Thursday, April 26, 2012

Is the "99%" REALLY the "46%" ?

The latest polls show President Obama and Mitt Romney tied in a dead heat: 46% to 46%.  How can this be if Romney is amongst the 1% and his agenda and plans inveigh against the interests of the "99%" - which the Occupy Wall Street Movement was said to represent? One possible answer is that we are seeing first hand that the "99%" is a myth created in the heat of a protest movement and it doesn't really exist. If it did how could Romney garner 46% of a randomized polling sample? At most, and this is being generous, he shouldn't be getting more than 15%. We are forced to conclude that, as much as OWS envisioned 99% with them, it's more like maybe 46%.

In addition, since the 1% are such a minuscule proportion of the populace and number barely 930,000 families, we must conclude that either Romney and his cohort have brainwashed a sizeable chunk of the working class to subdue their own economic interests, OR they (working -blue colllar class) actually fancy that one day they will be among the 1%.

Seven years ago, a survey conducted by The Economic Policy Institute asked randomly selected respondents where they thought they were in the economic spectrum: upper 1% (earning $320,000 year or more); upper 5% (> $80,000) or where. A full 19% in this random survey claimed they were in the privileged class of the top 1%. A virtual statistical impossibility in any random study!
In fact, internal survey cross-check questions on income category showed many of these working at a little above minimum wage, and even the highest at barely $44,000/yr. Nowhere near the 1% threshold!  Other commentators on this study (e.g. Froma Harrop, Ellen Goodman) pointed to this vast income  ignorance as a basis for supporting such crap as the Bush tax cuts. Thus:

A) They didn't know where they themselves fit, and indeed inflated their wealth and positions and

B) they actually believed they'd be millionaires one fine day and be able to partake of the tax cuts. (Or 'death tax' benefits).

In fact, they were deliriously out of touch with reality. As author Michael Parenti has noted ('The Dirty Truth') 94% of all wealth comes by way of inheritance not paid work. So, they are fooling themselves. I believe this partly explains the divergence from the 99% to support the 1%, along with a visceral dislike of Obama ......for any number of the white working class.

I have already (in blogs last year and the year before) gone into this racial basis for jumping on the insane bandwagon of "anyone but Obama" but let me instead focus on why these white working class folks ought to be screeching "anyone but Mitt".

Since most of the white working or middle class doesn't likely read The Economist, they may not have seen its recent article, 'Work in Progress' under Mitt Romney's Economics in the April 21st issue (p. 39). Though blue collar workers and many middle class independents, may think Romney is the "best person" to handle the economy, they would be scared into shitting bricks if they actually read this article.  Here then are some of the things we learn therein:

- Romney has promised a budget plan that would "share Paul Ryan's objectives". One of those was to cut Medicare spending by up to 50%. Ryan proposed using "vouchers" or "premium support" - where each senior is issued about $10,000 each year to try to get health insurance on his own.

As I noted before, this can't work because the whole basis for a successful senior - elder health care program (or indeed ANY program) is that it relies on POOLED risk. If people -seniors are left to fetch policies on their own, then they are detached from the risk pool and we know insurance companies will demand more money. This is why you can see some hospitals and plans demanding $180,000 for an appendectomy while those in managed pools pay only $13,000 and many even less.

Thus, if Romney is not going to go by Ryan's voucher program but still insists on meeting its objectives, then the only alternative left is one discussed in a recent Denver Post article (April 25, p. 19A) in which we see hospitals starting to turn their operations over to collection companies, starting in the ER (the first place seniors denied regular Medicare coverage are likely to turn up - say after Republicans massively cut payments to Medicare docs if they get in)  In the Post article we learn that the collection company, Accreta Health:

"has contracts with dozens of hospitals around the country"

We also learn that it is alreadyunder fire in Minnesota for:

"placing its employees in emergency rooms and other departments and demanding that patients pay up before receiving treatment - according to documents released Tuesday by the Minnesota attorney general. The documents also say the company used patient health records to wrangle for more money on overdue bills."

So let us try to help the working class (or middle class) lover of Romney to grasp what he or she might face if they get their wish, and dispose of Obama in the November election.

Imagine then, you're in agonizing abdominal pain and it gets worse and worse. You are beside yourself and phone 911. The ambulance comes, and a resident quickly diagnoses appendicitis and that your appendix may soon burst. However, reps of the collection company that have taken over the hospital's ER descend on you and demand full payment - a tab of $13 thousand, before they lift one scalpel.

