It’s time for a new way. The old way is not working, and things are only getting worse. The old way is broken. The people need to fix things, or try something new, or both.
It’s time for universal, single-payer health care. Civilization has changed – countries are no longer kingdoms fighting for land, and they are no longer ruled by kings. Decent civilizations aspire to protect the well-being and health of their people to the best of their ability.
Every modern industrial economy has a universal health care system: everyone one but the United States. The result is a health-care system that is the most expensive in the world, yet is 50th in life expectancy. A single-payer system would save up to $570 billion in health care costs because it cuts out the administrative costs of an insurance company middle-man. What is so controversial about saving health care costs? What is so wrong about implementing a more effective way to provide health care services?
It’s time for new jobs. Young people, especially, are unemployed and drowning in debt. In the face of the greatest crisis since the 1930s, the government’s response has been weak and ineffective. There are no proposals for the creation of new industries, no proposals for sponsored work-programs to keep people employed, no proposals for grand infrastructure projects (the Hoover Dam was built during the Great Depression), no proposals for debt relief, and no proposals for reforming an economic system which has created massive “too-big-to-fail” companies and institutions that act with impunity. People live paycheck to paycheck, or drain their savings waiting for new opportunities – opportunities that never arrive because society has done nothing to permit their growth.
The economy will not magically rebound on its own. The economy was destroyed by banks and speculation. The only institution powerful enough to create an industry or a massive economic project is the government.
It’s time for a new way to elect leaders. The naked buying of political office through the private electioneering system becomes more obvious with each election cycle. Because “money is speech” and “corporations are people,” (Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 50 (2010)), the individuals and companies with the most money get the most say in politics. Politicians, so dependent on campaign funding to remain in office, enact policies that protect the tiny, wealthy elite who fund their campaigns, all at the expense of the common good. The rest are completely shut out of government policy.
What good is a democracy that does not rule in the best interest of the people? What good is a government that does not adequately govern?
It’s time for a vision of a peaceful future. The current global economic framework is shaky at best, and falling apart at worst. Economies stagnate, or as in Europe, are approaching a crisis point; no one seems to know what to do. Environmental problems mount, the threat of climate change grows with each carbon molecule, political instability takes its toll in the Middle East and elsewhere.
Where are the leaders providing a vision of the future that includes healthy and sustainable economic development, technology in the service of the environment, and peace and commerce with all countries? Where are the leaders who will stand up to the fundamentalism, hatred, ignorance and greed within this country? The absence of a hopeful vision creates a vacuum that will be filled with the messages of bigots, tyrants and demagogues.
The people need a new way. The current way is a way that is not working. It must be fixed, or replaced, because in time it will completely fall apart.