Tag Archives: healthcare

It’s Time For Another Revolution

The Senate Passed the 2,000 page healthcare bill at one a.m. Sunday morning; this in spite of the overwhelming opposition of voters.  Obviously, we no longer have a representative government.  The rallying cry for the patriots in 1775 was “no taxation without representation”.  This bill will add millions of dollars in new taxation without “representation“.  It is time for today’s patriots to ban together and launch a new revolution.  We have the weapon, and we have the ammunition.

Our weapon is the Constitution and our ammunition is the vote.  It is time  American citizens stop participating in the corruption that has permeated every facet of our political system.  When Senators like Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) or Mary Landrieu (D-La.) are bought off with gratuitous federal spending in their states in order to secure votes, it cannot be called anything else but corruption.  At the same time we voters can no longer ignore our own participation in this corruption by consistently, in election after election, voting for the Congressman or Senator who “brings home the bacon”. We are indeed selling our heritage for bowls of porridge. It is time to stop the wholesale destruction of our Constitution and way of life.

That can only be done by “we the people“.  It should be obvious by now that we cannot depend on our elected officials and we cannot depend on the Supreme Court to protect the Constitution.  Its only real defenders are the patriotic voters of America.  The only way to succeed in returning to a constitutional government is to vote out of office elected officials who do not honor their oath of office to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and Domestic” and replace them with someone who will.

A month ago, we launched a new grassroots organization to do just that, the Illinois Conservative Action Network (ICAN).  ICAN differs from other groups in that its focus is directed solely to reestablishing the Constitution to its rightful place as the final authority in determining how far the government can go in directing our lives and infringing on our liberty.  We are not tax exempt therefore; we can openly target individual elected officials for defeat, ridding our government of those who habitually and consistently violate their oath of office.  At the same time we can openly campaign for candidates who will honor their oath.  We are not a third party; therefore, we can participate in the primary elections of major parties where the real change must take place.  By the time the general election comes around it is often too late to make much difference.

We and our membership, supports most conservative grassroot organizations like those involved in the fiscally conservative Tea Party Movement, and the socially conservative right-to-life organizations, we also support many of the 501(c)(3) organizations like the Heritage Foundation—our favorite—, Open Secrets and others.  Without government or party restrictions, our membership can participate in election campaigns for or against any candidate from any party. We seek to fill an important nitch that has been sorely neglected for too long.

We presently view our immediate tasks as (1) helping conservatives take back the Republican Party that has historically been their home, (2) educating citizens and elected officials on the requirements of the Constitution and our founding principles. (3) Identifying incumbents who refuse to honor their oath of office and work to defeat them at the polls.

It is our firm belief that when we return the Constitution to its rightful place in government, we will have solved most of the fiscal and social problems that plague us today. We are new and we are growing. You can do your part by adding your name to our membership role.  Elected officials only respect numbers.  The more rapidly our membership grows the quicker we can begin to make a difference.

We are currently developing an on-line, interactive tutorial to help interested citizens better understand the requirements of the Constitution and our founding principles.  Hopefully we can announce its going on line within the next week. We are also working on other tools to help our members take action to stop our headlong rush into socialism and return our country to a constitutional republic.

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Healthcare Bill Derailed?

liberty-bellThere is a good chance the healthcare bill being debated in Washington will be blocked, thanks to opposition by the electorate.  However, in the end Obama will win because the debate has been shaped in a fashion the American people cannot win.  The odds are that eventual healthcare reform will not contain most of the features in the current bill, but the momentum is there for some type of reform detrimental to the welfare of the nation.

Everyone seems to have accepted the underlying premise of the debate that fixing healthcare is the duty of the federal government.  No one is pointing out that the problems with healthcare, like most of the problems with the economy in general, can be laid at the feet of Congress.  More than anything else, the unaffordable cost of healthcare today is caused by the distortions in the market created by the fact that government is the single largest purchaser of healthcare.
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If we are to make any headway in getting the cost of healthcare under control, we have to begin with a debate as to whether or not healthcare is a proper function of the federal government.  The Founders, taking into account the expanse and diversity of America, deliberately limited the functions of the federal government.  They understood that attempting to govern citizens in a variety of states covering a large geographical area with differing customs, problems and needs could not be accomplished by a central government without major sacrifice of liberty.

Nowhere in the Constitution do we find any authorization for the Federal Government to be involved in healthcare.  Neither do we find any indication in the writings of the Founding Fathers that they would be in favor of government involvement in healthcare if they were alive today.

