BENEATH THE SPIN • ERIC L. WATTREE
Joe Lieberman: To Hell with the American People
Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) has announced that if the senate includes a public option to healthcare reform he's prepared to side with the Republicans in a filibuster to prevent the bill from coming up for a vote. In other words, he's prepared to fight to block the will of the American people.
This is the same Joe Lieberman that Democrats sweat blood and treasure to support in his bid for vice president in the 2000 election; the same Joe Lieberman who signed a pledge with seven Republicans and six other Democrats not to filibuster any of Bush's judicial nominations in 2005; and the very same Joe Lieberman whose own Connecticut constituents polled 21 to 68% (a 47% margin) in favor of a public option. But he doesn't care about all of that. All he cares about is protecting his cash cow - the insurance industry.
It should disgust this man to even look at himself in the mirror. But obviously he has more greed than shame. Thus, while a Senator cannot be recalled, the people of Connecticut should add a scarlet letter to his name by passing a resolution renouncing him, apologizing to the American people, and demanding that he resign. And in the meantime, the Democrats should strip him of all seniority and banish him from their caucus, because this man lacks the honor of Benedict Arnold.
Let us take a moment to place Lieberman's treachery in perspective. Think of healthcare like buying gas. Let's say we have two gas stations right across the street from one another. At gas station one, RepubliGas, where the average citizen is forced to buy gas, the gas is six dollars a gallon. And not only is the gas high, but we're forced to pay the cashier before we pump. Then after we pay, if we find that there is no gas in the pump, when we go back to the cashier to get our money back, he simply points to a sign that says, "ALL SALES ARE FINAL. PURCHASE AT YOUR OWN RISK. That would be fine if we had other options, but the problem with that is RepubliGas is the only gas station that we're allow to buy gas.
Then right across the street is DemoGas. At DemoGas the gas is only two dollars a gallon. And not only that, you're guaranteed that you get the gas you pay for. But there's only one problem. DemoGas is only allowed to sell gas to the elderly, federal employees, and members of congress. So President Obama decides that's not fair. He feels that all of the people should be treated equally, so he writes legislation to that effect. But then, Joe Lieberman and his cohorts in congress, who are being generously paid by RepubliGas, come together and indulge in all manner of political obstructionism to prevent the senate from being allowed to even vote on the matter.
Then even though the American people are shouting that it's not fair, and complain that they can't get to work, and their children can't get to school, these so-called representatives of the people completely ignore them. After all, they're comfortable in their lives, they're getting cheap gas, and they're being paid well by RepubliGas just to maintain the status quo. So in short, they say, "To hell with the American people. Let them eat cake."
That's exactly what's happening with healthcare reform. So this is about more than just healthcare - it's about a system that has completely broken down. This is about a congress that we've spoiled, and allowed to give themselves so many perks and raises that they can no longer identify with the very people they're suppose to be representing. They've become a class within themselves, and have started thinking of themselves as royalty. They've become a group that Marie Antoinette would envy, and the very thing that our founding fathers fought hardest against.
Many of these people claim that they're worried about the cost of healthcare, and they're concerned about leaving a debt on our children. But they lie. They didn't give a damn about our children when earlier this year they voted themselves a $93,000 increase in (get this) "petty cash" - each. Then a month later they gave themselves an additional $4,700 raise. And they did all this while their constituents were suffering, losing homes and jobs, and the country was in the midst of the deepest recession since the great depression. But now, they're willing to move Heaven and Earth to avoid giving the people who elected them affordable healthcare.
So again, this is about much more than just healthcare. This is about maintaining the integrity of the United States as a nation "of the people, by the people, and for the people." If we let these people get away with thumbing their nose at us after the American people have made it clear that we want robust healthcare reform, we will render ourselves completely meaningless.
During the last century, big business and the American people were a partnership. The business community hired us to manufacture their goods, and paid us a living wage that was sufficient to purchase those things that we manufactured. It was a symbiotic relationship. They paid us well, and guaranteed us jobs for life, which gave us the confidence to borrow from the banks and purchased what they produced. It was perfect.
But now, in this new world economy where big business is selling their goods all over the world, and competing with countries who are paying their workers pennies a day, the American worker is no longer looked upon an asset, but more of a liability. Those same American businesses who once relied on the American worker are now international in scope. So they now look upon the American worker, with our relatively high wages, as an extravagance that they can do without. While they still want to sell us their goods, they no longer want to pay us to produce those goods.
That left small businesses to step in and fill the vacuum left by the large corporations. But the insurance industry, who became comfortable with the deep pockets of the large corporations, refuse to adjust to the new reality. That's why it's essential that we have a public option to bring stability to skyrocketing heathcare costs under control. It's the only way that small businesses, and thus, our economy, can survive.
One of the things that prevent small and medium size businesses from hiring more workers is not the wages, but their inability to satisfy the insatiable greed of the healthcare industry. Walmart, one of the largest corporations in the world, has been struggling with the healthcare issue for years, and has been highly criticized for their refusal to provide affordable healthcare for their employees.
Ceci Connolly pointed out in the Washington Post that "Though proud of what it sees as dramatic progress, Wal-Mart itself warns that in a global market with a weakened economy, it cannot -- or will not be able to -- accept annual health-care increases of about 8 percent indefinitely." Thus, if Walmart is having a problem with the cost of healthcare, just imagine what it's doing to the bottom line of small businesses.
Yet, these fat cat politicians are content to sit back and watch America suffer in order to feather their own nests - and very well. Because the insurance industry is willing to pay these Republicans and Liebercrats huge sums of money to prevent the government from reining in the industry's greed. And even though these politicians know full well that the greed of the insurance industry is a drag on our economy and costing the American people jobs, lives, and personal hardships, this group of prima donnas have decided to place their own interests before the welfare of the American people.
But a new twist has been added this time. This is the first time that a politician has been as blatant in his treachery as Joe Lieberman. In a very real sense, he has all but literally told 47% of his own constituents to go straight to Hell. And the reason he thinks that he can get away with it is because Bush and Cheney proved for eight solid years that the American people are so disengaged that politicians can get away with anything.
So if the American people ever expect to return to the standard of living that we've come to expect, we're going to have to undo that precedent here and now. It is incumbent upon us to network, and begin to replace every politician that gives any indication that he or she is trying to ignore the will of the people - and we should start that process with the high profile and extremely deserving Joe Lieberman in order to magnify our intent. that will send a strong message to all future politicians, no matter who they are or how charming they seem to be, that in this country, it's the people who are running things.
On the other hand, the consequences of our failure to act on this matter will be both chilling and unavoidable. The fact is, if we fail to mount a forceful response to the treachery of Joe Lieberman and his cohorts, we will establish a precedent that will ultimately lead to Americans becoming the first new peasants of the new world order.