A payroll tax cut sounds good and I suppose it is good for families in the short term, but it defunds social security.

I favor tax cuts (or a simplified tax code, at least) and a serious overhaul of social security, but supporting a tax cut that defunds social security while showing commercials of the other side pushing granny off the cliff is a little disingenuous, don’t you think?

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Borrowing from our children while we refuse to have many would be a delicious irony if it were not such bitter fruit.

http://m.philly.com/phillycom/pm_21409/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=DNPZb2iy

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SEC. 401. TAX ON INDIVIDUALS WITHOUT ACCEPTABLE HEALTH CARE COVERAGE

via Search Results – THOMAS (Library of Congress).

I tried to read through this section of the bill because its title caught my attention.  There are many things that I did not take the time to find out and if some one wants to challenge me then I guess I’ll have to look harder.  However, the title of this section should say enough.

Taxing people because they aren’t carrying acceptable health care coverage?  That is insane!  That’s like taxing some one for not eating enough spinach.  This is about control.  You don’t have to get bogged down in the details to know that the health care reform as proposed by Obama and the Democrats is bad news for our country.  In fact, I would argue its because of the details that too many people are willing to just throw up their hands and say, “oh, I’ll just let the politicians work that out.”

A bill as lengthy and complex as H.R. 3200 is symptomatic of the problem with our government, not the health care industry.  Let’s try something less complex:

Health Care Bill 1.0

Step 1: Start over from scratch – scrap Medicare, Medicaid, VA, SCHIP

Step 2: Make things equal (keep in mind equal does not mean fair) – scrap the tax code.  If an income tax is necessary, make it the same for everyone (a flat tax).

Step 3: Privatize, or incentivize, retirement savings – scrap Social Security

The Law

  1. Section 1 – individuals are responsible for their own care
  2. Section 2 – government shall establish no law abridging Section 1

Step 1 is necessary to get the government to stop controlling prices that they have no business controlling.  Despite good intentions, price controls only serve to make things worse for the general population.

Step 2 is necessary so that everyone can keep as much of their own money as possible.  A tax that is applied the same to all voters is equal and will help prevent elected leaders from abusing the power entrusted to them by the electorate.

Step 3 is necessary to help establish the proper attitude for Section 1.

***

Once the law is that simple to understand, even our public school students will be able to learn how government works and how they are responsible to keep it working.  (Full Disclosure: I attended public schools.)

I forgot to mention something that I picked up on in my post on Obama’s carefully crafted (watch the video, it’s a hoot!) health-care town hall.  I found a transcript of the meeting/infomercial at the LA Times.  Below is are excerpts from Obama wrapping up his town hall meeting a la campaign mode:

America — one of the great things about this country is we’ve got a system that’s sometimes kind of hard to change.  Congress gets kind of bogged down, and part of that is because of the way the Constitution is designed — it’s served us well because it keeps us very stable.  We don’t have coups and all kinds of governments collapsing all the time.  But the disadvantage sometimes is, is that it’s hard for us to make big, bold steps.  But the great thing about the system is that, every once in a while, when we finally hit a point where things just aren’t working at all, we are able to generate the political will to finally get things done.

Let’s see.  Hard to change.  What does the constitution of the United States have to say?  Read Article V for a what the founders of our country had to say about making things difficult to change (or better yet, read the entire United States Constitution).  Apparently, he thinks the Constitution is a disadvantage for us because we can’t implement his health-care ideas tomorrow.  Well, I for one am glad for that.  I am certain that if Ronald Reagan had wished for the ability to implement his visions for America that his critics would have all cried foul.  What matters is that we continue to be a nation under the rule of law and the flagrant disregard that Obama seems to have for the Constitution is at least a little bit alarming.

What causes alarm for me in this portion of his monologue is that Obama uses the past tense when referring to how the Constitution is designed: it’s served us well.  I hope that he meant to say, and it continues to serve us well today and into the future, but I didn’t hear it yesterday.

That’s how we got Social Security. After the Great Depression, nobody had any pensions or protection, and people started realizing, we can’t have a country where suddenly older Americans are just on the streets, after working hard all their lives.  And finally we got Social Security.  And then people said, well, we can’t have older Americans who don’t have any health care, and we got Medicare.  At every juncture, when we finally need to make a change, we make a change. This is one of those times.

Okay, now on to the alarm of the moment: health-care reform.  In the previous excerpt Obama talks about times in history when things aren’t working well as though there will never be any tough times.  Of course, operating under that assumption plus the assumption that government is the best means for alleviating tough times, Obama is ready and willing to scare us into the kind of action that he wants.  Obama conjures up two of the Left’s favorite government programs to illustrate his point.  Programs, by the way, that are either inevitably going to be bankrupt (in the case of Social Security) or are wrought with problems of fraud and inefficiency (in the case of Medicare).

So don’t be scared about the future. Let’s embrace the future. Let’s go after the future. If we do, then I’m confident that we can create a health care system that gives you choice, allows you to keep your doctor, drives down costs, makes sure that every American doesn’t have to worry if they lose or change their jobs.  That’s our aim. That’s our goal. We’re going to make it happen this year. Thank you, everybody.  I appreciate you. Thank you.

Don’t be scared!  He is telling us this because earlier in this portion of the town hall he accuses his opponents of fear mongering.  The reality is that he intends to be the one controlling the type of fear that you experience.  If he can control your perspective on the problem then you will have the right kind of fear in order to buy into his version of the solution.

