Saturday, September 5, 2009

‘Waddya Want for Nothing?’ Why Elwood Blues Makes More Sense Than Anyone in Washington Nowadays

Whenever we hear anyone from the White House to the ‘talking heads’ on the cable newsfests yammering about almost anything in this health care debate, we can’t help but think that the esteemed Dr. Elwood Blues, (Dan Ackroyd) got it right when he sings the following endline in "Rubber Biscuit”: "Waddya want for nothing?..."

(If you have never seen or heard this song, or haven’t heard it in awhile, click below to see what we mean:

Elwood nails our national schizophrenia cause he knows we all 'want something for nothing', i.e. universal health insurance and not pay anything more for it. We want to advance the social order...but we don't want higher taxes or, God forbid, any reduction on current services to pay for it.

We think Elwood Blues makes more sense than anyone we have heard talking about this whole health care mess in Washington, D.C. At least he is honest and he speaks more clearly, even when it is all gibberish. (Just compare Elwood to the next speech you hear on CSPAN or in a press conference and see if you don't think Elwood 'wins')

Here is one of the most important books you will ever read this year on health care reform, and no, it is not the Bible or even the U.S. Constitution or the Declaration of Independence, both of which have gotten a lot of run lately in the tea parties and town hall meetings (read them both this Labor Day weekend, why doncha?)

Read with great interest: “Budget Options, Volume 1, Health Care”, published by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), December, 2008. (click on "Health Care Options")

There are enough spending reduction options in this one book to basically eliminate the entire federal budget, (not just the deficit) in about 5 years!

If you ever wondered why Jefferson and Madison were so adamant about establishing a ‘representative democracy” rather than just a plain old democracy as Jefferson shuddered to watch in France during their ‘glorious’ Jacobinic revolution, this CBO book explains why.

There is no way on God’s green earth that every literate citizen of the United States of America can go through such a document and understand every nuance of the law or funding of every single federal program and then vote in a nationwide plebiscite each time something has to be decided. That is why we elect leaders to go to Washington: to ‘represent’ us as a people, learn about these issues and then vote in what is supposed to be ‘our national best interest’.

Sounds simple…but it is most definitely not.

Jefferson and Madison also, perhaps mistakenly, presumed that every citizen would be so civic-minded that they would take the time to: 1) register to vote; 2) actually vote in each election; 3) consider running for public office when they thought things were going ‘off-track’ and 4) take the time to learn as much as they could about the issues so they could tell their representatives what they want in clear, succinct language. All within reasoned, peaceful and if needed, passionate discourse...that is what is supposed to separate the US from any other nation on earth. No need for armed insurrections every time someone does something while in office we don’t like; that is why we have the next election cycle to correct the balance of power in government.

Regarding the choices before us on health care, let’s just take one look at one page in this CBO document cited above as one way to 'pay for it' without incurring any more debt for our children to pay. Option 9, page 24, would reduce the tax deduction allowed for the cost of health insurance premiums, down to the amount allowed for a standard BCBS plan. No longer would anyone be able to get the “Cadillac’ version of any health insurance plan and deduct the full cost of them against their taxes. We saw plans from the auto industry while in Congress that we swear must have covered every incidence of hangnail removal...with no copays, no deductibles and no participation in the payment of any premium by the worker whatsoever.

Those 'Rolls Royce' health care plans could still be purchased by the employer for their workers…they just would not be able to deduct the amount associated with the purchase of excess insurance over the standard plan.

Sounds reasonably ‘fair’ to most Americans, doesn’t it?

It would save close to $500 billion, or ½ of a trillion dollars, over the next 10 years. 500 billion smackers of your taxes or loans from your kids.

That one provision alone would easily pay for catastrophic insurance coverage for every long-term uninsured American and then some. Like maybe pay down some of this enormous debt we already have incurred.

So take a look at this great CBO book over the Labor Day weekend and check off all of the options you could support to pay for health care reform and then to pay down the debt. And then send them to your Congressperson in Washington and tell them you know what can be done right now.

And tell them to stop spewing out any more nonsense like Dr. Elwood Blues….we have had enough lately from both sides of the political divide.

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