### Taxes and Math Tricks

Here come the Republicans with their favorite oldie, tax cuts. As usual, they think it's a good idea to give the vast majority of people some crumbs as a bribe for making the rich even richer.

Remember how George W Bush sold his \$1.3 trillion dollar tax cut? That's right, he sent everybody  a \$600 check!

Of course, by the time he left office he had added \$5.849 trillion to the national debt - essentially doubling the national debt accumulated by all previous presidents combined.

Now it looks like they are selling us a \$1.51 trillion dollar tax cut for a projected "savings" of \$1,182 - if you are a "typical household of four with gross income of \$59,000". There's no telling what this thing would add to the national debt.

But what if you're not a "typical household?" In that case, you may end up losing on modifications to the individual deductions, limitations on mortgage interest deductions, and the loss or limitation of deductions for state and local taxes... But wait! Now they've got you doing trick math!

It's all an illusion!

In this Ebbinghaus illusion the two spheres in the image above appear to be different sizes when they are actually the exact same size. Do not be tricked by illusions of fairness when numbers are involved. Always review inconsistencies in how the numbers are actually changing.

Let's back up to the basics.

What do we have now?

We have income... brackets... rates... and credits. If income is the total you receive, minus actual out-of-pocket expenses, then that's pretty straightforward. But if you start adding in credits and discounts for things like "capital gains" and "special treatment" it gets back into math tricks.

And even if you eliminated all the trick math on what income is, the brackets and rates are still rigged. Yeah. Currently, a citizen moving from \$9,000 annual income to making a half a million dollars a year will move through SEVEN tax brackets. But a citizen moving from a \$500 thousand annual income up to making \$700 billion a year never changes brackets!

What? Yes. Seriously, that last bracket goes on into infinity! So whether you make \$500 thousand or you make \$700 billion dollars, your bracket is the same.

That's what they think is fair.

Clearly it's not fair; it's a bracket racket!

The only fair way to use brackets and rates is use regular math and make all the brackets the EXACT same size, and then escalate the tax rate by the EXACT same amount each time you move to the next bracket. Start the first bracket at poverty level or where ever you want, but once you create a bracket for taxes, that should be the size of all brackets.

Look, taxes are progressive - just as we don’t believe it is useful to society to tax the poor, we also do not believe it is useful to society to allow citizens (or corporations) to amass huge fortune and power. That's the philosophy behind laws and policies that range from protection of unions, to the enforcement of antitrust laws. Even though they are being watered down or ignored today, that's why those laws and policies were put in place.

America is based on the idea that if you foster and encourage an environment of opportunity and competition, society will benefit. However, when citizens – or citizens acting as corporations – amass too much fortune and power, they can easily dominate markets and quash competition – thus quashing opportunity.

So taxes are one tool we use to ensure healthy markets. But taxes are also a way that we – as a society – gather resources for projects that are designed to benefit us all. The military and the national interstate system are two great examples of what I’m talking about here.

So when we, as a citizen-based self-rule society, allow the tax system to be gamed and manipulated we are not only condoning the suppression of competition and opportunity, but we are contributing to the deterioration of the assets we hold in common.

I believe we are missing the opportunity to make advances as a society that we are surely able to otherwise accomplish. To visualize what I am talking about here, think of a national water system that allows for interconnection of our water resources across the country. Think about a national interactive power grid that consolidates energy resources, or even a high-speed rail system that runs from coast to coast or a national system to manage healthcare costs and billing.

Why can’t we have nice things like that?

Well i believe we can if we stop corporations and the rich from shortchanging us on taxes, we can collect the revenue required to make great things happen for the citizens of our nation.

It is a simple concept; citizens join together to undertake those projects that would be beneficial to all citizens, yet would be impossible to do on an individual basis - or would be needlessly more expensive and complex to accomplish on an individual basis - projects like the National Science Foundation, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Defense, the National Interstate System - things like that.

