I get accused by readers of being unpatriotic when I criticize my government. But patriot or not, I’m 100% yank. For the past twenty six years living, working and invested in “red tape nightmare” Mexico. As a result, I gained a better appreciation for why the United States is such a great land of opportunity and the resultant personal freedoms. Likewise, my Mexican experience causes me to appreciate how really destructive an oversized central government can be to economic growth and personal liberty. In 1984, Mexico was a one party, totally autocratic government. Since then, it has instituted free and impartial elections, freedom of the press and a free enterprise system. But Mexico still has a long way to go before being free of “federal centralist control”. I’m fearful that federalism in the United States is going the direction of Mexico’s sometimes ungovernable centralized system of decision making.
This leads me to the need of speaking out against a “business as usual” process for selecting presidential candidates. Voting in presidential elections since Kennedy, I can’t remember a more critical time in our history for careful and rational selection of a new leader. I know I speak for many senior Americans: We are alarmed and fearful about the quality of life our children and grand children will have. And I further believe, most Americans are frustrated and alarmed that our government seems incapable of meeting these challenges that threaten a better future.
The failures in managing our economy and the environment are pathetic. And only surpassed by a foreign policy that successfully attracts increasing terrorist threats. How long can we sit by and listen to our leaders talk about another terrorist attack as inevitable, “that it is just a matter of when and where”? Neither Democratic nor Republican presidential candidates are committed to seriously changing a failing foreign policy. We continue to pursue dogmas and actions that have brought us to this point of historical impotence and decline. Most Americans are conscious that the hackneyed and cliché leadership solutions, being offered by the candidates, will only treat symptoms and not the root causes of our problems. And, in the case of government managed health care, make the situation worse.
NEW YORK TIMES, AUGUST 2007:
“Seven years ago, the World Health Organization made the first major effort to rank the health systems of 191 nations. France and Italy took the top two spots; the United States was a dismal 37th. More recently, the highly regarded Commonwealth Fund has pioneered in comparing the United States with other advanced nations through surveys of patients and doctors and analysis of other data. Its latest report, issued in May, ranked the United States last or next-to-last compared with five other nations – Australia, Canada, Germany, New Zealand and the United Kingdom – on most measures of performance, including quality of care and access to it. Other comparative studies also put the United States in a relatively bad light.”
In 1977, Dr. Emmanuel Cheraskin had already sounded the alarm, calling America’s health care system: “the fastest growing failing business in America”. “Fastest growing”, because the increasing cost of healthcare outstrips all other cost of living indexes. The most expensive health care system in the world is failing because corruption-not care, drives these costs. An unholy alliance between: “big government, “big medicine”, “big insurance”, the Food and Drug administration, and personal injury lawyers. Until we have tort reform and less, not more government control, we will not fix the problem. “Government run” consistently results in government over runs and abuses.
According to a report by FAMILIES USA, a Washington based advocacy group for better, more affordable health care, after surveying 242 Mexican border doctors and 318 Americans who regularly go to Mexico for their health care found : “Americans living near the Mexican border are now routinely crossing to Mexico for medical care rather than pay higher prices for similar care and identical drugs in the United States. Americans now account for a quarter of Mexican border doctor patients.
The cost of a visit to a doctor can be so much lower over the border that in some cases it is less than the 20 percent most Americans must pay under most health insurance plans. Sixty-one percent of the patients said their chief reason for going to Mexico was price; 20 percent said they went chiefly because they liked the personal attention they received from Mexican doctors and clinics. About 90 percent said they felt the care they had received in Mexico had been good or excellent. About 80 percent rated the care they had received in the United States as good or excellent. A few more rated the care excellent in the United States than in Mexico care, but, in addition, more people rated the care poorer in the United States than in Mexico.
Dr. Ron Paul is not a classic lawyer -politician. He began serving his country as a military physician and later as congressman from Texas. He never had a real chance of becoming President. But, if the mass media had assumed their vital role as the fifth column of government, we would have been rewarded with a debate about real change. Ron Paul passes scrutiny as an ethical and independent thinker. His platform forces us to look critically at hallowed institutions like the IRS, CIA and FBI. To ask ourselves would we be better off without them? The IRS did not come into existence until 1917 and the other “three letter” agencies, decades later.
In the “changes” they offer, no other presidential candidate challenges these failing institutions. Heavily funded, at their best, these agencies are misguided and, at their worst, threaten our freedom. And the freedom-security of other sovereign nations. Did our intelligence community lie about “weapons of mass destruction” or are they just overpaid incompetents? Ask the people of Iraq if they feel safer and have more freedom today than they did under Hussein. Ask somebody hounded by the IRS about freedom. I did not have to ask my “progressive thinking”, labor organizing, father how he felt about the FBI’s, sometimes farcical, attempts to limit his freedom of expression and the right to organize.
