Monday, August 23, 2004

Congressional generosity

Swift boat mud-slinging aside, when will Bush and Kerry get down to talking about the issues that effect the American public? So many issues create unfair practices and unbalanced procedures yet, no one addresses them. I'm convinced that the candidates' advisers think that the electorate only understands the fist-fight mentality, which is to say, elections are or lost based on lies, slander, mud-slinging and personal attacks that divert attention from the political differences between the candidates.

One example of this is the issue of salary inequities that tilt strongly toward corporate benefit and employee diminution. Congress, in its wisdom, voted in 1987 to make a law that rewards every congressperson with an annual cost-of-living increase in salary, based on a formula approved by Congress. The fact is, because of this handy law congressional representatives and senators have gone from making $87,000 per year to, as of 2004, $158,100 per year. That's a hefty $71,100 increase in 17 years, a total salary increase of nearly 82 percent - a median annual pay increase of 4.8 percent.

And yet, American soldiers with a family of four may make as little as $2,723 per month - less than $33,000 per year and well below the federal definition of middle income level.

It's disgusting!

And health care for congressional representatives and senators is a cherry deal indeed! Not only do the members have access to the best health care professionals in the world right inside the Congress, they can insure their entire family of four for $235 per month - and that gives them complete health care coverage - head to toe coverage.

With 43 million Americans that we know of living without any health insurance at all, the imbalance seems ridiculously obscene!

And yet neither candidate chooses to discuss these simply realities.

Oh sure, Bush is soft-peddling a bill to "give seniors a break" on prescription drugs. But when one digs just a little beneath the surface of his proposal one quickly realizes that his plan is tilted heavily in favor of drug companies making exorbitant profits and not, as he would have us believe, designed to raise the quality of life for our seniors.

Even AARP, which initially endorsed the Bushmeister's proposal, admits the error of its ways and now challenges the suppositions the administration is using to try and blind the American elderly to the facts of Bush's intention.

And what is Kerry proposing? I couldn't tell you, and it's not for lack of looking. It's just that he has so little to say about the subject that is new or different than anything previously said on both sides of the aisle when it comes to health care coverage. Americans won't accept universal health care - too costly (that's the supposition we're being sold, but who is doing the selling? Well, look at the American Medical Association, the trade organizations that represent the health insurance industry, and the yellow-dog GOP core groups, who reject government aide for humanitarian reasons on principle alone.

Remember, compassionate conservatism equates to profits for big business and small, infinitesimal concessions to the smallest number of people who might possibly benefit from a revised federal health plan.

And with 40 millionaires in the Senate and about 20 in the House, do you think these people really consider the needs of the little guy? Do you think these people even have a clue what it means to be a working stiff in America today? I don't think so.

We, as a nation, have become that beloved flock of bleating sheep that sleezy politicians pray they can pander to in their campaigns.

The office of the presidency is being sold to the highest bidder, dragged through the mud of scandal, painted with the brush of tyranny, and is fast-becoming a coveted platform for dishonest, unscrupulous sleezebags who use it to further their's and their cronies empire of cash and power.

Sad, sad, sad. And bad, bad, bad. Ask 10 people why they don't vote (and let's be clear, most eligible voters don't ... ) and they'll tell you they refuse to vote because it doesn't matter who obtains the office - the highest office in the world - because "they're all the same. They're all out for themselves and don't give a damn about the constituency they are supposed to serve.

So what's happening in this beautiful nation of ours, and how can we repair the horrible damage done to its institutions?

Wish I knew. Please tell me if you have a clue.