Mr. President, I am thrilled you have noticed the Tea Party movement. I know the day after nearly a million people attended Tea Parties across the nation Mr. Gibbs said you hadn’t noticed.
But, yesterday, in St. Louis, you said:
“Those of you who are watching certain news channels on which I’m not very popular, and you see folks waving tea bags around, let me just remind them that I am happy to have a serious conversation about how we are going to cut our health care costs down over the long term, how we are going to stabilize Social Security.”
Mr. President, you do have a habit of attacking straw men. We definitely agree – I and think I speak for most of those demonstrating on April 15th – that a serious conversation is needed about all your grandiose plans. We wish we thought you weren’t serious, and we’re seeing now that you understand we are serious. Heck, even a serious soliloquy on your part would have been appreciated, so an invitation to dialog is a wonderful thing. I’ll start.
We need to start our serious conversation by recognizing that we cannot afford to add over $600 billion to spending on health care, as you, Mr. President have proposed. Your good intentions to save money this way are naive, and can only work through rationing. We should take a lesson from other countries where health care is “paid for” by the government and is, perforce, universally rationed. You never mention that when you speak of the “investment.”
I agree we must abandon the failed policy of employer subsidized health care ushered in during WWII. General Motors, for one excellent example, offered health care to its workers because the government let them deduct it, and because GM needed some way to attract and keep talented employees under federal wage and price controls. Government fecklessness was the beginning of this mess, and the beginning of the end for GM. We’ve learned nothing from the 3 obvious lessons above, or at least you haven’t. Offering government health care to fix this decades long corporatist problem will just make it worse.
Government already controls over half of all health care expenditures in this country, and that, and the accompanying regulations, are the biggest barriers to the competition that would help reduce costs. If you are successful in taking over health care it will become the single largest reason for doctors to quit being doctors – already an issue.
It is true that even with such massive government intervention there are entrepreneurs proving costs can be dramatically lowered. You propose to stop such innovation and replace it with scarcity managed by bureaucrats.
As to intentions, let’s take the instance of the increase in tobacco tax that is intended to fund SCHIP, children’s health care. This is a good intention, but the tax disproportionately affects lower income people and it will increase the cost of health care in direct proportion to the improvement in health of the people who live longer because they quit smoking. Better to let them pay for the cigarettes and for the health care entirely on their own.
To fix Social Security we must acknowledge that the general government has been lying and stealing, conducting a ponzi scheme, for decades, and that the reason Social Security is already insolvent is because government could not control its greed. Any private enterprise would be fearful of prosecution under RICO. Even in the face of this fact, your predecessor gave us the largest single entitlements increase in our history. You promise to quadruple his error.
You want to fix education by federalizing it and dumping in more money. By that measure Washington, D.C. should already have the most successful public education system in the United States. It is difficult to grant you the benefit of the doubt here due to your direct involvement in failed experiments in Chicago. To fix education we must turn it back to the States and allow experimentation, in vivid contrast to the recent shameful actions of your administration in canceling a successful vouchers program in Washington, D.C..
Addressing our energy future by doubling down on failed subsidization policies is simply perpetuating the corporate welfare scheme both your predecessors ran on behalf of the ethanol pirates. We should be encouraging private industry to build nuclear plants, and we should do so by repealing unnecessary regulation – which will also save the general government money. We should encourage windmills and solar in the same way, by getting out of the way. If they can’t make their way, so be it.
I must say I am happy to hear you’d like to have a serious conversation with the Tea Party movement, because I am really worried there won’t be any debate in Congress. As I’m sure you know the Senate Democrats voted yesterday, alone, to pass the outline of your $3.4 trillion budget. They are threatening to invoke reconciliation, which, as I’m certain you know from your many years as Senator, reduces the final vote required to pass a bill to a simple majority and limits debate to 20 hours. Even Senator Byrd finds this outrageous when it involves a budget bill. When that bill involves well over $3 trillion, any serious person must wonder if you even have a clue what that means.
I am disappointed that the world’s greatest deliberative body will probably have very little time in which to debate the implications of your unprecedented increase in spending and the effect your policies are likely to have on the quality of health care, the cost of energy, job creation, and the further mediocritization of American education your Faustian bargain with the NEA necessitates. If your plans for massive additional intrusion into the lives of American citizens by the general government come to fruition it will damage this country severely, perhaps irreparably. And that will hurt the whole world.
Mr. President, I heard you say you would prefer not to be forced by circumstances to be in the banking or automobile businesses and that you don’t want to expand government. Like many things you say this is quite clever and partially true, but it hides the real point. Why, indeed, would you be satisfied with ownership of a moribund automobile industry and the boring business of finance? After all, these things are small potatoes compared to the health care and energy industries, and are minuscule compared to future dividends promised by the federalization of the indoctrination industry. Sadly, your ambitions are not nearly so small as General Motors or Bank of America.
So, let me know, I’ll be there for a substantive discussion at your convenience. Maybe we can even touch on the concept of minority rights if you have time.