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I am almost 60 years old. I've lived through good times and bad, war and peace, conservative and liberal administrations. I've experienced periods of civility and compromise and periods of animosity and gridlock. Whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, if you have some years on you, are you, like me, asking yourself: Where has my country gone?

One of the accomplishments of the Obama Administration has been that a universal health care package has been passed and signed into law. Not a single Republican in the Senate voted for its passage. I do not profess to be an expert on health care and whether or not this historic law needs some amendments is not the point of this post. It seems that every Republican candidate for President believes that the way to defeat Barak Obama is to pledge to repeal what he calls "Obama care". The Republican front runner in the campaign to defeat Obama is Mitt Romney; in his speech yesterday, after winning the New Hampshire Primary, Romney, of course, pledged to "repeal Obama care". He argues that repealing this important legislation will "save $95 Billion, a statement that has been proven false. This is strange, coming from him, since he, as Governor of Massachusetts, presented and passed similar legislation at the state level. It is one of the many issues that has resulted in his reputation as a "flip flopper". Another is his transformation from a centrist, 'pro-choice' candidate to a self-proclaimed conservative, 'pro-life' candidate. The accusation is that he would change any previous position he has taken, so long as he can be the Republican nominee.

However, Romney's record as a "flip flopper" is also not the point of this post. So, you ask? Mark: You are in the third paragraph of the post; what's your point? Well, I'm glad you asked. The point is this: Why does every Republican believe that the concept of behaving like almost every civilized country and providing health care to all citizens of our great country is a "bad thing" that must be repealed? Why is every Republican opposed to asking the richest people in America to give up their unnecessary tax breaks and pay their fair share of the burden? What happened to shared sacrifice and helping out your neighbor? When did it all become about making and keeping as much as you can, regardless of whether or not your behavior/greed hurts others? Have the Wall Street and Mortgage crises taught us nothing?

In my core industry, the personal injury legal industry, the debate is the same. Greedy corporate interests and insurance companies, led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, seek to restrict the rights of individual citizens to pursue litigation. They call this "tort reform" and, again, most Republicans, inexplicably, support it. It is O.K. for the likes of Rick Perry to brag about his "tort reform" accomplishments in Texas, then pursue litigation to place himself on this ballot or that one (when his own campaign screwed up on the qualification requirements). But, according to Perry, it is not OK for a paraplegic to obtain a pain and suffering award of over $250,000 because of a surgical screw-up. Would it make a difference to Perry if I told him that the taxpayers must make up the difference? Does he even grasp the notion? These Republicans are supposed to be "conservative"; they are supposed to support strict adherence to the Constitution. Doesn't that include the 7th Amendment (right to jury trial in civil cases) and separation of powers? Why do most Republicans support the intrusion into the judicial branch by the legislative? Why would a constitutional conservative support these concepts? With current Republican dogma, why does the "little guy" and the average taxpayer always get screwed over for the benefit of powerful corporate interests?

And why would we, as American citizens, support such concepts? Why would we consider voting for these guys? What happened to giving a helping hand to your neighbor? To those less fortunate than us? If you ask many of the richest people in America about this, they will often answer "no thank you, government (Republican party); I don't need a hand out or a bail out. I don't mind paying my fair share of taxes to help out". Yet, Republicans are constantly devising policies to rob from the poor and give to the rich based, primarily, on the notion that these rich guys are the "jobs creators". The problem is, they are not creating jobs. They are lining their own pockets with the tax savings in bonuses, golden parachutes, perks, corporate jets and the like. One of the biggest criticisms of Romney, by his own party members, is that, as a business man, he laid off more people than he hired and took large profits for investors (rich people) while acquiring, then tearing apart, struggling companies.

Again, I don't know whether the health care bill needs tweaking; if it does, we should tweak it. But, we should not abandon the concept of universal health care for all citizens; it is a worthy goal and a lofty ambition. I am proud that our President promised this groundbreaking legislation to those less fortunate than me and I am proud that he kept his promise. These people are not big campaign contributors. Many are not registered to vote, don't vote, or hardly get involved in the process. He didn't pursue or pass universal health care for political gain; he did it because he cares about the poor and unfortunate and because America, as a country, should stand for the proposition that those who have realized the American dream will help out, in any way we can, those who have not been so fortunate. For the homeless, the unemployed, the downsized, the foreclosed, the minimum wage earner, the American dream is a nightmare. He did it for them. His proposed changes in our tax policies are also for them, these people who often don't get involved in politics, often aren't registered to vote, often don't vote. And I, for one, applaud him for his initiative. We, the people, should learn from it. The "Obama conscience" is what "America" should be about.

