104 comments posted · 10 followers · following 0
The other question you raise is also tough. I am inclined to lean in the egalitarian direction for pragmatic reasons, however I am also somewhat troubled by it. I don't t see any moral problem with allowing people who can afford to pay out of pocket for non-covered treatments to do so, in fact I see a problem in preventing them from doing so. The risk with that approach is that by allowing this the single-payer system and coverage could be degraded. I would only support allowing this kind of supplemental coverage and treatment if we have very stringent ways to prevent this from degrading the quality of care that everyone receives. It would defeat the purpose of a single-payer system to start moving to the attitude that everyone should have supplemental coverage.
While you raise tough questions, I do not think they are questions that cannot be answered. I think they can if we dedicate very smart people to finding the best solutions. Our current system is extremely broken. While we may not be able to design a perfect system, we can design one that is far better than the system we have today.
The transition from physical media to virtual digital media delivered over the internet will happen during Barack's administration. It will be important to preserve rights of the consumer to fair use and backup of their digital media. It will also be important to do something to ensure consumers who purchase protected media in a format that becomes obsolete when a company abandons it are compensated in some way.
The issues we will see around DRM technology will reach a peak in the coming years as the masses complete the transition to the world of digital media. Media companies will try to impose as many restrictions as possible on the use of this media in an attempt to find ways to get consumers to pay multiple times for the same content. Please keep the consumer in mind when dealing with these issues over the next several years.
Usually when a company claims that there are no American workers to fill their technology positions the truth is that there are no American workers willing to take a job at the below-market salary levels they are offering these positions at. If companies offered the positions at market level salaries they would quickly find many qualified applicants.
Another example of techniques used by companies to avoid hiring Americans is inflated job descriptions. In some instances job descriptions are easily found requiring years of experience with a particular technology that exceed the life of the technology. They know that nobody can possibly have the experience they are "requiring" and thus they can easily avoid hiring an American if they want.
Technology jobs are some of the best jobs available to Americans. Preserving these jobs for the American work force is critical. We already face enough competition against outsourcing, etc. We should not need to compete against H1-B workers for jobs we are qualified to fill. That is not the intent of the H1-B program and it should not exceed the bounds of its intent.
The institutions we have been bailing out have been in an extremely weak position. Our government has been the party with leverage at the bargaining table. Yet they have rolled over and handed out money with loose "desires" rather than solid mandates. It is no surprise that the money has not been used as congress claims to have intended. It should not be a surprise to our congress either despite their posturing to the contrary. Corporations are very good at taking full advantage of any wiggle room they are given. Without clear mandates they will do as they please. We can also say the same of the Bush administration in its record of dealings with congress (in fact they go a step further and often ignore mandates in the case of signing statements).
We need fully enforceable mandates with serious consequences if we are going to conduct bailouts in the future. We also need to revisit the bailouts that have already happened and make them stronger where possible. We need to lead the world in looking out for our citizens and sadly we are not. Instead, we are mortgaging the future of our children to save the country from the greed of the recent past. Even sadder yet, we are allowing many of the leaders of our greediest financial institutions to remain in their positions of power with little consequence. Let's call for Barack to correct these errors and move forward with a strong message to wall street in a language they will understand that there are consequences to be had for creating this crisis and that never again will we allow a crisis to be created by their greed.