The Gift That Will Keep On Taking

On the morning of Christmas Eve, the Senate voted along party lines to approve its version of health care reform.  The Senate’s version is now roughly 2,700 pages long, and contains language that many would consider kickbacks, payoffs, and outright bribes.  If the healthcare bill were absolutely the best thing for the American people, then why did the Senate leadership resort to this type of behavior instead of allowing the bill to pass on its own merits?  The answer is that it cannot.

I believe that most of the readers of this blog (all 7 of them) will agree that 2,700 pages of legislation will not provide a viable solution to any problem, either real or perceived.  And regardless of your position on healthcare reform, the legislation passed by both the House and the Senate does not address the issue of healthcare reform in a practical and cost efficient manner.  Instead, the costs for the programs outlined in the legislation will grow like the 800-lb. gorilla that will beat us to death unless we keep feeding it our hard-earned tax dollars.

Back on December 18, Tom@StayAWhile made some comments in response to the post “Healthcare Taxes” that I would like to respond to.

Lots of complaints. Where are Republican solutions to the problem? Or do Republicans think there is no problem? Or maybe they think tort reform will solve all our medical problems?

People are already dying. They either have no health care, or their insurance company refuses to pay for their expensive care after all the years they paid their premiums, or people are denied care because of a pre existing condition. High unemployment due to our upside down economics isn’t helping either.

I don’t believe that there is any one problem.  Tort reform is just one item that needs to be addressed.  Insurance companies not paying off on coverage if premiums have been paid is another (although I do wonder if these people exceeded their expenditures outlined by their policies).  Pre-existing conditions is sometimes a shaky argument because of the possibility of fraud on the part of the patient (that’s not saying that the insurance companies aren’t guilty of malfeasance either).

Lets get real. Anyone who believes a politicians promises when they are trying to get your vote, is lacking in common sense.

Can we ever agree on this!  From a post way back in 2005:

In case any of you didn’t know, a typical politician’s primary job is not to serve the people who elected him. His primary job is to get himself (or herself) elected or re-elected. Second is to reward all those contributors that gave $$ to help him get elected. Third is to get as many perks & benefits as he can while he is in office. Last on the list is the common person like you & I.

What happens is that anything that the politician has promised, said they would do, or otherwise look into during the campaign is promptly forgotten, …

Next set of comments:

Republicans have been saying for decades they will cut taxes, cut government, less regulations, etc. Is that what we got? We got a 12 trillion dollar national debt, larger government, high unemployment, and a financial crisis.

Republicans are politicians too.  The “Contract to America” was a great talking point in the short run, but went bust because they still spent and spent and spent.  Politicians and taxpayer money are never a good mix.

If anyone thinks Obama can pay for a new program from the savings of waste from another program, is diluted. If he can do that, then he should do it for every federal department, and send a big check to pay off our national debt.

I could only roll my eyes when I heard this whopper.  There is no possible way that the waste from another program can pay for another program.  Instead, the waste and corruption should be stopped before any other program is started that would supposedly use these funds.

If we think we can run this country without paying for it, we are diluted, selfish, greedy, and lazy.

The next time a politician tells you he won’t raise your taxes, ask him why he wants to bankrupt America.

I am against this bill, because it is bad law.

If it were good law, I would be willing to pay higher taxes to help solve a national problem.

Social programs do not lead to Socialist (Stalinist) government. They are a tool to help a large number of people, voted for, by the people.

Since when are Americans no longer willing to pay, to remain the best country in the World? If we add no other programs, or stop growing, we still go bankrupt.

The selfish, spoiled living of the last 30 years of trying to have a free lunch, has come home to roost, and it’s our selfish selves that have to clean up our own mess, and pay it off.

What right do we have to pass our greedy habits and debts onto future Americans. We will be the first generation to pass on a country worse off, then it was given to us.

This multi-trillion dollar debt started growing in 1983. The same year Reagan’s tax cuts went into effect. This is our debt. It was not passed onto us from our parents generation.

Who by the way, built the greatest middle class and living standards the World has ever seen. Paid off the WW II war debt, and rebuilt Europe and Japan, all at the same time.

At tax rates that were twice as high as we pay now.

Tax cuts do no generate enough income to pay our bills, or employ all our people. High tax rates do not inhibit economic growth. That’s proven economic History.

I do not believe that I have ever stated that I would want to pay no taxes (although that does have a nice ring to it!!).  Rather, I would like to see my tax dollars spent wisely and without waste before raising my tax rate.  Because of that waste and the spending habits of our government which have lead them to borrow money (i.e., the national debt & deficit), and now the country is essentially bankrupt if our debts are called in by the creditors.

There will be economic growth, with or without high taxes.  The question is how fast or slow will that growth proceed, and how many people will become wealthy (or remain poor).  And I do have problems with a progressive tax system – there are arguments for a flat tax system that treats everyone fairly and without exception (but that is a post for a different time).

Reagan’s tax cuts were only part of the problem.  Congress continued on its spending binge regardless of the corresponding drops in tax revenue.  The idea was that government live within its means – a pipe dream if there ever was one.  And we are still stuck with the aforementioned 800-lb. gorilla…only bigger and badder than before.

