Being the marketing guru that he is, David Axelrod has done his research and is making changes to the end-game of the Administration's push of its health care agenda (and all their agenda, for that matter). Most of us who have been fighting this administration for the past 7+ months knew this was coming. But I received a full dose of this change last night at Tom McClintock's Town Hall meeting in Granite Bay, CA.
Tom was gracious enough to let people from both sides of the debate to present their points without disruption. In doing so, those who were given a chance to speak in favor of the administration's push for a public option health plan were clearly making the new arguments for Obama. They focused their attentions on four points: choice, competition, this is not about government control but rather about our rights, and we have to show some compassion for our fellow Americans. They added these four points (or more accurately, re-packaged these points) with one other favorite, namely that we are the only civilized society that does NOT have universal health care. I would like to present some very important information about how to address these points.
1. Choice, how is this bill about choice when it actually removes all choice. The provisions of HR3200 create a panel of "experts" who will, within five years, establish the standards which all health insurance plans must meet. These are called mandates. Mandates are why health insurance and health care is already as expensive as it is. Now they want to mandate the entire industry. In essence, however, it will remove all options...all choices. It won't matter what plan you or your employer buys, it will have the same basic provisions. What choice is that? Henry Ford once told an audience they could purchase the Model A in any color, so long as it is black.
And what happens if your company's plan or your privately purchased plan doesn't meet the government standards? Well, your employer is fined up to 8% of their entire payroll AND your plan is canceled and you and your fellow employees are automatically enrolled in the government plan. If you are silly enough to not buy a personal private health care plan that does not meet the government's criteria, then you too will be forced into the government plan and will have to pay a 2.5% tax on your income for not complying.
Those are really good choices.
2. Competition, the emblem of all that is capitalism. The administration has been saying for months that the government plan will bring competition to the industry and bring honesty to the insurance companies. But let's think about this for a second...or twenty.
Imagine, for a moment, that IBM obtains such an intense hold on the computer manufacturing industry that they set up a board designed to establish the standards by which all computers would be build. This board is run by people they appoint. This board establishes all the rules for computer manufacturing. They establish penalties for companies that do NOT manufacture computers by these standards and force you and me to dump a computer we own or buy that does not meet those standards. As soon as we dump that computer, we are forced to buy their computer.
Not only do all computer manufacturers have to abide by IBM's rules and pay fines when they don't, but should, by some miracle, some manufacturer be capable of abiding by those rules and still make a profit, IBM gets a share of those profits.
What sort of competition is that? It's not. In fact, if a company like IBM were capable of doing something like that and actually did it, there would be a public outcry and US Attorneys would bring suits against IBM for violation of anti-trust laws designed to restrain monopolies.
Isn't that EXACTLY what the government is doing with HR3200? Is there NOT a public outcry? Only one problem, THIS monopoly also owns those US Attorneys and the courts where those anti-trust lawsuits would be heard. Only thing is, there won't be any such lawsuits because the government has made sure that HR3200 contains provisions making sure they cannot be sued over this bill, and they put themselves in charge of enforcing it...how convenient.
That's not competition. That's gangland tactics and extortion.
3. Many the proponents of Obama-scare laugh at the notion that HR3200 is going to give the government control over our lives, absconding with our liberties. When they are not denying such lunacies they are pointing out all the liberties we lost under Bush's administration (expecting to divert the argument AWAY from the liberties under assault by Obama). However, mostly, they just laugh at the notion of government control through health care.
But let's take a look at what the bill does to give government more control over our lives. Aside from the obvious, that taking over 1/6 of the country's economy will afford the government massive control over the economy, there are numerous other means by which they gain greater control over our lives. One section, for example, gives them complete and utter access to all our bank accounts and financial information. Much broader access than they have now through the IRS (the organization, btw, that will charged with collection of all the taxes, fines, penalties, co-payments and premiums that are part of the plan).
