Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Oh...My...God!

Below is a quote from this article. It made me laugh at first, but now I'm a little concerned about the Republican party. Can someone explain how elected, supposedly intelligent individuals can actually believe this?

"Where is Republican thinking today? A Harris Poll released March 24 found majorities believe the president is a socialist (67 percent), wants to take away Americans' right to own guns (61 percent), is a Muslim (57 percent), has done many things that are unconstitutional (55 percent) and wants to turn over the sovereignty of the United States to a one-world government (51 percent).

Close to a majority (45 percent in each case) thinks Obama was not born in the United States and that he is the 'domestic enemy that the Constitution speaks of.' A total of 38 percent see him doing many of the things that Hitler did, and 24 percent believe 'he may be the Anti-Christ.'"

Some interesting/ funny links

Couple more links to check out.

This one in particular is quite humorous.

This one makes me a bit upset at the same time. Enjoy!

Beyond Contempt

This kind of thing just pisses me off.

I understand that the first amendment protects an individual's right to express anything they wish without fear of persecution. However, this is so far beyond the pale that it makes that vast majority of Americans angry, and rightly so. There cannot be a precedence for silencing these people, because such a precedence opens the door to marginalizing free speech. However, these kinds of "demonstrations" can and should be stopped. Demonstrating at funerals when a family is in mourning is just sickening.

I listened to a morning talk-show discussing this story this morning. One of the commentators remarked how ironic it was that the Westboro demonstrators were using the rights that are protected by America's armed services to protest at the funerals of those fallen heroes. Had they been in most other country's in the world, they would have been jailed, tortured, or killed long ago for the hateful bile that they spout.

Now, the fact that they are seeking reimbursement from the father of a soldier whose funeral they demonstrated at is just mind-boggling. They don't care about the pain and suffering they have heaped onto this family that is already grieving the loss of a son. They don't care that the man cannot afford the costs. They are still going to push for him to cover the costs of the lawsuit. Above everything else, this is too much. These people are simply evil, veiled in a self-imposed righteousness, and armed with dogmatic hatred. My only consolation is that, before too long, they'll come to understand how wrong they were, one way or the other.

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Tea Party

The antics of the Tea party have certainly been noticed by a majority of America. Even those people who are not part of the political circle or who pay attention to Capitol Hill have heard that there is a new party on the scene. They're conservative, they're angry, and they've become recklessly vile.

Many politicians have voiced differing views over the tea party, some good and some bad. These differing views are similar to the views held by many others in regards to the two-party system we currently employ in our political discourse.

But where the classic Dem vs. Rep refuses to go, the tea party goes. They slander, they yell and catcall, they make suggestive remarks to and about policymakers, and they spread their lies and disinformation far and wide.

The tea party has become a rallying call for the pent-up hatred, discrimination, and government resentment of the dark underbelly of America. These are the people who have crawled out of the woodwork to combine their voices in a cacophonous and resounding scream for injustice and cruelty. They are the people who rally against a "totalitarian" majority, when a majority is all that it is, just as it has been for the last several hundred years. There is nothing totalitarian about a political majority in America. That's how the system works.

Of course, this kind of behavior is condemned (and simultaneously downplayed) by both leaders of the tea party and the GOP. The talking points regarding these incidents has consistently been that they are "isolated" and being perpetuated by a few "extremists" in the party. Yet, the party is made up almost exclusively of extremists, and these isolated incidents are happening at an alarmingly frequent rate. Any outside witness to these events would probably conclude that this more likely falls under the definition of a "trend".

And now, we find that the tea party has utilized a political figure that has ripped this country to tatters in an effort to become and remain a relevant force in national politics: Sarah Palin. I'm one of those people who believes that Palin is probably the worst thing that could possibly happen to national politics ever, and especially now. If the tea party is using her as a poster-child for their movement, I think they'll find that they've moved farther from the mainstream of politics in this country than they realize. By utilizing Palin, the party has shown that they either don't understand the negative impact of Palin's presence (or don't care), or they wish to remain an over-publicized fringe political group, similar to the progressive and green parties. If the tea party wants to become a viable powerhouse party in mainstream political discourse, while maintaining their ideals, they need to shed the destructive ideologies of some of their followers, adopt specific platforms for their political stances, and denounce the many acts of violence and abuse that have been carried out either in their name, or by their supporters.

