Proust Questionnaire Number Nine

Proust Quote:
“A powerful idea communicates some of its strength to him who challenges it.”

Confessions Question:
Where would you like to live?

Confidences Question:
The country where I should like to live.

Proust’s Answer:
A country where certain things that I should like would come true as though by magic, and where tenderness would always be reciprocated.

As I spin a globe I know for certain that I obviously would choose to live nowhere else but the greatest country on God’s increasingly less green Earth, The United States of America.

But to think hypothetically, if I could change the United States here are a couple of things I would change to make this a “more perfect union.”

Close the gap between the wealthy and the poor. Things that need to change:

  • The 400 richest Americans own more than the 150 million poorest Americans.
  • Over 40% of GNP comes from Fortune 500 Companies.
  • In 1955, the richest tax tier paid an average of 51.2% of their income in taxes. By 2006, the richest paid only 17.2% of their income in taxes.
  • In 1955 the proportion of federal income from corporate taxes was 33%. By 2003 that percentage was down to 7.4%.
  • In the 60s, 70s, and 80s the average ratio of executive pay to average paycheck was between 30-40 to 1. In 2001, it was 525 to 1. In 2009, the ratio is still an astronomical 317 to 1.
  • The top .01% of American earners earned 6% of total U.S. wages.
  • The top decile of American earners earned 49.7% of total U.S. wages.

Although some are terrified of the “S” word, this country desperately needs to create a single payer universal health care system.

  • The United States is the only wealthy, industrialized nation that does not have a universal health care system.
  • In 2006, 47 million Americans were uninsured. 15.8% of the population.
  • The United States spends twice as much on health care per capita ($7,129) than any other country. In 2005, health care expenditures totaled $2 trillion.
  • 75% of all health care dollars are spent on patients with one or more chronic conditions that could be prevented.
  • From 2000 to 2006, overall inflation was 3.5%. Wages increased 3.8%. Health care premiums increased 87%.
  • The average family health insurance premium, provided through an employer health benefit program, was $11,480. Employees paid an average of $2,973 towards the premium amount.
  • The United States ranks 43rd in lowest infant mortality rate, down from 12th in 1960 and 21st in 1990. Singapore has the lowest rate with 2.3 deaths per 1000 live births, while the United States has a rate of 6.3 deaths per 1000 live births. Some of the other 42 nations that have a lower infant mortality rate than the U.S. include Hong Kong, Slovenia, Canada, Ireland and Cuba.
  • Approximately 30,000 infants die in the United States each year. The infant mortality rate is related to the underlying health of the mother, public health practices, socioeconomic conditions and availability and use of appropriate health care for infants and pregnant women.
  • Life expectancy at birth in the US is an average of 78.14 years, which ranks 47th in highest total life expectancy compared to other countries.
  • About half of the bankruptcy filings in the United States are due to medical expenses.
  • More than 40 million adults stated that they needed but did not receive one or more of these health services (medical care, prescription medicines, mental health care, dental care or eyeglasses) in 2005 because they could not afford it.

I would want to live in no other country in the world, but we can do so much better.

2 thoughts on “Proust Questionnaire Number Nine”

  1. What makes it even more frustrating is that we can't even have a semi-intelligent debate on health care reform because we have morons like Palin running around just making stuff up and morons like Fox News regurgitating fabrications and uniformed morons with ideas left over from the Cold War swallowing their BS like it was candy.

    I guess the "S" word is only okay for the military. Of course, none of those same people seem to object to the military being run by the government.

    When I sat in our Health Insurance meeting the other day, Jesse asked a question about whether or not our health insurance would be any good in a foreign country.

    I wanted to pipe up and say, "You don't have to worry about it. Other countries have real health care systems."

    Meaning that the wealthy in those countries haven't been able to educate the poor and middle class to believe that access to health care is NOT a basic human right.

    As Jon Stewart once put it. "We have taught the poor in this country to vote against their interest."

    It is surprising what people are willing to give up as long as they can still own a gun.

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