Another section of the bill offers to hire outside organizations, under the control and pay of the government, to come into our homes to take care of our elderly during home care.
Another section of the bill gives similar outside organization authority to come into our homes to evaluate our lifestyles...under the guise of helping the health care panels fine new and better ways to help us citizens learn how to live healthier, thus reducing health care costs.
Yet another section gives the government authority to send people into our homes to evaluate how we raise our children, give us advice and determine whether our children our living well. Combine this with the current UN Children's Rights Initiatives, which this administration wants to participate in, you will soon find the UN telling our children that they don't have to go to church on Sunday or do what we tell them to do, if they don't want.
Do you doubt that these provisions are in the bill? Do you WANT me to quote the sections? I will if you want. But you HAVE to ask. I am not going to assume that by reading this that you actually care what the government is wanting to do with health care reform. Or you could just read the bill yourself and see it for yourself.
But let's assume, just for a moment, that this bill, as written, does NOT give the government control over our lives to the extent I am saying. Let me show you how the government has, in the past, taken a, seemingly, harmless idea/bill and slowly and progressively expanded it to control our lives in ways the founders NEVER intended.
a) The federal income tax law. When first initiated it seemed harmless enough. It was a measly 7% in 1913...on income over $500,000. Do you have any clue what $500,000 of income in 1913 would be today? Based upon inflation rates from then till now, it would mean that in order to have to pay the top marginal tax rate of 7% you would have had to make what is the equivalent today of $10,000,000/year. Holy Cow for the Hindus amongst us.
But it didn't stop there. Due to the "emergency" of the first world war, Congress felt compelled to raise funds for the war by altering the tax rates. In 1917, the rate went to 67% of incomes over $2,000,000. Still not so bad. After all, there weren't THAT many people making that much money in 1917. Funny, though, how WWI began shortly after the US instituted the federal income tax.
Well, you'd think that once the war was over that rates would go back to what they were originally. You'd be wrong, though. In 1918, when the war ended, the highest marginal rate was 77% of incomes over $1,000,000. The very next year, rates DID go down, though...to 73% of incomes over $1,000,000. By 1922, it was 58%....of incomes over $200,000...oops, coming after the middle class...well, not really..not yet.
This sort of pattern of taking more and more money from people continued throughout the 20th century. But this only addresses the HIGHEST marginal tax rates. Let's look at the LOWEST rates...where people BEGIN to pay taxes. In 1913, a person had to make $20,000 per year before they paid a dime in income taxes. That would equate to $400,000/year today. How would you like that make $400,000 before you have to pay a dime in income taxes? And this is before there was that silly little FICA tax. That's coming later.
By 1917, you remember, the year we entered the Great War, the lowest marginal rate had doubled from 1% to 2%...but rather than beginning at $20,000/year of income, it began at $2000/year of income. When the war ended, that lowest rate was 6% of incomes of $4000/year and dropped progressively to 1.125% of incomes over $4000/year. It never did return to the $20,000/year level.
By the time WWII, the next "emergency", drew us into war, the lowest marginal rates went to 10%, then 19%, then 21% of incomes over 4,000/year. The maximum rates went to as high as 94% of incomes over $200,000. FDR had what the progressives wanted.
Once again, the libs used their "emergency" to step up their control over our lives. The lowest marginal rates never again went back to that 4% rate. In fact, it wasn't until Reagan that they went below 20% of incomes over $4000/year.
Take note of the fact that there was no such thing as adjusting the rates to offset inflationary growth in incomes. They called this "income tax creep". More and more Americans found themselves making more money but also suddenly having to pay taxes on it. The Feds even reduced, not increased, exemptions used to reduce taxable income. In 1913, individuals received a $3000 personal exemption. By WWII that exemption was down to $500.