Personally, I believe that the Republican party, as it exists today, is failing, due to internal corruption, hypocrisy, hyperbole, and a general movement away from Republican ideals in America. The newest generation of voters has been a major boon to the Democrats, leaving the Republicans stranded. The tea party may well be the new Republicans, with a return to the basic ideals of conservatism. I personally hope that this is the case, since it would be refreshing to be able to see a difference between the left and right. There's been too much blurring going on. By reclaiming conservative ideals, a balance between liberal and conservative legislation can be realized. This balance is an integral part of keeping politics and legislation fair and in the best interest of all citizens. I may not support the conservative line or their beliefs, but I support equality in politics, which means embracing the existance of an opposition to ones beliefs just as readily as those who embody ones beliefs in political discourse.

The antics of the tea party should be condemned, and steps should be taken to reprimand those involved. The hatred and discrimination that many in the party exemplify resonates like an old wound through history, bringing back thoughts of civil rights marches and race-based crime. We have worked hard to overcome these terrible truths in our nation, and perhaps have become too comfortable in our world to acknowledge that such things continue. The heinous acts that these extremists have carried out should not be used to condemn the entire tea party, however. That would be like saying that all democrats are pro-choice because one or two have advocated for federal funding for abortions. We cannot readily condemn an entire group for the actions of a few unless we are ready to take such criticism ourselves. However, we can condemn the group that supports these awful actions, advocates for them, or refuses to speak out against them. So far, this has been the stance of the tea party and some members of the GOP: to advocate, support, and fail to condemn the actions that have been perpetuated in their name.

It is time for the petty, stubborn resistance to our opponents to cease, and proper, respectful discourse to continue. Let us come together, agree to disagree, and allow the differences in our views to be the opposing forces that propels change into the future.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

the value of obstructionism?

Well, we've heard the word a lot recently: Obstructionism. Both sides claim the other is doing it, and they claim their own efforts are purely honorable. I guess I had to say something on it, since it's become such a huge part of our political landscape.

the underlying idea behind obstructionism has been to thwart the opposition from getting any of their own legislation into a bill, effectively killing their influence on it. Of course, the idea of opposing legislation is not new, nor is it bad. In the recent health care bill, obstructionism caused to clauses to be stricken from the legislation that did not meet the requirements for the bill. Without the checks and balances of this kind, there would be woefully greater abuses of power than we already see.

But does obstructionism really work to the benefit of the people?

While it is true that obstructionism can keep unnecessary legislation out of a bill, or keep a piece of legislation balanced, it can also be used to halt any and all progress in the legislative branch of government, which is how it has been used recently, and which is a major detriment to our political process. With neither side allowing the other to pass legislation on principle, there is no progress in the furtherance of legislation for the betterment of the nation. In fact, the entire system becomes static and stagnant, with no progress made in any direction. Recently, this obstructionism has left the congressional floor, and spread to other, more specialized groups. In particular, this has effected the many councils that congressmen and women chair. Obstruction in these areas has caused a great amount of frustration and lack of work being done in the Capitol, which has inconvenienced rather a lot of people outside of congress.

