Friday, October 4, 2013

From The 'Let's Shed A Little Light On This' Department.....

'Survive and Advance, Baby! Survive and Advance!'
A couple of things have struck our fancy during this government shutdown effort to defund Obamacare, which, so far as any reasonable person will admit, doesn't seem to be working very well at the moment:

  1. There have been a lot of shrill comments about Congresspeople, Senators and their staff receiving 'unfair special subsidies' from the federal government under the new law. '72%' as Sean Hannity is fond of saying on his show.

    The truth of the matter is that this may be a little less than what Congresspeople, Senators and their staff received in terms of 'federal subsidy' prior to Obamacare being passed!

    'Why? What is that you say, you moron!' we can already hear our detractors say.

    Because the US federal government is supported and paid for (mostly) by US taxpayer dollars paid in various forms of taxes each year. Always has been. Always will be. That is how people fund governments throughout recorded human history.

    Prior to Obamacare, Congresspeople, Senators and their staff all participated in the FEHB plan that provided an 'exchange' (sound familiar?) of sorts where health insurance companies offered their services and the 35,000 people working on Capitol Hill got to choose which plans and at what level during the open enrollment period each year, usually after October 1.

    They paid roughly 25-30% of their premiums out of each monthly paycheck. The rest of it? Where did it come from, class?

    Correct. The US federal treasury. Your tax dollars paid for the balance of every Congressman, Senator and staff's health care premium for as long as they had health care plans on Capitol Hill to begin with. Just like a company pays for the majority of every employee's health care premiums in the private sector.

    The only difference is that the government pays this balance with taxpayer money whereas private companies pay it with customer money. Think about it. You as the taxpayer and consumer are paying the vast majority of all health care now being delivered in the country!

    Congratulations! And now it is about to get even larger as Obamacare gets set up and established across the nation as we speak.
Which brings us to point #2:

Our singular problem with this shutdown is that we don't think the people who thought it was such a great idea have thought completely through the endgame, as in: 'How will this end so we can WIN!!!?'

We hated playing sports with losers who didn't know how to win. Worse yet is playing for any coach who doesn't know what the game plan is or how to develop the team so it gets better over the course of a season to be able to contend for the championship this year or next.

We don't mind standing and fighting for principle. We don't mind being in the minority and fighting for what we believed in. From 1985-1995, the Republican House Member for whom I worked was in the minority of at least 75 votes every single year!

Talk about the Alamo and Pickett's Charge all you want. We got to live, that is for sure, but being in the minority takes a lot of character, gumption and fortitude just to survive, much less keep fighting.

We want smaller government and more freedom principles to 'survive and advance' as Jim Valvano used to say about the Wolfpack when they won the NCAA basketball title in 1983.

Unless you know the rules of the game, as Coach Valvano used surgically to milk the clock by fouling the other team's bad free throw shooters and make maximum use of the new (at the time) 3-point line, you are just hoisting up prayer shots blindly all over the court and hoping somehow someway you are going to win the game at the buzzer with a 90-foot hook shot.

Here's some other 'principled' stands throughout history that didn't have a well thought out endgame towards victory:

1. Buddhist monks using self-immolation to protest the war (Vietnam, but any war). Didn't work.

2. Sioux Indian 'Ghost Dance' at Wounded Knee. Danced themselves into exhaustion to become invisible to bullets, as they believed. The tactic failed to keep the white man out of the West.

3. Kamikaze pilots in WWII. Thought they could sink enough ships to win the war. They were proven dead wrong.

4.  Anyone in Clint Eastwood's way: 'Dyin' Ain't Much of A Livin', Boy!'

Let's try to follow the maxim of Jim Valvano: 'Survive and Advance!'

He also said something else very important: 'Don't give up. Never give up!'

Let's just be smart about it.

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