Sunday, November 1, 2009

It Is So Tempting To Blame Obama

And yet I won't. I did not vote for him and quite honestly, didn't vote for McCain either. The latter had my vote until Palin was attached but then, dear old Colin Powell got my 3x write in vote - 2000, 2004, 2008.

Why not Obama?

I'm not going to denigrate my blog with a political bent, although, I have a hankering to. Discussing what is wrong with Obama's health care plan is open season.

During the years I was fully employed making well over $200,000 a year, paying $80,000 a year in taxes (withdrawn from paychecks) and FICA and Med, I had decent health care coverage. Not great but it was decent enough that if I needed to get to a doc, I could. At $200,000+ a year, I had more than enough money to take care of my son, take care of my home, take care of things that needed tending and even put away funds for retirement (now long tossed out the window) and open a securities account.

The war chest was built using lies and taking money I'd rather have been spent making sure the homeless on the street were cared for. Why is that the most powerful country in the world would rather make bombs and blow the snot out of another country without provocation, than take care of our own. Most homeless are not there because they chose to be - they are ill: mentally and generally, physically. The veterinarians have shown far more compassion for our homeless than our government caring for the homeless person's pet often for free. Even vets understand the compassion and warmth a pet can bring.

The first democrat I would have ever voted for was Paul Wellstone (guess you now have it, I'm from Minnesota). I wrote him shortly before the election that year and told him he would be the first Democrat that I would ever vote for, and hopefully, the last (as I was praying the GOP would get back to mid-ground). The letter I received back from Senator Wellstone was typed but signed by him, with a small comment underneath his sig. He died a few days later in a plane crash and my vote went to Mondale. Why would I not vote for, refuse to vote for, Norm Coleman?

Somewhere along the way, Norm forgot who he fought for when he first entered politics. He forgot the common folk who don't have healthcare, don't have food, don't have basic necessities of life. He forgot, or quickly found out it was not vote-worthy, the people who made him the mayor of St. Paul and supported his wrangling of a hockey team (the state, however, does thank you, Norm, for that!).

Norm is indicative of what is wrong.

He chased money. He chased votes. He chased like a dog after a car, things that were not helping mid-America and eventually, all America. Common necessities, basic needs. Maslow's pyramid... security, safety, food, health.

By chasing money all politicians forget to chase a moral compass. That moral compass gets lost in the plethora of indulgent dinners, PAC funding, and ego stroking. Obama is no different. I believe his goal is to help Americans get health care but his means are off base and therefore, his moral compass is wrong.

Obama still cares about lining his pockets with PAC money for 2012. Obama can't disparage the CEOs of insurance companies because they horde big money and big egos and big lawyers. Obama can't disparage the lawyers because... lawyers tend not to disparage their own ilk. Obama is set up for failure because the people he most trusts - those like him with pedigree initials from pedigree top-ranking law schools - don't get the moral compass thing either: forget about lining the pockets and do what is right.

They won't. They can't. And because of all that, $200,000+ a year went to fund bombs and fuel for Iraq instead of needles and blood and pharmaceutical research for disease fighting drugs.

I don't blame Obama for the health care mess. I blame greedy CEOs, greedy BoDs, greedy lawyers, greedy insurance companies run by greedy CEOs supported by greedy lawyers and enhanced sycophants surrounding the same.

Okay, so much for not being a political bent. :)

Make it a great day!

P.S. I was never ever worth that amount of money, I don't kid myself. Going into work everyday, I wondered why they paid me as much as they did to sit around, strategize how to use internal audit to make the company more money, commit no fraud (they did anyway), and manage/motivate/direct my teams. One day, while sitting in the board room, almost to the point of checking out the backsides of my eyelids whilst the "powers that be" discussed ad nauseum the derivative instruments of Goldman-Sachs, and the impact of selling short our position on the housing stocks, I questioned:

"Do you put this much effort into releasing good (product)? If we focus on doing good things, the rest will come. Two hours on derivative instruments when that is x% of our portfolio, is not difficult or worth it. We are not performing brain surgery here."

No, they didn't like me much. Especially when I told them they were committing fraud. But then again, at that time, the executive administration of the US government's SEC looked the other way when told companies were. Ironically, a finance executive once also employed by that company as a contractor just told me, "If anyone in this life deserves to do what they love, find their path and their dream, it is you, J." She was the former CEO and CFO of a multi-billion dollar company. She got it. She understood. She likewise laughed at the gobs of money thrown at people who move boxes and cups around all day playing, "Find the penny" (okay, that was snide but the point made, eh?)


Mr. C said...

Distribution of wealth is a tough subject. On the one hand, the idealistic side of us wishes that everyone's basic needs could be provided for. However, the rub is what constitutes need? We also like to assume that, givenequal opportunity, people will strive to better the human condition.