That is not to say that government has no role in the health of its citizens, just not at the federal level.  A good first step in solving America’s healthcare problems would be accepting the intentions of the Founders when they proposed and ratified the tenth amendment.  The proper place for public health issues, including medical care for the indigent and the regulation of insurance, if necessary, is at the state and local level.

If we continue to accept the premise of the statists that healthcare is the proper role of the Federal Government it is only a matter of time until we have socialized medicine.  Obama and the Democratic Party may not be successful in getting a nationalized health plan this time, but they will be back again.  Each time they propose it they get another step closer to succeeding.

Control of the nation’s healthcare has been the goal of left leaning politicians since the administration of the Progressive-Republican President, Theodore Roosevelt.  Franklin Roosevelt, Truman, Johnson and Clinton, each in turn, made an attempt to institute universal coverage.  Johnson signed into law the Medicare and Medicaid programs which eventually led to government control of some forty percent of the nation’s healthcare.

The increased demand for healthcare services brought about by these programs led to an inevitable increase in price.  That, added to the customary employer provided healthcare plans instituted a couple of decades earlier as a way of getting around wage controls and exorbitant taxation, helped to create an expectation on the part of the public that they should never have to pay for any health care “out of pocket”; someone else should always pick up the bill.

We may accept a bill for hundreds of dollars from our local mechanic for minor repairs on our car without complaint, but panic at the thought of paying for a routine trip to the doctor for treatment of a common cold.  Until the expectations of the public changes in this regard and until we get the overall government involvement in the healthcare system out of the hands of Washington and back into the hands of the state and local governments where it belongs, we are going to continue to deal with repeated efforts to socialize medicine.

If we do not change the way we think about the question of healthcare, Obama wins.

The Obama Troika

minute-man-2-lithoAs Congress and the Obama Administration continues to ramp up their war on Capitalism and the U.S. Constitution, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has indicated he is prepared to fast-track Obama’s socialized healthcare plans by using a parliamentary maneuver that would preclude a Republican filibuster.

At the present time, according to AP, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., is attempting to write a bipartisan health care bill with his committee’s top Republican, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa. Baucus has said he doesn’t want to resort to reconciliation, the term used for the maneuver that would neutralize a Republican filibuster threat. “We have to give this bipartisan effort of Sen. Baucus a shot,” Senator Reid commented to AP, indicating if it fails he is prepared to go ahead with “reconciliation.”

This comes on the heels of this week’s Senate bill SERVE and the House bill GIVE that has already cleared the House and is now under consideration by the Senate.  It also coincides with the reconstituting of Obama’s “grassroots” network that helped propel him into the White House.

As the mass media marvels at the speed with which Obama has been able to rush his agenda through Congress in just a little over two months, I am reminded of a quote from the Book of Revelation, “Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them.  Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea; for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.”  Rev. 12:12.

No, I am not saying that Obama is the devil or the Anti-Christ, as has been suggested by some.  I am just pointing out that Obama and his minions are under tremendous time pressure to get his agenda passed before enough of the American people notice what he is doing and devise a way to stop him.  It is difficult for most of us to believe that our elected leaders would deliberately set out to destroy our way of life, but we are left with an undeniable choice.  Either the policies of Obama and the Democrat/socialists in Congress represent a deliberate plan or the greatest level of incompetence ever imposed on the American people.

George Washington warned us, with uncanny accuracy, in 1796 of the danger in allowing political parties to gain too much power over the government.

“The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.”

We are not yet a dictatorship, although Obama’s governing style seems to be patterned more after Hugo Chavez than Thomas Jefferson. However, we are no longer a representative, constitutional republic.  Instead, we are governed by a triumvirate consisting of one elected official and two unelected.  In case you haven’t yet noticed, since Obama and the 111th Congress were sworn in, all major decisions and policies are decided by Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid in conjunction with President Obama.

Nancy Pelosi was elected by the people in the eighth congressional district of California which has a population of only 640,000.  Harry Reid was elected by the people of Nevada with a population of only 2,500,000.  The combined population of America represented by Pelosi and Reid is less than 3% of the total population.  The number of citizens who actually cast votes for them is less than 1%, yet they make arbitrary decisions on a daily basis that effect the lives of all Americans, and they are able to do it with no threat of being held accountable by the voters.

Somehow, I don’t think this is what the Founders had in mind when they were crafting the Constitution.

Is Real Reform Possible?

The McCain-Palin campaign is presenting itself as a reform ticket and the country is responding with increasing support.  Some polls have them moving into a double digit lead over Obama.  We have heard promises of reform before, but for the first time in living memory there is a real possibility it will be attempted.  The question is whether or not reform is possible.

