Archive for July, 2009

Health Care Reform: A political power grab

Why is President Obama pushing health insurance reform so strongly? He must think his $787 billion stimulus package worked charmingly and our economy is humming along.

In reality, we remain in a recession. Americans are less concerned about going to the doctor because they’re most concerned about putting food on the table. Health care is on the back burner. A chicken is on the front, Lord willing.

But in the Left’s Liberaland, “you never want a serious crisis to go to waste … an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before,” as White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel put it last fall. That’s called liberal capitalism.

I’m not concerned about health insurance reform. Not because my family is completely covered by a lavish, employer-paid policy. It’s not. We pay out of pocket for every sick visit to the doctor through a health savings account (HSA). In tandem, we have a high-deductible plan in case of catastrophe.

Under this arrangement, we are motivated to care for ourselves (wash hands, eat right, exercise, don’t smoke, etc.) at all times but especially when there’s less disposable income for unplanned treatment. Accordingly, only legitimate needs get professionally addressed. We mitigate risks and reap the cost savings.

I’m not concerned about health insurance reform because I have the power to choose the insurance I buy and the providers my family sees.

Mr. Obama would call my family woefully underinsured and in need of a government savior. Legislation before Congress would slowly squeeze me out of my individual-empowering plan and into Obama’s government-powered plan.

For starters, the legislation would limit the medical expenses I can be reimbursed for through my HSA. It would prohibit me from switching to a different private plan. Most egregious, it would fine me if I choose to forego health insurance altogether!

A socialized public health program would ration care and diminish its quality. All in the name of insuring the uninsured, many of whom could not care less about insurance.

Ironically, Obama is more concerned for uninsured citizens than they are for themselves. People are uninsured often because they have other priorities. Case in point: satellite TV dishes atop uninsured homes.

As long as they have free care in any hospital emergency room, or as long as they have disposable cash for periodic care, many have little incentive or need for insurance.

Remove the legal mandate for ERs to treat any need and you may see a change in priority regarding insurance. Or you may just see more people paying cash at urgent care facilities, those marvels of free market economics that have driven down prices and proliferated access. People will pay for what they prioritize.

Review: (1) We’re in a major recession. (2) Obama wants to spend a trillion-plus dollars on a universal health care plan financed in part by cutting existing benefits to the elderly. (3) He wants people to have insurance more than many want it themselves.

Conclusion: The push for universal health care is a political power grab. The political class and its bureaucrats (like Obama health care policy advisor, euthanasia proponent and brother of Rahm, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel) want control over our coverage, our care and our cash. How easily will they take it?

An Outgoing President’s Message

(Columnist’s note: The following quotes were excerpted from a private letter written by the former president to a Republican Senator during the transition after the November election. Since released for public viewing, the excerpts reveal the thoughts of the president at the time.)

“Today we are on the verge of financial panic and chaos. Fear (of) the policies of the new administration has gripped the country.”

“(There is) hoarding of currency. Banks are suspending (operations). Prices have fallen.

Hundreds of millions of orders placed before the election have been cancelled.”

“Men … are unable or are refusing to pay their debts. Unemployment is increasing.

(There is) flight of capital from the United States to foreign countries. Men have abandoned all sense of new enterprise and are … in defense against disaster.”

“Every development has stirred the fear and apprehension of the people. (They) are alarmed at possible new … policies. Fear dominates the national situation … not lack of resources, currency or credit. (There have been) runs on … banks, failures of many of them.”

“Proposals for reduction of expenditures have been ignored by the Democratic House of Representatives. Democrat leaders and the President-elect … reject the balancing of the budget.”

“There have been proposed in the Congress by Democratic leaders … projects involving federal expenditure of tremendous dimensions which would obviously lie beyond the capacity of the federal government to borrow without tremendous depreciation in government securities … (and) bills to assume Federal responsibility for billions of mortgages.”

“The President-elect has done nothing publicly to disavow … these proposals. (There is) fear that … balancing the budget (will) not be successful. People are seeking to protect themselves individually but with national damage.”

“In the interest of every man, woman and child, the President-elect has … been urged by the saner leaders of his own party … by myself and by Democratic bankers and economists whom he has called on for advice, (to announce) that the budget will be balanced … that new projects will be so restricted that government bond issues will not in any way endanger stability of government finances.”

