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Are Entitlements Destroying America

I just finished reading Tom Degan's blog and came away feeling rather sad. Tom is one of those a liberal Democrats that still blame everything wrong on Bush and Cheney. In his view all of Mr. Obama's failures, and there are many, are attributable to the previous administration. It's not true - but it has become the mantra of many deluded, ENTITLEMENT minded, Democrats. What is going on here? The recent health care legislation has  magnified the real problem. Our methods of processing legislation are badly flawed and will get no better until we demand an end to the wholesale corruption of the system. We've allowed it to happen - and stopping it will be no easy task.

Let's begin with ENTITLEMENTS.  The entitlements described in our founding documents  make sense. I'll not repeat them here - except to say that those entitlements NOT mentioned were supposed to be the responsiblity of the individual states. What ever happened to that idea?

The federal government should build interstate highways - and individual states should build their own roads. There should be a national banking system with common currency that can be used in any state and abroad. Those are examples of logical and legal entitlements.  

The FEDERAL POSTAL SYSTEM is usually considered another - but it has a long record of fiscal failure that may not be fair to all citizens. Perhaps the current system should not be required to handle unprofitable mail.  And why do we insist that the system handle magazines and other heavy merchandise?  Couldn't those items be sent by way of UPS or FedEx or a similar competitive private enterprise?  And what can't we have community postal boxes at key locations instead of individual home delivery?  We are ENTITLED to a federal postal system but not to unprofitable service. Let's get this fixed.

The INSURANCE BUSINESS. Insurance premiums used to be based upon actuarial tables - but sometime during the last 50 years this changed. Today there is more reliance upon our federal government for uninsured losses.  Americans now expect that destruction and loss of property, if called an ACT OF GOD by the President, will be paid for by the federal government. Why?  There is an element of risk in everything an individual does. Our government was never empowered to relieve us  of ALL risk in our daily lives - but now we feel we are ENTITLED to this insurance. Perhaps we should not be?

The MEDICAL BUSINESS. Like insurance, the costs of medical care used to be the responsibility of the individual. Everything changed in 1965 when Medicare and Medicaid were introduced. The federal government, through these programs, pays for much of the medical care for the elderly and poor. Since that time the disastrous consequences have been documented as the cost of care soared. It is crystal clear that patients OVERUSE OF MEDICAL RESOURCES is by far the most critical component of rising health care costs.

Why did this happen? An analogy would suggest that if the government told citizens it would pay for 80% of the cost of purchasing a new car, most of them would go to their local dealer and buy a very expensive luxury car. The auto industry would sell more cars. The citizen would drive a Cadillac instead of a Chevy, and everybody would be happy. But where did the government get the money to pay the 80%?  From the taxpayer of course, and doesn't that mean that ALL TAXPAYERS, RICH AND POOR, were forced to pay enough taxes to cover YOUR new car? Is that fair?

According to a well known think tank,  "analysis indicates that our high and rapidly growing medical costs are the result of various government policies that have removed patients as purchasers in the medical marketplace." Third party (government and insurance companies) purchasers have removed the patient as a major participant.

The Clinton Administration tried to tell us the DRUG INDUSTRY was responsible for the escalating costs - but the drug industry was a very minor factor. The Clinton Administration also told us that the "big three", DRUGS, VISION, AND DENTISTRY must be brought under control. Careful analysis indicates the latter two categories have experienced the SMALLEST INCREASE in total expenditures. It is a mystery why the Clinton people were so determined to impose egregious additional expenses on these few areas not suffering from an explosion of costs. The Obama Administration is trying to add even more mysteries

To lower the currently huge medical expenses in America, the impact of the third party payment system must be reduced.  Putting the patient back in control of the medical purchasing decision is the most promising way to control our medical system and provide a reasonable safety net.

Unfortunately, the Obama Administration is forcing adoption of a plan that promises just exactly the opposite.