This is Obstructionism at its lowest. This isn't opposition based on principle, but on hurt feelings. Most of the obstruction is coming from the right in this case, since they are the ones that are refusing to go to their meetings or do any work. The fact is that this is retaliation for their bruised egos and not getting their way. Instead of getting on with their lives and doing their jobs, they have opted to be completely noncompliant and unhelpful towards their fellow congressmen. This is a blatant slap in the face for Americans, who deserve lawmakers that are going to give them decent legislation. Why should we support men and women in our congress who are refusing to do their jobs, acting like spoiled children who haven't gotten their way.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Just for laughs

This link is to an open letter to conservatives, one that I found to be quite funny. A friend of mine sent me a link to it, and I laughed for a good few minutes over it. Enjoy!

http://tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com/talk/blogs/a/m/americandad/2010/03/an-open-letter-to-conservative.php?ref=recdc

Where is the debate?

for the past several years, I have become increasingly interested in politics and social discourse, mostly because I find it affects me more as I move out into the "real world", but also because I have learned how drastically the political decisions made in D.C. can directly and indirectly affect my life. Since I have started paying attention, I've picked up on a few things. First, I found out that politicians are like children. Second, I learned that, while both Republicans and Democrats are quick to admonish their opponents views, opinions, and decisions, they are rather bad at appropriately and effectively presenting alternatives.

So, my question is, where is the formal debate in politics?

First, here is a list of definitions for the word "Debate":


v.intr.
1. To consider something; deliberate.
2. To engage in argument by discussing opposing points.
3. To engage in a formal discussion or argument. See Synonyms at discuss.
4. Obsolete To fight or quarrel.
v.tr.
1. To deliberate on; consider.
2. To dispute or argue about.
3. To discuss or argue (a question, for example) formally.
4. Obsolete To fight or argue for or over.
n.
1. A discussion involving opposing points; an argument.
2. Deliberation; consideration: passed the motion with little debate.
3. A formal contest of argumentation in which two opposing teams defend and attack a given proposition.
4. Obsolete Conflict; strife.


The reason I posted so many different definitions is because they all have one thing in common: the fourth definition, being "to fight, quarrel, or argue over", is obsolete. If you need a definition of "obsolete", look it up in a dictionary. I found this particularly interesting, since political debate in this country is largely comprised of fighting, arguing, and quarreling on both sides. There is no formal code of conduct or style for debate in politics, and thus there is no debate left it seems. There is no discussion of principles, of underlying reasoning, of intention, of opinion, or any other facet of a piece of legislation, beyond the origins of that legislation. I have found that legislation is opposed along party lines simply out of a sense of antagonism and an "us-or-them" mentality that has permeated the political world. There is no compromise of ideas, because the ideas have become synonymous with ideals. It is as if compromising on one means giving up on the other, which is not the case. The middle ground has fallen away and left only those at the extremes, and those are the people who are unflinchingly adherent to their beliefs.

A perfect example is the debate over abortion in the recent health care bill. A number of pro-life Democrats held a meeting with the President to discuss changes they wished to make to federal funding for abortions. The changes were accepted, and the Dems were hailed as bipartisan heroes. However, when the bill passed, and Reps started to push for a ban on all federal funding for abortions, the leader of the aforementioned group of Dems got up and addressed this. In that instant, he went from hailed hero to dirty backstabber, because he did not agree with the extreme right, or the extreme left for that matter, but chose a position that reflected his personal beliefs. It didn't matter that he had brought a balance to the right and the left, or that he had actually performed an action of political consequence without adhering to the narrow-minded views of the extreme sides. He acted in a way that should be an example to all of our political representatives, and he was cast as a traitorous, flip-flopping, untrustworthy, left-wing radical. This is a perfect example of how compromise and debate have become so foreign to our domestic political process that they are seen as shameful and hindering acts of selfishness. Where did we go wrong?

I think that the answer lies in how politics evolved from the early to mid 1900's. I am no expert, but from reading historical accounts of legislation and political process, it seems to me that this is a good place to start. I imagine it became apparent to Dems and Reps that it was much easier to attack a person rather than a piece of legislation, and was much easier to oppose a general group of overarching principles rather than explain opposition to a particular bill. In fact, opposing on principle rather than due to any political reason has become quite popular, since it allows a politician to publicly denounce a piece of legislation that they would otherwise need to show support for, all so that they can indirectly (or not so indirectly) target their opponent. Fast forward to today, and this kind of thing has replaced our public debate as the standard language of discourse. If a measure comes through on the backs of the left, the right shouts it down. If a measure comes through on the right, it's the left that opposes. Furthermore, the middle ground is gone, so the only place that any congress person can throw their lot into without committing political suicide, is with one of the extremes. In the end, it all comes to the same conclusion: bills are passed that contain legislation going in all different directions, clauses that contradict each other, and an overall presentation that is difficult to understand or implement.

