As we all know, the reforms in health care as of late have been a hot topic. And in many ways it is splitting the population in half. We have those on one side of the field who say it's a government takeover, we're losing our freedoms, we can't afford it and it will worsen the quality of care.
Then there are those in favor of it who argue we can't afford not to reform it, the insurance companies are not concerned about the individual and are raising premiums regardless and as a nation everyone should be entitled to better health either as preventive maintenance or even for those with preexisting conditions.
Either position has very strong arguments but what is really at the core of the problem? Some will say that there simply isn't enough competition that will lower costs. Others say there isn't enough regulation. My suggestion here is that the root of the problem runs much, much deeper than any of these surface issues. The root cause is the same factor that impacted the real estate market crash with the sub-prime mortgage issue, the financial meltdown, the foreign wars, the change in political administrations, the weak value of the dollar, the out of control unemployment numbers and the poor economy. All of these are merely symptoms of a system which in and of itself is flawed and broken. We can argue all day about what is the way to fix individual problems but the truth is they are all connected and this problem is proven generation after generation. This is why the gap between the rich and poor is the farthest ever and is still widening. This is why inflation continually increases while wages do not comparatively. This is why the middle-class is dwindling to the point where it one day may no longer exist.
Before I share with you the true culprit behind the health care issue let me ask you a few questions. Do you feel as though you have to work harder and harder for less and less just to get by? Are you concerned with protecting your assets and getting further ahead? Would you like to pass your accumulated wealth on to your children when you die?Do you feel anxiety about protecting your retirement and whether or not it will be enough for you to live comfortably? Do you feel your quality of life is threatened by competition or the government politics? Well if you answered “yes” to the majority of these questions then take a deep breath… look in the mirror… and realize that YOU are the true culprit!
Now before you get defensive and start justifying your actions let me elaborate on what I mean. Each of us who plays the “game of survival” may not individually be the sole source of the economics issue but collectively it is this attitude compounded that causes the social ills of the world. Let’s be honest with ourselves. We’ve all bought into the notion that the costs of living go up year after year. A loaf of bread that used to cost 15 cents 30 to 40 years ago now costs $3.00! And we all accept this fallacy that somehow it takes more money to grow the same wheat to make the bread! Last I checked sunlight still shines on the Earth for free. The price of air hasn’t gone up any from zero. And rainwater still falls upon the land at no cost. The seasons are still the same length and the dirt hasn’t become any scarcer than before. And if anything, due to technology, the process of actually making bread hasn’t gotten any more tedious rather it has probably gotten easier and quicker to accomplish. Why the increase in price then?Why do we accept inflation as if the same everyday processes are now somehow harder or more costly?
The real problem is that we as a society have simply gotten greedier! This notion started many thousands of years ago and we still operate off the same antiquated ideas with very little change or growth in our perspectives. Thousands of years ago as civilizations evolved and grew, the concepts of scarcity and “might makes right” become the social norm. The same practices of animal instinct still exist within the human culture. The strong simply take from the weak! Tribes would invade neighboring tribes and take their resources. And those that had the resources had to protect their accumulations. This idea of ownership & property are the driving forces behind chaos. There were those few cultures such as the Native Americans that recognized that nothing truly belonged to any one individual. They realized that what was good for the whole community was ultimately best for the individual. After all, every single one of us are born into this world with nothing but our naked bodies. However, based upon the accumulations of the parents, one child may enter the world as a wealthy person while another may enter the world in extreme poverty unable to even receive necessary milk for survival. Thus, we are forced from day one, even before we have any understanding of our environments, to accept the evil reality of the “haves” and “have-nots!”
This is the true battle being waged in congress, in political parties, between communities and between nations! Those that have want to protect it and those that don’t want to get it. The unfortunate reality is that the “haves” are the ones who generally have the power and the “have-nots” lack it and therefore are the weak. The difference is money, which in this world represents power! Let’s remind ourselves that money was created supposedly as a convenient tool to make bartering a simpler process. After all, it is sort of difficult to carry around a pig to trade for some eggs or milk. The problem today is because those who have money hoard it to the point that they don’t really need your pig, eggs or milk. Through generations of accumulation and the advancement of technology, the wealthy don’t need much that the average working person has to offer.Hence, through desperation and so-called competition the “have-nots” have to accept less and less and are forced to give their only remaining asset left – themselves! And since computers, machines and robots can generally do the same amount of work without getting tired or expecting a paycheck, even your labor has little to no value anymore.
