Ding! Dong! The Witch Is Dead! Celebrate...For a Minute - Get Out Front On Healthcare: It's The Federalism, Dummy!
by Larry Perrault on January 21, 2010 at 3:15 PM
The witch was the filibuster-proof Senate majority. Everyone asks now, what Obama and Democrats will do. Will they try to introduce a “scaled back” health care plan? I’ve feared for a while that if their government-controlled plan could not pass (and only wild tricks leave it possible, now), that Democrats with the help of a few naïve Republicans, would at least introduce destructive intrusions and corruptions into the insurance market. Even Republicans have ceded approval of ideas like barring exclusions for preexisting conditions. But, insurance companies only agreed to such a thing if a universal mandate to buy insurance was included to broaden the pool and at least somewhat soften the cost. Are Republicans going to agree to that unconstitutional and cost-increasing element, too? If yes, what good are they? I’m sorry. One blatantly unconstitutional party is quite enough, thank you.
I have been very pessimistic about America’s future, given the federal government’s action and direction in the past year. I had assumed that majorities in some states had surrendered their liberty and potential and would fade into a cocoon of nanny state dependence. But Tuesday night, a clear majority in Massachusetts selected a Republican to replace Ted Kennedy in the US Senate. In Massachusetts! In MASSACHUSETTS! Did I mention it was in Massachusetts? John Kennedy was elected to this seat in 1952! Ted Kennedy was elected to it in 1962! And no Republican of any sort has been in the Senate from Massachusetts at all since 1979! Every member of the Massachusetts congressional delegation is a Democrat! I worked in Boston twenty years ago. I lived less than an hour away in what is no longer, but was then 100%, Republican New Hampshire. Politically speaking, “Taxachusetts” was a foreign country. Even today, registered Republicans are about 12% of the state; less than a third of the Democrats! 51% are Independents. They went big for Obama. Tuesday, they went big for Republican Brown. Even nearly a quarter of Democrats did. Brown’s campaign was engaging, simple, and clear: 1) strong defense and combat of terrorism. 2) broad-based tax cuts. And 3) KILL the health care bill! No ambiguity: a Republican agenda. Some people sensed the cocoon sealing them in.
As is, the health-care bill is fascism and so is the “green” promotion of alternative energy technologies. Choosing market winners is what socialists do. BUT, whatever Democrats are going to do, Republicans should beat them to the punch in addressing health care, as part of some bigger ideas. Unconstitutional or big government ones? Certainly not. But, radical? ABSOLUTELY! BIG IDEAS! Democrats will never go for them, and in fact will mischaracterize them as threats. But get appealing ideas out there right now, for everyone to see, AND CAMPAIGN ON THEM!
In the first place, many liberals have asked why Scott Brown supported the Massachusetts health care plan but not the national one, and fretted that the Massachusetts people didn’t support the national plan because 98% of residents already have health coverage. The easy response is that other states can do the same as Massachusetts IF they so choose. In fact, Massachusetts is roughly split in thirds who like, dislike, or are uncertain about the Massachusetts state plan, which includes mandates and is very costly. But that is for Massachusetts to work out, and should be. The US Constitution does not say what states may or may not do. But, it gives NO license for the federal government to interfere with the business of states or individuals.
What Republicans must agree NOT to do is sign on to regulation of the insurance industry that will corrupt the market and raise costs and/or constrict the market. If they do, demands to “fix” those problems will soon arise. And Democrats will be glad to “fix” it pleading the failure of the private market that the government corrupted. So, what should they do? They should propose steps in the direction of moving FICA funds to individuals and states to address health problems. They should move toward elimination of payroll taxes and moving responsibility back to states.
It would have to be done gradually and carefully, because you can’t practically or morally remove support from people who have been promised and/or been paying for it. But, many people will take up the responsibility if the money they pay in FICA taxes is returned to them, and businesses relieved of their part of those taxes can pay more in salary and benefits and/or hire more people. With those funds, individuals and employers between them can buy terrific health insurance packages. Imagine the huge boon to insurance as well as employment markets. These responsibilities should have stayed closer to home, all along.
I make a good example. I’m on Social Security disability; I paid into the system. As a matter of fact, if my wife’s employment changes, I might have to take myself and treatment for MS to Medicare. But, would we give up that coverage to keep what is paid in FICA taxes? In a heartbeat. Not only could we maintain coverage but we would add new funds to existing accounts which earn far more than FICA investments repay. And, those accounts won’t likely go broke (as much as government has tried to make it happen). And Medicare and Social Security will be insolvent soon. There is already nothing in those accounts, and receipts soon won’t cover disbursements. A lot of states and individuals would be wide-eyed at the prospect of keeping this now taken money. This kind of talk would be outright scandalous to Democrats in power: “My power, my wonderful power!...”. But, I would welcome the debate, and wouldn’t at all mind running on it.
Republicans shouldn’t kid themselves. Because a Republican won in Massachusetts and Republicans will win more seats in November, it doesn’t mean those unfunded liabilities aren’t at the door. It doesn’t mean the unfathomable debt is going away. And, it doesn’t make the dollar sound: we’ve printed a LOT of money. There’s pain coming and a lot of cursing and grief for whomever is in power. I almost hope that Republicans win enough to impose gridlock, but not enough to be given all the blame for the coming pain. But Massachusetts gives me pause. California is secularist tree-hugging Democrats. Massachusetts is Catholic blue-collar and academic Democrats. But, that most liberal state is not in a coma, yet.