The price of health care victoryWritten by Thomas Berry | | firstname.lastname@example.org
I had the honor of witnessing a “thank you” party held outside Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur’s offices to show appreciation for her vote in favor of the President’s health care reform legislation. Several things struck me about the event.
One was the attendance. With the qualifier that I’m a horrible estimator of crowds, there were perhaps one hundred to two hundred people present, gathered around a podium from which various speakers lavished their praise on Ms. Kaptur. If this had such massive popular support as some have alleged, where were the cheering masses?
Many participants held identical signs that had obviously been mass-produced somewhere. The signs at protests prior to the reform’s passage were all unique. A minor point, to be sure, until we remember the absurd allegations that anti-reform protests are bankrolled by the insurance industry. I’m still waiting for my insurer to get that message, but there was a much more evidence that this event was bankrolled by some corporation.
Then there was the police presence. Bicycle cops were on hand, and several squad cars and a paddy wagon were parked down Water Street. While I was appreciative as always for their presence, why were they on hand? Did the organizers really think protestors would be disruptive and violent? Evidently no one expected just one man standing silently on the sidewalk outside the rally and holding a simple, non-inflammatory sign and an American flag.
But the most thought-provoking aspect came at the end. As the rally wound down, one of the participants came and stood next to me, holding one of their mass-produced, corporately-paid-for thank-you signs. As others exited, he called to them, without a lot of enthusiasm, “We won!”
Yes, they won a horribly divisive legislative and ideological battle. But I’ll ask here what, for the sake of avoiding confrontation, I didn’t ask then: Won what, at what price?
Massive increases in government power. It’s as simple as this: The legislation significantly expands government control over the economy and the people. Otherwise, it is meaningless, because it cannot be enforced without such expansion. Reform supporters consider greater government power at the expense of the people a victory.
Higher taxes. Along with Medicare cuts, the reforms are paid for by taxes on everything from medical devices to suntans. While the purported benefits are years away, the taxes are being implemented now, during an ongoing recession, in defiance of all economic common sense. Yet reform supporters think these higher taxes, and the damage they will do to the economy, a victory.
And what was, or will be, lost?
Constitutional restraint on the government. Congress and the President do not care that the reforms are beyond the limits the Constitution places on the federal government. In the words of Congressman Alcee Hastings (D-Florida), they simply make it up as they go, and never mind the law of the land. Fine with reform supporters.
Jobs. Already, major corporations are predicting tremendous financial losses thanks to the reforms. When businesses lose money, be it to taxes or foolish economic policy, employees lose jobs – regardless of the President’s promise that unemployment would not exceed eight percent if the Porkulus were passed. Now, we’re told to expect perpetual double-digit unemployment, thanks likely to health care demolition.
Trust. From false data given to the Congressional Budget Office to the absurdity of benefits not being available for four years even though supporters were hyped to expect great things now, the legislation was and is being promoted on a web of deceit. As morbid as it may be: How many reform supporters will die of ill health before the purported benefits they so avidly demanded finally kick in?
And what was the price of victory? Liberty. As government power increases, liberty decreases. Here is the ultimate betrayal of trust between the people and their government: The government so dazzles the people with promises of glory and good that the people are blind to the shackles being slowly and subtly slipped around them.
At the end, a young boy was romping about and waving an American flag, perhaps mimicking me. As I watched him, I remembered the story of Pyrrhus. A great strategist, he led the Greeks into battle with Rome at Heraclea and Asculum. He won the battles, but at such dreadful price that he said, “One more such victory, and I am lost.”
One more such victory as this by Pyrrhus Obama and his army, and our Republic is lost. Not just to me, but to this young man and those who follow him. How horribly ironic, since this reform was purportedly for the sake of children – who, in a fell omen of what has been done to our country, were excluded from the reforms as passed.
Thomas Berry, for the Children of Liberty.