Sunday, January 22, 2012

It's the American Culture, Stupid!

Something very fundamental that I wish the powers that be in the media will take seriously: The American people feel they have elites who have been trying for a half-century to force us to quit being American and some kind of other system.

Newt Gingrich, in comments on his South Carolina primary triumph

January 22, 2012 - In winning the South Carolina primary, Newt Gingrich put his finger on several important fundamentals:

1) We are a center-right, not a center-left nation, not only in South Carolina but arguably in the rest of the nation as well.

2) We are more conservative and independent than liberal (Gallup says 40% of us identify ourselves as conservative, 40% as independent, and 20% as liberal).

3) We dislike the 20% elite, members of the new upper class, telling 30% of members of the new lower class what to do and how to think(Charles Murray, “The New American Divide,” WSJ, January 21, 2012).

4) We prefer American capitalism to European socialism with capitalism's supposed inequities( as Winston Churchill famously remarked: “The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of misery.”)

5) The majority of us say we would rather have the current Medicare-Medicaid-private-based system to an Obama-Democrat centralized system ( by 51% to 38% in an average of national polls as compiled by Real Clear Politics).

6) A remarkable disparity in wealth and attitudes exists between elites who live in “Super ZIP codes” to economic effetes who reside in less affluent ZIP codes(according to Charles Murray, 11 of 13 D.C. Super ZIP residents have incomes in 99% bracket and 2 of 13 are in 98% bracket).

Put simply, the new upper class -highly educated and high income celebrities, managers, executives, politicians, policy experts, engineers, lawyers, salaried physicians, professors, journalists, and information IT content producers - think differently than poorer citizens on the streets, farms, small businesses, and check-out counters eking out a living. The latter tend to be high school educated blue collar workers, less skilled service workers, and other ordinary Americans with lower incomes. The lower class thinks differently on fundamental values like marriage, single parenthood, industriousness, crime, immigration, religion, and size of government.

President Obama is striving to bridge these differences by insisting on “fairness” and redistribution of benefits and income. He will argue in the State of the Union address that an activist government is the best means of promoting a prosperous and equitable society.

In health care, Obama seeks to overhaul the entire structure of the health system from the White House and Washington and make it more uniform. This will not be easy. We are a vast continental nation with marked regional differences and culture.

Obama faces four great obstacles to health reform. These obstacles start with the letter “C”- Culture, Complexities, Costs, and Consequences. The “Cs” are inner-connected and inner-tangled and have been building over a ong time, at least since 1970.

Getting hospitals and doctors and patients, indeed the entire medical-industril complex, to change direction – to focus on prevention and chronic care and self-care instead of the traditional way of doing things to government-oriented approaches– from a medical care to a health care system, will require radical philosophical and practical changes.

It will require changes from traditional ways of doing things - from switching from special interests to personal interests. These transitions will take time. It will require switching from elites running things to American people in the drivers’ seat.

It will take leadership – and a grasp of our culture and American historical traditions.

It will take painful tradeoffs between self- responsibility and government dependency – from attitudes of central entitlement to peripheral enlightenment.

American health care culture abhors “rationing,” by any other name, be it “evidence-based” or “outcome-based” care. Americans cherish choice and personal freedoms, quick access to the latest and the best, and proven life-style and life-saving technologies. Americans know they can see a specialist, to get elective surgeries, and to be treated for diabetes, cancer, and other chronic diseases quicker than in other countries. They prefer the 35% tax burden in the U.S. to the 55% tax load in Europe. These traits conflict with a centralized, command-and-control federal health care expansion.

Tweet: Center-right Americans don’t wish to be more like Europe. They prefer choice, freedom, and personal judgment to elite government control.

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