Is This Who We Want To Be?

It’s who we are right now

I have clients worldwide, and I was raised in SE Asia, so I’ve had lots of chances to see how other nations do things.

Even though it’s almost a year until the Presidential election, we’re already being bombarded with political ads, each demonizing the other party and its ideas.

That’s unfortunate because it keeps us from thinking about working together to make our country even better than it already is.

Almost everyone complains about health care in America. The truth is, we pay more for health care than any nation in the history of the world, and we’re not even close to being one of the healthiest countries.

Why? Because we’ve allowed giant pharmaceutical companies to block generic versions of most drugs and to set the prices for generic ones when they’re finally released.

Most advanced countries in Europe and Asia — countries with healthier citizens and lower health care costs — negotiate directly with pharmaceutical companies to lower the costs of prescription drugs. In effect, we subsize the cost of drugs in almost every other country.

In the US, Congress passed a low making it illegal for Medicare to negotiate drug prices. Seriously.

And, health insurance itself is in the midst of consolidation leaving the market with fewer choice and less competition for business. Plus, doctors in America make more money than in any other country on the planet. Not just the very best doctors, all doctors.

America should be the most advanced technological country on earth, but measured by internet speed, we’re not even in the top 10 — and we pay more for broadband internet service and cell phone service than any nation on earth.

Why? Once again, because Americans have fewer companies providing service. We have allowed the industry to consolidate and less competition always means higher prices for consumers.

American home loans and college loans are held by fewer banks now than even 15 years ago. The top 5 banks in our country own almost half of the entire industry, even after our dance with “too big to fail” economic collapse in 2007. Who do you suppose that favors, Wall Street or you and I?

You might have heard his competitors taunting Donald Trump for using the bankruptcy laws to build and protect his personal wealth. It’s all perfectly legal. Congress changed the laws a decade ago to allow greater lenience for failing businesses at the same time it made it almost impossible for you and I to get the same relief.

To pretend that our government isn’t controlled by big business is to be delusional.

And rather than screaming at each other about lowering taxes or raising taxes, we should just be trying to make the game fair for everyone, not just for the biggest and the wealthiest.

American capitalism was built on competitiveness, but in the past 35 years we’ve allowed Congress to change most laws that increase competition in order to protect entire industries from newcomers who might offer better service or better ideas at a lower price.

The middle class is under dire stress right now, and has been for 35 years. It’s actually costing lives in a trend not seen in any other industrialized nation.

Call it despair, or stress, or anything else you want. It doesn’t change facts.

Right now, the game is rigged, and if we don’t change that, shame on us.