Ron Paul is a truer Republican than either McCain or Huckabee. A Libertarian, truly committed to getting government out of our personal lives and destroying our liberties. Unlike the phonies that “talk the talk” but leave office with an even bigger government and subsequent larger debt. Ronald Reagan talked smaller government, but as governor, ballooned California’s budget and instituted State income tax deductions when he promised he never would. Reagan also left the Presidency with the largest national debt in our nation’s history.
Ron Paul reminds us that we have historically ignored President Eisenhower’s warning that the military industrial complex is our biggest threat to liberty, justice and security. We now have a half million troops in over 70 countries around the world and the interests of corporate America are inseparable from those of the Pentagon and the State Department. If a military presence in seventy countries is not imperialism, I don’t know what to call it. Have we, “the bastion of freedom”, become just another oppressor? If we ask most other nations, the answer is yes.
That was not the case when I was growing up in America, except for some Latin American countries the CIA messed with. Remember, George Bush promised “no nation building”. What the hell are we doing in Afghanistan and Iraq if it is not nation building?
Ron Paul’s approach to the environment is a time table to eliminate our dependence on foreign oil and subsequent mid east intervention. Mobilizing energy, technology and resources (wasted on nation building and troop occupation) to building new energy models for living sustainable lifestyles. He talks specifics: that with current technology we could be free of the internal combustion engine in five years. Who does not believe that he is right? Yet no one addresses how quickly we could, with purpose, disengage from this ecological path to destruction. Scientists and Al Gore tell us that time is running out for the planet and the politicos are talking universal health care? What difference will it make who pays for a doctor visit when our coastal cities and states are drowning due to the melting of polar ice caps.
Ron Paul is the only Republican candidate for President that voted against the war in Iraq and has consistently voted for smaller government. He has been consistent in voting for term limits and legislation that protects against private interest lobbying abuses and corruption. His solutions to immigration are non xenophic economic solutions to an economic problem. Mexicans don’t want to leave their country and culture. If NAFTA had completed its promise of a better wage for Mexicans, we could claim serious commitment to improving our neighbor’s lives and decreasing the flow of undocumented workers.
We have tripled the number of border patrol agents over the last eight years and the flow has only increased. The proposed wall separating our two countries is appropriately compared to the Berlin Wall. It is a ludicrous, insulting to Mexicans, alternative that treats the symptom not the cause. The average Mexican foreign owned factory worker makes ten dollars a day, approximately the same amount paid before NAFTA became a reality fifteen years ago. And the cost of milk, rent, tortillas and corn have increased substantially. Instead of improving the lives of Mexican workers, NAFTA is understandably viewed as a means of exploiting cheap labor to enhance American corporate welfare.
I was always warned that as I got older I would become more conservative. Ron Paul’s concept of government has nothing to do with party politics, liberalism or conservatism. Like Dr. Paul, I am for legalizing Marijuana, against the war and want state government to trump the feds judicially. In my heart, I’m still the radical-idealist who demonstrated with Martin Luther King, Cesar Chavez and Eugene McCarthy. It is not me, but my country that has changed politically – moving more and more toward fascism.
It is inherent on all of us to stop the tide of fascism we see reflected in debates about “legitimizing torture”, imprisoning accused without a speedy trial, Federal I.D.’s and massive eavesdropping on citizens. Why is it that one in every one hundred Americans are in prison? And for black Americans, one in four. Has America become a police state already? Most of these “criminals” have not committed criminal acts against others – no, they are addicts and should be treated as such.
And to hell with “say no to drugs”. Media campaigns do not address the despair, stress and loss of purpose that leads our young people to drug abuse. Most parents, who have a drug abusing kid, are not prepared to deal with the terribly destructive affects on their families. Let’s divert the money and ingenuity we waste in building more prisons to prevention. You think the loss of a father figure in the home (55% divorce rate) and the resulting “latch key” kids might have something to do with it? A middle class family, with even two parents present, can’t afford to keep one parent home for those important formative years of care and supervision.
I would join all Lincoln Republicans to defeat Clinton’s politics of status quo-bigger government and Obama’s vision without specific performance goals. But, unfortunately, the rest of the Republican field talk the talk but have never walked the walk. That is why the party is so split.
Unless there is a new paradigm of purpose for our nation of: real peace, prosperity for all and respect for the sovereignty of other nations, we will not succeed as a country or as a people. Let us not get caught up in believing “real change” will occur just because we have a black or female president in the white house. Believe me, these candidates are not talking the changes that Ron Paul warns us are so important to consider. Issues that are vital to saving our ship of state and not just reorganizing the deck chairs.
Jose Perez is the founder of Mexicomatters, serving the foreign investor since 1984.
You can consult with Jose by calling 619 819 9369, see our website www.mexicomatters.info