Should Public Have Health Care Like Members Of Congress?

Fair question, I think.

Tax The Rich In Oregon?

I think many are following these ballot measures.     While I applaud the expansion of the corporate tax, I am not comfortable with calling someone who makes $125,00o rich.    Still I think this is a gutsy undertaking by Oregon, and will be interested to see how it plays out.

On Tuesday, voters here and across Oregon will have the chance to make that happen when they decide the fate of two ballot measures that would raise taxes on higher-income residents and on businesses to help pay for public education and other services. Known as Measures 66 and 67, the votes are referendums on $727 million in tax and fee increases that were approved last year by the Democratic-controlled Legislature.

Yet if the measures pass, it will probably not be because of support here in largely conservative southwest Oregon. Too many times the state has proposed too many taxes, many residents here say, and this is no exception, never mind the school troubles.

Instead, experts say, if the measures pass it will be because Oregon lawmakers found a way to narrowly focus a tax increase that more liberal parts of the state could tolerate, even at a time when a tax increase could not be harder to digest.

What happens here may be closely watched elsewhere. While tax increases are probably coming in plenty of other states, most by executive or legislative action, Oregon will be the first this year to ask voters to raise taxes on themselves — or at least on some of themselves.

Supporters, led by teachers and public employees’ unions, point out that the income tax increase affects less than 3 percent of the population: individuals who earn more than $125,000 a year. They say the state’s wealthier residents should pay more to help those with less. They also say that state businesses enjoy a relatively low tax burden and that most small businesses will pay only $140 more in fees.

Will Democrats Understand Reason For Poll Numbers?

There are polls showing the nation is not holding the Democratic Party in high regard these days.  Democratic members of Congress are in trouble.  I think that is clear.  Therefore, I pose the following questions nearly 10 months before the mid-term elections.

Are voters upset over the actual health reform bill  that Congress has talked and talked and talked about only to apparently decide too cumbersome to finish?  Or are the voters just fed up with the inability of this Democratic Congress to finalize a health care package and get the job completed?  Might the public be fed up with a Congress over the failure to do the big things that they were sent to Washington to achieve?

Richard Nixon, Barack Obama And Health Care

The topic of President Nixon and his health care plans are topics that are mentioned in our home during political discussions.  Having a fellow blogger pen about it so accurately, and in such a readable manner demands recognition.  In this tense period where being called a ‘socialist’  is too easy to do without regard for what the term means I thought this a great read

It would seem odd that Nixon and Kennedy would collaborate on health care reform, but that cause was something that was dear to both of their hearts. Ted Kennedy is widely known as a champion of health care. It is not as well known, however, that Nixon too was a strong lifelong supporter of health care. Richard Nixon grew up poor and he lost two brothers to tuberculosis, and the illnesses devastated his family’s finances. When Nixon first came to Congress in 1947, he proposed a national health insurance bill. As President, Nixon introduced the National Health Insurance Partnership program in 1971, which had government support for private employer related health insurance, health insurance for low-income families, and health maintenance organizations (HMOs). Kevin G. Hall wrote in a November 28, 2007 article for McClatchy Newspapers:

“Nixon first proposed national health insurance as a conservative California congressman in 1947. He grew up poor and lost two brothers to tuberculosis, which marked him for life. He frequently pointed to the cure for tuberculosis as a medical marvel that underscored the need for a public-private partnership on health care.   

“It was something personal for him,” Price said of Nixon’s health-care push.”  

Thirty five years after Nixon made his proposals for universal health care reform, President Obama is making similar proposals for reform on our health care system. Like Nixon, Obama would build upon the present health care system to provide universal access to health care. Obama would agree with Nixon statement on February 5, 1974, which Nixon stated that he did not want to see “other families of modest means… driven, basically to bankruptcy because of the inability to handle medical care problems of a catastrophic type.”   

Nixon’s and Obama’s reform proposals are not radical changes to the current health care system, and neither are socialist. As Steve Pearlstein notes, the past 30 years has seen the political center to the right after the Presidency of Ronald Reagan, and proposals that would be moderate in Nixon’s time seem more radical today. Obama and today’s progressives need to push the political center more to the left again, to be able to define the debate on progressive reforms on more fair terms.  If someone like Nixon has advocated universal health care proposals that are similar to Obama’s, then it should show people that those proposals aren’t socialist, but work to improve the capitalist system of its flaws.  

In his 1992 book, “Seize the Moment,” Nixon wrote a passage that eerily echoes the arguments of Democrats today:

“We need to work out a system that includes a greater emphasis on preventive care, sufficient public funding for health insurance for those who cannot afford it in the private sector, competition among healthcare providers and health insurance providers to keep down the costs of both, and decoupling the cost of healthcare from the cost of adding workers to the payroll.”

France’s Proposed Policy On Face-Covering Veils

For whatever reason I am drawn to the conversation and policy making debate in other countries over Islamic culture and tradition.  As of late in France there has been great discussion over the fate of face-covering veils.   There may be a consensus emerging on how to proceed.  I tend to think that on this issue there has to be a chance for modernity to shape the change as opposed to government action.  While I do think that in settings, such as science classes in schools where a bunsen burner and free-flowing fabric are a potential disaster, there needs to be more strict guidelines.  But on the whole I think that the evolutoion of thought and social progress will do more for the end of such out-dated practices  effecting women than an offical policy.

A French parliamentary panel will stop short of recommending a ban on face-covering veils in the street and instead will ask for the garb to be banned in public facilities such as hospitals, the panel’s president says.

The 32-member panel’s report, due Tuesday, will culminate a six-month inquiry into the wearing of all-encompassing veils that began after President Nicolas Sarkozy said in June that they are “not welcome” on French territory.

Muslim religious leaders have warned that a law banning face-covering attire in the streets could stigmatize Muslims and drive some to extremism. They were joined last week by Roman Catholic and Jewish leaders who said they consider such a drastic step unnecessary.

France has Western Europe’s largest Muslim population, estimated at some 5 million. Only a tiny minority of Muslim women wear such attire, usually a “niqab” pinned across the face to cover all but the eyes.

France’s critics of the veil call it an offense to France’s tradition of secularity, as well as a gateway to extremism and an obstacle to gender equality.