Gives you choice…maybe for the first year of the program until the private insurance companies go out of business.

Allows you to keep you doctor…what doctor?  Who will want to become a doctor when they are forced to accept payments well below what their services are worth.

Drives down costs…artificially and temporarily at best.  First it will be because the bureaucrats will find a way to infuse a ton of cash into the public option so that it looks good.  Then as tax revenues dry up costs will have no choice but to go up.

Makes sure that every American doesn’t have to worry if they lose or change their job…utopia is the stuff of make-believe.  I hope that Americans are a little more grounded in their perspective on life than our president seems to be.  Otherwise, we may wake up to a burgeoning totalitarian state that will dictate what perspective you will have, or else…

I alluded in an earlier post about a moral value that we cherish more than any other value in this country: freedom. It may not be unique to our nation to prize freedom as an important value, but it is certainly is unique to our country that our freedom is paramount to the way we view all other values. It is the gateway through which we can acquire, shape, and express all of our other values. It is evident in the documents that founded our nation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. (Declaration of Independence)

Second only to life itself is liberty. The signers of the Declaration knew that despite being citizens of a free colony of free country that their freedoms were being overruled and thwarted by their government in far off England. And rather than suffer the grievances levied against them by their distant government, they risked everything to uphold liberty in the land known as the New World.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. (Preamble to the U.S. Constitution)

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. (1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution)

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. (2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution)

There are more examples of the importance of freedom in the founding of our nation, but these should serve as ample evidence for my purposes in defending freedom as our most cherished value. With that being said…

The citizens of the United States are gradually, willfully, and knowingly handing our freedom over to someone other than ourselves. Namely, the government. So what if our Senators, Legislators, and Executives are elected by us. If we continue to hand the right to make our own choices, for good or bad, then our participation in elections becomes a rather moot point. All a politician will need to secure power over us is a simple majority of people willing to vote for him or her. All they need to do to get people to vote for them is a promise that they will take care of us once elected. All power will cease to reside with the electors and will instead reside with those who get elected (fairly or unfairly, justly or unjustly).

A lot of noise has been made about the Patriot Act destroying our individual liberties. I would challenge anyone to demonstrate that more liberty has been taken from us with that single act than with a series of more subtle and innocuous legislation and regulations that are supposedly for our welfare. I am not an expert in law, nor am I a historian with ample time to research the origins of our slide into welfare tyranny. But let me lay out some examples of our fading freedoms and demonstrate how we are in peril of ultimately giving up our freedom altogether.

The Income Tax

Now, by itself the income tax may not have been harmful to our way of life, but subsequent meddling in the nature and execution of that tax has wreaked havoc with our freedoms. I find it tough to swallow that Theodore Roosevelt was on watch when the 16th amendment to the constitution passed and that he advocated for a progressive tax. Any tax that is levied more on one class, or group, of people than another is not a fair tax. Just because person A has more money than person B does not mean that they should be treated unequally under the law (in this case via a progressive income tax). Of course, taxes also inhibit growth when they are excessive and our brilliant (eh hem) legislators recognized this and have created numerous “loop holes” to provide incentive for economic growth. Those loop holes change from time to time, but the results are the same. Those that can afford to exploit the loop hole benefit while those who can’t are burden with making up the difference.

Likewise, now that government has used legislative power to smite us with the income tax and its subsequent loop holes, they are able to play favoritism with their constituents to the detriment of people from other states. More likely, they are going to play favorites with people that have the means to get them reelected when the time comes. This comes in the form of tax breaks, or credits, that advantage one group of people over another. Again, people are being treated unequally under the law. Where is the justice?

Social Security

Sure sounds like a good idea, until you realize that it is a scam of gigantic proportions. It may – I stress may – have worked if the funds set aside for social security payments remained sacrosanct and untouchable even from the greedy hands of congress and the executive. Of course, now that congress spends that money too, Social Security has been in jeopardy of drying up for some time now. And knowing that congress has its fingers dipped in the troth, we continue to give money that we have earned to the government for “safe keeping”.

Withholding

Worse still is that we never actually see that money. Thanks to tax withholding most of us never even have our hands on our own money long enough to miss it when it’s gone. Even though I may get paid $100 for my work with an employer, he is required to set aside some money for my portion of the Social Security tax (called something much more mysterious on my pay stub), and I am required to declare how much I want withheld in order to pay federal and state income taxes. Let’s see (the following chart is a gross simplification)…

Gross vs. Net pay  
Income (Gross) $100
Social Security tax -6
Federal Tax -12
State Tax -3
Medicare -2
Medicaid -2
Income (Net) $75

And that’s probably taking it easy on the government!

Now it gets tricky. Depending on how much I make annually, the government may decide (bless their hearts) to give me back all of the federal taxes that I’ve paid. Of course, if I make “too much” then they’ll keep everything they’ve taken (and probably try to take more). Never mind the injustice (as illustrated in the existence of a progressive tax code), where is the freedom to use our money as we see fit? In the example above, I may have earned $100 but I only have the freedom to spend $75. Did the founders of this country envision its citizens to have only 75% freedom?

I could go on (and I will pick this up at a later date because I haven’t really finished illustrating my point), but time has caught up with me once again. I sign off with this: through taxes alone, we’ve given up a significant portion of our freedom to live and pursue happiness. What happens when let government tell us what we can and can’t eat?

MW