Unfortunately, I think we all know a few people who are takers. They may be rich or poor, but their natural disposition is wholly self-serving. Those in positions of power are the most obvious examples, so we tend to attribute greed to the wealthy.

I don't believe that all "creators" of wealth are inherantly greedy or exploitave, but they do have the means to be. You may have felt that your salary was "dirty", but I suspect that has more to do with the ethics of how your employers supplied it than the actual wage itself.

For instance, had you been a party to developing a lifesaving technology that would increase the quality of life for many others, what amount of compensation for that gift would be excessive?

I believe that profit, in and of itself, is not evil... Nor does it breed evil. There are simply evil people and evil purposes. I hope that you won't confuse your inestimable worth as a physician, and a deservedly higher wage, with that of others who have compromised themselves and the wellbeing of others for financial gain. If you feel guilty about the wage you earn, you probably haven't really earned it.

A Doc 2 Be said...

Sadly, I always thought the salary outrageous but likewise knew, that is what prevailing wage dictated. I did not make more than other VPs... but the amount is more than many physicians. I don't believe for one millisecond that what I did was more important than what physicians do on a daily basis.

Saving lives vs. making more money on paper... not a hard choice for me. Was I good at what I did? As one recruiter said, "The very best."

What I likewise found was every salary increase through job-hopping or promotion was less meaningful for a far shorter period of time. When I went from $125,000 to 150,000 I thought "Whoo hoo! Big time..." that lasted for about 2 months and then I was unhappy, hated what I was doing... money could not salve that. Then I went from $150,000 to $180,000 and thought "Whoo hoo!! Big time..." that lasted about a month. See the pattern?

"Stuff" never mattered to me. People did and do. It's one reason my clients loved me... they always commented that they thought I really cared about them and their businesses. They were close. I cared about them - as people and if the business helped make their lives better, then their businesses too.

The ethics of the company I worked for had nothing to do with my salary perception, nor what they did/do. Likewise, I don't think biotech or not would have made a difference.

For instance, when I was the lead in taking a pharmaceutical company public (the company I mention in my comment on I Quit post), I didn't find my salary there satisfying or worthy either. What kept me loving being at the company was... the company, salary be damned. Again, prevailing wage said this is what a senior manager should make, and I did so.

I don't believe profit to be evil. I believe companies have far too much pressure on them from some pencil pointing bureaucrat on Wall Street that says the company should make X-Y-Z and if not, we're gonna blacklist the stock, which prompts the CEOs' nervousness, forcing the unethical to do and support things that are just plain wrong.

Ala Enron, WorldComm, Tyco, SE Health, et al.

Strong CEOs and those with some moral compass, slap the mosquito on the elephant's behind and do the right thing... there are many of those types out there. I don't think they get enough credit for being solid.

However, I'm pretty confident that they are not worth mega-millions in salary and bonuses based upon stock that they get because at the end of the day I would come back and ask, "What life did you save today?"

Last, I will never as a physician make the money I did. When all is said and done, assuming I do get into med school somewhere, I will be roughly $3.5M out including lost wages, lost interest on investments, loans for med school, lost interest/appreciation on real estate (my home). I will never be able to get back.


If I wanted to make money, I do what I did elsewhere in the country.

If I wanted to be filthy rich, I'd start over in FL, or CA, or HI, or ... pick your favorite warm spot. I know how to make money. I was never happy with fat paychecks.

What made me thrilled was:
hearing the baby's first heart beat, hearing my first human heartbeat through a scope, seeing my first emergency room trauma (sorry for victim but individual will be perfectly fine); helping the lady in the accident was just the brush I needed to find my way back to my passion: trudging down the path to med school.

And all of that? Was free!

Mr. C said...

Ditto on the simple things. I don't think a career in medicine would ever have crossed my mind without two lillte girls, and a boy on the way.

I want to leave the world a lillte better than I found it... Hopefully they will too.

A Doc 2 Be said...

Despite my son's already disclosed mental health issues, he is a great young man... he was forever changed by evil.

When he was 5, he was forced by me to help in homeless shelters and food shelves so that he would understand at a rudimentary level, how good he had it.

He still does that.

At 14, right after evil faded in the dark, my son volunteered in Northern Minnesota with a church youth group for a week helping the very poor there with their homes. The pastor of the church and the youth group leader said my son was quite the leader in small groups, and quite the young humanitarian.

He still is. Despite his grievances with me.

Teach your children young to give back and the world is a better place - for them and for us.

rhonda said...

I agree with helping your children learn to give to others. My son at 9 has helped pass out blankets to the homeless, served lunch and dinner on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. We have donated an abundance of things. I agree with that wholeheartedly. It is good for them to know that there are others in need and we with should help those without.

A Doc 2 Be said...

Rhonda, you will never regret helping your children learn to give to others in need. It is something that gets repaid to them in innumerable and intangible ways. And the population around them benefits as well.

Kudos to you!!

Pre Med Journey said...

Thanks for the interesting discussion...