Well, it was quite a day. I think personally it was everything a protest rally in the US should be. It was very well attended (depending on who you ask), the people were mostly very respectful although, unfortunately, a few folks talked over a reporter and when a counter-protestor showed up they were booed instead of ignored. But, there were many children there and I heard almost no foul language, which was a bit of a surprise when you consider the wide range and sheer number of people.
I was rather disappointed if no longer surprised at how the event was downplayed in most of the media. Reports of "thousands" of people showing with a few admitting "tens of thousands". In this picture you can’t even see all of the protesters and you are looking at over a mile of 4 lane road packed with people. How can this many voices be ignored in this country where the representatives in government are expected to echo the voice and wishes of the people. Here’s a picture of the "thousands" who showed up.
How many would show up to support "free" health care? That in itself is an oxymoron. Free health care for all isn’t free, and it isn’t cheaper than the existing medical care provided at taxpayer expense in the form of Medicare and Medicaid. It’s extremely expensive. I’m not against making sure that medical needs are guaranteed by the taxpayer. if they can’t afford to pay for it themselves. I’m actually OK with that. I do have a problem with insurance companies being able to outright deny to insure people or make payments unreasonably high. However, a few regulations and minor changes to the existing system could do all those things I’d like to see. Most of that infrastructure already exists in the US. I know because I have neighbors and friends who make use of all of those services at no cost to them but at cost to the taxpayer and I’m OK with that because I know the requirements to qualify for that help. You have to need the help.
But here’s the problem. The US is not in financial shape to be taking on any new expenditures for any public service no matter how vital. It can’t pay it’s bills now. This country has accumulated more debt in the past year than all the debt accumulated since it’s inception. And yes, that includes the end of the Bush administration where President Bush chose not to veto the bailouts before he left office. But let’s remember folks, the US is not a dictatorship. Neither President Bush nor President Obama spent that money. Only Congress and the House can spend that money. Those are the folks truly responsible for all of this. They are the ones that need to be fired for passing bills without reading them and spending unfathomable amounts of money that don’t exist. Overspending by families who didn’t have the money was a big part of this recession being as bad as it was. They call it a Credit Bubble now. Overspending by the Government when it doesn’t have any money is simply going to extend this bubble and make the final burst even harder to weather.
So, I’m concerned. I get the feeling that there is a disconnect between government and a growing majority of people. I also get the feeling that the media in general is trying to downplay the opposition to all of this. I also feel like there is a great deal of misunderstanding about our economy in the US. I’ll have to write more on that later. But all in all, I have a feeling all of this won’t be forgotten by the next major elections and we will see a change. The real problem in my eyes is that neither Republicans nor Democrats seem to be for smaller government or paying down the debt. At least, not in enough number to matter. When it doesn’t matter who you vote for, you no longer have a democracy.
Just as an update. My statement about the amount of increase was inaccurate. In 2000 there was a debt of about 5 Trillion. As of September 2008 it was about 10. So it took the last 9 years to double the debt. But this needs to be slowed down, not sped up. It\’s vital that folks in congress realize this is a runaway train we can\’t afford. We\’ll see what the official numbers are at the end of this fiscal year…