So, how do we bring back real debate? First, we have to let the extremists go. We have to understand that extreme points of view do not represent the best interests of the majority of citizens, and that passing legislation based on extreme points of view is detrimental to basic human liberties no matter how you slice it. Furthermore, you have to understand that, no matter what legislation passes, someone is getting screwed. That's the way it works. However, by compromising, being appropriate in discussing concerns and alternatives, and by fairly discussing all the issues in a particular bill as they pertain to the citizenry, legislation can achieve what it is meant to, and still observe the rights and protections of those it does not directly benefit. The next thing we have to do is set up guidelines for appropriate discourse in political debate. As of now, there are no such guidelines for the congressional floor, which leads to a great amount of confusion and useless bickering. By implementing guidelines, useful debate and compromise can make a comeback in the political arena. We must create a place for those of middle-ground, those of the true compromise, to stand and let their voices be heard. We must follow the example of those who think for the betterment of the nation, and not for the betterment of themselves and the advancement of their party. The power of liberty is eternal, but the power of a political idea is ephemeral, and we must learn to balance all ideas in our effort to serve as many citizens as can be served.

Political debate between those of opposing views and values is an essential factor in effective legislative discourse. By finding common ground where it exists, and creating joint legislation where needed, the purpose of a dual-party, representative government can be and would be realized. No one set of ideals must persist as the dominant law, for that is the road to dictatorship, prejudice, and unequal representation for all citizens. We must also change the way that we perceive our nation, particularly in the realm of politics. We must understand that our beliefs and ideals are not always the best for everyone, and that no one answer is perfect. We must have mutual respect for other's views, and accept that they have equal right to be represented along with our own. We must understand that we are part of a greater nation, a vast group of people who must all be represented and must all be benefited by our political discourse. We are the stewards of a great legacy of liberty, and must foster that until the next generation is ready to take up that mantle. We are bound by the the future of our country, the present citizens, and the framework of our law set down by our forefathers. We can no more change the intended balance of our government than we can change the history from which that government was born. By demanding proper political discourse, discussion, and debate, we are demanding an end to the petty idealism that has rotted and crippled our effective political system, and the beginning of a new age of understanding and mutual respect for all. We are still the great beacon of liberty and freedom, and we are still responsible for making sure that that great light does not fade from the earth.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

links to the healthcare bill and reconciliation text

In case anyone else is interested in seeing the raw wording of the newly-passed health care bill, here are the links I've found to read it.


http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-h3200/text

http://www.opencongress.org/house_reconciliation


In just a few hours, Obama will be signing the health care bill into law, ending over a year of push and pull, as well as partisan mud-slinging, that has marred the truly historic significance of the bill. There are great changes coming, many of them meant to ease the financial burden of health care on the lower and middle classes. There's a lot of uncertainty, and a lot of people claiming a lot of BS in reference to the effects and future political and social climate due to the passing of this bill, but the fact remains that the overall function of the bill has been realized. It's not about taking over health care, but placing standards of care and regulations of action on private health care companies so that they are serving their purpose to the American people. The government is not micro-managing anyone or anything, but demanding equal rights and fair representation for as many Americans as possible. Is anyone in disagreement that the government should be watching out for those who are most abused by the private sector?

