Healthcare

April 14, 2010

Healthcare is inherently a community problem and needs to be analyzed from a community psychology perspective. Mandating people to have healthcare has huge ramifications. Some might see it has a blessing and some might see it as a pain. I am for affordable healthcare. I am even for true universal healthcare over the newly passed system. The fact is that this new bill is not a victory for the small guy but rather government interference that will result in more bureaucratic red tape between patient and doctor and that is community problem. Inequities in healthcare already exists and this is an issue that concerns community psychology but the passage of this new law will also add further economice burdens on individuals already inpoverished.  Ecologically speaking this bill constitutes more interference from the macrosystem in the relationship between the individual and thier healthcare provider microsystem.

I know it is a moot point to be talking about healthcare since the law has been passed and signed into law, but I’m still going to explain why I think it is wrong for the US. The new healthcare bill forces people to purchase health insurance or face a fine. There are no exceptions other than individual, religious exceptions. These exceptions are not easy to obtain and the burden of proof is on the individual to prove their case. Basically it is a guilty until proven innocent scenario regarding exceptions. Every US citizen must have health insurance.

There will be government subsidies for people making up to 400% of the poverty level. That is $88,000 for a family of four and $44,ooo for an individual. The subsidies will be on a sliding scale meaning the closer to the poverty level a person is the more subsidies they will receive. A person making $14,000 and a family making $29,000 will have to pay 4% of their income in health care premiums before they can get a government subsidy. People at the top of the scale,$44,000 individual and $88,000 family of four, will have to pay 10 % of their income in health care premiums before they receive a government subsidy. This means for a fresh college student making 44,000 will have to pay $4,400 a year, $367 a month, in healthcare premiums. This is NOT free healthcare. This is NOT free healthcare. What this is, is theft from the youth of this country. Youthful people have less medical costs than older people i.e. steal from the young to give to the old. This is sorta like the Social Security pyramid scheme that is also stealing from the young. To remain on topic though, this is NOT free healthcare.

But Matt what happens if I make $44,000 a year and can’t afford to pay $367 a month for health insurance? I’ll tell you what will happen, you will be fined $695 per uninsured person in your family or 2.5% of your income, whichever is greater. Don’t you just love FREE healthcare. I’m already feeling better. Oh yeah and this FREE healthcare doesn’t mean you don’t have to pay $40 copays every time you go to the doctor or pay the annual deductible which is typically in the thousands of dollars. Do I have to say again that this is NOT free healthcare. 

Money aside I have some constitutional issues with the government telling me that I have to buy health insurance. But, Matt we have to buy car insurance to drive, requiring people to buy healthcare insurance is just like that. Wait a minute, lets break down the elements of that argument. First, driving on a public road is not a right it is a privilege. The government has a compelling interest in assuring that all motorists are financially capable of settling their liabilities. But last time I checked it isn’t a privilege to walk, sleep, eat, breath or just exist in the U.S., it is a right. But what mandated healthcare insurance is doing is stating that you do not have the right to walk, sleep, eat, breath or exist is privilege. And if you don’t buy healthcare insurance, guess what you will be fined up to 2.5% of your income. This is ridiculous, it is unconstitutional and it is government at its worst. Ron Paul 2012. (CS Monitor 2010) PEACE OUT!!

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Iraq Veteran Unemployment

March 31, 2010

     The unemployment rate for 18-24 year old Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans reached 21.1 percent in 2009. The national average for 18-24 year old non-veterans was16.6 percent (AP).  The unemployment rate for the entire U.S. for the same time period is 10.6 percent (USDOL). So young Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are twice as likely to be unemployed as the average US citizen. In fact young Iraq and Afghanistan veteran have a higher unemployment rate than blacks, asians, hispanics and every other major demographic (BLS).

     As a 23 year old Iraq veteran, this issue is deeply personal. The United States population relies disproportionately on young men to secure the national interests. Males account for 98 percent U.S. service member deaths in Iraq. Males 17-29 account for 80 percent service member deaths in Iraq (ProCon).

    
     The U.S. owes it to young veterans to ensure that they at least have job opportunities when they return from war. There is no excuse to have 1 in 5 young veterans unemployed and this issue deserves more attention than it receives. This may be due to the fact that politicians don’t care because young people don’t vote with any high frequency but I don’t know the answer for sure. This is a community issue for the entire U.S. because of the debt that is owed to young veterans. I think that a nation can be judged in part on they treat their veterans and in this instance our nation is surely lacking. The care of veterans goes far deeper than just unemployment. The suicide rate of veterans is twice that of non-veterans (CBS) and they have higher rates of alcoholism mental illness and various other issues.

Piano

March 18, 2010

Racism

March 10, 2010

Beverly Tatum and David Wellman define racism as the “system of advantage based on race”. They also argue that the dominant race cannot be victims of racism.

To me it is clear that this concept of racism is RACIST. To state that only certain ethnicities are able to be victims of racism is for a lack of better words, stupid.  But for the sake of my argument I will accept Tatum’s and Wellman’s definition only to discredit it.

If racism is the systematic advantage of one race then the rules of the system, laws, would show clear favor to one race. For the sake of the rest of my blog the dominant/majority race will be referred to as white and the minority race will be referred to as colored. Granted before the civil rights movement of the late 1960s laws in the U.S. clearly favored whites over coloreds. But since then no law has been enacted to promote the advancement of whites. However, there have been laws passed, affirmative action, to promote the advancement of non-whites. So if racism still exists, as defined by Tatum and Wellman, the direction has switched. Coloreds now receive a systematic advantage over whites.