But where I start having a problem is that now, amid the economic problems of the country, Congress wants to add another program that will cost taxpayers and add to the debt (this is a fact, no matter what the spin).  I am opposed to this legislation because it is bad legislation on so many different levels, but the biggest one is the following question:

Does Congress have the legal right to force the citizens of the United States to buy health insurance?

The short answer is “no,” and the long answer can be found in the Constitution of the United States, Section 8, which outlines the powers of Congress.  All other powers not found in the Constitution are left to the States to decide with the consent of their citizens.  This is why Massachusetts, for example, can enact their own provisions for mandatory health insurance.  Also stated in that section are the words, “…all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;” which renders all the deal making provisions in the Senate legislation illegal, and thus null & void.

Now I realize that under the same Constitutional argument, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other Federally-funded social programs can be declared un-Constitutional.  And guess what – they are.  And I’m waiting to hear someone raise that point.  (By the way, the phrase “…provide for the … general Welfare of the United States;” stands for the welfare of the country as a whole, i.e., care of the United States’ national sovereignty, and not of its individual citizens.)

The point is that tort reform, social services, and a whole host of other issues raised by the legislation just approved by Congress is not the provision or responsibility of Congress to address, but squarely belongs to the States themselves.  Our Congress, by proceeding down this path, is trampling on the founding document of the United States.

Where this legislation goes from here is anyone’s guess.  The Congresscritters are back home, hopefully getting an earful from their constituents.  And I can only hope that this 2,700-page monstrosity dies a very public and horrible death.

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About Tom Roland

EE for 25 Years, Two Patents - now a certified PMP. Married twice, burned once. One son with Asperger's Syndrome. Two cats. Conservative leaning to the Right. NRA Life Member.
This entry was posted in Government, Health Care, Politics, Taxes and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Gift That Will Keep On Taking

  1. There are many problems, but the Republicans came to the Senate press room and offered a 4 page document they called their health care reform bill. There were not even any numbers in it. I took that to mean, they were not serious about the problem.

    Lots of hot air over the Summer (screaming, fighting, guns, name calling) but still no official counter bill from the republicans. I took that as irresponsible leadership on their part. Since I am against this bill, I was disappointed and wrote off the Republican party as being not serious about the issues. Serious about attacking Obama, yes, serious about real issues, no.

    It was Republicans who changed reconciliation (simple majority 51 votes-compared to the Constitutional 2/3’s) from an economic bills only procedure, to include all legislation. Then they used it 26 tines to pass laws in Congress.

    It is defining that Democrats have not only not used reconciliation, but have held all 60 votes.

    These kind of dirty deals have been going on since the start of our government, and Republicans are no stranger to them.

    I certainly agree this bill is bad law.

    I don’t know if you are a lawyer, but if you are, then you know that the Supreme Court has ruled these social programs (and other programs that fit your definition) Constitutional.

    You obviously disagree with that (I do also on some issues) but that is the law of the land, and it is not going to change soon. Generation after generation have supported these programs.

    These programs have been around for decades and passed Supreme Court judgment, some of them many times through different politically slanted courts, including conservative courts.

    The test seems to be equality in the law. So if a person in one State is given a right, then a person in another State demands the same right from the federal court. This is why abortion is federal law, not State law. It’s a good legal argument, and has won the day to be considered legal precedent. You will remember Chief Judge gave precedent as the reason why he would not find Roe/Wade unconstitutional at this late date.

    I believe there is a good chance this bill might not pass. It depends on how many Democrats will vote against it, and there are enough of them unhappy about the bill. There will be more dirty deals done, before this bill passes.

    But then what? I still have not heard a comprehensive bill of ideas from the Republicans to help solve the problem. Yes, I believe there is a problem bad enough, that it has to be addressed on a national level.

    Thanks for visiting my blog. What did you think of my “Mondale Was Right” tax and spending post?

  2. Tom says:

    First off, I’m not an attorney, but it was a career choice for me at one time. I did decide to do something useful & not make a living off of other people’s problems, so I became an engineer instead. However, I will claim that I have stayed at a Holiday Inn several times in the past few years…

    As stated before, from a point of Constitutional law as envisioned by the Founders, social programs such as Social Security and the proposed health care reform legislation mandating compulsory health insurance are not permitted on the Federal level. While the Supreme Court has upheld these programs, that does not change what the Constitution states, but actually shows how far our Government has strayed from the Founders’ vision. If the common man would read the Constitution (something our schools no longer require) and compared it with the government of today, there would be a second American Revolution.

    I personally am not looking for the politicians of either party to solve the healthcare reform question. Politicians of today are all about garnering power for themselves and their respective political party.

    And is an individual’s healthcare really a government problem? I don’t think so. The Declaration of Independence states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Just because you have the right to pursue happiness doesn’t mean you are going to get it.

    As far as the “Mondale Was Right” post, interesting information. What it shows me is that government spending and borrowing increased without regard to the levels of tax revenues. A corresponding decrease in government spending did not occur with a decrease in revenue.

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