I think I've written, contributed to, and edited too many encyclopedias--at least that's my excuse for writing the title of this post in alphabetical topical fashion, although more strictly, it should begin with government.
. . .This is how old I am: I can remember a time when working-class people could afford the services of doctors and medicine. I can also remember when immigration was one of the society's virtues, even as the society didn't routinely treat immigrants virtuously.
Now immigration seems chiefly to be a way for some companies to get cheap labor (I suppose it always was) and a way for some politicians (and pundits--Lou Dobbs is obsessed with the issue--which means it must be working for his ratings) to wear out the xenophobia drum. Meanwhile, no one with power seems to want to address the issue soberly.
Add two wars, cash-bloated politics (what does it cost just to run, say, for the school board?), a one-party system in two-party drag, etc., and you seem to have quite a mess. I am, by the way, officially pessimistic about any significant changes to health-care occurring. In this area, we're the embarrassment of the industrial world. Canada, France, Sweden, and England have systems that wipe the floor with ours. Ed Schultz, radio guy, nicely parried the stuff about "waiting lines" in Canada; he just took random calls from Canadians, who said, "Nah, the system is good, and you have to wait only for things like cosmetic surgery." Cosmetic surgery: what Congress and the President will perform on our health-care system.
Like a lot of people, I'm lucky to have medical insurance and to have access to good care, but like most people, I'm aware that a slight change in circumstances could make it all vanish.
I ran across a blog that touches on one aspect of the mess--how those in military power cycle into political power, and how those in political power cycle into influence-power by working for lobbyists and "think tanks":