Letters for May 29, 2014
There are two reasons politicians run negative campaign ads against their opponents. The first reason is that many studies have shown that they work. They mainly work because the electorate won’t take the time to educate themselves on the issues or candidates and believe what they see and hear.
The second reason a politician runs negative attack ads is that they have no message or vision of their own to promote. This primary season, please keep this in mind when you see ads attacking one candidate put out by the campaign of another candidate. The candidate running the ads obviously has no record, no plan and no vision for the future on which to run or promote themselves. If we, the voters, get sick enough of these ads and tell the candidates to stop running these type of ads they will go away.
But we must remember the only voice the politicians listen to, your vote. If you continue voting for people with no plan and no vision you will have to continue listening to these attack ads each and every election cycle.
Health care isn’t free
Re “We’ve taken a forward step with health care” (Left Foot Forward, May 22):
Sheila Leslie would have made some excellent points if the primary assumption she bases them on were true. She likely has good intentions, but she is apparently operating on the assumption that government is—or should be—responsible for its citizens’ healthcare. However, providing “free” (nothing is ever truly “free” from the government, it can only divert money or resources from one place to another) health care is not, and never has been, an intended function of our government.
Just what is the purpose of our government then? Let’s consult the most authoritative source we have on that subject—our government’s Constitution. As outlined in the preamble of the United States’ constitution, it was the Founding Fathers’ intent to have the federal government perform six fundamental functions:
“We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
The section in the Preamble that Mrs. Leslie and others of her political views would likely cite as the one to justify government mandated healthcare is “promote the general welfare.” A comment on that:
A broad purpose of the government that is constantly open to adaptation and growth is the role of the government to provide its citizens with services and regulations that are for the greater public good (the definition of which is of course unfortunately open to arbitrary interpretation). Such regulations may include health and food standards, public education, and consumer protection. However, in order to allow the economy and its citizens to prosper and flourish, the government leaves certain services relegated to private businesses (such as railroads and airline transportation), this allows market competition to thrive so that the consumer can receive the best services and prices possible.
Note the difference between a standard of health care and actual control of the entire industry itself, as mandated in the “Affordable Care Act” under the Obama Administration. It’s an important difference. Nowhere within our government’s Constitution does it mention providing “free” health care to its citizens. It was not even conceived of by the Framers or they would have provided for it.
Furthermore, being fundamentally in violation of the U.S. Constitution to begin with (to force its citizens to purchase health care under penalty), the only way the Supreme Court could “make” it Constitutional was to have it be treated as a tax (which has yet to be properly ratified by the House, but that’s another story). And so it is a new “tax” on all of us. However, there is no “opt in or opt out” with this tax. It is an involuntary tax, whether you get anything in return for it or not. You pay it or get penalized. Home of the brave, land of the free? Some “freedom” that is!
Perhaps it’s a bit of a jaded view, but it’s been described as a health care system in which—
1. To insure the uninsured, we first have to un-insure the insured.
2. Next, we require the newly un-insured to be re-insured.
3. To re-insure the newly un-insured, they are required to pay extra charges to be re-insured.
4. The extra charges are required so that the original insured, who became un-insured, and then became re-insured, pay enough extra so that the original un-insured can be insured, free of charge to them.
5. Then if the insured actually need medical attention, a government group will determine if you deserve it or not.
As a final note based on empirical observation, sadly, most any program the government undertakes to “run” inexorably fails. It’s just a matter of time. Medicare is broke. Medicaid is broke. Social Security is broke. The U.S. Post Office is broke.
And we think that the “Affordable Care Act,” a far more expansive government undertaking than anything preceding it, is going to be any different?
Since Pope Francis made recent comments about wealth redistribution, I have seen lots of comments from conservatives condemning WR. Most of the people writing in seem not to comprehend the difference between their pay, their boss and the CEO. You should create a graphic so people can visualize the differences. Picture the Reno Arch. Your salary, hourly/paycheck/yearly is 1 foot tall; pennies or $100 bills. Your boss makes six times what you make so his stack is 6 feet tall. The CEO makes five times what your boss makes. His stack is 30 feet tall. In other words, your stack is below your knees, your boss’s stack is as tall as a 6-feet-tall person, and the CEO of your company has a stack someplace in the middle of the Reno Arch. Have a photo of the Reno Arch with a person underneath and lines illustrating the differences. And if you work for McDonald’s, WalMart, Starbucks or any other national corporation the difference between you at 1foot and the CEO is the height of the Empire State Building. This works better in NYC with large multilevel corporate headquarters than in Reno where there are fewer people receiving million-dollar paychecks.
Service without a smile
The latest Veterans Administration scandal, costing the lives of 40-something veterans is not an aberration. Seen from the perspective of a Vietnam veteran, it is a continuation of a familiar story.
In the 1930s, demonstrating WWI veterans were beaten down in the streets. The response to veterans of the 1950s atomic tests was to let them die out before paying out. Vietnam Agent Orange veterans are facing the same story.
The VA is not to blame. The problem lies with a society that does not want to pay the true cost of their wars. Everyone is benefiting from the things that veterans have sacrificed for. Yet their veterans are cast into the role of beggars, carrying the burden of proof when they try to get what they were promised.
Lately it has become fashionable to greet veterans with “Thank you for your service.” Perhaps the best response would be “Thank you for your lip service.”