House of cards, ship of fools, and a crew of whores

U.S. Capitol Building The duly elected representatives and senators of the United States of America are closer than ever to passing the most sweeping government reform in recent history if not the history of the Union. It happens to have to do with health care, or more specifically, exactly how much the federal government will have re-shaped and absorbed the medical profession in this country. According to Rueters:

The bill would significantly change the $2.5 trillion U.S. healthcare system that almost everyone agrees costs too much and leaves too many people without medical coverage. For the first time in U.S. history, citizens and legal residents will be required to purchase a health insurance policy.

Federal subsidies will be available to help them afford coverage. The subsidies will be available for people with incomes up to 400 percent of the poverty level, about $88,200 for a family of four. The poverty levels for 2009 is $22,050 a year for a family of four and $10,830 for an individual.

So, unlearned ones, in typical government fashion it requires more in premiums than taxpayers can afford and then taxes taxpayers more to subsidize the overpriced offering. Or perhaps we just borrow the money and tax future taxpayers, since they will be more healthy thanks to the miracle bill.

Now that each and every Democrat in the senate has agreed to support the proposed legislation before the body, and there being insufficient Republican and Independent opposition even to filibuster, all that remains is a compromise between the House and Senate versions for the American people to be on the hook for more money than Solomon enjoyed in all his splendor.

Now, personally, I expect that presidents will try to promote their own agenda and work very hard to get it passed. Our current president has made multiple impassioned speeches for a health care plan to be put into place, saying it is shameful for us not to have a nationalized health plan. Others seem to believe that it is a civil right to have affordable health care if not a birthright.

At last count the Senate version of the bill was over 2,000 pages long (it can be viewed in part at senate.gov). The next step, according to Georgia Senator Saxby Chamblis’ office, is final Senate approval of some version of the bill. As there are substantial differences between the House and Senate versions, a joint House/Senate committee would then be responsible to hammer out an agreement (which, if form holds, will combine all of the spending and program increases to make everyone happy, while excising nothing).

The last Democratic holdout, Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson, finally joined the rest of the compromisers this weekend thereby gaining big benefits for the cornhusker state, according to CNN,

As a part of the deal, the federal government will pay 100 percent of Nebraska’s tab indefinitely for expanding Medicaid for low-income Americans.

Must be nice work if you can get it.

While Nelson’s fellow Nebraskan, Republican Sen. Mike Johanns, was displeased with the general idea of “carve-outs” (also known as bribes), saying:

There should be no special deals, no carve-outs for anyone in this health care bill; not for states, not for insurance companies, not for individual senators.

All of the special deals should be removed. If the bill cannot pass without carve-outs, what further evidence is needed that it is bad policy.

Nevada clown senator, Harry Reid, thinks they are okay. After all, if everyone is taking bribes then it’s okay for everyone to take bribes, right? Said Reid,

If you will read the bill…you will find a number of states are treated differently than other states. That’s what legislation is all about: compromise. We worked on different things to get a number of people’s votes.

In other words, we did a lot of prostituting. By the way, Mr. Reid, I’d love to read the bill; unfortunately thomas.loc.gov will not let me download it yet. My guess is that it will be voted on before the people even have an honest chance to know what is in it.

Even with all this hoo-lah, excessive spending and endless borrowing, the thing that bothers me the most is the senators and representatives no longer vote the desires of the the people in Districts 13, 5 and 62 or in the state of Georgia. The role of government is not to do what the gathered 500+ believe is best for the people, but to carry out the will of the people. In the biggest decisions of the last few months (the first bailout package under Bush and Paulson) and now the health care package, the majority of the population opposed the passages, while the politicians either did pass it (the former) or seem dead-set on doing so (the latter).

The one thing I am not advocating is the rule of the mob, since the republic is built on the rule of law. Absent the law, however, it is the responsibility of the elected ones to listen to their electors and act on their direction, which our senators and representatives seem incredibly unwilling to do. It is in this way that government is both of and by the people. As it is, our government is a ship of fools, sailing toward a house of cards, crewed by a bunch of whores.

Merry Christmas.

Marty Duren

Just a guy writing some things.

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  • Tim Sanford

    What he said! Merry Christmas Marty.

    • Marty Duren

      Thx, Tim!

  • Beth

    Let’s just ship all our congresspersons under about 60 years old to Afghanistan for the remaining 18 months of the Bush-Obama war, and postpone any Congressional action until they return. The country will be better off adrift at sea than being steered by madmen.

