Once you filter out the hyperbolic and toxic comments of what passes for political discourse these days, you come up with the only thing that really matters in the recent health care debate…the truth.
To expect politicians to tell the truth is an exercise in misplaced optimism. At its heart the health care debate, however it was couched, was simply a matter of distorting the perfect science of mathematics since there is absolutely positively no way to pay for it without raising income taxes or cutting spending bloated by entitlements and subsidies created by political manipulators on both sides of the aisle.
Why oh why do they lie to us most of the time, perhaps all of the time? Worse. Why do we believe them?
Of course, most of us want health care for all. We are a compassionate people. We do not want a previous health condition to keep any citizen from getting health insurance.
We are not as stupid as most politicians think. We understand that putting thirty million more people on the health care insurance rolls, whether they want it or not, will cost a fortune in subsidies.
We understand that the concept of health care is based upon “just in case” payments meaning premiums, which are paid in advance of any health problems.
We understand the actuarial calculations that means that the young pay for the old, the healthy pay for the sick, that insurers need maximum participation since they pay the costs based upon keeping the spigot of “just in case” funds open and flowing.
We understand that doctors must practice defensive medicine to protect themselves against those sharp fanged lawyers who work their own wiles to extract more funds in malpractice cases and cause insurance premiums to explode for doctors who can easily be wiped out by a malpractice suit.
We understand that the Medicare program for people over 65 will go broke sooner than later and that the States will have to really trim expenses elsewhere if they are to keep funding Medicaid. We know that if you cut five hundred billion out of Medicare services will diminish. Who are they kidding?
The truth is that there is no way on God’s green earth that the health care bill just passed will not result in a massive, yes massive, upward spiral of taxes unless it is accompanied by an equally massive cut in spending. Forget that last part happening. The current crop of politicians haven’t the courage to slice entitlements and you don’t get votes by taking things away.
You don’t have to be an accountant to figure it out. An eighth grade education in arithmetic will do it. We are on life support financially.
Did you know that nearly fifty percent of Americans pay no income tax? Of course, they will howl like mad if they didn’t get what they deem as their fair share of goodies from the government. Why don’t our politicians tell us that a huge tax increase is looming? Why don’t they tell us that the five hundred billion that will be extracted from Medicare will result in diminished services and still not be enough to fund the thirty million people that will be put on the health insurance rolls.
Why don’t they tell us that few, if any, politicians have the political courage to pare entitlements and that includes agricultural and corporate subsidies as well as union perks and a plethora of double dipping pensions scattered throughout the system.
So where will the money come from to fund this so-called reform? Surely, from higher taxes on the fifty percent who pay income tax and raising of all manner of taxes, from capital gains to estate taxes and beyond. Someday you may have to pay a tax to sit on a park bench or walk a particular path or sidewalk. Expect your public transportation costs to go through the roof and crossing a bridge might cost a mint.
It won’t be long for a push for a national sales tax to gain momentum as well as hundreds of other creative tax gimmicks to help carry the load. It won’t. Politicians will find ways to provide more and more expensive perks and giveaways to buy votes. You can be sure it won’t come from the Social Security pool. That has long been raided and will go broke a lot sooner than we thought possible. And do you really think those who receive their government largesse will take their cuts without ugly protests. Take a look at Greece. How many of Greek workers want to give up their four-day week? Or France or the rest of the European nanny States.
As for the American States, they will be hounding the Federal government for more and more funding while they sink deeper and deeper into the slime of debt created by bad decisions, political chicanery, stupidity and very bad arithmetic. California is on the verge of financial ruin and New York is sliding downhill fast. At least three quarters of the other states are in financial trouble with the new health care bill threatening to impale them further.
Everything is based on postponement. By postponing the moment of truth, meaning when we simply run out of money and taxation gimmicks, the responsibility of keeping the ship afloat will be the job of our grandchildren and their children who will see their taxes go higher and higher to keep up with spending. We are lousy grandparents by bequeathing them such a burden.
This is not to say that those who voted for health reform didn’t have their heart in the right place. Their problem is that they are either illiterate in arithmetic or they want to financially punish those who by their creativity, hard work and risk have been the motivators of prosperity for themselves and a vast chunk of the American people.
From a purely selfish perspective those people of my generation meaning those of us who lived through the Great Depression and the terrible wars of our era and survived, had the best of it and will not suffer as much as our progeny. We were lucky. We got as close to the American dream as possible. We grew up with the old values and verities, before the onslaught of technology and the scattering of our families, before credit cards, consumer excess and drugs.
It was far from a paradise but, even in memory, the good times seem better than the bad. We grew up with Ben Franklin’s proverbs ringing in our ears. A penny saved is a penny earned. God helps those who help themselves. Well done is better than well said. If you would know the value of money go and try to borrow some. When the well is dry they know the worth of water.
And the one that seems to speak for our future:
It is hard for an empty sack to stand upright.