You know the current state of the income tax...convoluted and corrupted by special interests, earmarks and out of control IRS enforcement powers.
b) As if that's not enough, let's look at Social Security system. Originally designed as merely a retirement benefit with a tax rate of 1% on incomes up to $3000/year. In today's dollars, that would be a cap of about $45,000 of income/year. Not TOO bad...very palatable for the public to pay for a safety net retirement plan. Well, once in, the government didn't stop there...raising the rates precipitously over the next 70 years to what they are today...a max of 7.65% paid by both YOU and your employer on incomes UPTO $75,000/year.
But, of course, we get more benefits then we did in 1937, right. Yep, the SSA now has to pay a DEATH benefit to our family to the tune of $252....WHOOHOO!!!. And let's not forget they've also added a disability benefit...but, oh, wait, that's part of a totally separate tax...an ADDITIONAL nearly 1% (yes, the same amount as the original Social Security tax) of ALLLLLL income...no cap.
c) How about something simple, like driver's licenses and vehicle registrations? Federal courts have ruled over and over and over again that Citizens have a fundamental right to use the public roads for personal travel. Black's Law Dictionary on 1838 defines a "license" as permission from the state to do something which you would ordinarily have no right to do. What "permission" do we need from the government if the courts say we have a fundamental right to use the public roads for personal use?
Well, here's how we got to THAT point. Original licensing and vehicle registration laws were designed to regulate use of the public roads for COMMERCIAL purposes...research it, if you don't believe me. But this makes sense. The courts never ruled that we have a fundamental right to use the public roads for COMMERCIAL purposes. Therefore, the people who used the roads for commercial purposes would, legitimately, need to pay a fee for the privilege of doing so. And would, legitimately, have to register the vehicles they use for those commercial purposes.
So how did they get us to the point where we all needed to obtain a license to use the public roads for non-commercial purposes and to register our personal property with the state and pay a fee to do so? They slowly and progressives and, yes, secretly, redefined terms in the vehicle codes. Instead of defining a "driver" as someone who uses the public roads for commercial purposes, they made it seem that ANYONE who uses the public roads using a vehicle is a "driver". It was a slow and heinously deceptive corruption of power and control over our lives.
d) Another license that has become abused by government is the marriage license. When in the world did it become necessary for us to obtain permission from the government to get married? Well, it all began post Civil War. Some states required "freed" slaves to obtain licenses to get married. In some states, it became necessary for whites who wanted to marry a black to obtain permission to do so as well. Instead of repealing such ignorant laws, or declaring them unconstitutional, the government saw an opportunity to take further control over our lives by redefining terms in the law and thus requiring ALL people to obtain permission from the state.
Part of this issue centers around other, more corrupt power grabs by the government. But I will not get into them at this time. My point in bringing these issues up is to prove that the government is not going to be satisfied with just passing a health reform bill providing an alternative public option. Once in the door, this government has proved themselves to be usurpers, greedy for more and more power and control over our lives.
This is not about control? Think again. This is ALL about control.
4) Tugging on the heart strings of citizens is always a ploy of the far left. Saul Alinsky taught them to force their opposition to live up to their own standards. They want us to PROVE just how compassionate we are or EXPOSE ourselves as the self-centered, heartless beasts they try vehemently to project us to be. Are we so heartless that we would want some poor child or woman or whatever to go without proper medical care? Of course not. So we MUST give them what they deserve, what they need, what they are entitled to, what they have a right to.
FDR wanted desperately to establish a second bill of rights in his third term. He wanted people to believe that their right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness should include more than what the original bill of rights included. In his State of the Union address in 1944 he said,
"In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all—regardless of station, race, or creed.
"Among these are:
The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;
The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;
The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;
The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;
The right of every family to a decent home;
The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;
The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;
The right to a good education.
All of these rights spell security. And after this war is won we must be prepared to move forward, in the implementation of these rights, to new goals of human happiness and well-being.
America’s own rightful place in the world depends in large part upon how fully these and similar rights have been carried into practice for our citizens."
