June 3, 2014 1 Comment
but when I do, it’s because I’m cleaning out a year’s worth of email at once.
Thanks for reading – Jack
I Woke Up
I read an editorial in the local paper last month here http://hamptonroads.com/2014/05/millions-reasons-expand-medicaid
and my response was published here http://hamptonroads.com/2014/05/medicaid-expansion-ruse
Here is the unedited version of my letter to the Editor as I submitted it:
The editorial board of the Virginian Pilot is once again spreading propaganda in an editorial that presents a false either-or choice to your readers on yet another wealth distribution scheme. Your editorial is also surprisingly cavalier about the reality that the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and its accompanying agenda on Medicaid expansion is, in fact, a wealth redistribution scheme funded by a large tax increase. I applaud that you finally acknowledge the ACA for what it is, albeit after years’ worth of contradictory editorials that shielded your readers from this reality in order to garner support for Obama and his ACA.
The message in this Medicaid editorial reads that under a federal law, you’ll be paying $10 billion in new Federal taxes through the next five years, so State Republicans need to support Virginia’s expansion of Medicaid so that tax money can be recycled back to the State. Your flawed premise assumes that all laws, regulations, and taxpayer behaviors will remain static during the next five years and speciously equates the acceptance of federal dollars to a savings for Virginia, as if our tax dollars somehow belonged to Virginia and her poor uninsured residents to begin with, and not to the residents who work to earn the money as income. There’s also an element of “you’ll be paying the tax money anyway, so why not have it benefit Virginia.” The false choice you present is whether we want speculative tax money to go to the feds versus the state.
Who’s guaranteeing that we taxpayers will actually pay $10 billion in new Federal taxes during this time and how does our payment of Federal taxes justify a subsequent claim to that money by Virginia? Who’s guaranteeing that President Obama won’t unilaterally change the Affordable Care Act like he’s done in circumvention of Congress numerous times already? What would be Virginia’s budgetary contingency plan should the feds fail on their funding commitment? And what would Virginia do if we continued experiencing annual budget shortfalls even after receiving kickback money from the fed? The real choice we have is whether we even want to pay the additional Federal tax in the first place, and we can own that choice by changing our financial behavior and/or congressional representation this November. Your editorial reeks that we need to expand Medicaid now now now while we can, conceding to the reality that you’re presenting said false choice.
State Republicans are prudent in supporting a budget absent this “contingent” federal funding and are astutely identifying yet another significant flaw within the ACA. I’d hardly call skepticism towards contingent funding a “pretense” of fiscal conservatism in light of the many instabilities evident within the Obama administration and his proclivity for making changes to Obamacare. Your editorial describes such prudence as a “foolhardy” view yet you don’t support your assertion with anything relevant, other than stating “other Republicans are supporting efforts to recapture federal tax dollars”, implying that we need to get on board simply because everyone else is. It’s not too far a stretch to see there’s a risk to the ACA standing as law following the next election cycle and we should not be building a new Medicaid program until our political climate shows signs of sanity and stability. The fact that your editorial goes out of its way to avoid naming the $10 billion federal tax law as one of the many tax increases embedded in the ACA itself further asserts that the prudent thing to do is wait.
Your promotion of false choices based on flawed premises do a great disservice to this community.
At the time in 2012 when I drafted this random thought to the local paper, I had just compared what I thought about Obamacare back in 2010 to the 2012 CBO update I had just reviewed. I hate it when I’m right, especially when I did my own homework on this while ignoring all the talking heads out there. The diatribe:
As I have stated since this monstrosity began taking shape, Obamacare has never been about healthcare. Obamacare is a freedom grab. The concept is very simple. If our federal government can compel us in the private or religious marketplace under force of law, what restraints exist to prevent that authority from expanding to other sectors of our lives? If we can’t make our own decisions, really how free are we? Obamacare and freedom are incompatible with each other.
Yesterday, the CBO updated their cost estimate of Obamacare. We were sold at $980B, “budget-neutral” if you recall in 2009. The real cost is now estimated at $1.72T (no surprise there..) so someone please explain how that is cheaper than “the system we have now”. If the feds were really concerned about making healthcare affordable, perhaps they’d consider eliminating burdensome regulations, reforming tort law, and easing the restrictions across state lines to begin reversing the “cost curve”. Take it a step further and allow for private lifetime policies independent of employer sponsorship. There will never be such a thing as an affordable single-payer system. Affordable and single-payer are incompatible with each other.