By now you're wondering how all this ties into the GOP’s new tax plan? Well it does, and it applies to the current tax system, too! To make it simple, things must be uniform or - as we strive for in America - equal. And in taxes, the things we are trying to treat equally are:

• - Taxpayers
• - Brackets
• - Tax rates for the Brackets
• - The Incremental Increase of each new Bracket
• - Credits, Deductions, and Special Treatment of Certain Income

As mentioned, the GOP's new tax solution consist of reducing the number of brackets and chipping away at the credits and deductions. Of course, the way their trick math works it will have a negative effect on the bottom 90% of taxpayers in the U.S., while doing nothing to address the bracket cheat!

So what is the Bracket Racket?

It is essentially a manipulation of tax rates in a way that benefits powerful and wealthy citizens. The overwhelming inconsistencies and complexities built into the Bracket Racket serve as a mask on the preferential treatment these individuals receive.

The Bracket Racket is a symptom of the out-of-sync nature of our current government and perpetuates the income inequality and economic disparity that has come to saturate our society. It is a blatant display of Congress' contempt for the citizenry as a unified body. It sets the size and rate for the tax brackets in a manner that makes calculating your taxes a fraud.

To keep it simple, let us make every individual responsible for their own taxes. Children under 18 do not file or pay taxes, and people in poverty file, but just to establish that they are in poverty and, as such, would not pay taxes. Everyone else is responsible for their own taxes.

And in the spirit of keeping it simple, let us eliminate credits and deductions – all of them. No discount because you are married, no discount because you have kids, no discount because you pay interest on your mortgage, no capital gains discount because you made an investment instead of drawing a paycheck, and no discount on your federal taxes because you and your neighbors decided to tax yourselves at the state and local level.

Of course, federal tax rates would be a lot lower without all the special interest discounts that come with deductions, credits, and the preferential treatment that's given to certain types of income. But low cost really isn't the number one concern with taxes - it's fairness.

And one thing that is, for sure, NOT fair is the rigged bracket scheme.

It's a lot easier to understand when you see the math, so I created a simple spreadsheet to prove how this scam works… You can download it and try it yourself. I challenge you: pick any size bracket you want and pick any percentage multiplier for the per-bracket increase; you will never find a combination where the richest Americans don't end up paying more than they are now under the "infinite bracket" scheme currently in place.

(Click the Excel icon to the left to download the spreadsheet and try it yourself. Also, watch the video below for a short overview of the spreadsheet.)

And what about companies having a lower tax rate than citizens? Is that stupid or what? Corporations can't even become citizens. They can't vote, run for or hold office. They are made-up names that are registered and doing business in our country to make money off of our citizens!  And for the privilege they get cheaper taxes?

Just look at it. The way it is now, they hire a high-rise floor full of accountants and lawyers and "Bob's your uncle!" GE doesn't owe taxes this year! ...but they do have a billion-dollar contract to provide some military stuff that is paid for with - you guessed it - YOUR taxes. That's not fair!

That makes no sense whatsoever. And as far as the big scary threat of "they'll move to a country with lower taxes and take jobs with them," well go for it. But when you try to bring your products or services into the U.S. be sure you're in full compliance with the Human Rights Trade Initiative. And besides, there are 350 million of us; as soon as a company leaves another company will step into their spot. That's just capitalist free enterprise at work, right?

To be honest, they've done a pretty good number on people. They took something good and cool and distorted and exploited it into something that is psychologically associated with fraud and corruption.

I mean, at one time, paying taxes meant being part of creating a national interstate system, creating the technology to send a man to the moon, cleaning-up the environment and setting an example for human rights at home and around the world. Together, we were a professor, a scientist and a doctor, all in one.

Today, America is more like a cop, a handyman and a used car dealer. And while all of those are good and honest professions, I think any one of them would tell you they're are not working on things that are likely to advance our society. That's why folks were able to feel good about paying taxes --- they were chipping-in on the organized effort to actually work on the things that would advance our society as a whole; things that would help us elevate our consciousness and create fuller lives.

