Health care. Mine is taken care of, why should I care about you?

My uncle forwarded me an e-mail claiming that the Obama health care reform legislation will secretly bring about a 3.8% tax on sale of all houses, starting next year, in 2013. The thing that this misses is that the 3.8% tax only applies to home sales profits that are in excess of $250,000 or 500,000 in the case of married filers.  I’ve never made $250,000 profit on reselling a house, but I suppose you might have.  Still, the base price of the house plus $250,000 is not taxable under this law, nor are expenses that would directly impact the profit line.  Here is a link to an explanation that seems fairly complete.

In other words, it’s a long term capital gains tax, and doesn’t have any impact at all on somebody like me, whose house is only worth $300,000 and has only appreciated by 50% since I bought it. Even if it had doubled in cost, and I had to pay tax on the profits in excess of $250,000, then I’d be paying 3.8% of $50,000 minus my expenses in owning the home and depreciated value over the last ten years.  If I wanted to ignore total expenses on the home over the last ten years, and pretend there was no depreciation, and paid the full amount of the tax, it would come out to $1750.00 on my house if sold at $400K, which is about $100k more than it is worth.

Yes, I am willing to see my taxes go up some in order to bring about universal health care. I honestly believe that if we don’t bite the bullet and make health care available to all citizens now, the costs will continue to skyrocket until the 44 million of us with no health care insurance, and the 38 million of us with inadequate health care insurance, which brings us to almost a third of all US citizens who are financially unable to weather the storm of a major medical emergency, will be joined by basically everybody who isn’t actively employed by a major corporation, the government, or a land-grant university. This info below is ©2000.

Numbers continue to get worse.  In 2011, the uninsured went up to 49.9 Million.

Universal health care isn’t pie in the sky, it exists in many first world countries, and has been tested thoroughly in the last 50 years.  Switzerland may have the best plan, and it’s privately funded by each person.  But that required, and requires, complex regulatory control and cost controls.

The Swiss method is impossible in the U.S. because it would be implacably fought, regardless of proven success, by both sides of our very skinny political spectrum. Liberals would hate it because it isn’t friendly to the uneducated or the addicted spend-thrift, conservatives would hate it because it should somehow magically self regulate, and still cover everybody. Well, conservatives generally seem to feel that it just won’t be available to everybody, and that it shouldn’t be.  From a certain conservative perspective, if you can’t afford a health care plan and you get sick, you should accept your mortal fate, and get the dying over with.

I have friends now who are paying $1800.00 per month for their family of four to have health insurance, since the wife has a minor, non-life threatening, preexisting condition.  I know a good, multiply published, writer who is only alive today because she had major surgery on charity, about a month ago.  We aren’t taking care of the poorest 30% of us, and we’re putting that group into the reality that if they do get sick, they lose their homes, jobs, and generally whatever health insurance they do have.  Americans die in the tens of thousands every year because they can’t afford health care, and can’t find somebody charitable enough to front the bill.

An average waitress in the U.S. makes $20,380 per year.  She can’t afford to have a family or a health care plan.  She almost certainly works two or more jobs, or her boss would be forced to pay her a benefits package, and restaurants just can’t do that for most of their people.

What I’m saying is that regardless of political convictions, millions of Americans cannot get health care packages because Obamacare was castrated before it began, and that most of those millions, if they do suffer catastrophic illness, will die.  26,000 people in that category die early every year, and the vast majority of them are productive, employed citizens until they have the bad taste to contract a major illness.  We could do something, we can afford it, but a lot of Americans have been hoodwinked into believing that it would be the end of America if we actually fixed the clearly broken and getting worse health care system. Obamacare is a start, which the Republicans flatly refused to make. But Obamacare will never actually accomplish the goal if it isn’t improved.  Dropping Obamacare is going back to square one for 16.8% of us.  Fixing Obamacare, even if it requires a complete overhaul, is the best way to go.  Don’t back down.


US Post Office and other inefficiencies.

Here’s the thing. I don’t want the US Postal Service to run at a profit. See here. The profit is entirely in maintaining a cohesive country, and part of that is making sure that my cousin in Fort Benton, MT, can send a birthday card to my uncle in Carlsbad, NM, for the same price that my uncle in Sacramento, CA, can send a sample contract to his business associate in New York. (Sacto to NYC has efficiencies of volume that Ft Benton to Carlsbad will never have. Pure business practice would have people competing to mail between Sacto and NYC, but dropping the flow between small communities entirely, or making that sort of mail an inefficient cottage business. Small towns are already hurting enough, throughout the country.)

Yes, I think there is plenty of room to raise the price on first class mail. I also think that there is a large and sneaky group in congress who’re perfectly content to run the USPS into the ground legislatively, and claim that congressional ineptitude proves the the USPS isn’t effective, efficient or necessary. That is all founded on a lie, that makes a certain kind of reactionary voter happy, by enforcing a surreality in place of actually making sure that the country’s needs are met.

The US Army is also not run at a profit. I really don’t think that it should be, regardless of a Milo Minderbender‘s opinion. Like the US Army, the USPS may not be the best possible Post Office – just the best in the world, by a very large margin.

It’s time to stop screwing around with the things that make the US one powerful country instead of a whole bunch of city-states, which is exactly and precisely what the blind allegiance to teabagger protocols will net us. Us. One country, not 308 million countries of one.