‘Health Care Reform’–Chicago Style
The tired hobby horse of health care reform gets another lap on the race track as Reid schedules a vote in the Senate today. This is one horse that needs to be retired to the glue factory. But, as you take this bill in context of Pelosi’s and in the context of the ‘stimulus’ legislation and the Cap-and-trade bill one get a very clear sense of where this is all going.
One needs to understand, in Chicago, that all the named purpose of any public institution is always the secondary purpose. The primary purpose for all Chicago public functions and agencies is that of graft, corruption and vote buying. Chicago, with its machine is the most obvious example of machine politics that plague governance of much of the northeast and, of course, California.
Indeed, over the years, as the cost of such vote buying has grown so has the cost of government. And, corruption is expensive. I remember, as a kid, the big debate over the establishment of a state income tax in Illinois. It was to ‘more equitably’ gather tax dollars to replace such things as property tax revenues. Well, some 30 year later, Illinois is saddled with an income tax, property taxes that are literally a whole order of magnitude greater than mine in Wyoming and sales taxes just shy of ten percent.
Indeed, the function of governance is an annual exercise in scraping enough revenue to pay-off all co-opted interest groups necessary for that fifty percent plus one to keep the Chicago machine in power. Moreover, governance to actually benefit its citizen–such as economic growth and jobs–are mere distractions. Governance becomes an exercise in constant intrusions into the business and the private lives of people, otherwise competent adults.
Once upon a time, Northeast Illinois, the Chicago area, used to be a powerhouse of economic growth. Steel, the Stockyards, railroads. Now, what economic activity still remains stems from the fact it can extort rent by virtue of its physical location. New York state was the same way, truly the Empire State. Kodak, Westinghouse, IBM, Corning, Xerox and so on. Most of those industries have moved on. Factories shuttered, waiting to be turned into tres elegant loft apartment instead of factories generating wealth, jobs, opportunity and wealth. But, the power class doesn’t care. So long as there is something to tax and so long as there are enough votes to get to fifty percent plus one, the downward spiral of once great regions continues unabated.
Aside from coming up with new ways to gin up more revenue to tamp down another ‘crisis’ to close yet another multi-billion budgetary gap are a bunch of generally rich, out-of-touch legislators who pursue agendas that saddle the average taxpayer with even more burdens. While they, by virtue of personal wealth, shielded by trust funds, vote on legislation with intended and unintended consequences that will never touch their priveledged lives. Pelosi married well, she has access to personal wealth to buy her way out of any medical rationing; the lush congressional health plan helps as well.
Governance becomes the personal hobby horse of these same said elites to pursue personal conceits with the power and revenue of government to supercharge their agenda far beyond their wildest dreams when they concocted them in their respective college midnight dorm-room bull sessions. California, with its imploding fiscal crisis, wants to regulate large screen TV’s. Never mind that this will be just another business and job killing venture that will have Californians buying those TV’s out of state instead of locally. Chicago seems to have debates over whether it will allow a Walmart to build within the city limits. (Jobs? New tax revenue? Less on the welfare rolls? What’s not to like? Oh! Pissed off Unions.) New York City, amid its fiscal floundering, sees the need to regulate trans-fats at restaurants. Remember the great foie gras ban in Chicago; got anything better to do? Functions and decisions that otherwise competent adults used to do for themselves are political.
So where do we stand with Chicago-style governance? The track record since January of this year is tax and spend. In matters not what the bill’s title said; beneath the title on bills that go on for over a thousand pages on average, have nothing but monies spent for every liberal wish since the last time the Democrats controlled all three branches of government with the majorities they have now in the first two years of Carter’s presidency.
First was the ‘stimulus.’ The point was to bolus a large infusion of money into the economy immediately. And, had Rahm Emmanuel’s need to “never let a crisis go to waste,” that stimulus might have worked. But, it merely put most of the money into 2010 to buy votes. And, to set the stage for ‘health care reform.’
Then came ‘tax and cap.’ It was originally intended to be a cash cow of taxes to fund Obama’s socialist remake of America; and at the same time create a never ending source of money to fuel machine style elections for a Democratic machine in Washington D.C. As if it weren’t already apparent that climate change was a fraud, it is a fraud. But, that never mattered, it was the ultimate tax since it was geared to tax carbon dioxide and methane (alleged ‘greenhouse gases’). Carbon dioxide and methane, fancy terms for what you breathe out and what you fart, respectively. A tax on basic bodily functions.
But, tax and trade, as the bottomless cookie jar, fell short of its promise when the Democrats could figure out how not to tax Democrats. So, the tax angle, which was the real purpose of this bill became a means to create bureaucracy to distribute largess and government jobs.
And, now the latest, we have two bills, one in the House and one about to be debated in the Senate, that are notable for taxes. Taxes on Cadillac health plans, surtaxes on the ‘rich,’ elevated Medicare payroll taxes, again on the ‘rich.’ Mandates to buy insurance or pay a fine (or go to jail). If the coercion isn’t on your wallet, it’s literally on your person. There is the creation of all sorts of new regulatory agencies (more government jobs) to ‘reform’ health care.
My job as a physician is, ultimately, to sit down with my patient and try to find the best course of action to preserve my patients health and well being. It’s that simple. Yet, in this mass of thousand-page bills were is the simple concept of getting a patient and doctor to sit down and decide what is really best for that patient’s well being? Obviously of no political value.