“I have … refrained from criticism … but have instead been giving repeated assurances to the country of our desire to cooperate and help the new administration.”

“What is needed … is the immediate and emphatic restoration of confidence in the future. The resources of the country are incalculable, the available credit is ample but lenders will not lend and men will not borrow unless they have confidence … The courage and enterprise of the people still exist and only await release from fears and apprehension.”

(Written by Republican President Herbert Hoover to Senator Simeon Fess, Feb. 21, 1933)

Government Need Not Equal Dysfunction

“About the Declaration there is a finality that is exceedingly restful,” concluded President Calvin Coolidge on the 150th anniversary of its signing.

Coolidge continued, “If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth … the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward.”

I wrestle at times with the status quo nature of conservatism. How can I favor the novel, the advanced, the “progressive” in many areas of life but remain committed to “conserving” the political philosophies of generations past?

Coolidge nailed it. In the Declaration of Independence, we fundamentally have it as good as it gets this side of eternity. Sure, the practice of government can always improve in a dynamic world, but the theory needs no progress.

The beliefs bedrocked in the summer of 1776 can be summed in this: Government was made for people; people were not made for government. Conservatism stands on this truth.

Conservative principles permeate the Declaration. The colonists wanted local government; King George wanted centralized authority. The colonists wanted to limit taxation; George wanted to expand it. The colonists wanted more international trade; George wanted it stifled. The colonists wanted George’s army and bureaucrats out of their homes and lives; George wanted refrigerator rights.

No wonder George had a fight on his hands.

Today, conservatives fight in the spirit of the colonists against those who conveniently re-label modern liberalism as “progressivism.” In truth, modern liberalism is actually “statism,” the belief that an individual’s personal pursuits should be quelled in favor of the pursuit of a utopian state (see Mark Levin’s “Liberty and Tyranny”).

Authentic liberalism – advocating the liberation of the burdened – was never more at play than in July 1776. Ironically, this classical liberalism – the opposite of authoritarianism – laid the foundation for what we conservatives attempt to preserve today.

Colonial America saw an epic battle between freedom-loving people and an over-reaching government. Today, nonviolent battles over government’s proper role happen all around us. Why? Because the natural order in a fallen world is for power to expand and encroach.

May we not be among those unaware of or ill-prepared for the battles. May we not write in our diaries on the days the battles occur what King George wrote in his on July 4, 1776: “Nothing of importance this day.”

The Declaration of Independence

“About the Declaration there is a finality that is exceedingly restful,” concluded President Calvin Coolidge on the 150th anniversary of its signing.

Coolidge continued, “If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth … the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward.”

I wrestle at times with the status quo nature of conservatism. How can I favor the novel, the advanced, the “progressive” in many areas of life but remain committed to “conserving” the political philosophies of generations past?

Coolidge nailed it. In the Declaration of Independence, we fundamentally have it as good as it gets this side of eternity. Sure, the practice of government can always improve in a dynamic world, but the theory needs no progress.

The beliefs bedrocked in the summer of 1776 can be summed in this: Government was made for people; people were not made for government. Conservatism stands on this truth.

Conservative principles permeate the Declaration. The colonists wanted local government; King George wanted centralized authority. The colonists wanted to limit taxation; George wanted to expand it. The colonists wanted more international trade; George wanted it stifled. The colonists wanted George’s army and bureaucrats out of their homes and lives; George wanted refrigerator rights.

No wonder George had a fight on his hands.

Today, conservatives fight in the spirit of the colonists against those who conveniently re-label modern liberalism as “progressivism.” In truth, modern liberalism is actually “statism,” the belief that an individual’s personal pursuits should be quelled in favor of the pursuit of a utopian state (see Mark Levin’s “Liberty and Tyranny”).

Authentic liberalism – advocating the liberation of the burdened – was never more at play than in July 1776. Ironically, this classical liberalism – the opposite of authoritarianism – laid the foundation for what we conservatives attempt to preserve today.

Colonial America saw an epic battle between freedom-loving people and an over-reaching government. Today, nonviolent battles over government’s proper role happen all around us. Why? Because the natural order in a fallen world is for power to expand and encroach.

May we not be among those unaware of or ill-prepared for the battles. May we not write in our diaries on the days the battles occur what King George wrote in his on July 4, 1776: “Nothing of importance this day.”


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