Your rantings and ramblings are more coherent than many people’s supposedly highly focused thoughts and speaking. :)
Those who hold the real power know Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, very well, as you point out. Food, clothing, shelter, safety/security, etc.—our fixation with those first means we give up (all too readily, without thought or examination), as you say, too much for too little. There is no perfect security, and we have forgotten Benjamin Franklin’s wise words on this topic. And because of that, we as a populace are too easily manipulated by those with real power.
Twice now, those with power—from “health” insurance and pharmaceutical corporations to those directly and indirectly connected to the affliction causing and affliction “managing” industry—have undermined attempts to deal with one (this one, health costs, direct and indirect) of the prime monstrous beasts that are consuming the society.
And yes, Madame, as you rightly mention, Europeans look on us as, effectively, ignorant or uncaring consumers of poison who then wail about their individual and societal “health crises.”
The politicians are beholden to a money driven system, and so become bought and paid for by moneyed interests. Those politicians may wail about the need for (and their campaign promise to do something about it that their opponent won’t) “jobs” and “industry” for the country, but they serve corporate interests who are largely only concerned with maximizing profit—and that often means the goods or services produced where labor is cheaper elsewhere. Hedges relays on page 154 many striking facts about this from Seymour Melman, an academic who spent his career studying these things. And Hedges shows us on page 155 that many of those who appear on the corporatized media as “experts” are in serious conflict of interest, and probably largely only in selfish service to themselves and their industries.
You mentioned that Hedges favors a universal health care system. He quotes Dr. John Geyman, former head of family medicine at the University of Washington: “We cannot build on or tweak the present system. Different states have tried this. The problem is the private insurance industry itself. It is not as efficient as a publicly financed system. It fragments risk pools, skimming off the healthier part of the population and leaving the rest uninsured or underinsured. Its administrative and overhead costs are five to eight times higher than public financing through Medicare. It cares more about its shareholders than its enrollees or patients.” (155) He goes on to say how much Americans who can get insurance pay for it, and that premiums went up 87 percent from 2000 to 2006. Hedges cites a Harvard Medical School study that showed national health insurance would save the country at least $350 billion a year. (156)
Yesterday, I went to a high school commencement/graduation, in which the speaker told the graduates that they were the optimistic change agents to solve the seeming insolvable, to come up with, he said, using all the wonderful tech skills their generation possesses, solutions. True, at least in part, I thought to myself. How much can be accomplished though, I wondered, if they do not help change the power structure?