By: Wayne Brown
This past week I read an article posted here on the Hub that was expose’ on the flawed thinking of Congressman Paul Ryan and his “Path to Prosperity” proposals. Now, let’s get something straight here from the start. I am here not to either defend or ridicule Mr. Ryan’s proposal. The last time I checked, this was a free country and our elected representatives could put forth any program they felt was representative of their constituency.
Given that premise, let me say that I found the article straight-forward and to the point that the writer believed that Mr. Ryan fully expected to have all senior citizens weaned onto a diet of pet food by the time his program was implemented. The fact that he proposed reforms in Medicare and put forth some structure to have it to continue to exist within the framework of a market based medical industry was lost. Ryan was labeled as a cruel, conservative, tax-cutting while continuing to spend Republican bent on starving the old people out of America. Never mind that Ryan has not passed any legislation, he is already a bad guy for even thinking of anything that suggests a reduction in spending.
The comments accompanying the article followed the same line of thinking. The writer and the readers seem to be literally picking apart Ryan’s proposal to expose it for all that was bad for the citizens of America. I found myself wondering where these people were when Obama-Care was passed into law. Of course, I did not have to think along those lines long to realize these were the very same people who would go to their death defending Obama-Care. I guess you could say that I was now really confused.
How can you shrug your shoulders and allow something like the Obama-Care legislation to become law? In the first place, I defy you to find someone who can explain it in reasonable terms to the American people. It was written by someone. How can you write a bill that is nearly 2,000 pages in length yet no one really understands it well enough to explain it and contrast it to Medicare? But forget that, we passed into law so that we could find out what was in it, to quote the all-intelligent former Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi.
Those who would decry Ryan’s proposal point out that he would have seniors paying premiums for reduced price insurance coverage from the marketplace, coverage they likely could not afford. Never mind that Obama-Care appears to be riff with taxes of every describable nature at every transaction level. Now who do you think is going to pay those “taxes” folded into the plan? Taxes are never designed to be paid by the government collecting them, thus it will fall on the backs of those using the program.
Some point out that Ryan’s proposal would lower the quality of care for our elderly and put their health in jeopardy. That may be true but at the same time let’s not forget the medical review panels designed into Obama-Care which is essentially there to determine the cost-benefit of a particular procedure. Proponents of Obama-Care snarl at the use of the term “death panels” but in truth what else can they be? Oh sure, they will rule on the coverage for benefits of a less-than-death nature and they will likely withhold payment since Aunt Sally is just too old to really be a productive member of society even if she gets that expensive hip replacement. The same rule will apply when it comes time to decide whether Aunt Sally receives the level of care necessary to keep her alive…after all she is old and can never really be a truly productive member of society anymore.
Do you really think the appointment of “Doctor Death” by Obama to head up the Medicare System and transition it to Obama-Care was a coincidence. That singular move signaled where the entire system was headed regardless of what we call it. Oh, you can bet the names and labels used will be up to the politically correct savvy necessary to avoid suggesting that the government, in the interest of reducing costs, is now taking a more aggressive role in making medical decisions with regard to the elderly in this country. For all the criticism that Medicare may have received in years past for inadequate care, it will not hold a candle to what we will see in the future.
The bottom-line here folks is that your government has taken your money for decades upon decades in terms of both Social Security and Medicare. That money has been rolled into the discretionary spending process ever since Lyndon Johnson proposed the legislation to place it into the general funds. The coffers of Social Security and Medicare are filled with more or less worthless IOU’s from your government because they squandered the money on other things they deemed more necessary than your future welfare or healthcare. Now, they are in a pickle because they cannot kick the can down the road much further and it is time to pony up with the money. It’s time for new ideas, political ideas designed to distract and mislead.
Any politician will tell you that it would be very difficult to do away with Social Security or Medicare if you call them by their present names while doing it. Americans have a monetarily vested interest in those programs and they have expectations from them. There is no way they are just going away unless you have some beads to trade with the Indians for our wampum. Politicians understand that angle; they learned it while stealing land from the Native Americans.
