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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

US Healthcare: An Open Letter to the Democratic Apparatchik

Fortunately for law-abiding citizens, dumb criminals eventually end up in jail. But I am concerned about another more dangerous “super criminal” that is destroying our beloved nation right under our noses! I refer to them as "smart criminals." These high-IQ outlaws don't dabble in petty theft. They always go for the BIG heist. These banditos are some of the smartest desperados ever to brandish—well, a vote, a filibuster or a veto.
Once seated, smart criminals waste no time. With the drive of a crack addict in search of a fix, smart criminals will trample any liberty that gets between them and power. They rush to enact laws that ‘legitimize’ pick pocketing the American people and embezzle their constituents legislatively. No longer is organized crime at war with Government; they are bedfellows!

For the time being, a bunch of these power junkies have gained majorities in the highest political assemblies in this Land, and the White House. As Americans have observed since the '08 presidential election, smart criminals and political power make a combustible mixture. To those who pay more than lip service to the Founders Dream, these faux patriots use the US Constitution as kindling for their national version of "Bonfire of the Vanities" and our liberties go up in smoke. Next up for the pyre—the best health care system in the world.

The Democratic Party has mastered its mendacious craft of misleading the American people continually and some Republicans have dissembled with them. They have become a brood of vipers and the “light that is in them is darkness.” Progressives disguise their nefarious legislation with euphemistic names and then pimp it to the American people. They slipped the “National Economic Suicide Act” by an unwary electorate under the name, “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.” Their next major legislative caper involved deleting the first two words from "End of Affordable Health Choices Act." I'd feel less violated by a thief pointing a gun in my face. At least the guy with the gun is honest!

Perhaps you think my line of reasoning is insulting or out of line. You should be grateful that a natural-born American citizen is willing to tell you the truth. There are a lot of naked emperors running around DC these days so consider my letter a friendly tap on the shoulder.

Now that the current brood of smart criminals has set its sights on the US healthcare system, and knowing they are always in a hurry to get back to uh—"the business of the American people," I have limited myself to one simple multiple-choice question.

Which of the following five major Federal social programs enacted since the dawn of the American Republic in 1776 has 1) been so successful that it justifies seizure of an additional 20% of American GDP by today’s Federal Government; 2) stayed within the bounds of its enacting legislation, and 3) not far exceeded its original intent beyond anything it’s originators could have imagined? Place a check mark next to each program that matches each of these criteria.

a Medicare
b Medicaid
c Social Security
d Welfare
e Federal Income Tax
f None of the above
To facilitate informed responses, historical background information for each program is provided below:

Medicare and Medicaid: In 1945, President Harry Truman asked Congress for legislation to establish a national health insurance plan. Contentious debate ensued with forward-thinking opponents warning of “socialized medicine.” By the end of his administration, Truman had abandoned his plan for universal health coverage. Fast-forward 20 years and its déjà vu all over again. In an act reminiscent of “Night of the Living Dead,” Truman is reincarnated as Lyndon B. Johnson and on July 30, 1965, signs Truman's exhumed dream into law as Medicare and Medicaid. Before you throw yourself on the back of the hearse headed to Johnson’s “Great Society,” however, you might want to consider the following facts.

In 1966, 19 million people enrolled in Medicare and 4 million in Medicaid with combined federal outlays in 1967 totaling $4.4 billion. Today, the Truman/Johnson dream has morphed into one BIG nightmare and the Federal Government has night terrors that a sleepwalking American public might awaken to the abysmal state of federal health insurance programs. Today there are 43 million people enrolled in Medicare, 51 million in Medicaid, and combined federal outlays totaling $514 billion or 21% of the Federal budget! Facing the prospect of already below-cost Medicare payments being further reduced, Doctors are reluctant to participate or are fleeing Federal health insurance programs altogether. Can you blame me for wanting the Federal Government to keep its cotton-pickin’ hands off my healthcare?

Social Security: In 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act into law. The original Social Security tax rate was 1% for both employers and employees—on the first $3,000 earned. Seventy-four years later, the rate has nearly octupled to 7.65% for both employer and employee—on the first $102,000 earned. Social Security is expected to be unsustainable in a dozen years or so and rumor has it the current batch of criminals wants to do away with the cap altogether! I guess higher-paid Americans still aren't paying their ‘fair share.’ Do I have it about right?

Welfare: America’s poorest of the poor used to receive aid from private individuals and organizations such as churches, and small state-based programs. In 1935, President Franklin Roosevelt signed Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) into law. This initial “welfare” bill provided $18 per month for one child and $12 for each additional child. Since its birth in 1935, Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) has come a long way—baby! Says Michael Tanner in The Poverty of Welfare: Helping Others in Civil Society (August 2003),

Welfare may have started with the best of intentions, but it has clearly failed. It has failed to meet its stated goal of reducing poverty. But its real failure is even more disastrous. Welfare has torn apart the social fabric of our society. Everyone is worse off. The taxpayers must foot the bill for programs that don’t work. The poor are dehumanized, seduced into a system from which it is very hard to escape. Teenage girls give birth to children they will never be able to support. The work ethic has eroded. Crime rates soar. Such is the legacy of welfare. Tanner ought to know what he's talking about. As a Senior Fellow and Policy Scholar at the Cato Institute, Tanner also leads research into a variety of domestic policies with emphasis on health care reform, social welfare policy, and Social Security. I'll take my chances with Tanner. Why don’t you criminals have a chat with Turner before you destroy healthcare.

Federal Income Tax: President Abraham Lincoln signed the Revenue Act of 1862 into law to help fund the American Civil War. No problem there. The Act also established a Commissioner of the Revenue and instituted the Federal income tax as a "temporary measure" that would terminate in "the year eighteen hundred and sixty-six.” No problem there either—serious times demand serious action. The Revenue Act taxed incomes above $600 at a rate of 3% and those over $10,000 at 5% and required employers to withhold taxes from pay and send the money to the Commissioner. When the deadline to terminate the Federal income tax rolled around in "the year eighteen hundred and sixty-six,” total tax revenues had climbed to an all-time high of $310 million and a temporary Federal tax system that beneficent to the Federal Government wasn’t about to be terminated. By 2007, total tax revenues as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) had mushroomed to 28.3%. Compared to the amount of taxes Americans paid under the temporary Revenue Act of 1862, today’s taxpayers quantify their taxes in the number of months out of each year they must work before The Godfather is paid off. Would someone who knows the actual meaning of temporary please speak up?!

"Stupid is as stupid does," so says Forrest Gump's Mama. How many times does a country need to be misled by smart criminals before it learns its lesson? Apparently, at least five. This legislation will push America closer to tyranny and finish off the Founders’ dream. Is this the legacy Democrats want to leave to posterity? Please, I implore you; do not do this to America. Do not do this to future generations of Americans.

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