Friday, October 05, 2007

Tax the poor; free healthcare for the middle class

I read an article by George Will in Newsweek magazine in which he talked about the SCHIP program. I agreed with much of what he had to say about it.

Sleepwalking Toward DD-Day

Some excerpts of particular interest:
"SCHIP was created in 1997 by a Republican-controlled Congress. Today's Democratic-controlled Congress wants to transform its mission. It began as a program whereby the federal government would subsidize state governments in providing health insurance for children from households not poor enough (generally 200 percent above the poverty line) to qualify for Medicaid but not affluent enough to afford to buy insurance. Were it to become law, the new SCHIP would be a long stride toward unlimited federal funds working as incentives for states to expand eligibility to more and more affluent families.
"It would immediately include some with incomes 400 percent of the poverty line ($83,000 for a family of four). Over time, its "mission creep" would continue. Mike Leavitt, secretary of Health and Human Services, says that the new SCHIP would enroll 2.8 million more children, but 1.1 million of them would be from families for whom SCHIP had become an incentive to drop their private insurance. To that, some liberals say, sotto voce: Good."
Yeah, not so good. I believe that entitlement programs, like SCHIP, are necessary for poverty-class and lower-class families, but middle class people shouldn't be dependents, they shouldn't be supported by the system, they should be able to tend to their own needs. More needs to be done to make health care more available and more affordable. I think that's the solution to the healthcare problem, not more socialist programs.

"The president proposed a $5 billion increase for SCHIP over five years. In a familiar Washington folk dance, the Senate voted a $35 billion increase, and the House endorsed a $50 billion increase but receded to the Senate sum, which was therefore declared moderate. The increase supposedly would be funded by a 61-cent increase in the cigarette tax.
"So, this health legislation depends on a constantly large and renewable supply of smokers—22 million new ones. This "progressive" measure requires a regressive tax (smokers are predominantly and increasingly lower class) levied to expand subsidized health insurance ever upward into the middle class."

It's really disgusting the way liberals keep wanting to push more and more of the tax burden onto certain people deemed to be engaging in legal but "bad" {read: sinful} behavior. Smokers are an excellent example of this. The crusade against smoking has gone on for decades, but rather than just rely on educating the public about the harm involved and letting people make up their own minds, as things should be in a FREE society, the liberals keep wanting to use the government as a nanny to punish people for personal behavior deemed unhealthy for them. It reeks of socialism, and socialism destroys personal freedom and inflates government dictatorship.

Back in 2006, in my state of Missouri, certain groups tried to push through legislation that would put a substantial tax increase on tobacco. Fortunately this legislation didn't pass the voters. A point for libertarianism. But the bleeding hearts certain tried. These efforts amount to what Pat Buchanon recently said on Hardball with Chris Mathews a "sin tax". And a sin tax placed on people that, for the most part, are lower-class people. These are the majority of people that smoke.

The ironic hypocrisy hits me like a ton of bricks, while the liberals are the first to bitch about about social conservatives trying to outlaw and punish people for their personal choices, it is the liberals that push such things as seat belt laws, high taxes on smoking and even banning smoking outright from any and all public places.

Lastly, I still haven't figured out the logic that these liberal operate from in their supposed agenda to rid the world of smoking. They claim to place these tax burdens on smokers in order to get smokers to quit smoking, and so I wonder where are they going to get the revenues for all the entitlement programs they've been paying for via tobacco if they accomplish their so-called goal?

"For philosophic reasons, Democrats wish the bill would become law. For political reasons, they welcome the president's promised veto, which will preserve for them the issue of Republican beastliness toward "the children."
"It has become a verbal tic for politicians to say that everything they do is "about the children." This rhetoric of pathos reflects the de-intellectualization of public life—the substitution of sentimentalism for reasoned persuasion. Bill Clinton carried this to comic lengths when, in his first State of the Union address, he noted that "not a single Russian missile is pointed at the children of America."

What, no mention of the Republican's misuse of children for propaganda purposes? I think, coming from conservative George Will, that particular omission was deliberate. The Republicans are notorious for outlawing every manner of "immoral" behavior for benefit of "the children".

Here is my opposition to expanding the SCHIP program in a comment on the Newsleader Forum.

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