Our government talks of how flawed Medicare is and how it cannot be fixed. It would never work to attempt to fix it, never! At the same time, look in my left hand at these pretty beads called Obama-Care. With this program, Medicare and all the money invested into it by the citizens of America can just disappear along with any money that is left in it…like maybe the $500, 000 million dollars Obama directed taken out of the funds for the start up of Obama-Care. Now you have the promise of something better and we can take Medicare outback and blow its brains out. By the time you figure out that you have been had, it will be far too late to be complaining. The question will be asked, “Where were you when we announced this change?” America is going to be standing there with pie on its face.
Once that process and slight of hand is accomplished with Medicare, it will be relatively easy to come right behind that with some flim-flam program that replaces Social Security and our problems as a nation will be solved. Never mind the fact that a lot of Americans who paid hard-earned money into both programs will be standing there asking, “What happened?” It does not matter what happened. What matters is that the politicians will come through to the other side not owing the American public a dime or an explanation for squandering their money. That’s what really matters here.
Of course on the way to getting there, we will lose a few things, mostly just freedoms of choice and selection. The medical industry will never be the same and will slowly slip into mediocrity as more and more of the talented young people choose other professions rather than work in an industry controlled wholly by the federal government. Our attitudes will change. Oh, we will still want the best for Aunt Sally and Uncle Tom but the degradation of services, the long waits, the medical review panels, the multi-level taxation, all will eventually overwhelm our urgency and we will watch Aunt Sally and Uncle Tom pass on lacking the care that they might have received under the old flawed Medicare Program that has long since been forgotten.
So how did we get here? What a hell of place to end up. How did we get here? Actually the answer is quite simple. As a public, we believed what politicians told us all these years and we sat back while they spent us into oblivion leaving no rock unturned as to finding more and more of our money to spend. We now have come to the absolute brink of financial ruin in this country and what we have to show for it is our inability to take care of those who our government took money from for years and years with just that promise in mind. Unfortunately, they forgot the promise and spent the money. Now, forgiveness is in order.
As I stated earlier, I am not here to defend the proposals of Paul Ryan. I do defend his right to make them and to suggest to the American public that we have an extremely serious situation at hand and the best thing we can do to amend that situation is to attempt ways to reduce our spending habits as a nation. At the very least, Paul Ryan deserves some level of respect for having the guts to at least stand up and point that out. His proposals may be a bit too harsh but what they point out is the depth that our efforts will have to reach in order to have an impact in turning around this situation that we find ourselves in thanks to our dearly elected leaders over the past decades. At least he has the guts to raise the question.
There appears to be a sector of our nation that believes that America can do anything that it wants without compromise, payback, or reason. They actually believe that we are such a truly blessed people that in the end we can make no mistakes. No matter what we do the outcome will be fine because it always seemed that way as they were growing up. Perhaps they never really noticed the rattling sound of that can being kicked down the road.
Those who run our government have created expectations on the part of the American public. They have done so since the beginning of time in this country. Votes have been bought in one way or another with the taxpayer’s own dollars. Promises have been made and lies have been told. WashingtonDC and those who populate it in elected office fail to understand the word “accountability”. They don’t want to understand it for if they did, they would have to conform to the definition. They would rather subscribe to the premise, “forgive and forget”.
Paul Ryan will no doubt be demonized in the political realm, especially on the liberal side of the aisle. Liberals make points with the voter in this manner by simply pointing to Ryan and those like him and saying, “This is one of the people who want to take your rights away.” For as long as the attention stays on the evils of the Paul Ryans of America, the tax and spend liberals can continue their efforts to dismantle America unabated by public opinion.
Bernie Madoff is in jail right now as he rightly should be. Madoff took money from little old ladies and gray-haired gentlemen who had worked all their lives. They invested resources with Madoff because he promised a return on their investment and security for their future. When the veil was lifted, Madoff had stolen their money and fooled everyone with his Ponzi scheme. Social Security and Medicare may not be much different with the exception that no one is in jail or going to jail with regard to how the money was managed. The exception is we now have politicians who want to rename the process and start all over forgetting the fact that they took the people’s money. Madoff would have loved such an opportunity to rename his company and continue on his way. We hold the Madoffs of this world accountable but not the elected officials.
Once we conquer the evil rich people and take all their assets, we can divide the wealth around our nightly camp fires and sing Kumbaya for all will be well in America. We will be bankrupt as a society, the wealthier sect that once made investments and sustained job growth will be gone, and we will all truly be equal…poor, but equal. Then and only then can the government become the one and only true savior and provider of all our needs as it so wants to be. God Bless America.
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