Inexplicably, both Mr. Bush and Congressional leaders are still making noises about "reforming" Social Security, which to them means handing it over to stockbrokers, who, perhaps not coincidentally, are the only folks doing well during this economic "recovery." If a stockbroker told me it was hot in July, I'd go outside to check for myself. Pimp-slap the bastards using Unionvoice's handy petition; also, you can download a petition that you can get your co-workers and neighbors to sign. But I'm damn tired of hearing about this particular Republican burglary plan, almost as tired as I am of hearing this particular Republican burglary plan presented as a plan to help us. How many more insults must I endure?
Believe it or not, H.R. 676 (a John Conyers production with about thirty-five co-sponsors) would expand Medicare so that it would provide comprehensive health care for all Americans, including prescription drugs, physician's care, dental care, eye care, hospitalization, and psychiatric care. Of course, a Republican Congress would never allow a vote on such a bill, and you may recall that a solidly Democratic House and Senate couldn't get it done in 1994, either, despite the willingness of many Republicans in the Senate to broker a deal. But, to be honest, I don't like some of the particulars. The plan would finance itself with a five percent tax on wages and an 0.5% (that's one-half of one percent, or one two-hundredth, for you John Podhoretz fans out there) tax on stock and bond trading. That five percent figure would replace whatever you're contributing to your employer's health plan now, and though it wouldn't be a good deal for me (I contribute a little over 2%, by my reckoning), I imagine it would be for a lot of other people. But not only don't I like the fact that stock trading gets taxed far less than wages, I don't think a tax is even necessary. Our health care system already costs more than a universal health care plan would cost, because uninsured folks don't get turned away in emergency rooms, and ER care costs a bundle. A smaller income tax (more like the 2 percent figure I mentioned) might be better -- or, cutting out the corporate welfare cancer and/or the earmark cancer from the current budget might be better. Would I settle for H.R. 676? I just might, but I would never have introduced it, because (how many times must I tell these pimps!) you never begin negotiations with what you'd settle for. If you feel the way I do, or if you feel more supportive of the plan, you may want to contact your Representative, at his/her home office, and share your concerns.