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SCHIP : A Springboard to Fixing Our Political Economy January 14, 2009

Posted by Daniel Downs in children’s health care, Congress, Democrats, family, free market, justice, monetary policy, moral virtue, news, political economy, politics, Republicans, SCHIP, taxes, welfare, work.
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In a press release issued today, Republican Whip Eric Cantor offered to work with Congressional Democrats and President-elect Obama to revamp the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. He called on Dems to help the nation’s families provide quality health care for their children.

Seems like a reasonable goal that all people of all party affiliations could support, right? The problem is Democrats and their leaders promised to improve the middle class welfare prospects. That is what the conflict between the two parties has been about. Republicans like Cantor want to restore SCHIP to its original purpose: help low-income families who can’t provide health care for their kids–not adults, not middle class workers, nor anyone who already has insurance.

Now would be a good time for Dems to stop trying to make all Americans dependent on the federal government. They could do us all much good by actually fixing the political economy rather than stimulate to death.

The economy is already a rule based human activity of we humans. The first rule of Constitutional governance is less government is more liberty for everyone. This translated into terms relevant to a political economy means less bailout and more free market behavior. As financial advisors like Bill Bonner of Agora Financial, keeps saying, you can’t correct a credit/debt crisis by adding trillions more of the same. Can you help an obese man by giving him another helping of dessert, or cure an alcoholic by offering him free drinks? Of course not. The same applies to overspending, too much debt and bad credit.

In one sense, the underlying problem of the current economic depression is a moral one. More economic liberty without moral virtue regulating it produces much irresponsibility and corruption, which increases the dividends of injustice. Secularist may have great difficulty with a political economy that is strongly regulated by moral principles. Nevertheless, a morally self-regulated people would more likely regulate their own tendencies toward excesses, sexual and economic. They would be more apt to be less greedy and more just toward the less prosperous. They would be less likely to accept outrageous income at the expense of millions of fellow citizens. Persons not credit worthy wouldn’t get high interest loans. They would get a substantive economic plan to help them become credit worthy. Loan sharks couldn’t exist because greedy lawmakers and their corporate associates wouldn’t exist either. An unproductive vice like gambling wouldn’t have government backing because it would be much more difficult for corrupt politicians to openly justify preying on people with compulsive behaviors as a means to raise tax dollars. A moral economy would still reward entrepreneurs while assisting the less fortunate to work their way up to reasonable measure of economic independence. At least from the perspective of 18th century America, this would be expected because the primary source of morality is religion.

Helping poor families provide health care for their children should at best be a temporary aspect of an economy in which the principles of Jubilee are normative. This biblical law that makes helping fellow citizens through economic crisis to economic independence a legal obligation, should be the norm.

Punishing the poor with taxes, low wages, and high interest rates on loans they can’t afford is plain unjust.

Maybe God’s judgment is built into nature after all. The founders may have been right that it’s part of God’s natural law. It is apparent politicians can’t beat the system.


Obama fishing for votes: the art of bait and switch October 11, 2008

Posted by Daniel Downs in Barak Obama, children, Democrats, family, health care, John McCain, Medicare/Medicaid, news, presidential election, Republicans, SCHIP, taxes, welfare.
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Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary gives a two-part definition of the phrase bait and switch:

    1 : a sales tactic in which a customer is attracted by the advertisement of a low-priced item but is then encouraged to buy a higher-priced one
    2 : the ploy of offering a person something desirable to gain favor (as political support) then thwarting expectations with something less desirable

Obama’s accusation that McCain’s health care plan is a bait and switch tactic is a classic example of part two. He claims McCain’s health care plan promises a $5,000 tax incentive to American families for the purchase of any health care coverage of their choice while at the same time taxing American consumers health care coverage.

Obama’s accurate depiction of a bait and switch scheme is impressive. However, he fails the honesty test when he claims McCain would tax individual Americans purchases of health care coverage. Obama tries to deceive America by suggesting that the money raised under McCain’s plan would be given directly to insurance companies as a tax increase. But, after reading McCain online counter argument, it appears McCain proposes to redirect current income taxes of individuals and families to help pay for their health care. Redirecting current income taxes payments for health insurance is not applicable to the uninsured. That is why McCain also proposes a non-profit state-based program to fund adequate health care for the uninsured. Such a plan conforms to the Constitution’s ideal of state republicanism as opposed to national welfare socialism.

