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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 4/6/10


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Message Jim Quinn

"The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule."
H.L. Mencken


I can't believe the news today
Oh, I can't close my eyes and make it go away
How long, how long must we sing this song?
How long? How long?
"Cause tonight we can be as one, tonight
Sunday, Bloody Sunday
Sunday, Bloody Sunday
Sunday, Bloody Sunday
U2 Sunday Bloody Sunday

Bono wrote this song in 1983. He was describing the slaughter of thirteen unarmed Catholic civil rights protestors in Derry, Northern Ireland on January 30, 1972 by British troops. Many of the victims were shot in the back. The Irish Republican Army employed this tragic event to mobilize thousands of recruits to their cause. The incident triggered more violence that lasted for decades and resulted in many more senseless deaths. When governments make imprudent decisions and craft irrational policies there are consequences. Murdering unarmed protestors resulted in decades of civil war in Northern Ireland. Unleashing a new multi-trillion dollar entitlement hurricane, when we already have the Social Security/Medicare hurricane bearing down on us and a Federal Reserve caused Depression level 5 hurricane already raging will have calamitous consequences for our nation. March 21, 2010 will go down in U.S. history as our Sunday Bloody Sunday. The ideologues on both sides of the healthcare debate care only about the next election and how they will spin the votes of their opponents to attain victory. The economic consequences of this 2,400 page abortion of a bill are secondary because these politicians will be retired or dead when our grandchildren get the bill.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong."
H.L. Mencken


"If a politician found he had cannibals among his constituents, he would promise them missionaries for dinner." H.L. Mencken

Politicians have demonstrated over decades to be completely ignorant of the long-term impact of the rules and regulations they have inflicted upon the American people. For those who believe that creating a new entitlement for 32 million people, hiring 16,500 new IRS agents to enforce the new regulations, and allowing government boards to make your healthcare decisions for you will reduce costs and improve healthcare, I will point you to the facts versus promise of prior legislation. A Senate Joint Economic Committee released a report in 2009 found that health care plan costs are always dramatically underestimated by the politicians that create the entitlements:

  • Medicare (hospital insurance) In 1965, as Congress considered legislation to establish a national Medicare program, the House Ways and Means Committee estimated that the hospital insurance portion of the program, Part A, would cost about $9 billion annually by 1990.v Actual Part A spending in 1990 was $67 billion. The actuary who provided the original cost estimates acknowledged in 1994 that, even after conservatively discounting for the unexpectedly high inflation rates of the early "70s and other factors, "the actual [Part A] experience was 165% higher than the estimate."
  • Medicare (entire program) In 1967, the House Ways and Means Committee predicted that the new Medicare program, launched the previous year, would cost about $12 billion in 1990. Actual Medicare spending in 1990 was $110 billion--off by nearly a factor of 10.
  • Medicaid DSH program In 1987, Congress estimated that Medicaid's disproportionate share hospital (DSH) payments--which states use to provide relief to hospitals that serve especially large numbers of Medicaid and uninsured patients--would cost less than $1 billion in 1992. The actual cost that year was a staggering $17 billion. Among other things, federal lawmakers had failed to detect loopholes in the legislation that enabled states to draw significantly more money from the federal treasury than they would otherwise have been entitled to claim under the program's traditional 50-50 funding scheme.
  • Medicare home care benefit When Congress debated changes to Medicare's home care benefit in 1988, the projected 1993 cost of the benefit was $4 billion. The actual 1993 cost was more than twice that amount, $10 billion.
  • Medicare catastrophic coverage benefit In 1988, Congress added a catastrophic coverage benefit to Medicare, to take effect in 1990. In July 1989, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) doubled its cost estimate for the program, for the four-year period 1990-1993, from $5.7 billion to $11.8 billion. CBO explained that it had received newer data showing it had significantly under-estimated prescription drug cost growth, and it warned Congress that even this revised estimate might be too low. This was a principal reason Congress repealed the program before it could take effect.
  • SCHIP In 1997, Congress established the State Children's Health Insurance Program as a capped grant program to states, and appropriated $40 billion to be doled out to states over 10 years at a rate of roughly $5 billion per year, once implemented. In each year, some states exceeded their allotments, requiring shifts of funds from other states that had not done so. By 2006, unspent reserves from prior years were nearly exhausted. To avert mass disenrollments, Congress decided to appropriate an additional $283 million in FY 2006 and an additional $650 million in FY 2007.

Based on this track record, do you believe President Obama when he declares that his national healthcare plan will save $136 billion in the first ten years? It appears the rocket scientists on the Democratic side of the aisle have trouble estimating the costs of the entitlements they hand out on a regular basis. Republicans, on the other hand, tend to slightly underestimate the cost of their invasions (Rummy says $50 billion; taxi meter says $977 billion and counting).

Platform for Your Lies

"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."
H.L. Mencken


Blanket of silence
Makes me want to sink my teeth in deep
Burn all the evidence
A fabricated disbelief
Pull back the curtains
Took a look into your eyes

My tongue has now become
A platform for your lies

Cage the Elephant Back Against the Wall

Washington D.C. is a sordid cesspool crawling with thousands of shady politicians, power hungry bureaucrats, slimy lawyers, and corporate lobbyists with pockets stuffed with one hundred dollar bills. Legislation is bought and sold to the highest bidder. The rock group Cage the Elephant captures the mantra of Washington D.C. in their latest hit song. For the last few decades Congress could get away with silence as the public was preoccupied with getting rich day trading, flipping houses, and buying electronic gadgets with limitless credit cards. Their backroom deals and corporate payoffs were ignored. Not anymore. These "servants of the people" have had the curtain pulled back, revealing their foul deeds. What these historically uninformed bureaucrats failed to realize is that we have entered a Fourth Turning. The mood of the country changes dramatically during this Crisis period. The citizens will not ignore what was overlooked in the 1990's. Leaders will be held accountable for their actions. Institutions will be replaced if they fail. Civility will be cast aside. Violence, pain and sacrifice are inevitable. The politicians with common sense are fleeing Washington in droves, retiring and accepting jobs with the companies that bought their votes for the last few decades.

The last year has been a never ending competition of lies. The American public has been subjected to misinformation and lies from the tongues of politicians who hire pollsters and PR firms to fabricate their propaganda. Democratic talking points hammered home incessantly are:

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James Quinn is a senior director of strategic planning for a major university. James has held financial positions with a retailer, homebuilder and university in his 22-year career. Those positions included treasurer, controller, and head of (more...)
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