Who Do You Trust?

August 9, 2011 - Trish Vradenburg

Two weeks ago, I was sitting here combing through the newspapers and I was ecstatic that the lockout is over: the football season, not the government. The players and owners can get together. Maybe they should coach the government on negotiating and coming together. Oh, wait, they already offered to do that.

I listened to the point, counterpoint the week prior night between President Obama and Speaker Boehner and wondered who was telling the truth. Well, I mean, they can't both be right, can they? But I guess they can both believe their own narrative. So while one believes that the wealthiest 1% and huge multi-national corporations should be taxed more to grow the economy, and one believes that taxing those entities would stifle growth, it is up to us to determine which is more important to each of us.

One thing that is important - no, crucial - to me is investment in medical research: specifically Alzheimer's research. But investment in medical research is decreasing. Unfortunately, Alzheimer's isn't. If politicians want a narrative that is foolproof true, consider this: Alzheimer's is the only one of the 10 top killers that has no treatment; 5.4 million people have Alzheimer's and you can triple that number for caretakers. Medicare/Medicaid this year will dole out $184 billion to Alzheimer's victims and invest only $460 million in stopping those costs. But Republicans have been quoted as saying that every time they hear the word "investment," all they hear is the word "spending." That may be true, but an Alzheimer's cure will end up saving our country from bankruptcy. And you think the stock market is reacting badly to the folly in Washington now? Stick around.

Recently I was at a meeting that included six Democratic Senators. I advised - unsolicited - that if they wanted to win next year, here are the two words they must repeat over and over again: Medicare/Medicaid; Medicare/Medicaid. Republicans stay on message; Democrats are gifted at losing it. This election cycle we can't let them. If we do, the Medicare/Medicaid we know will be lost Investment in research will be a footnote. We are strong. We demand our rights. WE VOTE. And both sides know that. Who do you trust? Trust YOU.

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