Underlying Obama’s health care plan is the typical ploy of liberals: Whatever they accuse their opponents of is usually what they are guilty of themselves. This is no less true of his plan for universal health care. He preaches help for the middle class just as liberals before him did for the poor. While helping the poor into welfare dependency, liberals increased federal power over both the states and the lives of the poor. Maybe that is why many poor Americans refuse to deal with the socialist welfare system including applying for the States Children Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) or other Medicare programs.

What Obama does tell the middle class is that much of his health care plan is based on ferociously non-bipartisan Democrats plan for SCHIP, which was originally a Republican program to help low-income parents provide adequate health care for their children. As all other welfare programs, it did not end up just helping poor children, but also adults and even middle-income wage earners. That is why Democrats want Obama in office. They need a liberal in office in order to make the middle class welfare dependents too.

How Democrats propose to pay for SCHIP is by greatly increasing taxes on tobacco. Studies by the Center for Disease Control reveal that a majority of tobacco users are among the low-income population.

I hope that you can see where I’m going with this. The Obama-Democrat Party plan is an even better at bait and switch than McCain. By comparison, McCain really has failed in his purported bait and switch efforts. Unlike McCain’s plan, Obama’s will lead to taxing the poor to pay for the children of middle-income families’ health care. Should most of the poor quit buying cigarettes and other tobacco products the federal government would have to raise Medicare taxes on all workers in order to pay for the additional SCHIP deficits.

The only reasonable conclusion is Obama and his liberal supporters have increasing the power of government and its benefactors over the American people in view. It may not be good for freedom and independence, but as CNN and WTOP reports claim, it would be cheaper than McCain’s plan at least in the short term. A WTOP report claims taxes under McCain would be several hundred dollars greater than under Obama for a family of four with an annual income of $100,000. Yet, that same family would get about $2,000 in tax refund applicable to health care coverage under McCain’s plan. CNN reports that the total annual costs of Obama’s health care plan would be $65 billion per year and McCain’s $360,000 billion. But again, once the federal government has to pay for all of SCHIP and most of the middle class health care, the annual costs would likely exceed those of the McCain plan.

I said most of the middle class would eventually be covered by federal health care because Medicare would be cheaper than private provider plans. That might even be the case with a more efficient and competitive health care market. As Wal-Mart put many local family retailers, a big federal insurance program would eventually put individual health care providers out of the capitalism business. Just as Wal-Mart offered products that were cheaper but not better, federal health care would not be better or more convenient, which has been proven by other nations with universal health care. Knowing how much more the federal government often pays for products and services it’s conceivable that government-run health care would eventually cost more than before.

The cost not calculable in dollars is the additional loss independence and freedom both of individuals and their states.


Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary Online

Southern Ledger October 4, 2008

John McCain’s Campaign Website

CNN News April 29, 2008

WTOP News September 16, 2008

How much is Congress’ economic stimulus worth? February 14, 2008

Posted by Daniel Downs in Congress, economics, immigration reform, polls, presidential election, SCHIP.
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How much is the economic stimulus worth to Americans? According to the latest Rasmussen poll, the economic stimulus package is worth about 2 percent. Two percent more Americans were willing to give Congress a good rating on its job performance. Last month, only 13% said Congress was doing a good job, but this month the percent rose to 15. (more…)

Politicians Must Support and Defend the Constitution or Else December 12, 2007

Posted by Daniel Downs in congressional powers, Constitution, economics, freedom, health care, national security, No Child Left Behind (NCLB), oath of office, politics, power, SCHIP, secularism, Separation of Church and State, socialism, welfare.
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“The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” (U.S. Constitution, Article VI)