It’s easy to redefine freedom when you support the side taking it from us. What will you do when the power shifts to the other team and they start encroaching on things that you disagree with. That perspective is how this power grab should be evaluated, but unfortunately too many people are so blinded by their own partisanship that they fail to comprehend and acknowledge what’s really at stake. Instead they’re still arguing about healthcare.
This was a letter I wrote to the local paper out of frustration back in 2012 in response to several trashy letters they had published the day prior. Letters that made absolutely no sense. Here was my response – never published:
To the Editors of the VP Opinion Page regarding Time to Pack a Bag, Lyrics From Hee-Haw, A Different America – letters to the editor 11/21/12: Would you please stop insulting me by publishing the trash like is demonstrated by the aforementioned LTE’s in today’s paper? I understand it makes for good reading that translates into much needed revenue, however you’re disregarding your own mission statement by continuing to print demonstrable falsehoods peppered with ignorant perceptions. For example from the letters today:
“Conservative policies and Republican obstructionism nearly caused a financial collapse.” I didn’t realize that Jimmy Carter or Bill Clinton were Republican or conservatives. Nor did I realize Chris Dodd and Barney Frank, the two individuals who blocked dozens of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae reforms over the years, were Republican or conservatives. And I wasn’t aware the Community Reinvestment Act was a Republican plan.
“We believe our tax code desperately needs changing so that the rich pay their fair share.” What is a fair share and how does it compare to the 58% of collections the rich already pay? No problem that the bottom 49% of earners pay nothing while the writer then talks about “leveling the playing field”?
“We have chosen an America that recognizes that not all of its citizens are wealthy.” I must have missed that on the ballot. In the same breath the writer states that “we have not voted to give up our freedom, our democracy, or our country.” If you don’t think that seizing one person’s property to give to someone else who “needs help” isn’t a loss of freedom and democracy, then what is?
“The GOP refuses to realize that America has changed.” Yes, America has changed. Intelligent people understand that, and we don’t like what we see. Obviously us conservatives gave folks too much credit judging by the election results. Like liberal democrats, you assume most folks are ignorant or idiots. You demonize success, promote stupidity and outcome equality, assault religion, and support laziness and irresponsibility. Your letter choices illustrate that.
“We believe that if America can give millions to big wealthy corporations who don’t need it…”. Last I checked, the dollars are going to green energy companies that go bankrupt. Protest that too, and I may give you some leeway on expecting me to also pay for birth control pills.
Previously you required me to provide sources to back my statements up before you’d decide to print my letters. Obviously you’ve either changed your policy since then, or have different policies for right-leaning and left-leaning submissions. I’ll know which it is based on whether you decide to print this letter without me providing references this time. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at what I see happening of late in your paper. Laugh because you and your readers don’t see the obvious getting ready to befall you, or cry because this trash you help promulgate is part of what’s killing the America that I love. To steal a quote from one of these letters – “America: Love it or leave it.” I couldn’t agree more, so please stop trying to CHANGE it.
February 20, 2012 Leave a comment
The mainstream media intentionally, and grossly, misinterprets the Occupy movement for something more than it is – a disorganized circus of entitlement fantasy. As I observe the activities and media coverage of the Occupy protests, I believe references to “the 1%” better describe the protesters themselves and the media outlets promoting this movement as something legitimate. Clearly there are 1% in this country who simply “don’t get it” about what’s really plaguing us and what has average Americans so frustrated.
Listening to the protesters, it’s obvious they don’t have a clue about our economy or its drivers and influences. They don’t comprehend what true freedom means nor are they capable of connecting the dots between Wall Street and Washington DC. I don’t know whether it’s just immaturity, or some false sense of entitlement or expectation instilled by a failed public education system, or just plain ignorance. They’re so confused and disorganized that the media attempts to define their message for them and even the media can’t settle on anything convincingly enough to fool the 99% of us who “do get it”. As with previous attempts to legitimize the Occupy cause, the media continues to fall far short of resonating any logic behind the movement. Keep spinning the grievance differently and hope one of the messages finally gains traction?
