Op-Eds Speaking Truth to the Powers-That-Be
Are you Joe Public? One of America’s more than 94 million permanently unemployed? A doctor, truck driver, or other worker at risk of technological unemployment? Then you, Joe, had best learn a new word: Democide.
What’s “democide?” It’s the killing of people by a government most often based on their socioeconomic status.
The Republican healthcare plan, the “AHCA” dubbed “Trumpcare” earlier this week, is more than mean-spirited. It is madness. It is that pure evil that oozes up from the cracks of greed, selfishness, and self-entitlement.
Is it outside the realm of possibility, for that small sect of the wealthiest Social Darwinists who believe that the rich and powerful are the product of natural selection, and their well-paid Republican think tanks and politicians, to entertain the notion of “thinning the herd?”
What has their agenda been in Trump’s first 50 days? Keep more poor people from entering the country. Thin the herd. Deport the working poor. Thin the herd.
You don’t have to have a Paul Ryan Powerpoint presentation to figure out that Trumpcare, which proposes moving millions of people from Medicaid to “tax credits,” isn’t just an accounting sleight of hand to have the government pay for healthcare without really calling it a social program. It is a reverse redistribution of wealth, back to the haves, that can only have one absolute effect.
If that sounds like the premise for some cheesy Hollywood future Nazi flick, think again. Democide is not uncommon in human history. Simple starvation is usually the class weapon of choice. The Irish famine killed an estimated million people, and Stalin’s starvation of the USSR, most notably Ukraine, sent as many as 49 million people to their deaths.
There are 94.7 million Americans who are considered not in the labor force, not even seeking a job, a number which jumped again another 664,000 in 2016, CNBC reports.
Out of 209 million working-age Americans, that’s a staggering 45 percent of the workforce, which may explain why Democratic tone-deafness to their plight pushed ballots for Trump in key rust belt states.
While the GOP distracts us with border walls, and pits poor and threatened middle class whites against equally struggling minorities and immigrants, two forces are at work, which conservatives assiduously avoid discussing, that have huge ramifications to every American and most of the economies of the planet.
Automation and global warming.
Automation affords us all kinds of wonders. Instant global communications, cool games, amazing images, better cars, new medicines. Used properly, it can bring humanity greater prosperity, health, and well being. That is, if, of course, you believe that all human beings have equal worth, and, freed of work by the machines, can be equally supported, along with the rich and powerful, by the technology that takes them out of the working world.
Republicans, of the Social Darwinist/Randian selfish stripe, though, hold a darker world view of that automation, rooted in their selfish dogma. They aren’t just rethinking your right to healthcare. They’re mulling over how many of us are really all that necessary in this brave new world.
The assembly line, the warehouse of the 21st century, doesn’t use sweatshop labor. Robots in a warehouse don’t eat, sleep, drink, need breaks, have family problems, or health issues.
If you are a college-educated professional smugly thinking that you aren’t vulnerable like your blue collar brethren, think again.
IBM’s Artificial Intelligence program, Watson, is beginning to outthink physicians in diagnostics, and radiology and pathology to the point that many types of medical jobs in those fields will go away soon. Robotic surgery reduces error and improves patient outcomes. One estimate is that 80 percent of doctors will be unnecessary by the mid-century.
Uber is already replacing humans with pilotless cars. Mercedes, amongst others, is well on the way to delivering pilotless trucks to the world’s highways. So shed another estimated 4.8 million professional drivers from the workforce. Recalling antiques like land-line telephones, if people just start using cars by calling them up on their apps and just paying by the ride, rather than owning one, kiss 1.4 million auto dealership jobs goodbye, and perhaps 600,000 independent mechanics who won’t be working on fleet pilotless cars. In all, more than a third of the population could find itself jobless as a result of automation in this century.
The “Great Recession” was the “Great Realignment” by America’s corporations, paper pushers made obsolete by the first major wave of automation by personal computers in the office space. Electronic documents and cloud computing will continue that downward trend in basic office jobs. CEOs earned huge bonuses for firing people who had been technologically unemployed but still working at America’s corporations, for years.
Robots will soon drive, lift, nail, climb fearful heights, fix broken sewage pumps in toxic conditions, and a host of other jobs better, longer and cheaper than humans in North America.
Millions of Americans are just, frankly, unnecessary as labor. As automation continues, millions more will be displaced, and no one, Republican or Democrat, is talking about what we do to restructure a society where work no longer defines us.
The second 400-pound elephant of the Republican’s quiet agenda is Global Warming.
We know that folks like the Kochs want to protect their big oil business and deforestation. Even though they won’t allow state and Federal agencies to even talk about the rising temperatures, the people paying for stupid aren’t stupid. They know that with a temperature increase, the prospect of famines in the land of plenty grow. They, the chosen, must survive.
This is why Trumpcare can be viewed as its own more subtle variation of Final Solution. If you think that’s hyperbole, consider outcomes.
A fast-food worker with Type II diabetes, who makes $22,000 a year, gets an estimated Trumpcare tax credit of $700. That leaves them $500 or more short of their health insurance premium costs alone, and thousands of dollars short of paying high insurance co-pays and non-covered expenses of thin Trumpcare insurance. People do not seek care that they can’t afford. Diabetics, and millions of others with chronic illness, or long-term disability, will die younger.
Trumpcare, which would allow insurers to raise rates on the elderly by 30 percent, and knock 4 to 6 million Medicaid recipients off of state rolls by 2024, leads to state-sponsored killing of the poor for being poor. Meanwhile, under Trumpcare, as proposed, the wealthy will get a big tax rebate. Why? It maintains the income inequality that only further accelerates the weeding out process.
In a time where medicine and science have largely rid the world of plagues, world population is on the rise and resources, like food and timber, thanks to global warming, are threatened. Make healthcare unaffordable, and people die.
There is no Republican rhetorical ruse that works around that.
The irony is that Trump supporters most at-risk, nibbling on his blue rat pellet promises of making America great again, are the ones that are most targeted by the weeding.
All regimes that engage in this type of madness hold out the hope of salvation through their strong hand, only to crush the weak where it suits them, when it suits them.
Trumpcare is a plot worthy of another orange-haired villain, Auric Goldfinger:
Goldfinger’s parting words to the hero, James Bond, “I want you to die,” are easily envisioned to be the parting words to you, Joe.
Joe Public: “How do you expect me to function if I’m not healthy enough to work? If there is no job for me?”
Auric Trump: “No, Mr. Public. I expect you to die! You are a drag on the economy, and on the food supply that, with the damage we do to the planet, will be shrinking, bigly. I don’t need as many of you as consumers. You threaten dwindling resources, and there’s nothing that you can do to make us wealthier.
Written for truth-2-Power.com by Brian Ross. Also published at the Huffington Post under his blog there.