Now I know many will argue that there are opportunities out there for those who “work hard.” And based upon our current systems this is true to a degree. But understand a few facts. Ninety percent of the world’s wealth is held amongst one percent of the population. Another ten percent controls the majority of the rest. And finally ninety percent of the population lives either in poverty or a couple paychecks away from losing the little they may have. Now if you’re in the top 10 percent then surely you probably don’t want to change a thing. And if you’re comfortable with your lifestyle even though you may never become one of the top 10 percent, you probably want to protect what you do have so you don’t become one of those in poverty. But let’s remind ourselves that the vast majority of the wealth held within certain families and institutions wasn’t earned through honest hard work and invention but rather through violent, barbaric and atrocious means. Through slave trades, invasions, genocides and good old-fashioned pillaging, the “strongest” of those, centuries ago, were able to hoard their acquisitions and then pass them down through their families generation after generation.
Why should I be able to “own” hundreds of thousands of acres of land that I will never be able to personally use? Who says that I should be able to control oil sources that belong to the earth and should benefit everyone? Why is one life more important than another? Why should the few monopoly corporations be able to buy out every new idea or invention that comes along? The only thing guaranteed in life is death and you will leave it the same way you entered it – naked and by yourself! It is foolish to thing that whatever you accumulate in life will somehow be able to be taken with you. In fact, this war between the “haves” and the “have-nots” is not really about big government versus small government or right versus left. It is really about ignorance versus wisdom; love versus greed; compassion versus selfishness! This isn’t meant to sound idealistic. I don’t expect a utopia overnight but the reality is that we are our own worst enemies. Everyone that buys into the ridiculous notions that life somehow gets more expensive every year is part of the problem. The birds still fly in the air for free. Animals still live off the land without taxes. And the sun still rises everyday in spite of man’s attempts to end our ability to witness it.
Leo Tolstoy, the author most popularly known for ‘War and Peace,’ went as far as to say, “Property is thievery!” Tolstoy, who was influenced by the likes of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, went on to write journals that influenced Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. Noble sentiments such as John F. Kennedy’s “Ask not what your country can do for you but ask what you can do for your country” perhaps should have restated that as “Ask not what mankind can do for you but ask what you can do for mankind” for we in truth created our businesses, institutions and governments to serve us and not the other way around. We allow national pride, culture, languages, religions, gender and personal desires to separate us. Yet it is only through love, unity and the desire to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” that is the true strength of society.
The vast majority of mankind will continue to live in despair because we’ve bought into lies, become lazy and only seek to benefit ourselves. We must look in the mirror and change ourselves first. Gandhi stated “Be the change in the world that you seek!” We would all benefit to approach our personal decisions, family decisions, outlooks on life and our politics with greater compassion and love for the benefit of all. Never allow fear to drive your choices for fear will only consume you and produce loss for everyone involved. There is a cause known as the Zeitgeist Movement. It is a noble idea on how mankind can improve the world we live in not just for our nation or ourselves but also for the entire world. While I think it is still a little too idealistic based upon man’s current understanding and capacity, I do think it is a worthwhile idea towards the possibilities we could enjoy if we just had a little greater trust in one another. We, unfortunately, are still a long ways away from that day. I invite you to search for the video and/ or website. We don’t have to accept the evils of the world or that some people lives are not worth saving but we must develop courage and stand up against fear, selfishness and greed.
I’m not a huge Star Trek fan but in one of the earlier movies there was a scene in which the Star Trek crew had traveled from the future back in time to the current present day. A person asked Captain Kirk how much it cost to build the Starship Enterprise and his answer was that “… in the future mankind doesn’t do things in terms of dollars or profit but rather for the benefit of society!” We can only put one foot in front of the other but perhaps the day may come in time, somewhere in the distant future, where this sentiment may become reality. We are One…