I know there are people out there who think that the lower and lower-middle classes are just a bunch of under-achievers and couch potatoes that are bleeding the public coffers to pay for their lazy lifestyle. From personal experience, I can tell you that there are people exactly like that, people that live in run-down trashcans that have surround sound and a 30-inch plasma screen. However, I also know that those people are in the minority, and that most people in these lower classes are hard-working individuals that have become victims of corporate greed, government indifference, and upper-class arrogance. More than any other group, the lower to middle class citizens deserve the support of the government because there is no one else obligated to help them. The continuing disparity between the rich and the poor is a disastrous by-product of our capitalist, un-regulated market system.

So, in short, I'm happy about the outcome of the health care bill, and I'm looking forward to seeing its impact in the months and years to come.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Healthcare reform: my idea

I: The Debate over Health Care
The recent health care debate has sparked great controversy in Congress, illuminating the great rift that has divided the left from the right. Despite finger-pointing and name-calling from all sides of the aisle, what's clear is that both Democrats and Republicans are at fault for the current war-zone that the health care debate has become.
On the left, we find a poorly-written and executed bill, one that would do nothing to address many major health care issues, one that shy's away from what the writers intended in an effort to seem less radical and to rally support. They were forced to present an unfinished project due to Republican pressure and, when they met the inevitable opposition, they buckled and cut deals, preferring to make compromises than clarifying their position.
On the right, there was a general opposition to the bill based on principle rather than personal opinion. Instead of offering suggestions and presenting helpful criticism, the entirety of the bill was cast down as hopelessly flawed. Even after the negotiations and omissions and changes, the right was still not satisfied, and continued to push against the bill, utilizing the filibuster and last-minute drives for legislative change that were meant to cripple the bill instead of help it.
These two groups continue to feed off of each others opposition, taking greater and greater steps to protect their ideals and deliver a bill that benefits themselves more than the opposition, or the American people.
Is this a healthy climate to effect change? Are the congressmen and women acting in the best interest of all (or even most) of the people? The answer, in my opinion, is "no" on both counts.
While our political party system thrives on constructive and instructive criticism and debate, criticism for the sake of being argumentative and antagonistic is merely petty and destructive. Unfortunately, the latter is what debate has become on our political system of late (or perhaps not so late).
The function of health care reform should be to alleviate the problems that plague most Americans: high cost, confusing and mediocre coverage, and a lack of viable alternatives.
Thus, health care reform must constitute two parts: Regulations and Competition. The former, being solely within the power of the government to put in place, will create guidelines by which insurance groups must operate, so that the needs of the American people are met, and the companies are still able to operate effectively. The latter will create an inherently Democratic and capitalist competitor to help curb costs and keep quality of insurance up. How is this competition created? The public option.

II: Designing A Public Option
It is important to remember that this is an optional health care program. Also, it does not include anything that could not be offered by another company, In this way, the programs functions as a viable, but not overly stiff, competitor for private insurers. That being said, the program is designed to be accessible primarily to the lower and middle classes.
1. Costs
Like any other government program, the health care option would run primarily (and hopefully exclusively) on the tax money from those who choose to be on the plan only. Those who wish to be part of the public health option will pay an extra tax ( ~15% - calculations below) to be used to cover costs of care (not the costs of maintaining those who work for the health care commission). In the event of a covered individual needing an expensive procedure ( > or = $10,000), the insured must pay a deductible, based on their savings. The deductible is a minimum of $500, a maximum of 25% of the procedure's total cost, and 10% of total savings when that number falls between the minimum and maximum deductible cost.

Example 1
A. Name: John Doe Procedure Cost: $ 50,000
Total Savings: $25000 Deductible: $2500 (10% of savings)

B. Name: Jane Doe Procedure Cost: $ 50,000
Total Savings: $250,000 Deductible: $12,500 (25% of procedure cost)

C. Name: John Smith Procedure Cost: $50,000
Total Savings: $2,000 Deductible: $500 (Minimum deductible requirement)

Example 2
A. Name: John Doe Annual Salary: $25,000
Taxes before health care: $3750 (15%)
Taxes after health care: $7500 (30%: 15% base and 15% for public option)

B. Name: Jane Dow Annual Salary: $19,000
Taxes before health care: $2433 (15%)
Taxes after health care: $3800 (20%: 15% base and 5% for public option for being below 20K/year)
In this way, the health care costs are kept feasible and are personalized to what the citizen can afford to pay.

