Thursday, February 12, 2009

Wondering if they can do anything right

As this week has progressed, I have become more and more doubtful about the Obama administration's abilities to help America out of the hole we have managed to dig for ourselves. Now make no mistake, the hole was there before they arrived (thank you George – you dumb ass), but that does not mean that our new leaders are any better suited than our previous leaders to get us out. In fact, many of the same people who were around when the banking and finance industries were cut loose from the regulatory leash are around now. Again. Trying to help. Supposedly.

Today came two more examples of why I doubt this crew's ability to get much done right. First, Obama was giving a speech at a Caterpillar plant and said that the stimulus bill is necessary because it will help companies like Caterpillar who have recently laid off workers, thus allowing them to re-hire some of those very people. Then the CEO of Caterpillar, himself an economic advisor to the president, steps forth and says: well, maybe not. He actually stated that they would MOST LIKELY be laying off MORE workers before any hiring could begin again. Oops.

And later today, Obama's pick for Secretary of Commerce, New Hampshire senator Judd Gregg decides to pull out because he just can't see himself working with the president. According to Gregg, there were just too many things that they had different views on and he did not feel comfortable taking the job. The Obama team spins this with a statement that Gregg came to them (not the other way around) and that he should have known what he was getting into. No mention of the possible manipulation of the vacant senate seat Gregg's departure would have created and the possibility that the democratic governor might have appointed a democrat to fill Gregg's (a republican) seat. Oh, and by the way, Obama's previous Commerce nominee? That would be Governor Bill Richardson who withdrew after it came to light that he was being investigated for contract issues in his state.

Whatever these folks are doing, they need to sit still and get their stuff together. Not only am I not thrilled about the way they are running the country, I am not sure I would let them run a cub scout meeting. And Congress is no better. The same tired and predictable partisan crap flowing out of everyone's mouths and yet so little substance coming out of anything they do (other than add exponentially to the national debt).

This country faces the collapse of the entire financial system – our banks are insolvent, personal wealth is dropping and the boomers are about to retire. We have not heard much yet about the insurance companies and their potential insolvency (coming soon to a company you have been sending checks to) and what kind of impact that will have on our system. I could go on, but you get the point.

I want everyone who has anything to do with government (all branches) to take a good hard look around. If this whole thing comes crashing down, we (the people who are losing homes and jobs as well as our wealth) are going to hold ALL of you accountable. We won't care which party you're with; we'll just care that you were not helping when you should have been. This is not a time for politics. It's a time to save our country. If you won't or can't then I suggest that you keep your eyes on the windows. When large groups of people carrying torches and pitchforks start marching toward your offices, it will be too late.


  1. Well said my friend....I believe Obama, et al are misguided in their efforts and are inadvertantly feeding the multinational corporation machine rather than focusing on bailing out us "Joe The Plumbers"....Regarding health care and the insurance companies, can you say "VA system"?
    I predict that within 5 years, our current megalo-monopolies (ie insurance companies) will implode and our health care system will be modeled after the VA system complete with government intrusion.....I think I'm moving to France.....

  2. I am interested on your views on the future of the western technological biomedicine model in a future of lack of finance and base resources.

    How prepared those in the system are to revert to a more primitive level of patient care, and what the general level of knowledge of such things as pharmacognosy are amongst the existing crop of specialists.

  3. I am less hopeful and more disappointed with every story that comes out...I understand it is a complex problem and that no one is perfect (thus the difficulty with vetting folks for positions) but COME ON!

  4. Huh. Our health care system modeled after the VA? I've heard that before. Somewhere. Oh well, it escapes me now.

    Just remember that in France you will be working in a clinic or making house calls so they don't come to the ER.

  5. Good thoughts, Johnny. On the way home from Toronto today, I read a reprint of a good WSJ editorial that I thought you and your blog followers might appreciate. Obama's economic policy certainly isn't impressing me. Here's the URL.

  6. Subgenius -

    I don't have a good answer for how prepared most are for working within means available.

    I do believe that we have gotten away from prudent and thoughtful practice and have moved instead into defensive practice. Today, we do things to not get sued - it's the very real CYA policy. The biggest issue with that is we spend an exorbitant amount on tests and procedures that are unnecessary.

    To change the system, multiple facets must be addressed. It isn't just how we get paid - it's how we approach patients and their care that will make the difference in the future. We have very limited resources and I can only see them getting less and less available unless we change our approach.

  7. Medic,

    Thanks for the response. My gut instinct is that the system is at a breaking point in response.

    I have been studying physical assessment, anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology with an ex-nurse and a doctor; and pharmacognosy with a herbalist and a biochemist in an attempt to train myself to help the needy in a deindustrialized future (and if, by some miracle, this does not happen -then at least I can go help people in 3rd world countries...) I am also studying various other forms of treatment (acupuncture and physical manipulation techniques developed in the East) that rely on one's skills, rather than the application of technology.

    The question was asked because I try to gather information from those "at the coal face" to balance my own (rather dark) views.

    I bailed on my original path as a software/hardware specialist about 5 years ago when I realized time/opportunities to train could be getting short...Though it has done no end of damage to my bank balance...

  8. My gut instinct is that the system is at a breaking point in the crisies of finance and resource depletion

  9. subgenius -

    Thanks for focusing that previous question down for me. I still don't know that I have a good answer for you, but my best guess is that we will learn better to "bare hand" people than we do now.

    I used to use that term when I was a paramedic - I was originally trained as a wilderness EMT. The education was different because it assumed you had very little to work with and most likely had a long way to travel. As an example, we were taught how to assess for a spinal injury and to be able to rule one out - it made a big difference between assuming there was one, which meant you had to carry the victim out, and deciding there was not one which meant they could walk.

    That sort of practice is not in much use today thanks to technology and the relative ease of transport to a hospital. I took that class only because I was working as a whitewater rafting guide and we were (at best) hours away from any hospital while on the river.

    There's lots that can be done with little besides common sense and good assessment skills. Many will just need to learn to trust their judgement instead of lab, x-ray and CT results.