No, if I fill out taxes on a postcard, then made-up entities should have to file on a postcard. And as far as a corporate rate, make them use the same brackets and rates that citizens have to use. You know, the equally sized and equally incremented brackets that will be fair to everyone. After all, we own this country, they are just using it to make money.

It really is time to end this ridiculous game of pretending that someone is doing the citizens of this country some kind of favor. They're not. As a matter of fact, they're ripping us off in a lot of ways. We literally own this country! We can decide that corporations are the ONLY ones that pay taxes if we want! Your take-home pay is your take-home pay. Every business from mom and pop to Microsoft would pay taxes by postcard, based on equally sized and equally incremented tax brackets.

It's our country, we can do that if we want to. I think we have forgotten that the real privilege is allowing people to make up an entity out of thin air and start selling things to our 350 million citizens -- and to use our roads and communications systems and other infrastructure - all of which were created for the citizens of this country - not for made up entities.

Let's stop pretending that fairness has to compete with complexity. While I have heard of many, many things that are too complex, I've never heard of anything that was too fair.

### National Pubic Health Emergency

No, I'm not talking about President Trump's declaration of a national health emergency (which had no funding attached and expires in 90 days). That one appears to be a media event designed to inappropriately point the finger at doctors and their patients instead of meaningfully addressing a known source of illegal opioids.

I'm referring to the large contribution China has made to America's opioid problem. This fact is oddly absent from the mainstream discussion of the issue. So instead of seeing a small factory in communist China shipping deadly fentanyl (and carfentanil) directly into the United States, you see a licensed physician writing a prescription and a licensed pharmacist filling it.

One fact that did not make it into the above report from this evening's news is that the U.S. Justice Department has never indicted a Chinese manufacturer of fentanyl and fentanyl analogs — the synthetic painkillers blamed for surging overdose deaths around the country.

Never.

In fact, their first go at it was quietly announced less than two weeks ago in a case that apparently involved these two drug traffickers, among others. This, despite knowledge that the problem existed for years and was taking the lives of unknown victims and celebrities alike.

Now, I understand there are doctors and legal manufacturers of opioids that may have abused the system and harmed citizens in the process. What I don't understand is why they (government and establishment media) have framed the issue with such an obfuscated perspective.

The way the problem has been presented is so unnecessarily one-dimensional that it suggests some surreptitious goal or motive. In fact, this type of misrepresentation is just one low-level example of what I believe is causing long-term damage to our citizens and our society.

Yes, the opioid crisis is serious, but I believe long-term exposure to lies, misrepresentations and institutional deceit is a more serious health problem for Americans. I believe it is undermining our very way of life, and that the cumulative effect of this decades-long exposure has been an emotional and psychological attack on the American psyche.

Just being lied to has its own effects. A Doctor of Philosophy puts it this way: "when people in positions of power lie, you not only become disaffected with them, but you become disaffected with the institutions they represent."

And when those institutions are authoritative government institutions, I believe citizens are subconsciously and socially pressured to assimilate the misrepresentations and false narratives into their public persona in order to "fit in." This creates a conflict with privately and internally-held beliefs that more readily conform to logic and the individual's life experiences.

And it's not a chemical imbalance.

This first occurred to me a few months ago as I was writing a post about James T. Hodgkinson, the guy that went after Republicans with a rifle at a ball field. I was exploring the possibility that the constant stream of misinformation and ongoing oppression of the average American simply caused him to snap. Since then, we have experienced the worst mass shooting in modern American history, as yet another "shooter" seemly snapped for no known reason.

Basically, I'm saying pressure to socially display faith in society when there are so many conflicts in the mainstream narrative is maddening. Example: Just yesterday we learned that there is - according to the CIA and the FBI - information related to the 54-YEAR-OLD MURDER OF OUR PRESIDENT that the citizenry cannot know. How do you process that? How to you not concern yourself with what really happened?