2. Benefits
All preventative care is free for the insured. This includes doctors, dentists, orthodontists, and any other licensed health care provider whose services are considered preventative care. Programs such as physical therapy are covered up to 50% when following a medical procedure. Gym memberships and other voluntary health activities are not covered unless prescribed by a doctor, then it would be covered 50%. Medications prescribed by a doctor are also covered, both generic and name-brand.

3. Designing a Government health care office
The health care program would be given its own division in the DHHS, including a 24-hour call center where clients may call in claims. Paying into the system can occur at any time. Client will call with their most recent tax record. An official would tell the client the amount they have to pay, which is pro-rated based on when coverage begins. During the next tax cycle, the client would pay the full percentage tax to stay on the program.

4. Cons
Without an adequate number of payers, the system wouldn't hold enough money to cover costs. Also, if all of the clients elect to have expensive procedures, it could bankrupt the system. Because of this, procedures must be approved as neccessary to the individual's health in order to be covered. This determination would be made by the person's primary care provider (PCP). The program would also supply a list of all covered and non-covered procedures to address this.


III: Regulations
The second part of the bill would include regulations by which private insurance companies must operate. It should be noted that the public option must also adhere to these regulations.
1. Acceptance
Health care companies are not required to accept individuals with pre-existing conditions, but will receive tax credits for accepting those individuals.
2. Coverage
a. Insurance companies may not deny coverage when a client:
i. goes to a hospital that the insurance company does not contract with
ii. receives a treatment that is not normally covered during life-saving operations or procedures in which the client is not capable of making a decision and the doctor is using their best judgement, or the treatment would prevent loss of life.
iii. opts for a generic medication to save money
iv. is required to undergo an operation or procedure or receive a treatment that is not normally covered
b. Insureance companies must make clients aware of all covered medications and procedures upon request.
c. Insurance companies may not force clients to undergo procedures or take medications that are covered when there is a better alternative that is not covered.
d. Insurance companies are not required to meet coverage standards of the public health option, nor required to offer similar benefits.
e. Payers into an insurance company may not be dropped without three weeks warning and not without legitimate reason, such as:
i. failure to pay bills
ii. fraudulent use of insurance
f. Insurance companies must provide invoices of charges and bills to clients, regardless of whether the client paid out of pocket.
3. Denial of coverage
a. Insurance companies may deny coverage if a client opts for a procedure of medication that is not required or demanded by a health care provider.
b. Insurance companies may deny coverage if a client makes a voluntary decision for a procedure of medication that is not listed as covered and is not neccessary for continued health and well-being. The client must be made aware of this and must consent that the procedure or medication will not be covered. If the client chooses to have a different procedure of medication that is covered,the insurance company must cover that instead.
c. Insurance companies may deny coverage if an individual is found to be intentionally fraudulent in their claims, or if the client does not pay deductible or premium payments.
i. companies must give notice of terminating coverage and allow 30 days for client to pay outstanding bill to maintain coverage.
ii. late fees may not exceed 10% of total bill.
iii. after 30 days, the company may terminate coverage and request payment of outstanding bills.

Some of these regulations may appear to be common sense or ridiculous, but they are included because they are not always followed by insurance companies. There have been people who, in the midst of surgery, were given a medication to save their lives, only to find out afterwards that the insurance would not cover any part of the procedure due to this. There are people who have been dropped by insurance because they didn't go to a hospital that the insurance company wanted them to. These kinds of things are an extension of the overwhelming greed of our health care system, and is unacceptable.

by placing these regulations on private companies, and creating a competitive alternative, the American people will find themselves the beneficiaries of a system designed around their needs instead of the greed of legislators and insurance companies. Developing legislation for the benefit of American citizens may seem the obvious goal and purpose of Congress. But the health care debacle has proven, once again, that the interests of the citizenry are not the focus of the legislative branch of government. Instead, laws and revisions are made to serve the limited interests of companies and the upper class.