Mark M. Bello is the owner and founder of Lawsuit Financial Corporation where he is instrumental in providing cash flow solutions and consulting when necessity of life lawsuit funding is needed during litigation. Mr. Bello has thirty-four years experience as a trial lawyer and 13 years as an underwriter and situational analyst in the litigation funding industry. He is recognized as an expert in this field by and ALM Experts. Mr. Bello is a sustaining and Justice PAC member of the Michigan Trial Lawyers Association, Justice Pac member of the American Association for Justice, Member of the American and Michigan Bar Associations, Member of Public Justice and Public Citizen, Member of InjuryBoard, out-of-state member of the Mississippi Association for Justice and a business associate of the Florida Justice Association, Texas Trial Lawyers Association and the Consumer Attorneys of California. His articles have appeared in FindLaw, The West Reporter, The Safety Report, Plaintiff Magazine, Advocate Magazine, and other fine legal publications.


  1. Gravatar for Avewnger

    Why support the GOP ? Because the other guys are much worse. Just look at the position the Obama position toojk on the recently decided Supreme Court case of (decided on a 9-0 vote)Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC. People are smarter than you think and can recognize control freaks when they see them.

    Someone once said that Democrats trust the people but believe that government knows best and should dictate the course of events whereas Republicans don't trust the people, but still believe the people should be able to make their own decisions

    If you truly believe in freedom ...

  2. Mr. Dennis: Freedom to do what? Screw people without consequence? Refuse to provide care based on economic circumstance? Put profits ahead of human decency? Just what kind of country do you want? You didn't address a single point in this post. You didn't address Republican hypocrisy on tort reform. You didn't address Romney's "profit over people" campaign. How about his mean spirited "envy" comment? This campaign is not about what is good for the country; it is about what is good for the select few who can afford a "Romney" presidency. The United States of America cannot afford such a presidency. It is still suffering from the effects of the last Republican President.

  3. Gravatar for Avenger

    I too am nearly 60 and lived through the same times as you have. I too wonder my country has gone wrong and why we as a society cannot seem to punish bad behavior wherever it exists

    A large part of the problem dates back many years . The United States of America is still suffering from the effects of the 1960s and the so-called "Great Society" which created the financial incentives that encouraged the destruction of family units in favor of single parent homes. There are other villains as well, perhaps too many to name. Big business, big labor, big government, big law. I expect business to be amoral, not immoral or moral. I don't think businesses (except individual proprietorships) have any business donating to charity - they should either reinvest in the business or disburse the profits to the shareholders and let them decide what charitable donations they wish to make.

    I lived for a few years in Great Britain - if Obamacare takes us down that road, it needs to be derailed ASAP. There is only one way to really control medical costs and that is for government to take it over completely. The price in loss of freedom is much too high for that to be a desireable goal .

    BTW if I really wanted to screw people without consequence I would have become an attorney. I scored a 720 on the LSAT and actually started law school, but decided I'd rather do almost anything else than become an attorney. I am able to sleep with a clean conscience, and the knowledge that I have helped many people and done no harm to anyone except perhaps, on occasion, to myself.

    I think that if the first year of law school were devoted to the study of ethics, the profession would be able to weed out a lot of the bad eggs that get to hang out a shingle. I would also make that a requirenent for MBA programs and a larger portion of the CPA testing.

    The Declaration of Independence cited "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" as the inalienable rights. That should suffice

    I did not address the comments made during the primaries, because all they are is pandering for votes. If I ever expected logical consistency from campaign rhetoric, I got over that a long time ago. I think the last really honest candidate was Barry Goldwater, and you can see where that honesty got him (Reagan was almost honest but even he waffled some on the campaign trail).

    I don't think the US can afford another four years of Obama, the least qualified President we've elected in the last 75 years (I disagee with her on many issues but I think Hillary Clinton would have made a decent President and in 2008 I was hoping for a Clinton v. Romney election - either of them would have made a better President than Obama or McCain)

