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Open letter to Congress

By Jack Ward
web posted June 22, 2009

The economy is in shambles, the unemployment is increasing, the deficit is rising, the debt is outrageous, and Congress is spending money like it is Monopoly money. President Barack Obama promised that the stimulus spending would create up to 4 million jobs over the next two years. Assuming that the promise could be fulfilled, with the rising unemployment it will take 4 million jobs to break even. But the economy doesn't seem to be Congress's primary concern. Congress is working on legislation that will increase energy and health care costs; exactly what the economy doesn't need.     

The Waxman-Markey climate bill is chasing the CO2 bogeyman. The Government Accounting Office has reminded us that the European Union has already gone down this road with less than impressive results. As currently described, the cap and trade scheme would auction some carbon credits and give chosen industries and businesses carbon credits for free. This is a classic example of government picking winners and losers and perverts the concept of the free market. The cap and trade scheme currently under consideration is nothing more than a hidden tax to the consumer. If applied equally, the lower income brackets will be hit the hardest. Sheltering the poor from the increased energy cost will create another entitlement by shifting the increased energy cost to the rest of the taxpayers. Even if implemented to perfection it will cause a dramatic increase in energy costs and all of the country will suffer.

The particulars of the healthcare bill are still unknown, but all indications are it will be a Trojan horse for socialized medicine. President Obama's plan has been described as an expanded version of Medicare. That shouldn't inspire anyone since Medicare will soon be insolvent and will require a massive tax increase to survive. The federal government doesn't have a good record in creating grandiose programs; Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are good examples, NASA would be an exception. President Obama says that his healthcare plan will insure the 47 million uninsured and save money. Before we accept this fuzzy math, remember Vice President Joe Biden said "everyone guessed wrong at the time the (stimulus) estimate was made ..." A single payer healthcare plan puts the government between you and your doctors. Bureaucrats will decide if you deserve the healthcare you need. Your care may be determined by age, weight, or a plethora of other factors. Those with chronic expensive medical problems like cancer, heart disease, HIV/AIDs, etc may be denied care. Everyone should be very afraid of the federal government in charge of your healthcare. By law, nobody in the U.S. is denied health care so nationalizing healthcare is fixing a non-problem. Washington insiders predict that government healthcare will add trillions of dollars to our debt.  

Rather than play to political constituencies, Congress should be concentrating on stabilizing the economy before creating new entitlements. The official unemployment rate is reported to be approaching 10%. But the number of unemployed is actually much higher. Government unemployment statistics do not count the thousands of small business that have been crushed by the falling economy and nobody dares to count the homeless during a Democrat administration. But when those groups are added, the actual unemployment rate could be over 20%.

The fiscal problem of the U.S. is no secret. Before the current financial crisis occurred, David Walker, the former Comptroller of the United States and head of the GAO, warned that the current level of federal spending is unsustainable. Walker compared all the federal government's income and compared it to all of the liabilities and future obligations. Those liabilities and future obligations exceed $53 trillion. Walker said the obvious, "We have a huge implicit mortgage on every household in America…." President Obama's spending plans will require borrowing additional billions which will exacerbate the problem. Our creditors also know this. We cannot borrow ourselves to prosperity. If the economy is not fixed soon the impact could exceed the Great Depression. The president and Congress needs to focus on the economy rather than creating costly new entitlements. ESR

© 2009 Jack Ward

 

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