There are two fundamental problems with this mindset. First, it assumes that the fundamental right to PURSUE happiness must necessarily include the fundamental right to HAVE happiness. This second bill of rights centers around what actually would MAKE people happy, not the more general principle of the PURSUIT of happiness.
Secondly, it presumes that the fundamental rights of Americans are afforded them BY the government. FDR, along with most every other progressive, thinks that our rights are given to us by the government. Conservatives understand fully that the government was established to PROTECT the very rights we have by the very simple fact that we exist. Whether you want to believe that you were created by God or not, the Constitution affords you the presumption that by your mere existence you have these rights and government is established with the primary purpose of PROTECTING those rights. Any government that assumes they grant us our rights (such as through licenses) is a government which also believes it can, by legislative or executive authority, rescind those rights.
No matter how affectionate we are towards those who suffer a need, we must NEVER afford our government the power and authority to attend to those needs at the unwilling expense of another. Charity, not government, is the power of the people to care for its own. Government must bow to that charity as the right of the individual to effectively apply it. Government is not established to compel charity, but to encourage and clear the way FOR it.
We are compelled by conscience to attend to the needs of the lowly. Governments are not instituted to enforce our conscience but to enforce our rights to exercise our conscience.
5) Lastly, the new Obama health reform message includes the old stand-by argument that we are the only civilized nation that does NOT have universal health care. In invoking this argument, proponents of the Obama agenda use time honored WHO statistics concerning health care in America. They declare that we spend more than any other country. They declare that we rank 37th in life expectancy. But let's look at those two primary stats. First, expenditures on health care. We rank so high because we have the most sophisticated health care system. We provide amazing health care for our citizens to the tune of providing the greatest recovery rates from virtually every major illness (especially cancers of various kinds). There ARE ways to reduce those costs (i.e. - through tort reform that would remove the need for doctors to put their patients through virtually every test possible to diagnose an illness).
As for the stat about life expectancy, these WHO numbers, unfortunately, also include those who die from murder, auto accidents AND, get this one, WAR. Well, duh, no one else is willing to send hundreds of thousands of troops in to fight these despots. What do you THINK is gonna happen to our life expectancy numbers when that happens? When you remove war figures and the other false indicator, deaths of illegals, our life expectancy rate ranks in the top 10 world wide. When you remove deaths by auto accident, a number that skews our life expectancy number by the mere fact that we own more cars than any other nation, BY FAR, we rank in the top 5.
But exclusive of statistics, ask yourself this question, since WHEN have we needed to follow all the other countries in ANYTHING. What a LAME argument to do anything. Can you imagine what a pathetic parent you would be if every time your teenage son asked to do something that his argument for doing it is that all his friends are doing it? Give me a break. Grow UP, Mr. Obama.
In conclusion, let me just say this, the firestorm of opponents to this plan is ENORMOUS. We cannot allow this president to merely re-package this plan using focus-group tested terms and bribery...yes bribery. This president WILL use stimulus money to bribe votes from a corrupt congress. As one conservative senator said about "blue dog democrats"...there is no such thing as a blue dog democrat. These are democrats. They pretend to be fiscally conservative in order to get elected in a mostly conservative district. They will vote certain ways on issues where their vote will not effect the outcome, in order to continue the pretense about their fiscal conservatism. When it comes down to it, they want to be re-elected. They will take the buyoff from Obama and ride it to re-election if they can. The same can be said about the RINO republicans.
We MUST not allow them to get away with it. Pass or not, ANYONE who votes for this bill or its revised version, MUST be pushed out of office as soon as possible. Do NOT let up. If you cannot go to the 9/12 event, send letters to your representatives telling them you would have gone had you been able to. Let them know you will NOT let up until this president's Marxist agenda is completely defeated. DEMAND that your representatives DEMAND they have enough time to read and debate the final bill.
If you made it this far in my note, thank you for your kindness and patience. I have now proofread this note and re-posted it. I hope it is useful to you all.
(Originally posted September 3, 2009 on my Facebook page.