Any meaningful, lasting reform would involve major changes in Americans expectations from government.  It would mean at least a partial return to constitutional government, which we have not had for several generations.  Socialist programs that have been implemented since the Great Depression would have to be rolled back and the federal government’s involvement in extra-constitutional areas would have to be severely curtailed.

Both McCain and Palin have expressed the desire to end “earmarks” and pork barrel spending. That’s a good start, but they are kind of a “gimmie” for most Americans and do not address our fundamental problems.  Real reform needs to take place in those areas the public has come to enjoy and expect, but which, sooner or later, will result in our collapse as a free nation.

For example, there is no constitutional authority for the federal government’s involvement in education or health care.  Yet, these two issues are near the top of the list for most Americans who are demanding the government “do something”.  The responsibility for these programs, if approved by the voters, belongs to the individual states not the federal government.  The principle of limited government with enumerated powers is the fundamental principle of our form of government.  We have been moving away from this principle for the past hundred years, since the rise of the “progressive” movement.

Many if not most of the economic and energy problems we are facing today can be traced to a basic principle of socialism.  Sooner or later, socialism always fails.  What we are seeing today is the end result of socialist programs begun in the early part of the twentieth century.  Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are perfect examples.  They were begun in 1938 as quasi-governmental organizations for the purpose of helping homeowners recover from the Great Depression and provide financing for a depressed mortgage industry.

Since then they have grown to the point where they account for more than half of the twelve trillion dollar mortgage market.  For decades, “social engineering” has been one of Fannie and Freddie’s major functions.  Poor oversight by those responsible for its management, coupled with years of mismanagement and corruption, and sloppy regulation by Congress left it unable to cope with the soft housing market that normally follows an economic “bubble”.

The result is that taxpayers are now on the hook for billions if not trillions of dollars worth of bad loans.  An indication of just how far we have drifted from constitutional government is the extent to which so many otherwise conservatives see the nationalization of over half of the domestic mortgage market as a good thing.

It only took forty years for socialism to wreck our healthcare system.  The current healthcare “crisis” is the direct result of the federal government’s involvement in Medicare and Medicaid.  As with the mortgage market, when a socialist program fails, the proposed solution is usually to nationalize those parts of the economy affected.  Healthcare and energy will be the next ones scheduled for nationalization if we continue on the current path.

Unfortunately, John McCain also takes a “soft” socialistic approach to the problems of energy, healthcare, education, and the economy, only differing from the socialist/democrat agenda in degree and detail.  There is no way of knowing just how Sarah Palin views the Constitution.  In the past seventy-four years I have never heard a journalist or anyone else ask a politician to explain just how a proposal or bill fits within the Constitution.  While most politicians on both sides of the aisle give lip service to a reverence for the Constitution, their actions indicate that compliance with its limitations is seldom considered.

There is no doubt in my mind that John McCain and Sarah Palin represent the best chance in my lifetime for real government reform.  I would feel much more comfortable, however, if once in a while they would explain why certain proposals of Barack Obama are unconstitutional and why those proposed by them are not.

In addition, I cannot help but wondering how the American people would react if McCain and Palin suddenly started attempting to eliminate unconstitutional programs.   How would they react if the redistribution of wealth through progressive taxation was ended, or subsidies for social and economic engineering, or bureaucracies and their accompanying subsidies dealing with education, energy, housing, urban development, agriculture, etc. were cut back or terminated?

Has an educational system dominated by socialism for four generations so indoctrinated our citizenry in the socialist lifestyle that weaning them off it would be too difficult to succeed?  There is no effort to counter socialism as socialism because too few Americans recognize it, or feel its effects on their lives and future happiness.  The consequences of socialism are masked behind an unsustainable level of debt.

Socialist programs seem to endure for about four or five generations before they collapse from their own weight.  This has been the experience of the Soviet Union, Western Europe and our own ventures into socialism.  This is easily seen by examining the history of European healthcare systems, the labor market in France and our own Social Security, Medicare and mortgage financing systems, to name a few.

In spite of the inevitable failure of these systems, most Americans would resist ending or even shrinking them to any meaningful degree.  The outcome of the November election is meaningless if we continue to ignore the damage socialism has inflicted on our form of government and our way of life during the past century.

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A Party of Deception: Part 2 – Tactics and Strategies

During the twentieth century, the Democratic Party became the premier vehicle of the socialist movement in America for promoting its socialist agenda. While maintaining an “arms length” association with established socialist political parties democrats have worked diligently to further the socialist agenda through legislative actions. To avoid the connection between Democratic Party policies and those of organized socialism in the public’s perception, left wing democrats choose to hide behind the labels of “liberal” and “progressive”.

