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JIM HIGHTOWER Health Care for Congress Here it is again: yet another poll is out making clear that the American people overwhelmingly want fundamental reform of our health-care system, including guaranteeing coverage for everyone and putting controls on our skyrocketing medical costs. And, sure enough, here comes Congress bumbling along with plans that tinker, rather than reformand that specifically deny universal coverage and cost controls. Like they say: If you’re not a part of the solution, you’re probably a part of the Congress. Let me ask: Would you take a health plan that covers your whole family for doctor visits, hospital stays, emergency-room care, all lab tests, child immunizations, prescription drugs, basic dental care and some nursing home benefitsa plan with only a $200 annual deductible, and a plan that does not let the insurer drop youall for only $100 a month? Is a pig’s butt pork? Most of us would leap at that deal. Where do we sign up? In Congress! Members of Congress like Newt Gingrich, that blow-dried pinhead who says Congress should not pass any health care bill for your family this year, already are covered by the swell deal I just described. Wait…I said their plan only costs $100 a month. Actually, it costs $400. But “The Newt” and other members of Congress pay only a hundredand we taxpayers pick up the other $300 to cover each of their families. I think we should take away all healthcare coverage from members of Congress until they get off their fat butts and pass real reform that gives all of our families as good a coverage as they get. To fight for health-care reform that is comprehensive, universal and fair for all, get in touch with a grassroots consumer coalition called SPANSingle Payer Across the Nation: 216-2418558. Clinton’s Economic Fantasyland Isn’t it strange? The same people who laugh at astrologers, voodoo and carnival fortune-tellers take economists seriously! I’m talking about economists like those boneheads who convinced George Bush that America’s economic engine was run Jim Hightower, a former Observer editor and Texas agriculture commissioner, does daily radio commentary and a weekend call-in talk show on the ABC Radio Network ning strong in ’92, despite what ordinary people were saying and suffering. Their advice helped make Bush what he is today: a oneterm ex-president. Now these same denizens of academic fantasyland are sprinkling fairy dust on Bill Clinton, convincing him and his advisers that things are really pretty good, if only us regular folks would just appreciate it. I want to shout: “Get a grip, Bill!” But there he goes, jogging down that same bunny trail that swallowed Bush. He’s talking steak, when most families are lucky if they’re eating Spam. The President keeps boasting that he’s already created three million jobs. But his “jobs”just like Bush’sare cruel jokes: part-time, temporary employment that pays poverty wages and comes with no health care, security or future. At the same time, corporations are dumping well-paid manufacturing, service and even professional jobs faster than you can say “bye bye White House.” But Clinton, still under the spell cast by those Tinker Bell economists, is telling these families that their joblessness is a necessary price to pay for boosting American productivity. It’s like telling someone on the gallows that their death might be unjust, but hey, it’s good for the rope industry. Plus, it’s not true! A new study by the noted management firm Arthur D. Little finds that the wholesale slashing of jobs in many of America’s largest companies actually has reduced their productivity. The study’s author says, “Most major corporate downsizings have failed to produce what was expected,” adding that with future cuts, “the degree of failure will become more extreme.” If Clinton wants to avoid unemployment himself, he had better stop listening to the Ph.D.s and start hearing those in need of good J.O.B.s. PBS Goes Commercial Big institutions, governmental and corporate, love to play the game of “Doublespeak”they use arcane or flowery phrases to try to hide what they’re really doing. For example, the thousands of employees that corporations are dumping in the streetshave they been fired? Oh no…they’ve been “made redundant.” Did the White House lie? Uh-uh…it was just “factually flexible.” Did a timber company clear-cut a forest? Of Course not…it simply created a “temporary meadow.” And here’s one that’s especially timely: Our public television network, PBS, which used to be commercial-free, now is loaded with corporate messages. But are these ads? Don’t be insulting! They are “enhanced underwriter acknowledgements.” Now, hungry for more “acknowledgements,” PBS says it intends to pursue “a rather drastic liberalizing” of underwriting guidelines. What that means is the socalled people’s network which was intended to be free of corporate influenceis shamelessly trying to get in bed with corporate advertisers. Among the liberalizing steps: expand the amount of time for ads on each show; allow product promotion, instead of just the soft corporate “image” ads now on PBS; let companies use some of the same ads they put on commercial TV; allow company hucksters like Nancy Kerrigan to hawk their products on the public airwaves; and even let corporate mascots like Merrill Lynch and Tony the Tiger make an appearance. What next…Big Bird pushing Kentucky Fried Chicken? MacNeil/Lehrer for Bartles & James wine coolers? Diana Rigg doing testimonials for Secret deodorant? The whole idea of public TV waswell, to be public! To have at least one network that’s not in debt to the corporate culture. But here’s a PBS vice president now saying: “We want to make sure we’re a destination more companies are comfortable considering.” Spoken like just another commercial network executive. Public broadcasting can’t be public unless it’s publicly funded. Period. Redline the World Bank I have to confess that I have an inbred Texas bias against giant banks. In fact, back when Texas was a Republic, our constitution specifically outlawed the establishment of any banks! Well today there’s one bank in particular that needs to be shut down A.S.A.P. I’m talking about the World Bank. Launched in 1944 with the noble and historic mission of improving living standards and enhancing peace worldwide, the World Bank quickly became just another interlocking bureaucracy of bankers and economists in league with the elites of the world. In its 50 years, the bank’s so-called “development projects” have spent hundreds of billions of dollarsmuch of it from us U.S. taxpayersto prop up repressive right-wing regimes and fund massive engineering boondoggles that have both further impoverished the world’s poor and plundered the environment. In the 1980s, for example; the World Bank responded to the desires of wealthy 16 AUGUST 5, 1994