What do you do? Cry boo hoo hoo. Wish now that you had not voted Romney? Or what? (Understand again that under Obama's health care law such shenanigans will not be allowed, but Romney says he will shoot it down).

So what do you do? Well, how does one say this, repent at leisure? All we can tell these 99 percent determined to support this 1 percenter, is 'be careful what you wish for' because those birds may come home to roost on your own head!

Under a Romney presidency and with Reep help in the House and Senate and Obama's health care law repealed (possibly thanks to the SC), it is possible to envisage hospitals across the nation with Accreta Inc. employees "registering patients, taking down sensitive health info and championing aggressive bill collection" (D. Post, ibid.)  even as sickly patients (mostly working class and middle class) lay groaning in the halls begging for help. Think it can't happen? Think again!

Going back to The Economist summary of what Romney plans (op. cit., p. 40:) we see in addition to the preceding:

- Cutting all tax rates by 20% which will send the first year deficits up to ~ $1. 8 trillion.

How in Hell's Bells is this being economically responsible? Especially when (p. 39) Romney plans to put Glenn Hubbard- the architect of the Bush tax cuts (that already added $3 trillion to the deficit) in charge of shepherding them in? Can't people understand why or how we got in this deficit predicament in the first place? So why would you want to repeat it? As Einstein said: "Insanity is doing the same thing again and again and expecting a different result"

And in this case, we know that same thing is tax cuts.

- Medicaid - conversion to block grants to the states.

This means that instead of matching federal dollars the states will get zip. They will have to sink or swim with their Medicaid rolls, which more likely means sink, as thresholds to enter the program are made more severe because of lack of money. This portends millions of suffering people across the land, kids dying from simple infections because they can't get care, moms dying in childbirth, dads from heart attacks or even gun shots.

Are people that het up to get rid of Obama that they're willing to open the door to this manner of Hell?

- Social Security

Here, Romney will raise the retirement age to 70, meaning most African -Americans, Hispanics and working class whites will not see one red cent of their full benefits - because they will die first. Meanwhile, those who elect to take benefits early (age 62) , will be lucky to collect $500 a month if that - so radically will the early benefits option be pared down.

- Dodd-Frank Finance Reform law:

Romney will repeal it, meaning the chances of another financial meltdown like the one in 2007-08 will rise to 90 percent or more.  You all working and middle class Romney lubbers, you ready to have your 401ks melted down to half their value once more? To see your home prices plummet? To see your credit frozen up? To see your kid on the bread lines? To see another risk of a Great Depression emerge? This what you really want from the 'Wonder Boy CEO'? Is this payment worth the price to get Obama out of the WH?

- Global Warming:

Romney plans to use an Executive order to "prohibit the EPA from regulating CO2 emissions".

This means there will be no means for halting carbon deposition, since a likely Reep congress wouldn't pass anything. Hence, expect climatic catastrophes to increase under a Romney term: more extreme weather, more twisters wrecking homes - and likely little emergency help to rebuild because the Reeps will claim the need for "austerity" because of all the deficits.

You really want that world? You love Romney THAT much that you would risk it? You hate Obama that bad that you'd vote Romney?

- Federal spending below 20% by 2017

If this is so and Romney achieves it, kiss all your safe drinking water, food and other clear air regs good bye. Enjoy the brain parasites infesting your pork, the mad cow in your beef, and the salmonella in your chicken, eggs and milk. Combine that with Romney and the GOP's plans to pare down health care spending too - a la collection agency companies like Accretive managing hospitals, and you have a nightmare world.

All because a certain large element of the '99%" believed they had to send Obama packing!

Fortunately, at least 46% are opposed to the 46% who'd rather usher in RomneyHell in America. What we need to do is entice the residual 8% Undecided to come to our side and understand that their interests are not supported by a Romney presidency. Then, with a 54-46 electoral advantage we can send Mitt back to his pampered life as a $32. 5 million a year rentier, living the easy life  off his dividends as he enjoys his 2000 sq. foot swimming pools, $1m commode and $2.3 m car elevators in his gold-lined garage outside LA.

And, in the aftermath of another Obama win, we may well ask ourselves how we even came within light years of putting a guy like this in the Oval office!

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