Sunday, July 2, 2017

Breach of Contract

Conservatives and libertarians constantly rail about our overreaching Federal government. The founders gave the Federal government strict limits and granted the States wide ranging powers. James Madison wrote in the Federalist Papers, “It is to be remembered that the general government is not to be charged with the whole power of making and administering laws. Its jurisdiction is limited to certain enumerated objects.” In order to place checks and balances on the Federal government, three distinct branches were created, judicial, legislative, and executive. The Founders did not intend for the Federal government to expand and assume the responsibility to dictate how its’ citizens live their lives. The Federal government has overstepped its authority and usurped the freedoms of its citizens to their right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness by attempting to control decisions better left to those who are most affected by them. Healthcare is not the responsibility of the Federal government. Those who cannot provide for themselves due to disability or economic disparity can fall under the umbrella of a societal safety net. Those who can provide for themselves should be allowed to do so.

After a democrat Congress and President Obama enacted the boondoggle known as the Affordable Care Act, many republicans ran vowing to dismantle Obamacare and won majorities in the House of Representatives and the Senate. Now they have a chance to finally repeal this, regardless that Chief Justice John Roberts authored the opinion to save it, illegal takeover of 1/6th of our economy and allow government to dictate what we must have in health insurance coverage at, what has become, an unreasonable cost. Obamacare should be repealed and the Federal government should get out of the way.

Employer provided health insurance became a staple of workers benefits during WWII. Employer provided health insurance plans became the norm due to wage controls imposed by the federal government during WWII. There were increasing demands for goods and there was a limited pool of available workers. Federally imposed wage and price controls prohibited employers from raising wages. The War Labor Board declared that sick leave and health insurance, would not count as wages for the purpose of wage controls. Employers responded with offers to provide health care coverage. Over the years, this staple of employee benefits has escalated the cost of health care unreasonably.

The following is a plan to subject the health insurance industry to a free market system and minimize the government’s role in providing health care.

• Increase the amount allowed to be placed into a Health Savings Account to $15,000 per year for families, $8,500 for single.

• Designate the contribution made by the employer to any employer provided health care plan as taxable income. (Democrats have been looking for ways to do this for years.)

• Allow the option for employees to “opt out” of their employer provided health insurance and receive 75% of the employer contribution to health insurance as taxable income. (Those who choose so, can designate this as salary only and will not be required to purchase health insurance, but will also be responsible to make payment to any health care provider if services are required.)

• Allow the option to designate, up to the maximum allowed, of that income to their HSA as non-taxable.

• Allow health insurance to be purchased across state lines, granting consumers the privilege to “shop for the best price and coverage appropriate to their needs and forcing health insurance providers to compete in the marketplace as other insurance (auto, life, property) companies do.

• Remove Medicare and Medicaid from the control of the Federal government, (reduce taxpayer contributions to FICA accordingly) and transfer authority to individual states to manage both programs and have the authority to levy taxes to appropriately fund them. (Most states already provide an alternate plan to augment those programs, ie; Wisconsin has Badger Care.)

I believe that this system would move government out of the way and allow the free market system to determine the appropriate cost for health care. This will also eliminate the escalating premiums that employers have been forced to accept to provide this benefit to employees. This will also allow those who do not want to purchase health care the choice to increase their income that will, in turn, put more of that income into the economy and add to the tax base. Averaging the employer contribution to each full time employee’s family health insurance premium at $1,000 monthly and assuming there are 55,000,000 persons in the US receiving that benefit, an additional $11,000,000,000 would be freed for those businesses to reinvest in their companies, enabling them to expand their businesses and create additional employment opportunities to reinvigorate the economy.

The constitution is a written contract with the citizens of the United States. We did not sign up for this overreaching Federal government that is bloated beyond anything the Founders envisioned. $20 trillion in debt is unacceptable. It is time to downsize the Federal government and let us citizens make our own decisions. Getting out of the way of our health decisions is just a start.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

No Tears for the Fallen

There are two professions in which the practitioners understand full well that they may not return home from their tour of duty alive, soldiers during wartime and police officers. These brave men and women that wear the law enforcement badge upon their chests know full well their next call may be their last. Yet, they are willing and able to protect and serve the public at the risk of their own lives. I served for 29 years in a Milwaukee County suburb and the only time I ever shot my firearm was during training. Every day I prayed that God would guide my mind and body to take whatever action was necessary to protect the public. I prayed that if I was put in a position to use any type of force, I would be guided to use no more than what was lawful and necessary. Law enforcement officers are highly trained, skilled in more than just the use of firearms and are dedicated to placing their lives before those they are called to protect and serve, even those who break the law. Now those who put themselves in harms’ way to protect society are in the crosshairs of those that seek to gain political advantage over tragedies that deeply sadden decent citizens. President Obama’s first chief of staff Rahm Emanuel said it best when he declared that no crisis should go to waste.

No law enforcement officer begins his or her tour of duty with intent to cause anyone harm, no matter what color their skin is. To intimate otherwise is propagating a bald faced lie. As in any part of society, some people fall through the cracks, but 99.9% of the 800,000 law enforcement officers in the US treat everyone they meet with respect and want every contact with citizens to end peaceably. As I read the news stories today I am saddened by so many that are rejoicing that at least five Dallas Police officers were gunned down, simply because they wear the uniform and the color of their skin was white. During a peaceful protest, the officers assigned to keep the peace were executed by an assailant that was angered over some recent police shootings. Realize that the incidents are still under investigation and if the officers involved committed a crime they will be held accountable, yet due to the incendiary rhetoric from the left, this depraved individual felt compelled to commit these heinous crimes.

Hide me from the conspiracy of the wicked, from the plots of evildoers. They sharpen their tongues like swords and aim cruel words like deadly arrows. They shoot from ambush at the innocent; they shoot suddenly, without fear. They encourage each other in evil plans. They plot injustice and say, “We have devised a perfect plan!” Surely the human mind and heart are cunning. But God will shoot them with his arrows; they will suddenly be struck down. He will turn their own tongues against them and bring them to ruin; Psalm 64:2-5,7-8

What has become of our democracy? Evildoers use the freedoms granted by our constitution to create havoc and push our nation towards anarchy. Satan and his minions like Saul Alinsky, should be proud of the bitter hatred that is overcoming our society. All the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t make our country right again. Pre-judging police interactions with persons of color by our commander in chief simply emboldens those who choose to hate and harm our great democracy. As President Obama now tries to pick up the pieces over the dead bodies of five of our finest with his fine rhetoric at their funerals, it is too little, too late. He has fueled the fire beyond human abilities to quench it. The only way to bridge this societal upheaval is to turn to God. It is always when we think that we have the ability to fix problems of our own accord is when we spiral out of control. The experiment called the “Great Society”, put into place to end poverty, has been an abject failure, trapping so many African Americans into decaying inner cities, enabling men to father, then abandon their children, and pushing God out of their families. A return to God is in order, lest we continue our fall into the abyss.

One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” “Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” Mark 12:28-32

Pray fervently that we come to see the error of our ways before it is too late to turn back. Pray for each and every law enforcement officer that the Lord protects them, as they in turn put their lives on the line to protect us. And finally, pray that those who come into contact with police simply comply, rather than try to escalate situations, based on false pretenses, that would otherwise end peacefully.