One of the ironies of Democrat’s use of the label “progressive” is the fact that one of the best-known American progressives is the former Republican President and political Icon of John McCain, Theodore Roosevelt. After declining to run for a second term as President, Roosevelt became so disillusioned by his successor, William Howard Taft and his conservative policies that he challenged Taft for the Republican nomination in 1912. When Roosevelt lost the nomination, he pulled his delegates out of the convention and ran an independent campaign as a progressive in the general election. In doing so, he split the Republican ticket resulting in the election of the Democratic progressive candidate, Woodrow Wilson.

Fearing the socialists would undermine the war effort during World War 1, Wilson had a number of them arrested and prosecuted under the newly enacted Espionage Act. One of those jailed was Eugene Debs, five times candidate for President, four times as the candidate of the Socialist Party of America. After Deb’s death in 1926 many of his supporters drifted into the Democratic Party along with a remnant of Roosevelt’s progressive party, popularly known as the “Bull Moose Party”.

Socialist influence in the Democratic Party grew steadily during the Administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt. By the sixties, the Democratic Party had taken on many of the features of the Democratic Socialists of Western Europe. The three principles that unite the socialists of Europe and the socialists of America are, opposition to capitalism, opposition to the military, and social justice.

Opposition to Capitalism

The orthodox economic position of socialism is that the means of production should be democratically (state) owned. Capitalism is viewed as the repository of greed, oppressor of workers, instigator of war, and corrupter of government. A long-term objective of socialism is the nationalization of major segments of the American economy. Particularly targeted for government takeover are energy, health care, finance, durable goods manufacturing, agriculture, and transportation.

In order for government to take over these industries the American public must first be convinced that only government has the ability to manage effectively their operations for the good of all. This requires undermining the economy to the point enough citizens are willing to overlook violations of the Constitution in exchange for a promise of economic relief by the government. The legislative foundation has already been laid for the undermining of our economy in fairness in lending laws, environmental laws, restrictions on energy production, various labor laws, and a variety of bureaucratic actions in the fields of public health, education, land development and so on.

Tools and Tactics

Any number of single-issue activist groups has been working more or less in concert with socialist political action groups for years to set up the conditions for the dismantlement of capitalism with the blessings of the American public. They use legislative actions by congress and bureaucratic rules by the many departments of government to undermine legitimate economic activity in the areas most critical to the socialist objectives.

The instruments of tyranny in the socialist toolbox include children, women and minorities, wildlife, and the environment. The most destructive implement in the toolbox is perhaps the Endangered Species Act. The ESA has been used to stop energy production, commercial development, and restrict such normal economic activities as logging, fishing, building, and even agricultural projects.

Closely related to the Endangered Species Act are the regulations ostensibly meant to protect the air and water quality and to prevent or reverse “climate change“. These have been used to hobble energy production and drive up the price of gasoline, diesel fuel, electricity, food and almost every other item purchased by businesses and consumers, while at the same time expanding government control over the automotive industry, heavy manufacturing and many other vital elements of the economy.

Another primary target of the socialist movement is healthcare. Health care affects more than our physical wellbeing. It also makes up a major part of our economy and is scheduled to be among the first to be nationalized. Like all goods and services used by the public, it is sensitive to the market pressures of supply and demand. Using a concern for the physical wellbeing of children, women, the elderly and the poor as justification, the government has become the largest purchaser of healthcare in America. The added demand for healthcare caused by these purchases has been instrumental in driving up its price to the point where it is no longer affordable by the average citizen, making it a prime candidate for a takeover by government.

We have just witnessed a major incursion into the financial markets by the federal government in response to the increasing number of home mortgage foreclosures. There are many reasons for the increase in foreclosures, among them are the “fairness in lending” laws designed to make home ownership available to more of the working poor and minorities. Under pressure by government regulators to take on more “subprime loans”, lenders offered no-money-down and adjustable rate mortgages to otherwise unqualified borrowers with the predictable results.

The economic hardships brought about by government activity serve the purpose, whether intentional or not, of making the public more susceptible to allowing the government to take over an ever increasing part of their lifestyle. By using the propaganda power of the national media, socialist/democrats have been able to lay blame for our economic problems on the administration of George Bush and the Republican Party, making a democratic and hence a socialist victory in November more likely.