If all members of Congress are under oath to support the Constitution, then it is right for Americans to assume the right to remove from office those who violate it. Americans are empowered with three means of dealing with lawmakers who demonstrate disregard for law and rights. In order to decisively and swiftly eliminate from office Senators or Representatives who seek to eliminate the only sure guarantee of freedom, a majority of Americans may demand the resignation of one or all lawmakers guilty of such a great evil. Americans can demand impeachment either by act of Congress or possibly by referendum. Americans also may seek to wait for the next election not to vote for violators of the law and to demand the repeal of unconstitutional laws. (more…)

The SCHIP of Power Drunk Democrats (and a Few Republicans Too) November 5, 2007

Posted by Daniel Downs in children’s health care, Democrats, George W. Bush, Medicare/Medicaid, news, politics, poverty, power, Republicans, SCHIP, socialism, welfare.
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Congress is worse than any lame duck president they would like to create. Democrats are drunk with power and intend to rip off the poor to bless the middle class with more welfare dependency. They have created a more socialist version of a conservative bill they know most Republicans and the President will not accept. Worse, they are completely unwilling to compromise. SCHIP was a welfare program to help poor and low-income families provide insurance for their children. Democrats want it available to middle-income families many of which already have health insurance. Democrats want adults covered under their version. The bill disallows adult coverage but then proceeds to give states the option of continuing adult coverage. Democrats want illegal immigrants covered as well.

Democrats and some Republicans apparently think Americans are stupid. They expect those poor Americans whose children need SCHIP to pay for what they cannot afford. (more…)

Another SCHIP, Another Veto, Another Failure to Address the Real Problem October 25, 2007

Posted by Daniel Downs in children’s health care, Constitution, Democrats, family, George W. Bush, living wage, Nancy Pelosi, news, politics, poverty, Republicans, SCHIP.

Democrats passed their new State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) bill yesterday. If it passes the Senate, President Bush has already promised to veto it. The following is a summary of his reasons:

  1. “The Democrats’ new legislation continues to cover children in families earning more than $62,000 per year (300 percent of the Federal poverty level).”
  2. “The Democrats’ new legislation continues to allow States to avoid covering poor children first.”
  3. “The Democrats’ new legislation continues to raise taxes to move 2 million children covered by private health insurance onto government-run programs with fewer choices and longer lines.”
  4. “The Democrats’ new legislation continues to allow SCHIP to cover ineligible individuals.” According to House Republican Conference analysis, the new legislation also raises the age of eligibility from 19 to 21. It still fails to prevent adults including those without children. Democrats claimed the new bill would prevent illegal aliens from receiving benefits, but no citizenship test is actually required.
  5. “The Democrats’ new legislation shifts more responsibility to the Federal government.”

According to the House Republican Conference, SCHIP also employs a budget gimmick in order to comply with pay-as-you-go. From 2008-2012, funding levels will increase to more than $8.4 billion a year, then after 2012, the funding level will drop off to only $600 million in 2013. CBO previously reported that this type of budget gimmick will cause 6.5 million children to lose their SCHIP coverage by 2017. In addition, CBO indicated it will cost an extra $40 billion to allow these children to continue on SCHIP.

The House Republican Conference also claims the bill “increases the rate of excise taxes … on tobacco products and cigarette papers and tubes.”

This increases the tax on:

  • Cigars from 20.719% to 53% with a $3 per cigar cap;
  • (more…)

Liberal SCHIP Sinking Liberty October 17, 2007

Posted by Daniel Downs in children, children’s health care, Constitution, Democrats, First Amendment, George W. Bush, illegal immigrants, law, living wage, Nancy Pelosi, news, No Child Left Behind (NCLB), politics, poverty, Republicans, SCHIP, Separation of Church and State, truth, welfare.
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Christians have organized to overturn President Bush’s veto of State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). Among those high stepping to the liberal bleep against Pres. Bush are liberal leaning Rev. Jim Wallis, Rev. Hayward Wiggins, spokesman for PICO National Network and the National Council of Churches. It is great that Christians can mobilize for a good cause. Just a couple of elections ago, America voted in a conservative Congress along with Pres. Bush by just such a mobilization. However, the current mobilization is more about perpetuating the liberal agenda than it is about helping needy children. (more…)