I don’t always post,

iPhone Dump June 2013 302

but when I do, it’s because I’m cleaning out a year’s worth of email at once.

Thanks for reading – Jack

 

 

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Medicaid Expansion a Ruse

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:

MONEY LAUNDERING

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.

I told you so

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.

Please Stop

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.