When people regularly absorb that level of secrecy in a society that's publicly advertised as free and open, then psychological issues there are undoubtedly going to present. The fact that everyone is going through it together seems somewhat reassuring, but at some point, that might make it seem worse. Like, "Hey why are we all still pretending?"

When consumed along with the corporate manipulation of government policies that affect the economy; a judicial system that demonstrates preference for the rich and powerful, and the constant flow of cronyism in government, the level of deception consumed by the average citizen is almost certainly dangerous for his or her mental health. And that, could be fatal for our democracy.

Now add in some of the corruption that's inherent in our monopolistic political parties, and we have a perfect recipe for poor participation and difficulty attracting quality candidates.

I believe that as another generation has matured with the realities of being lied to and treated unfairly by their government, we have arrived at a most dangerous period - one which I believe is being accelerated by the sheer volume of false and misleading information and the maturity and complexity of the corruption that we face. I believe President Trump is too focused on trying to expose and disrupt the government instead of creating and improving processes. And while this may be useful to highlight problems, it will certainly not solve them.

### Context & Perspective

If James T. Hodgkinson was Muslim would he be a "terrorist" instead of a "shooter"?

It seems a criminal's motivation for a crime is critical in this regard. We saw how it can make a difference in whether a criminal's friends and family are intensely interrogated - or provided police protection. But it can be difficult to understand when a criminal act becomes a terrorist act. Unless the criminal yells out "Allahu akbar" or something, the knee-jerk, go-to test for terrorism consist of scanning the perpetrator's Facebook page.

In Hodgkinson's case, his Facebook pages showed someone who had a high interest in politics - whatever that means. It revealed that he had supported Bernie Sanders during the presidential primary election and was not fond of Hillary Clinton. The pages are gone now, but on some of them, he apparently expressed anger with President Donald Trump and Republicans.

Okay, well, that puts him in a group of at least 13 million people, so not much help there in discovering a motive. But according to other reports, after the DNC corrupted the Democratic primary process, Hodgkinson voted for Jill Stein in the General Election. And while that does narrow it down to less than one and a half million, it's difficult to see how any of this might reveal a motive for what he did.

So what was it that made a 66-year-old man -- self-employed for almost 40 years and married for almost 30 years -- move to Virginia and start shooting at Republicans?

There is extensive research on shooters who kill multiple victims - which you have to assume was Hodgkinson's intention. In a 2015 report, the Congressional Research Service concluded that most mass killers suffered from some form of mental instability "at least temporarily." This may support the idea that Hodgkinson was suffering from undiagnosed mental issues, as some have suggested. And while it's pretty obvious his ability to reason had been affected (at least temporarily), sweeping it under the mental illness rug seems a bit too handy.

Ultimately, the true motive for Hodgkinson's attack may never be known, but from all accounts, Hodgkinson was more or less "a regular guy" and the whole thing was "out of the blue."

This is perplexing and raises a curiosity; what if Hodgkinson's ability to reason was not affected by mental illness, but by some desperate attempt to make a difference in the world? He apparently had no children of his own, so there wasn't a next generation to whom he could pass the torch. But sadly, this introduces the possibility that it is indeed utter madness for a regular guy or gal to believe he or she can make a real difference in the world today.

No matter how that particular theoretical debate plays out, the fact that there wasn't a clear motive seems to rule out a message-based action. Not only did those closest to Hodgkinson have no clue what was going on, he didn't have a manifesto, didn't send anything to the press; didn't live-stream it on Facebook, and; as far as we know, he didn't even have a note in his pocket.

Really, unfortunately, as terrifying as his actions were and as devastating as they must be for those involved, Hodgkinson was just another blip on the world stage. How could he have believed his actions could make a difference in any way?

Maybe he didn't.

