Saturday, June 20, 2009
Pop Go The Weasels
Having changed forever the way that we look at capitalism, our government is ready to move on to its next "crisis". This is a crisis that must be dealt with NOW, or the very life and health of the American people is at stake. Of course this problem is what to do about health care.
Now like me, many of you out there may have a failing memory. You may therefore not remember that we had this same crisis with us (and many of the same answers proposed) the last time that we had a Democratic president. It was back in 1993, and First Lady Hillary Clinton chaired the task force on health care reform.
The conclusions reached 16 years ago, strangely enough, was that even then we were all doomed unless the government stepped in and began to take control over a major portion of America's health care. Congress however, did not seem nearly as anxious to meddle in this rather significant part of the GDP as the President and First Lady however, and in spite of the Chicken Little predictions of the world's ending, they failed to pass any new health care legislation.
Amazingly enough, somehow we survived. The Obama Administration however, seems to be on a roll these days. No one seems to know how to say "no" to this man on any amount of money, any level of bureaucratic increase, or any level of control or interference that he sees fit to make in the private sector. In fact the government seems to have shifted the argument on health care to how much of an additional role the federal government will have and how much control it will have in deciding treatment rather than whether such a role for the government is necessary in the first place.
The dirty little secret that few like to talk about in these days of multi-trillion dollar debt however is how much it will cost and who will pay for it. According to a June 16th Wall Street Journal article by Greg Hitt and Laura Meckler, the first 9 years of this plan are expected to cost at least 1 trillion dollars (a number that used to mean something until a couple of months ago). Government speak tells us that if this is the estimate now, the reality will in fact be far more, how much more nobody really knows.
This is a lot of money to raise for the Fed's coffers now that tobacco has been taxed to the point that any further raises in the rate might kill the golden goose. Enter soda pop... It seems that some in government think it a good idea to pay the bill for government health care expansion by taxing soda pop with sugar in it. After all, such liquids have been linked to both obesity and to diabetes in the past. Since these diseases will likely add to the overall cost of a person's health care, such taxation seems only logical.
So goes the slippery slope of a tax and spend, progressive, statist point of view. First it was tobacco and now it's soda pop (I guess memories of Prohibition are scaring them away from alcohol for now). When they find out there's not enough money to be had in soda taxes, you won't have to wait long for the french fry tax, the cheeseburger tax, the cheesecake tax, and maybe even a doughnut tax. It will all be argued as a logical necessity to our health and well being, but is truly nothing more than government behavior modification through taxation.
We will allow the government to take just a bit of our freedom in the name of our health, in effect punishing us for making choices that they do not approve of. And as these rodent bureaucrats scurry around Washington, gnash their teeth, and salivate over their petty victory over us, as they gloat while counting our money in their wasteful pockets, as they do truly chase "us" around the mulberry bush (instead of as the lyrics of the nursery rhyme go); it will be "Pop!" goes the weasels.