Rain said…
Enough to say I disagree on all levels. We'll see how the American people feel when the next election rolls around. Should they start with Social Security or Medicare? It all could happen if enough see it like you do. The public school system will go also if they get the vouchers through and gut the system that educated most of us for the benefit of religious schools. Way to go.
Rain . . . What's to disagree with? I re-read the blog and found it to be badly written but fairly accurate. Let's both lighten up a bit. In elementary school you and I both learned the Horatio Alger kind of stuff. Progress by individual initiative, etc. Americans were like Louis L'Amour guys, strong, resourceful, white hat good solid men. Then World War II came along and it was brave soldiers, rigid Huns, and banzai Japanese. FDR said we'd win because our G.I.'s could think for themselves. They were tough, off the farm, good shots and self reliant. We managed our way thru the depression by WPA projects, building the the TVA dams, and rapid industrialization. Henry Ford had given us mass production. Rockefeller gave dime tips to cabbies and cheap gas to everybody else. The war came like a ton of bricks. People sacrificed. Saved War Bonds. Put gas stickers on the windshield. Rationed butter and rubber. We were all involved. Americans made a great impact on the war - but really didn't win it. The allies had been at it longer, with more men, and more casualties. Our contribution was war supplies and together with the men we sent abroad, the ALLIES including the Americans won it. The returning G.I.'s found a very different homeland. Levitowns were here. Our military hospitals were taking care of the wounded soldiers. The G.I. Bill was passed as one of America's first and finest ENTITLEMENTS.

FDR was a strong leader and not afraid to increase government controls to get his programs and policies off the ground. He was clearly a liberal that believed in big government. By the time of his death he was replaced by Harry Truman who was philosophically committed to carrying FDR's plans to fruition.

Historians, looking backward at the times, now believe FDR's depression fighting federal work programs actually did little to end the depression. But the die was set. Neither Truman nor any of his successors has been able to reduce the size of our government or the increasing amount of intervention the government has in our lives. Not one.

Rain, you seem not as concerned over the costs of making government bigger, nor the way our legislators votes are purchased and decide issues, nor the steady erosioon of our freedoms, as I am. Frankly, the way we are headed I wonder if America is losing it's exceptional national status.

Perhaps it is an excellent and worth ambition to provide medical care for all Americans. Most other enlightened nations do. I recoil from the idea because ALL of the nations that do are either bankrupt or in the process of going bankrupt. Their citizens demand the medical ENTITLEMENT and the costs are breaking national backs. If we (Americans) are going to do it, I think we need to be very careful to design a plan that we can support 5, 10 and 50 years from now.

I understand that you do not agree, but I can not figure out why?

Please don't get upset with me just because I'm a slow thinker.

Rain said…
Hey I am not upset with you and didn't feel you wrote your thoughts poorly. I woke up this morning talking to my husband about my irritation over the government adding a mandate to the health care bill. We wrote our Senators and requested they vote against it but they did not. I share some of your concerns but I also feel that some of what happened the last eight years was scarier and more underhanded than this.

I had a dream last night where the woman was in this town where the people in control would create a problem and then 'lay a floor' under it to get control of more and more of the people. I saw that happening under Bush and am afraid it might be under Obama. Do you think I liked it when he said that if we didn't do this we'd go bankrupt? But I didn't when Bush Cheney used the same fear tactics.

My concern is I feel people like you see the Republicans as the answer and to me they are worse. They interfere in our freedoms more than the Democrats. I am not sure either have our best interests at heart although obviously some of them do.

I know many people like you, Dixon, who see this all so differently. I am not sure of the solution now. Sometimes I worry that the floors (and there have been many of them) have been so extensive that we can't turn it around no matter who we elect. I just don't want to see people lay this all on Obama because it's not just him and voting for a Sarah Palin won't improve it. It will just give us more invasions into our personal freedoms. One party does it one way and the other the opposite but they both take away from us and supposedly in the name of taking care of us.
For the record:

I am not a Democrat.

Happy new year, friend!

Tom Degan
PS -

Mia is adorable! I think we all can agree with that.


Greybeard said…
Common sense, unfortunately is NOT common.
This is where we're headed.
God, please help us!

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