21 March 2010

Some Good that May Come of “Reform”

As the House gets ready to pass – or at least I expect it to pass – what is referred to as health care insurance reform, I have had a bit of a time finding some reason to be optimistic. I am firmly against the federal government enlarging itself in just about any way that impacts every citizen’s life. I am especially against reform that is an embodiment of Orwellian doublethink. Health care insurance reform claims to reduce the deficit by spending somewhere in the neighborhood of $1 trillion – that’s one million squared. And never mind the IRS doing periodic checks of each individual’s health insurance coverage. That isn’t a government takeover; it is considered oversight. Oversight over individual citizens, watching their health insurance status on a consistent basis. Perhaps as a cost saving measure, we can just install telescreens for the periodic insurance checks.

Yes, indeed, I need a reason for optimism. And so it is my hope that the backlash from this government intrusion into where it has no business being at all will be deep and long lasting. My hope is that by forcing the pendulum so far to the side of big government that the statists – liberal Democrats and abettors of all political persuasions – will, through overreaching, propel the opponents of big government to office. (Please note that I did not say Republicans – big government is a bipartisan affair.)

My hope is that this backlash will begin in 2010. It would do a great deal of good if a large number of small, limited government minded folks were elected to the House and Senate. And I’m not talking those who want to limit or eliminate earmarks and pork. While those are laudatory goals, they are small potatoes in my book. What is $50 million for a (insert random government project here) compared to the $46.8 billion spent this year on the Department of Education or even the $1.15 billion for the Corporation for National and Community Service? Those are big pork projects.

And even those would be small potatoes in a realm of multi-trillion dollar holes like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. While the current health care insurance reform claims to save the latter two – through cuts in funding, another bit of doublethink – it seems to me that making a program larger does not automatically make it more viable. Thus, it would be prudent for the group which I hope begins its crusade on Capitol Hill to begin reducing benefits and, to a great extent, eliminating these programs. The rough road ahead will be in keeping these programs afloat financially for those who are already getting benefits and who are unable - in a real sense, from either age or serious disability – to function otherwise.

Of course, this is all in a way a very self-interested push on my part. I already realize that I will not see a dime from Social Security when I reach whatever retirement age is set by government. Social Security is already empty; there’s no money in it. So why would there be in, say, thirty years? Why would I expect Medicare to be anywhere near solvent once I reach enrollment age? To think that either will be around is delusional.

Better to face reality now, go through a painful shift of benefits and reductions, and get on with life. It would be far better than living the lie that somehow our developing nanny state can shelter and coddle us through life. Like so many lies, the longer they have to be maintained, the bigger they become. Better to fully and wholly accept the truth, drop the pretense of big government, and return to something closer to individual responsibility – and thus individual liberty. I hope and pray that the first proclamations of this goal are made today and the first steps toward this goal are taken this November.

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