Archive for January, 2013

It’s been almost 50 years since Dr. King gave his “I have a dream” speech. NPR plays the speech on the radio every year. It’s worth listening to. We’ve come so far, yet, the journey has not ended.

On King’s 84th Birthday, His ‘I Have A Dream’ Speech

“But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt.”

Don Brown — Chairman
The Democratic Party of Pike County
February 11, 2013

In case you missed the Pike County Journal-Reporter last week, here’s the letter to the editor I wrote.

Why do “conservatives” speak of Israel in such glowing terms? Why does Bibi Netanyahu (Israel’s Prime Minister) have a sterling reputation with “conservatives”? Don’t they know Israel is a hotbed of socialism?

Don’t they know Israel has universal healthcare? Israelis voted for it in 1995. That’s right, Israel has had “Obamacare” for over 15 years.

How about tax rates? America’s top tax bracket is 35%. Israel’s top bracket is 45%. The income threshold for the America’s highest tax of 35% is $388, 350. For Israelis, the 45% rate kicks in at 482,760 shekels ($128,588). Have you ever heard Republicans mention Israel’s “job crushing taxes”? No? That is probably because Israel’s economy is doing quite well (thank you very much.) Their real GDP growth for 2011 was 4.7%. America’s was only 1.7%. (And while we’re here, the actual socialists — the communists in China — had a GDP growth rate of 9.1% in 2011.)

How about Sharia law? Did you know Muslims have their own religious courts in Israel? Have you ever heard Fox News scream about that? Seek the truth. It will set you free.

Israelis aren’t socialists and neither is President Obama. Taxes don’t destroy jobs; they are the price we pay for civilization. Freedom of religion isn’t a threat; it is a right.

If you would like to see America’s public policy based on reality instead of misleading, worn-out rhetoric, join us. We’re the Democratic Party of Pike County. We believe America should be governed by facts — not fears.

Don Brown, Chairman
The Democratic Party of Pike County

I thought some people might be interested in doing more reading on the subject. Most of my initial research was done on Wikipedia and that is where I would encourage you to start. I’ll toss in a couple of citations to (hopefully) pique your interest.

Health care in Israel 

“Health insurance is administered by the Health maintenance organizations, most of which were set up by the labour unions before the founding of the State.” 

I would have loved to work unions into the conversation but you can only cram so much into 250 words. (The limit on letters to the editor.)

I also found the section on Medical Tourism enlightening.

“Medical tourists choose Israel for several reasons. Some come from nations such as Romania and Cyprus where certain procedures are not available. Others come to Israel, perhaps most commonly from the US, because they can receive quality health care at a fraction of the cost it would be at home, for both surgeries and in-vitro fertilization procedures.” 

It would seem that “government-mandated healthcare” isn’t as bad as some conservatives would have you believe. Oh, and it’s cheaper too. And that (more affordable healthcare) is the crux of the matter for the United States budget as we go into the future. If we don’t control our healthcare costs, we can’t control our budget. Healthcare in America is expensive and it doesn’t work as well in comparison to other countries.– countries that have universal healthcare like Israel.

I included the bit about Sharia law in Israel simply because it is used by the Right to inflame instead of illuminate. I don’t claim to be an expert on the matter but I found that section of Wikipedia thought provoking. Marriage appears to be a religious matter — separate from civil matters (support, custody and property.) In other words, the State doesn’t “define marriage”. The various religions do. None of this is meant to be a suggestion. I just think it important to look at relevant facts when you want to make a rational decision.

Perhaps the most interesting (and important) aspect of my research was in taxation.Israel’s tax rates are significantly higher than ours in the United States and yet, Israel’s economy is doing very well. I initially thought that Israel’s tax rates were a reflection of their security situation. But their defense spending isn’t as bad as you might think. While their defense spending as a percentage of GDP is higher than ours (6.5% vs 4.7%), they spend less per person: $1,822 per person vs $2,141 for the U.S. Again, you can’t get into the policy weeds like this in a letter to the editor.

But you can on the internet. As a matter of fact, I’d urge you to compare whatever policy is of interest to you with the rest of the world. Or, if that seems too overwhelming, you can compare Georgia with the rest of the States. You might want to find out why Georgia’s public policies put it 37th on the HDI index of States when it has the 11th largest economy of the States. I’m going to go out on a limb and assume it isn’t the socialists that are keeping Georgia (and the rest of the South) at the bottom of the heap.

Don Brown — Chairman
The Democratic Party of Pike County
February 11, 2013