Disclaimer: This is intended to be an editorial. It should in no way be confused with fact or supported argument, but should be regarded as my personal opinion and view. I do not cite sources for information because there are none, unless you would like me to reference my mind.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Problem of the Poor

Another great editorial from Rush Limbaugh this morning. He was talking about this essay contest in which contestant are asked to submit a 750-word essay on a particular topic. The topic this year is "Do the rich have an obligation to help the poor?" Well, of course, Rush had to go into this one.

His argument was that the rich in the U.S. are involuntarily obligated to help the poor through taxation, and that they are the most giving people in the world. However, Rush said that this should not be the case. Instead, he believes the question should be "Do the poor have an obligation to help themselves?" He says that they do, which I agree with, and that yes they can, which I also believe. However, he also asserts that the poor should not be given any help from the government whatsoever when it comes to economic stability.

Well, I have to say that this is a no-win situation for the poor. You see, the system is not set up for the poor to thrive. They are taxed for a higher percentage of their income than the rich (not a higher tax rate), are not able to save as effectively as the upper class, are not paid as well in their jobs, and rely on government programs to make ends meet. People like Rush believe that these government programs are actually hurting people, are a hindrance to all of society, and they should be ended. Well, I have news for you, Mr. Limbaugh. Those programs are important, are heavily relied upon by many people, and while some do cheat the system and subsist on the generosity of the government and the upper class, there are those who do truly struggle to better themselves, and simply can't. There are a multitude of traps that keep the lower class low, the middle class in the middle, and the upper class comfortably at the top. These traps are things like insurance premiums, interest payments, credit card payments, education, etc. If you look at percentages, you will see that the upper class pays more in terms of percentage, but that the lower class pays more out of their overall savings for taxes.

Now, there was an article recently about the closing of schools in Chicago. The city is planning to close 28 out of 60 public schools to help with education costs and low enrollment. One of the comments on that article was from a person who said (and I'm paraphrasing) that public school was communist, sin, and that if you could not afford to educate your child in a private school then your children did not deserve to be educated. I cannot begin to tell you how angry this made me. They also explained their view as "survival of the wealthiest."

First of all, if this is how you want the world to be, be prepared to be very, very alone without many of the things you take for granted. Because many of the things we use (cars, computers, television, movies, etc.) are made by educated people, and are not able to be made by people who don't have an education.
Second, please please shut up about the poor being undeserving of education. Do you realize what the poor have accomplished throughout history. Slaves have jump-started revolutions in technology and industry, inventors without a dime in their pockets have reshaped everything we know about the world. You want some specific examples? How about Albert Einstein? No formal education, was working in a patent office when he came up with the theory of relativity. Or how about Sakichi Toyoda, the founder of Toyota industries? He came from a poor family of carpenters in Japan, and became one of the most honored inventors and entrepreneur's in Japanese history. By the perspective of this idiot, these people would never have had any education, and would likely never done anything significant.

The idea that people are better than others due to wealth and power is infuriating to me. The notion that those who are lower are meant to serve those that are higher is the underlying reasoning behind the holocaust, the inquisitions, and ethnic cleansing (if you need a more modern example). People who speak out against public education need to have their bank accounts raided, and should be forced into the shoes of the working class. Take away their mansions, their twenty cars, their precious titles, and force them to get down and dirty in life. They may think they're inherently better than everyone else, but all it takes is a good, hard slap in the face to break that delusion of grandeur.

I am beyond contempt for people of this mindset. I am beyond angry at those who believe they are better than others because they inherited a fortune and never had to lift a finger for someone else. Mostly, I think I feel sorry for these people. They are so lost in their own self-inflicted, self-centered world that they can't take the time to relate and understand others. Instead, the reject everything beyond their own little world, and form beliefs that protect themselves.