elite waiting with hands out for the next ‘donation’ tranche.

    • Replies: @meamjojo
  14. @meamjojo

    And now pre-existing conditions are back. Some good change.

  15. The only job of government is to defend the nation and enforce the laws. That’s hard enough (actually it seems impossible on the current evidence,) without also expecting it to solve every problem on a top-ten list poll.

    Suppose hypothetically that govt solved all ten of your top-ten. A year later, somebody would run another poll asking what are the current top ten problems. Guess what? There will be a full list of new problems. Polled complaints abhor a vacuum.

  16. People are little fish. White folks are just New Palestinians. If whites wanna know their future, just ponder the fate of Palestinians.

    What Jews did to Palestine with Jewish immigration, they are now doing to the West with non-white immigration. California used to be solid white and Republican. Now, whites are only 35% of the population, and the state is ruled by Democratic Jews, Homos, and Non-whites. Jews now gloat that ALL OF AMERICA will be California-ized, and they slander any white person who resists as ‘racist’ or ‘white supremacist’. Jews demand that Europe to take in hundreds of millions of black Africans and tons of Muslims. Jews promote BLM and CRT and encourage blacks to hate and attack whites. Jews are the main funders and defenders of Antifa who attack patriots. Jewish media and entertainment spread Jungle Fever and tell white women to accept ACOWW or Afro-Colonization of White Wombs. And yet, whites are such useless cucks who grovel at the feet of Jews for handouts and benediction. Shameful!

  17. When will politicians care about people’s problems?

    Well duh.

    NEVER.

    Politicians for both parties are shabbos goy filth and they do what the jews want them to do….and this is ALWAYS against the will of the white Christian majority.

  18. @Thomasina

    Yes,narcissism is a major factor…but what about the other venial sins?
    How about the religion that breeds these chosen idiot\$?Oops,public servants?

  19. meamjojo says:
    @Lussier

    Then why did the Dems lose their Congressional majorities after passing the ACA? Did the medical donors abandon Dem candidates? Why?

    • Replies: @Lussier
  20. As the old joke goes, before you can get the mule to work, you have got to get his attention.

    Our government is working exactly as it was intended to work. The 1787 Constitution mandated a central government strong enough to guard the interests of the wealthy aristocrats who drew it up, but too weak to ever limit their power and privilege. The Congress is functioning as it was meant to, to be a roadblock to developing a coherent national policy to which all special interests would be subject. At the same time, Washington provides opportunities for ambitious local grifters to promote their own political welfare, through special interest projects initiated for the benefit of the nation’s real owner class.

    The endless nonsense about big bad gub’mint is hammered home every day in the media owned by those interests who would be most damaged if the Constitution’s empty promise “to promote the common welfare” were ever to become more than an elegant phrase written on a crumbling old vellum.

    • Disagree: Brad Anbro
  21. Roger says:

    Note to Ted Rall: I do not want politicians to care about my problems. I want them to leave me alone so that I can solve them myself, with or without the assistance of other people who DO care about my welfare.

    Note to Congress: Don’t just do something. Sit there!

  22. Lussier says:
    @meamjojo

    I cant speak for anyone else, but I never complied with ACA.

    I paid a penalty each year it was in effect, and was forced to subsidize others, while receiving nothing in return, much the glee of the Zeke Emanuel faction, but the underlying structure of the scheme was built on a shifting foundation.

    The Democrat urban/low income base beneficiary component, who received the Bronze over-complicated ‘coverage’, were already often not paying for emergency treatment in the first place – hence the ACA – and they also are one of the lowest reliability turnout pools for elections.

    The people getting hit for penalties at tax time, who did work and were being compelled to subsidize the corrupt scheme, DID turn out demanding the overthrow of this scheme, motivated by that very purpose.

    If the Dems had enacted an honest single-payer, and not attempted to shackle the lower/middle class with this monstrosity, history would have run a different course, because even the committed effort to attack single-payer in conservative media – at great financial cost – was ineffective, given that a huge segment of actual Repub voters favored it.

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