Tuesday, June 16, 2009


I’d like to be writing about business but feel the health care situation is dire and that we have a unique opportunity to really solve this problem. I also know firsthand how the healthcare mess impacts TriLibrium, my colleagues, my family and our clients. This problem must be solved to bring America in to the 21st century.

I used to be fairly oblivious to class power. I’ve always felt kinship with the underdog and have always been in solidarity with labor and the people who do the work. I think saving and investing has value, but the Wall Street mentality of large and fast returns to investors who in reality do nothing, is absurd. That mentality has lead to the current crisis which is creating so much turmoil in our communities.

The reason I was oblivious to class power was the myth I’d been taught that portrayed a level playing field for all people where one’s efforts, skills and luck determined one’s fate. What I failed to appreciate was how the rules of the game influence the outcome of the game. And in America, the game, the rules and the outcome are largely controlled and determined by the investing class through their political contributions.

When I talk about the owning/investing class, I’m referring to the top 1-10% of Americans who own and control a majority of the private assets and financial wealth in our country.

When you examine our system through the lens of class, you can see where the rules of the game define class power.

A social safety net helps the working class while diminishing the power of the owning class. Without a social safety net, workers are particularly fearful of job loss and accordingly, will do anything to keep their job since they know that job loss would mean economic ruin. Job loss without a social safety net means no food, no shelter, no health care and no education.

The owning class is vehemently opposed to a social safety net because (a) they don’t need it and (b) it gives power to workers to walk away from being exploited. This is one of the reasons corporate America and the owning class is opposed to universal health care. Job based health care gives those who control the jobs (owners and corporations) power over workers. Universal health care takes that economic weapon away from the owners.

I believe universal health care is vital to our future and that the only system that will work is a not-for profit, universal, single-payer system. I believe it is being blocked by rich and powerful forces who more than anything, want to keep this powerful control lever over American workers.

Tomorrow we’ll take a look at the money that might be influencing the people charged with deciding our future health care system.

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