Government, Free Speech and Voting

I read a very interesting opinion piece today by Todd Henderson of the University of Chicago Law School regarding the Citizen’s United case. I highly suggest reading the entire piece, it is very well written.

At the very beginning of the article, Mr. Henderson makes a great statement:

… we should view extensions of government activity under a presumption of error, especially where there is no evidence of a market failure …

I was hooked after that, and I took the time to read through the rest of the piece. Mr. Henderson makes a number of excellent points and I find that I agree with him all around.

The quote stood out to me for more areas than just speech. Consider the massive expansion of government that is likely to be voted on this weekend. Actually, it may not be voted on, it may just be “Deemed to Pass” (Google that) instead of requiring the House to actually vote.

Why wouldn’t the House want to actually vote on the Health Care bill? Mostly because the bill is very unpopular, and many current representatives are nervous about the people in their districts at home removing them from office. If that’s the case, why are you voting for the bill in the first place.

Last time I checked, the US is a Representative Democracy. We elect people to serve in Congress and vote on our behalf for the things we believe in. If the Heath Care Takeover bill is not wanted by the people, then why is it being pushed for so hard?

Going back to one of Mr.  Henderson’s best points – “we should view extensions government activity under a presumption of error”.


Cash For Clunker Glitches

The Lawmakers in the House and Senate are due for some well earned rest. Both bodies will be taking a month off in the very near future. Okay, while it’s not likely they earned anything, this adjournment really is a good thing.

If the Senators and Congressmen are not in session, they can’t screw with the economy, add taxes, impose further burdens and we don’t have to listen to them as often on the television.

One fairly large issue that just came up is the Cash for Clunkers program. Turns out that this massive spending rebate program is already out of money. Maybe. No one is really sure.

A number of lawmakers have said that the administration is struggling to count the number of deals that had been made under the program, to monitor the number of customers who have taken part, and to match that number to the money available.

According to Rep. Sander Levin, D-Royal Oak:

The administration is “going to have to make a best estimate,” Levin said. “There’s lots of glitches in this system.”

That’s not really that surprising, is it? When people hear there’s free money, they’re going to try to get some of the action. Never mind that the money didn’t just appear, but had to be taken first, in the form of taxes, its still seen as free.

There’s another massive handout spending program in the works too. Don’t forget about Government Run Healthcare that’s looming on the horizion. For some reason, that I simply don’t understand, a number of people think having the goverment offering health insurance is a Good Thing (TM).

Get Free* Money
Get Free* Money

The Cash for Clunkers program had an initial bill of $1 billion. Its already out of money. There’s a potential for another $2 billion to be spent on the program now.

Contrast that with the estimates you’ve heard for the government’s health care plan. That plan starts out in the trillions. Yes, trillion, with a T. If the government can’t even give a solid, workable estimate for a plan that only has $1 billion dollars attached to it, how can we expect that something with an order of magnitude more money will be even close?

What will Rep. Sander Levin have to say about the accounting for the health care plan? Something tells me that “There’s lots of glitches in this system.” will be far short of acceptable.

Government Run Health Care

What is this all About?

Many people believe that a government run health care system will provide medical care to millions of people. Unfortunately, that is not what this is all about. The bills that are being discussed are about providing health insurance. Insurance does not equal health care.

Medicare Drug Benefits
Research by the Heritage Foundation

I’m sure that you’ve heard of Medicare. Medicare is a federally run program that provides health insurance to a large number of people that wouldn’t otherwise have insurance. Medicare pays hospitals, doctors, etc., a portion of the costs for medical treatment for covered individuals. In most cases, the payment from the government is in no way related to costs associated with providing those services.

You will also hear people talking about the government run system ensuring that people who need emergency treatment will be able to get it. That’s partially true. Anyone that is need of emergency medical assistance will already receive treatment if they go to an emergency room. There are already laws on the books that require hospitals to provide treatment, regardless of the patient’s ability to pay. So the new government run plan would have the same benefits, because the benefit already exists.

What Else do I Need to Know?

The U.S. spends over $2.4 trillion on health care (nearly 17% of GDP), and the government accounts for almost one-half of all health care spending. Premiums continue to rise for private insurance. Costs for health care continue to spiral out of control. A large percentage of employers only offer one type of insurance, usually with considerable costs for the employer and the employee.

The various plans and bills that are being circulated around the halls in Washington are not good. The choices you will no longer have, will be far worse then your health coverage today. Many employers will stop offering the health insurance you’re used to having if a government option was available.

You’ll still be paying for your insurance, which again, is not related to health care. You simply won’t have the options you had before. Add in the fact you will no longer be the primary decision maker regarding your health care, and it seems obvious that this is a Bad Idea(TM).

Understand that the cost projections coming from Congress and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) involve a lot of smoke, mirrors, tricks, and gimmicks. You can’t count on the group that wants to take your money to give you an accurate accounting of what it will cost.

What Other Options do we Have?

Lead the Way
Lead the Way

Instead of a new program that is even larger than Medicare, our Representatives should:

  • Create legislation to give families more control over their insurance and care.
  • Make health insurance portable, so you don’t lose your coverage when you change jobs.
  • Reform the tax system to provide the same tax benefits and incentives for all insurance purchasers – Employers and self employed should be able to deduct their costs.
  • Reduce / Reform the legal system to decrease malpractice and liability claims in all medical professions and industry.
  • Allow the customers of health care determine what they will spend for a procedure. Put the control back in the hands of the end consumer. Let the market work to drive competition and prices.

How can I be Heard?

The Tea Party Patriots have put together an impressive list of things you can do to be heard and get the word out. You can use this form to record your answers and the number of calls you made.

House Energy and Commerce Committee

Call the House Energy and Commerce Committee members [List (pdf)].  Let the committee members know how you feel about the bill and the prospect of government run health care. Tell them not to pass the government run health care bill out of committee.

According to Tea Party Patriots sources, all of the Republicans will be voting against the legislation already so you may choose to focus on the Democrats. However, you may wan to remember how a number of Republicans voted on Cap and Trade – let them know you’re out there too.

Blue Dog Democrats

Blue Dog CoalitionThe Democratic Blue Dog Coalition is a group of currently 52 moderate and conservative Democratic Party members of the United States House of Representatives. The Blue Dogs promote, among other things, fiscal conservatism and accountability. The Blue Dog Coalition is often involved in finding a compromise between liberal and conservative positions. Blue Dogs are an important swing vote on spending bills and as a result have gained influence in Congress out of proportion to their numbers.

You can find the Blue Dog Democrats on this list (pdf). Call each of them and let them know how you feel about the tremendous, irresponsible spending that will be required to fund government run health care.

Senate Finance Committee

Call the Senate Finance Committee [List (pdf)] tell them our economy cannot afford another massive government spending bill. We’ve spent enough already and we can not afford the taxes required to “pay” for this new spending bill.

Senators & Representatives

Call your Senators and your Representatives! Tell them as a constituent you are asking them to vote NO on the government take over of Health Care.