What if it simply boils down to the old proverb, "it is the last straw that breaks the camel's back." Indeed, the most viable motive may be no particular motive at all. Consider the possibility that some seemingly minor or routine action caused an unpredictable large and sudden reaction due to the cumulative effect of events in his lifetime. In other words, James Hodgkinson just "lost it." If so, this introduces a new question: "What events could have accumulated in such a manner as to cause a regular guy to go off on government officials?"

Well, Hodgkinson wasn't identified as an Indian-American, African-American, Japanese-American, or any other heritage where the government had murdered, enslaved, or interned his relatives or ancestors. He didn't seem to be a religious extremist, a right-to-lifer, or an anti-government militia member. He did protest about taxes, but not like the people that say the IRS is illegal and should be abolished.

Instead, Hodgkinson was on about the lack of progression in the tax brackets. It's a real issue, but it's not one of the most popular ones out there. And besides, he didn't go after the IRS or Treasury when he snapped. So maybe the U.S.'s unfair tax bracket racket was just one straw.

But how many straws must it have taken? It's impossible to know for sure, but at his age, there were plenty of straws out there.

One of Hodgkinson's first exposures to the Federal government was likely the assassination of President Kennedy, which he would eventually come to understand - as all children of that era came to understand - was nothing more than a tragedy involving a "magic bullet." And, of course, there was no one on the grassy knoll.

There were also the assassinations of Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., and Robert Kennedy - all before Hodgkinson turned 18 years old -- all the while, counting down until it was time to get drafted.

What has followed is a constant flow of activities that have undermined the ability of Americans to exercise self-rule and pressured citizens into accepting - or ignoring - actions and facts that feeel instinctively wrong or harmful to the country.

Some an examples of possible "straws" are:
• the senseless Viet Nam war that cost 58,000 American lives and many billions of dollars;
• the Kent State massacre that killed four students and wounded nine;
• Nixon buddying-up to Communist China;
• Spiro Agnew's involvement in tax fraud and bribery;
• Nixon resigning for his role in the Watergate break-in/cover-up;
• the pardon of Nixon by Gerald Ford;
• the conviction of six Congressmen and a Senator in the FBI "Abscam" sting;
• the secret collusion with the Iranians by Ronald Reagan's 1980 presidential campaign to prevent the release of American hostages until after the election;
• the "Star Wars" boondoggle;
• the CIA using cocaine to fund the Contras;
• the 80s tax cut/"trickle-down" lie that brought the highest unemployment rate since 1940;
• the Savings & Loan deregulation and subsequent \$400 billion fraud;
• the Keating Five / Lincoln Savings and Loan Association;
• the amnesty for 1.4 million illegal aliens;
• the Bank of Credit and Commerce International fraud;
• the US funding and supporting the Mujahideen, Al Quaeda, and Osama bin Laden;
• the Siege of Ruby Ridge by United States Marshals;
• the World Trade Organization (WTO)
• the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA);
• the Supreme Court of the United States and the 2000 Presidential election;
• the treasonous false flag acts of 9/11 (scientifically impossible);
• the "weapons of mass destruction" lie-for-war in Iraq;
• the open-ended 9/11 war authorization that purportedly allows the President to bomb essentially any country in the world without further consultation of Congress;
• the rights- and privacy-crushing Patriot Act;
• the black hole of waste at the Pentagon;
• the raiding of the US Treasury during the 2008 "bailout";
• the completely ignored and un-investigated DNC rigging of the Democratic primary;
• the Russian "interference" and "collusion" investigation;
• the deadly force that has become standard practice in civilian policing;

There are myriad possibilities. That list is just some of the larger public ones that instantly come to mind. (Feel free to add the ones I didn't mention in the comments.) Of course, there are probably just as many horror stories on an individual level. Whether it's people losing their home or farm over some shifting government policy, getting shortchanged by FEMA, being harassed on the job, or even seeing their children poisoned by the drinking water; there's plenty of straws to go around. And when you see them in a list like that, I guess you get a better idea of the volume of bulls#*t older Americans have seen over the decades.

