February 23, 2010
The President's health care proposal that was released Monday was long on cost, taxes and government interference and short on details. The President chose to take the Senate bill, add some sugar by including some parts from the House bill, mix in some spice for the unions, and then frost it all over by expanding the cornhusker kickback to all of the states. One new thing he added to help pay for this $950 billion concoction ($80 billion more than the Senate bill) was to raise the taxes on those who worked hard and saved their money so they could retire comfortably. He also piled another new tax onto the insurance companies. It seems the proclivity to raise taxes and expand government is never ending and knows no bounds.
The President did not miss a chance to insert more government between the people and the free market. He proposed to establish a Health Insurance Rate Authority to "regulate" insurance rates. Well, the cat's finally out of the bag. I thought the administration should have been honest with us at the beginning of the health care discussion and recommended this approach then. Instead they offered a public option that would add more "competition" to the market place. Where in history has inserting more government control in any free market ever increased competition? The public option was a costly and insidious first step in the march toward a government-run, single payer, European style, health care system. The rates on the public plan could always be set at $1 less than the private plans and eventually the only plan remaining would be the public option. The establishment of this government-run Rate Authority cuts out this middle step, they can regulate rates until all the insurance companies are out of business and then the only choice left will be to capitulate to a government-run health care system.
In his search for new money to fund this plan, the President added a payroll tax on the non-wage interest and dividend income of wealthier Americans. The President proposes to punish the very people who were fiscally responsible and planned for their retirement with a new tax, on the very income they labored for and put away for their retirement. This tax will also reduce capital needed for jobs and severely harm millions of Americans saving and investing so that they can retire. A very compassionate pastor, former three-term President of the Southern Baptist Convention, Adrian Rogers, said, "You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity." I've also heard this put "that you cannot make a poor man rich by making a rich man poor." It seems popular these days to tax the rich and the President is certainly tapping into this favorite source of money, over and over again.
The idea of punishing success to give money to the government on the belief that the government will then use that money efficiently defies reason. The President's plan is so lacking in detail that the Congressional Budget Office cannot even price the proposal. We really have no idea what real impact is hidden in the details. The plan makes a sham of the bipartisan discussion he has set up for Thursday. Rather than offering the chance to broaden the discussion the President offered more taxes, more government control, continued Medicare cuts and more spending. The American people, and especially seniors, have said they don't want business as usual; they want to start over with a step-by-step approach that I endorsed last July. We all need to dig in again and say enough is enough. Tell your Members of Congress you want a common sense approach to health care reform.