  4. The country certainly can't afford any of those seeking to unseat Mr. Obama (who has shown himself to be a very "honest candidate" and President). You still haven't addressed the key points of the post and your comments about business are hypocritical. If you are so supportive of free enterprise and amorality in business, this unregulated mentality should be applied to the law, as well. Why does business need a tort bailout? Why shouldn't citizens who suffer serious harm be able to sue a corporation without various legislatures protecting that corporation? Why do you oppose, on the one hand, a free, unrestricted, legal system, but on the other, support an unregulated commerce system? Your arguments are, at best, disingenuous and, at worst, hypocritical. I don't seek to regulate the conduct of corporations, but I certainly seek to allow unrestricted litigation that punishes them, without limitation, when they do wrong. Without such checks and balances, they will not be amoral; they will, often, be immoral. We can't "punish bad behavior wherever it exists" without a free and fair legal system, yet every time I write about this, you write an opposite opinion, hence the hypocrisy accusation. Ethics training is a law school requirement; continuing legal education in ethics and formal regulatory ethics "boards" exist in all states; these boards regulate the conduct of all attorneys and discipline them (including disbarment) when they don't behave appropriately. There is nothing like that in the business world. You can rail against lawyers until you are blue in the face, but, as to ethics, the legal industry is the most regulated industry on the planet.

    The post was also about the lack of civility and compromise on the important issues of our time. Today's politician is incapable of compromise, especially on the right side of the aisle, and the country is worse off because of that.

  5. Gravatar for Avenger

    I never said that business should be unregulated so do not attribute to me opinions I do not hold - that is dishonest and disingenous. I do not believe that the civil justice system is the way to regulate business. Laws and criminal sanctions are the ONLY legitimate way to regulate business.

    For the same reason I believe that punitive damages, if they are to be allowed at all, as quasi-criminal sanctions, should be payable to the government alone (similar to SEC sanctions and traffic fines). I have no problem paying the attorneys who pursue punitive damages an hourly fee for their work - let's be generous an allow a $300.00/hr fee for their efforts.

    I would not ever place caps on economic damages. Non-economic ddamages are another matter. It can be said that nothing can ever replace the loss of a loved one - that is (a) true and (b) makes it impossible to quantify such damages. $2.00 is as adequate and as inadequate a measure as $25,000,000.00. If it can't be quantified, then a jury should not be awarding it, or be severely limited in how much outrage and emotion they are allowed to express.

    I don't oppose punishing bad behavior - I write opposing opinions to your opinions because I think you advocate going about it the wrong way. I do understand that for the personal injury industry it's all about the Ben Franklins - don't pretend otherwise - that would be dishonest and disingenous.

    Obama is a fool - an educated fool and a brilliant speaker, but a fool. When he opened his mouth about Keynesian economics, I knew that the economy would get worse, rather than better. I did not support any of these corporate bailouts - if a business will fail, let it fail and let someone else try. I oppose protective tariffs as well.

    I can name you several industries more regulated than the legal industry. I won't name them because I don't want to disturb your illusions about your subset of the legal industry and the quality of people that seek the law as a way to make a living. I will admit that there are some states that do a reasonably good job of regulating the legal industry. In others, admission to the bar is virtually a license to print money. Unfortunately, I live in such a state

    I agree that civility and compromise in either party within either party is nearly impossible. America was better when both parties represented by a broad spectrum of beliefs. Unfortunately, the liberal wing of the GOP was wiped out in the post-Watergate election, and the conservative wing of the Democratic party in the post Bimbogate election. There is nobody (outside of smaller parties) occupying the political center, no real willingness to compromise. The wingnuts run both parties, which is why I changed my registration away from the GOP many years ago. I don't think either party really cares about what the average American thinks - they care about what their diehard followers want and very little else.

    I don't really know why civility in the political arena disappeared. It may be a product of the undisciplined 1960s or it may be something else. The lack of civilty certainly reared its ugly head in the post- Watergate witch hunts, but I think it really showed its true colors in the Bork confirmation hearings. Nothing truly civil has transpired in American politics since then.

    Something to keep in mind. A friend of mine, who is solidly on the political left, was complaining about something the GOP had proposed saying "they should not be imposing their values on me".

    Well, all politics involves someone imposing their values on someone else. That being the case, if compromise proves impossible, then I'd much rather impose my values on you than have impose your values upon me. Thus it is , always has been and always will be.


  6. As usual, neither of us will convince the other or succeed in ""imposing values". But, if you don't oppose "punishing bad behavior", why would you want the government to benefit from the punishment rather than the innocent person or persons harmed by the bad behavior?

  7. Gravatar for Avenger

    Government isn't the beneficiary - it is the taxpayers (or if you prefer, the citizens, although I guess taxpayers is the more inclusive term).

    We don't allow individuals to imprison ? Nor should we allow individuals or organizations to issue sanctions or fines except in the confines of a closed organization such as a membership organization, homeowners association or the NFL.

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