Tatum trys to prove that racism exists in the US with observable the results, income level and prison population. Blacks are 6 times as likely to be in jail as whites and Latinos are 2 times as likely to be in jail as white (Prison Policy). In 2007, the median income for a white family was $64,427 and the median income for a black family was $40,143 (US Census).

The results, white people in jail less and making more money, does not prove that systematic racism to advance white exists. The results are affected by many more factors than possible racism. Maybe whites value work and education at a higher frequency and therefore achieve better results. My point is not that one race is superior to the other but rather the culture of each race is the most important predictor of results. I came to this conclusion long before I ever took a psychology class. I was sitting in the barber shop in Balad, Iraq waiting to get my hair cut. There were magazines laid out on the table like normal. When I went to pick up a magazine I noticed something. All of the magazines tailored to blacks had advertisements glorifying “being gangsta”, “big rims” and “guns”. All of the other magazines tailored to business, science, and other “lame” white stuff had advertisements about “getting degrees”,”Investing” and “NASCAR”. At that point in time I realized that the systematic advantage or disadvantage of whites and coloreds exists within their respective cultural values. The supposed systematic advantage of whites in the US is a result of different cultural values not the laws of our society. With that being said government intervention is not the right remedy for this situation because the problems lies in the respective cultures not the system.

Homelessness

February 24, 2010

Homelessness in the United States is either an epidemic or will become one very soon. The National Alliance to End Homelessness estimates that the current recession will force 1.5 million people to the streets. There are between 2.3 and 3.5 million people that experienced homelessness in 2008 (National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty 2008). 

Homeless People Reporting Health Problems (Samhasha’s National Mental Health Survey)

38 %-Alcoholism

26%-Drug Use

39%-Mental Illness

3% -Aids

Reasons

-Foreclosure

-Poverty

     -Eroding Work Opportunities

     -Decline in Public Assistance

-Housing

     -Lack of Affordable Housing

     -Lack of Public Housing

-Lack of Affordable Health Care

-Domestic Violence

-Mental Illness

-Addiction Disorders

(National Coalition for the Homeless 2010)

The two main causes for homelessness are poverty and lack of affordable housing. An increase in poverty is attributed to lack of employment opportunities. The current unemployment rate is 9.7% as of January 2010 (U.S.  Department of Labor 2010).  Unemployment in January 2008 was 5.0% (U.S. Department of Labor). The United States lost 2.59 million jobs in 2008 and 2.5 were lost in 2009 (U.S. Department of Labor). The U.S. Department of labor puts the current number of unemployed people at approximately 15 million. Remember that these numbers do not take into account people who have exhausted their unemployment benefits and have fallen off of the rosters. These numbers should scare you, because they really scare me. The main idea to gather from this is, if poverty is a major cause of homelessness then homelessness is will become a bigger issue for the U.S..

Incomes of people have not kept up with cost of living in the past decade i.e. rent. In the year 2000 a person would have to earn $14.97 to afford a one bedroom apartment and 17.84 to afford a two bedroom apartment (National Low income Housing Coalition 2005). Rental costs from 2000-2009 have gone up 41% and wages have not kept the pace (HUD 2009). The overall trend in the past decade has been an increase in the discrepancy of wages versus housing costs. As a main contributor to homelessness the current data suggests that homelessness should be increasing as well.

It is clear to me that to fight homelessness our country must address unemployment and access to affordable housing. The most concerning issue with a large homeless population is the children. It affects 1 in 50 children every year. They are blameless victims caught up in the bitter reality of life.  I don’t know how to specifically fix the homeless epidemic but I do know that it starts and ends with jobs and cheap housing. Often people like to blame homeless people for being homeless. I agree there are some people who want to be homeless but that doesn’t mean that all 3.5 million of them do. A society is responsible for all its citizens and it is time that we as a country stop bailing out banks and bail out the people.

Gangs

February 12, 2010

     As of 2009 there were over 20,000 active gangs with over 1 million members in the United States. The FBI categorized gangs into three groups: street gangs, prison gangs and outlaw motorcycle gangs. Nearly 40 percent of street gang members are under 18 years old. Gangs  much like terrorist organizations exploit the impoverished and hopeless. Gangs have devastating effects on communities. Gang activity leads to an increase in crime and many innocent citizens are killed in the crossfire of gang wars. In areas such as Compton, CA, gangs dominate the streets to the extent that the city mirrors the lawlessness of Mogadishu.  Street gangs such as the Bloods, Crips and MS13 have reached epidemic levels and must be dealt with.

     The most concerning statistic is that of underaged gang members. Once gang members are indoctrinated into the “gang life” it is nearly impossible to rehabilitate them. With this being the case the only remedy for the gang problem is the youth. The youth must be stopped from joining gangs. This will stunt the recruitment efforts of gangs and will eventually lead to their extinction. Now the question is how can youths be stopped from ever joining gangs. To answer that question, the reasons for youths joining gangs must be identified. Youths join gangs because of peer pressure, security, acceptance and the lack of jobs.

     There is another issue that is at the heart of the gang problem; gangs are considered an acceptable aspect of life in communities. There is not a universal hatred of gangs by all members of a community like there is regarding slavery. There is not a corner of the globe that does not abhor  slavery. It has become a universal truth. Universal hatred of gangs must be adopted by all members of the community in order to counter the reasons for joining a gang.

LA GANG VIDEO