In pretty much every case, the government either lied about something, knowingly mislead, and/or failed to act in the best interest of the citizenry at large. And what about living with the underlying knowledge that your country is an arms dealer?

Knowing that your country drops bombs in more countries than its leaders can even keep up with is an awful realization on every level.

Down deep, the American people know they are unable to stop the wars being fought in their name. There's just too much machinery in place and running, and there's too much money being made. The average person is helpless in addressing the matter. No matter what your particular ideology, philosophy, religion or other belief structure, war is happening in your name and there's nothing you can do about it - and that seems wrong. Could this be responsible for the violent nature of Hodgkinson's reaction when he lost it?

The fact is, there's so much money in war they have to ship it on pallets. In just one incident that was reported publicly, the US flew nearly \$12 billion in shrink-wrapped \$100 bills into Iraq, then distributed the cash with no real control over who was receiving it or how it was being spent. Note that 12 billion dollars is the equivalent of the median annual household income (\$51,939) multiplied by 231,040 American families. That's families, not individuals.

The United States has spent more than \$7.6 trillion on defense and homeland security since the attacks of September 11, 2001. And now it seems the government is assuming all citizens are potential targets of law enforcement, going so far as to make it illegal to smile on your identification. That way, facial recognition software can match you to the surveillance tapes from the crime scene of the crime you haven't yet committed. Same thing with all your calls, emails, and Internet searches. They're saving all of those in case they need to look into you later. Well, how's that for a straw?

And how about this; the day after the Hodgkinson attack, the Speaker of the House said this: "An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us." Yet it seems clear that he must have been talking about that select group of elitists known as Congress. What else can one believe when under Ryan's leadership the House just passed a health care bill that would result in 24 million Americans losing their health insurance.

Moreover, in a study, Harvard researchers found that a lack of health insurance had a mortality hazard ratio of 1.40. Or in other words, they concluded that Americans without health insurance were 40% more likely to die than those with it -- even after taking into account the individual’s "gender, age, race/ethnicity, poverty income ratio, education, unemployment, smoking, regular alcohol use, self-rated health, physician-rated health and body mass index!"

Prior to the Affordable Care Act, the American Journal of Public Health found that nearly 45,000 Americans died each year as a direct result of being uninsured. And if we can find this information, you know they had had to have it. So what else could that mean besides they just don't care?

Who knows if any of this had anything to do with James T. Hodgkinson losing it, but it seems reasonable to believe the continued cycle of government actions and events certainly contributed to it or he wouldn't have been going after Senators. One thing is all but certain, life-changing difficulties are being experienced by millions of "regular" people every day, and the things people are going through seem a lot bigger to them than they do to their "representatives" in Congress.

There has to be some toll taken for years and years of ignoring the truth - or even worse, being required by society to pretend to believe obvious lies. Who knows what goes through people's minds after long-term exposure to all of that - especially when it just continues on and on.

Perhaps America is experiencing some form of cumulative Mass PTSD? That may sound far-fetched, but then so does millions of Americans periodically - and sometimes randomly - being harmed by the effects of their own government's actions.

### Public Utilities

Just as a private corporation might repurchase its own stock, America should purchase, by means of eminent domain, all of the electric and water systems across the United States of America to unify and upgrade them for the safety and security of future generations.

The transfer of these resources should be accomplished over a reasonable period of time, and after a national survey of the resources and the development of a national infrastructure plan, with a national water main being a top first priority. The absence of safe and affordable utilities is more of a national security threat than any of the political wars we have engaged in over the last 70 years.

Concepts like public utilities provide a solid basis upon which our society can grow and prosper - far superior to the concept of a universal basic income where the government gives citizens money for them to give to corporations. There's no pride in that, because there's no ownership in that -- there's no equity in citizenship.

More to come...