Tomorrow: A Party of Deception, Part 3: The Democratic Agenda and Energy Prices

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No Relief for Nationwide Epidemic of Euroenvy

As Americans gaze longingly across the Atlantic at the socialist paradises of Western Europe, they listen hopefully to the words of Barack Obama and dream of the establishment of a similar paradise in America. To many observing from afar the European model of economic socialism indeed seems idyllic. Free healthcare, guaranteed income, weeks of vacation time, short workweeks, full pay unemployment, what’s not to like?

Many things at first glance, or when viewed from a distance look perfect, but when observed with more scrutiny blemishes and defects begin to show up. Do you like the artwork in the header for this blog? It’s my favorite piece of revolutionary period art. However if you look closely about a half-inch up from the bottom along the left edge you will notice a rip in the original print extending across two of the faces.

That’s a good metaphor for socialism. It looks good at first glance or from a distance, but when you live with it up close and personal for a while, it no longer looks so good. I have been hearing about the free health care in Great Britain for most of my life. Only in the last few years have I begun hearing about the long waiting lists, shortages of doctors, and more recently the practice of “stacking”, where emergency room patients are kept waiting in ambulances in the parking lot for hours before receiving treatment. Stacking allows hospitals to comply with a British law requiring all patients to be treated within four hours. Since the required time limit does not begin until the patient has been admitted, keeping them waiting outside the hospital rather than inside postpones the waiting time restrictions.

I have been unable to find reliable statistics on the number of deaths that occur in the British system between the time a patient gets a referral to a specialist or surgeon for a serious ailment and the time they actually get the needed surgery or other treatment. The anecdotal evidence indicates the number is quite high, however. Much of the waiting time in the British healthcare system is deliberate rationing to help control cost and compensate for the shortage of health care workers. A high percentage of patients get well on their own and a smaller percentage die before getting the health care they seek thus saving the government the cost of treating them.

Another source of envy for many Americans is the short workweek and extended vacations enjoyed by workers in France. Within just the last month, the law limiting the workweek to thirty-five hours had to be repealed because it was placing too much cost on employers and seriously affecting productivity. For the first time in almost a decade, workers can now work longer hours and earn a bigger paycheck. The law was originally passed in 1999 as a way of reducing France’s chronic high unemployment. As with most socialist programs instituted by governments to “fix” problems, the unintended consequences proved to outweigh the benefits.

Still another model often held up as an example of the benefits of socialism is Scandinavia, especially Sweden. Sweden has the world’s highest standard of living, the most progressive education system, free health care, low or almost non-existent unemployment as low as 2%. Before you make a dash for the Swedish embassy to apply for a visa you should know, however, that that is the Chamber of Commerce version we see from afar. Up close, things look quite differently. There is nothing wrong with the numbers, its just how the measurements are taken.

For example, how do you measure a standard of living? In the Swedish calculation, it refers to the measure of equality in wealth redistribution. In other words, it measures the success in implementing socialism more so than the actual living standard of the people. When the standard of living is measured using the buying power of the average income, the number of people engaged in gainful employment, or Gross National Product the standard of living figures drop considerably. In the year 2000, the median household income in Sweden was $26,800 in U.S. dollars. In the U.S., the median household income was $39,400. That’s gross, before taxes.

“How about the 2% unemployment rate“, you ask. In Sweden, a worker can earn up to 2.2 paid days off for every one day worked. That means they can earn up to 570 paid days off in a single year, therefore they can take off two years plus with full pay. That’s one of the ways Sweden hides their true unemployment figure. They simply change the status of those not working from unemployed to “on paid leave”. Another way is to assign unemployed persons to a class in finger painting or basket weaving and classify them as students. When all else fails they can simply conscript them into doing menial task, or what Barack Obama calls community service.

One last thing. You may be saying to yourself, “Hey, two years off with pay after one year’s work doesn’t sound too bad to me.” Remember the $26,800 median household income mentioned above? Sweden has the highest tax rate in the world, consuming 55% of the gross national product. Add to that up to 22.5% Value Added Tax and the real buying power of that $26,800 goes down real fast. You are not going to have a very enjoyable vacation with the amount left.

The truth is, there are no statistically reliable methods of measuring the relative “quality of life” values between socialism and free market capitalism. What price can you put on liberty? How do you measure success in the “pursuit of happiness”? Is it better to have the bare necessities of life guaranteed by the government with little effort and no risk on our part, or to have the liberty and freedom to pursue our own road to happiness with all the risks and rewards that entails? That is the choice we must make on November 4. Consider carefully before casting your vote for Obama.