  • Warren Griffin

    I couldn’t have said it better myself. I never thought I would live to see a day where our elected officials would tell us basically that they have better sense than we do and they are going to do whatever they damn well please, regardless of our wishes. A few months back one of them admitted on CNN that he hadn’t read a bill he had voted on. He implied that a lot of his colleagues don’t read a lot of the wording either. That is absolutely unbelievable to me. I wanted to tell him “If you’re not going to do your job and represent us, then, Go Home!”

    • Marty Duren

      Warren-
      If it had never, ever been obvious before it became obvious with the first bailout bill. 90% of Americans were opposed to it and still politicians like Zaxby Chamblis voted for it.

      All they did was wait until enough “loosen credit” promises were made to change the minds of small business people into supporting it. Unfortunately, credit barely loosened and we are still dealing with the consequences.

  • Sonya D

    Since the bailout, what have we discovered?
    1. Falsifying numbers to look like more jobs were added when none were is the norm across the board.
    2. Many of the jobs added were temporary, some lasting only weeks.
    3. Strong democratic states received much more money (even if they didn’t need it) while republican states received less.
    4. Most of the banks held onto the money instead of freeing up lending.

    Most don’t care since the bailout is now old news, therefore no one will be held accountable for millions and millions being flushed down the toilet.

  • Guy R.

    Two things:

    First, Marty says nothing about who is “paying” the Congressional “whores”. The answer is: corporations and other special interests. Thus, it is disingenuous to attack Congress without simultaneously attacking their true constituents. I hear plenty of this type of criticism from the Left, some from the traditional Right, and precious little from the Neo-Populists whose only concerns in life appear to be protecting the rich and eliminating the capital gains tax. (/snark)

    Second, anyone who today complains about Congress and has said nothing about the previous 8 years needs to step off and have their hypocrisy meter recalibrated. Ever since corporations and the Pentagon learned how to siphon money out of the pockets of taxpayers by lining the pockets of the political class, Americans have had little if any representative democracy to speak of. It’s taken us decades to get here but we are now bogged down in endless war and hurtling towards fiscal insolvency, at which point “health care” for most Americans will mean two aspirin and a bandaid, if you’re lucky.

    Footnote: BTW, to you Evangelicals out there, Israel has single-payer universal healthcare coverage.

    • Marty Duren

      Guy-
      Thanks for stopping by.

      I agree that much of the current criticism has been along party lines, ie, Republicans and that they were silent during a lot of gov’t expansion during the previous administration. That phenomena on both sides is one of the reasons that I no longer identify with a political party. I don’t even prefer the labels “conservative” or “liberal” to simply “independent.”

      I wonder if Israel’s single payer has a “hit by flying shrapnel” rider to it?

      The US already has a monumental gov’t health package (Medicare, Medicaid) and a monumental care package (Social Security) thus agreement with those yet objections about the current proposal on the basis of “government intrusion” are truly contradictory. My concern with our current healthcare bill is that we cannot pay for it without large tax increases on “the rich” now defined as anyone making more than $250k/yr or more borrowing. The way it’s going all of our doctors will soon be speaking Mandarin; they might as well since so many of our creditors will be.

      If the president wants a healthcare package and the congress wants to deliver, then show us some financials that make sense.

  • Chuck Bryce

    Guy,

    I think there is plenty of blame to go around anywhere we look. What I get from Marty’s post is that the buck should stop with the people we elected, not the people/corporations/special interests trying to woo them.

    Blessings,
    Chuck

  • Leslie Newbigin makes an interesting observation in his book The Gospel in a Pluralist Society. He says that we are willing to mortgage our future because we live without hope. All that leaves us with is the present – who knows (and who cares) what happens down the road?

    Of course, since many of those leading in Congress and the Senate are nearly fossilized as it is, what do they care? They won’t be around to worry about the consequences (and God help them if they are because this country has a pretty nasty history when it comes to mob actions).

    • Marty Duren

      Paul-
      Jefferson wrote in 1816, “I sincerely believe…that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity under the name of funding is but swindling futurity on a large scale.” Having no hope in the future seems a convenient reason to swindle it from future generations.

      Your reference to “mob actions,” reminds me of a scene from Wallace and Gromit’s, The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. When a monster begins to stampede, a nearby general store is quickly converted to “Angry Mob Supplies” with pitchforks and hoes. The Smithsonian better make ready…

      • Marty,

        It is interesting that you quoted Jefferson. Were Jefferson alive today two things would be certain: he would be one of the most unpopular politicians alive and he would be convinced that America is something drastically other (and exceedingly worse) than what he had envisioned for this country.

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