### Education

The Federal government should immediately solicit our highest-rated teachers from around the country (by whatever measure) and then videotape their classes for an entire school year. There should be impressive incentives for the best an brightest teachers to compete. We already incentivise teachers relocating to rural and other under-served areas, this will be leveraged a million times more.

The resulting videos would then be made available by Internet stream -- YouTube or whatever. Classes could be conducted in a format that would last for 25 minutes, leaving the onsite teacher the balance of the 55-minute class for direct interaction with his or her class. In that way, any teacher nation-wide could incorporate the videos for the grade level or subject of his or her class.

Whether teachers use these videos or not -- and how they use them -- could the result of local school boards. But even use of the videos were prohibited by a local school board, they should still be publicly available to parents and children across the country. By now we have a real good sense of what every citizen should know by the time they turn legal age. Making an official version of this for citizens and education professionals to access is a no-brainer.

Most importantly, parents and children in school districts that cannot afford to recruit the best and the brightest would have these videos available to them. At minimum, teachers could occasionally offer extra credit to students for watching certain videos after school when pertinent to his or her class.

Additionally, under-educated adults will likely access the videos, too. High school has changed much over the years; new processes are discovered, new planets are discovered, so today's basic education is more advanced than the basic education of the past. So yes, I could see adults watching some of the videos -- particularly the advanced placement classes -- perhaps watching with their children!

These educational videos will benefit teachers across the country. By providing a central focus for strategy discussions and peer review, teachers could use them as a starting point of what they think should have been added or left out and interact with other education professionals. This would be beneficial even in districts that didn't use the videos.

Sure, I imagine competing commercial products and services will spring up to provide alternative views on many issues. But in this day of advanced technology, having an official series of videos that citizens can use to attain a contemporary universal public education is so obvious that it's actually quite suspect that they don't already exist.

I mean, American taxpayers have spent about \$250 million a day on wars abroad since September 11, 2001, but we can't make fifth-grade classes available on YouTube for parents and children that want to follow them? That's absurd. Frankly, making these classes available worldwide should be a net positive for the country on a political basis too. Congress needs to make this happen A.S.A.P.

### Healthcare

The answer to our current healthcare problem is Medicare for All.

Bernie Sanders said a lot about this, but, perhaps because he is up in years he assumed everyone knew what that would mean. Instead, it was characterized as ‘government-provided' health care like that in England.

The National Health Service in England is the biggest part of the system by far, catering to a population of 54.3 million and employing around 1.2 million people. Of those, the clinically qualified staff include 150,273 doctors, 40,584 general practitioners (GPs), 314,966 nurses and health visitors, 18,862 ambulance staff, and 111,127 hospital and community health service (HCHS) medical and dental staff.

However, the fact is, Medicare does not generally provide medical care at all - instead, it manages payments for medical care that is provided by professionals that do not work for the government - in medical facilities that are not owned by the government. Obviously,  there are exceptions, like the Veterans Administration, but frankly, that should be eliminated and rolled into Medicare for All with 99% coverage instead of the usual 80% coverage that non-veteran citizens receive on Medicare today.

That is, under regular Medicare today, your coverage is 80% of the negotiated cost of the care received and the facilities utilized. Medicare-covered citizens receiving care must pay the remaining 20% - which can be further offset by either a private sector supplement policy or participation in a private sector HMO that meets or exceeds the services provided under Medicare. Those often require care through a specific network of doctors and facilities, but a lot of people like the plans better because of the reduced cost.

That's what's happening today.

The point is, "Medicare for All" is not "government healthcare" and it could save citizens billions over just a few years, as the buying power of 340 million customers allows Medicare to negotiate reasonable prices for products and services that we have otherwise seen escalate into gouging and other anti-competitive behavior.

Concepts like medicare for all are the capitalist equivalent of universal basic income and provide a stable foundation from which all citizens may compete in free enterprise. It's time we start looking at what we can do together to make all of our lives better and save money in the process.