Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Math Americans Cannot Do

O my people, I read the news and weep. It is hard to watch from here. It is harder still to live it.

It does not have to be this way. Can we try some calculations that every other developed nation does not routinely engage in? Let's review some math that Americans cannot do.

THIS:
How many hours/days/weeks/months til an "active shooter" situation threatens people I love and civil society - takes a life, many lives?
How many lives until it matters enough to change?

Or this:
How much will I spend on healthcare this year?
What is my year to year healthcare expense?
What does my employer pay out of pocket for my health insurance, and what percentage is that of my healthcare coverage?
How much do I need to save for healthcare costs?
What healthcare annual total would spell financial ruin for me and my family?
How much has my healthcare out of pocket increased %wise year over year?
How much will it increase next year? in five years?

Or this:
How much will I spend on food this year?
What is my year to year food expense?
How much has my food out of pocket increased %wise year over year?
How much will it increase next year? in five years?

Or this:
How much will I spend on childcare this year?
What is my year to year childcare expense?
What does my employer pay out of pocket for my childcare, and what percentage is that of my coverage?
How much do I need to save for childcare costs?
How much has my childcare out of pocket increased %wise year over year?
How much will childcare increase next year? in five years?

Or this:
How much will I spend on tuition this year?
What is my year to year tuition expense?
What does my employer pay out of pocket for my tuition, and what percentage is that of my healthcare coverage?
How much do I need to save for tuition costs?
How much has my tuition out of pocket increased %wise year over year?
How much will tuition increase next year? in five years?

Or this:
What has our country spent on the military and civilian incarceration this year?
What is our year to year military and incarceration expense?
How much has funding for military and incarceration increased %wise year over year?
How much will military and incarceration spending increase next year? in five years?

People. This is madness. There is plenty of money in the American engine. These should not be problems. America is more prosperous than ever before.

Do you know what I just saw? You will not believe this. IMAGINE a civil society like this: Italians aged 18 are getting a 500 euro cultural bonus now. That they can spend on culture. This includes books, theater, music...stuff...performances. More. I saw the sign in the bookstore and I teared up.

Americans age 18 are trying to not get shot in class. Wondering how to pay for college. They don't even know how hard it is going to be after their degree.

Is this the country we want?

It is not a money problem - we are all G7-G15 countries. It is mismanaged, so mismanaged. We are all just waiting around for the oligarchs to feel generous. They will not.

Is this the country we want?

My Finnish genes are strong. Finland is the happiest country in the world. They are civil and welcoming to immigrants because no one is deprived of life, liberty, pursuit of happiness.

Why did my forebears sail away? Well, famine. It wasn't so great 100 years ago. You can stand the cold if you are eating decently. Finland suffered the last natural famine catastrophe in 1860. Now famines are caused by war and more.

Is it weird that I have bad dreams about Ghouta? Someone should be.

Is this the world we want?

I understand that it is hard for Americans to spend too much time thinking about the global, or even daily domestic issues like childcare, healthcare, groceries, and tuition, when you have two mass shootings a month and a serial bomber is trying to blow up Austin one package at a time.

Is this the country we want?

Americans are so stressed. Understandable the push for legalization of marijuana -  which I am all for, in any case. Weed just gives people unhealthy cravings for Little Debbie products and Funyuns. No one gonna shoot anyone after smoking a big doob.

No medical care? Heroin.
Work/out of work/shitty job? Weed. Or heroin.
Depressed about things in general? Keep drinking.
Americans are masters of self-medication. 

It does not have to be this way. It is not this way in most places in the world. Go research heroin epidemic and tell me if any other country comes up on the list. Go on. I'd love to know.

Is this the country we want?

Oklahoma is sinking into a hole literally and figuratively, yet most of of their House Republicans are running unopposed at midterms. The oligarchy holds its own - they maintain their grip. It's hard to run for public office when you are struggling day to day to make the whole thing work.

Is this the country we want?

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