By contrast, the TEA Party defined itself within the first whisper of the movement and has been consistent in its non-violent, law-abiding messaging throughout its three-year existence. The TEA Party properly and peacefully directs protest towards Washington DC and continues to be largely ignored by the media, unless of course it can be leveraged in an attempt to lend credibility to some liberal flavor-du-jour like the Occupy faction. When this fading Occupy crowd can rationally influence the political landscape like the TEA Party did in 2010 and within local elections last November 2011, against the tide of hostile media no less, then they might start to become a relevant grass-roots force. Until then, best wishes to you 1% as you continue searching for your true identity.
February 20, 2012 Leave a comment
The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.
The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.
Come winter, the ant is warm and well fed.
The grasshopper has no food or shelter, so he dies out in the cold.
MORAL OF THE STORY: Be responsible for yourself!
The ant works hard in the withering heat and the rain all summer long, building his house
and laying up supplies for the winter.
The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.
Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while he is cold and starving.
CBS, NBC, PBS, CNN, and ABC show up to provide pictures of the shivering grasshopper next to a video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food. America is stunned by the sharp contrast.
How can this be, that in a country of such wealth, this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?
Kermit the Frog appears on Oprah with the grasshopper and everybody cries when they sing, ‘It’s Not Easy Being Green…’
Occupy the Anthill stages a demonstration in front of the ant’s house where the news stations film the SEIU group singing, “We shall overcome.”
Then Rev. Jeremiah Wright has the group kneel down to pray for the grasshopper’s sake, while he damns the ants.
President Obama condemns the ant and blames President Bush 43, President Bush 41, President Reagan, Christopher Columbus, and the Pope for the grasshopper’s plight.
Nancy Pelosi & Harry Reid exclaim in an interview with Larry King that the ant has gotten rich off the back of the grasshopper, and both call for an immediate tax hike on the ant to make him pay his fair share.
Finally, the EEOC drafts the Economic Equity & Anti-Grasshopper Act retroactive to the beginning of
The ant is fined for failing to hire a proportionate number of green bugs and, having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated by the Government Green Czar and given to the grasshopper.
The story ends as we see the grasshopper and his free-loading friends finishing up the last bits of the ant’s food while the government house he is in, which, as you recall just happens to be the ant’s old house, crumbles around them because the grasshopper doesn’t maintain it.
The ant has disappeared in the snow, never to be seen again.
The grasshopper is found dead in a drug related incident, and the house, now abandoned, is taken
over by a gang of spiders who terrorize the ramshackle, once prosperous and peaceful neighborhood.
The entire Nation collapses, bringing the rest of the free world down with it.
MORAL OF THE STORY: Be careful how you vote in 2012!
August 11, 2011 Leave a comment
1. I voted Democrat because I believe oil companies’ profits of 4% on a gallon of gas are obscene, but the government taxing the same gallon of gas at 15% isn’t.
2. I voted Democrat because I believe the government will do a better job of spending the money I earn than I would.
3. I voted Democrat because Freedom of Speech is fine as long as nobody is offended by it.
4. I voted Democrat because I’m way too irresponsible to own a gun, and I know that my local police are all I need to protect me from murderers and thieves.
5. I voted Democrat because I believe that people, who can’t tell us if it will rain on Friday, can tell us that the polar ice caps will melt away in ten years if I don’t start driving a Prius.
6. I voted Democrat because I’m not concerned about millions of babies being aborted so long as we keep all death row inmates alive.
7. I voted Democrat because I think illegal aliens have a right to free health care, education, and Social Security benefits.
8. I voted Democrat because I believe that business should not be allowed to make profits for themselves. They need to break even and give the rest away to the government for redistribution as the Democrats see fit.
9. I voted Democrat because I believe liberal judges need to rewrite the Constitution every few days to suit some fringe kooks who would never get their agendas past the voters.
10. I voted Democrat because I think that it’s better to pay billions to people who hate us for their oil, but not drill our own because it might upset some endangered beetle or gopher.
11. I voted Democrat because while we live in the greatest, most wonderful country in the world, I was promised “HOPE & CHANGE.”
12. I voted Democrat because my head is so firmly planted up my ass, it’s unlikely that I’ll ever have another point of view.