Negotiating Healthcare with Leverage

Front Page, National Scene, Opinion/Editorial

     

Creative Commons photo

 

     In a recent tweet, President Trump said, “If ObamaCare is hurting people, & it is, why shouldn’t it hurt the insurance companies & why should Congress not be paying what public pays?” Good question: Why, indeed?

     Under Obamacare’s regulation, medical costs have risen sharply, and insurance companies have been subsidized by government to offset the rising cost. Even with the government subsidy, insurance companies have been leaving the Obamacare exchanges. Eliminating the insurance subsidy would certainly hurt the insurance companies, but it would also hurt the people they serve. Therefore, hurting the insurance companies seems unlikely, but why should Congress not pay what the citizens pay?

     The short answer was provided by George Orwell more than seventy years ago in his book Animal Farm. A sign was posted that said, “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” Congress believes they are more equal than the people they are supposed to serve. Congress believes it is above the law. It is that simple, but is it legal?

     In 2013, Obama allowed Congress to classify themselves as a small business, making them eligible for the small business exchange, where they receive an employer contribution through the Office of Personnel Management. This has often been referred to as the Congressional exemption to Obamacare. Clearly this exemption is unconstitutional because Congress is not a small business, and Congress did not appropriate funding for their subsidy from the Office of Personnel Management. Without the small business classification, Congress would have been directed onto the individual exchange which prohibits an employer contribution. More importantly Congress would have had to pay for their insurance like everyone else. There would have been no taxpayer subsidy for Congress.

     To qualify as a small business under Obamacare, an employer must have less than fifty employees. Congress has thousands of employees so the entire scam is based on fraud. Clearly President Trump could end the scam by instructing the Office of Personnel Management to eliminate the employer contribution for Congress. Taking such action would provide an incentive for Congress to address healthcare honestly and would be a move in the right direction with regards to “draining the swamp.”

     It remains to be seen if President Trump will take this action, but mentioning it has caused considerable discussion in Congress. Democratic Senator Chris Murphy used twitter to respond, “This is a clear threat to Congress: pass my health bill or as punishment I will end health care for you, your staff, & your constituents,” Murphy tweeted. Of course, Murphy is lying. There was no threat to end his healthcare. The threat was to make him pay for it. Murphy added moments after, “I would argue this is a very serious moment. President making personal threats to us and our constituents if we don’t pass his bill.” Clearly Senator Murphy does not understand President Trump’s use of leverage. Perhaps President Trump should have responded, “It is not a threat; it is a promise.”

     Not all responses were negative. Representative Ron DeSantis said, “I think the president would be absolutely within his rights to cancel the Obama rule (congressional exemption) that conferred this subsidy on Congress.” DeSantis also said killing the exemption would give lawmakers an incentive to get a health care plan approved. DeSantis is not alone.  Several Republicans have been criticizing the provision for years.

Congressman Ron Desantis  (Creative Commons photo)

     From the lack of congressional action on healthcare, it should be clear that Congress has no intention of repealing Obamacare even though they have been promising to do so for seven years. However, President Trump appears to be sincere in his desire to resolve the issue and has not given up despite having to deal with the pathetically inept and deceitful Congress. Congress would like to move on to tax reform, but President Trump has not finished negotiating on healthcare. In fact, the White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway said, “The president will not accept those who said it is, quote, time to move on.”

Creative Commons Photo

     The President has a leverage in the congressional exemption for Obamacare, and he is not likely to give it up easily. Consider this quote from President Trump’s book The Art of the Deal. “The worst thing you can possibly do in a deal is seem desperate to make it. That makes the other guy smell blood, and then you’re dead. The best thing you can do is deal from strength, and leverage is the biggest strength you can have. Leverage is having something the other guy wants. Or better yet, needs. Or best of all, simply can’t do without.” Congress wants the Obamacare exemption but President Trump controls it.

Until next time…

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Anyone but Trump

Front Page, Government and Politics, Opinion/Editorial

Trump and Romney

 

     By the time anyone reads this, the fate of our nation may have been decided by the same establishment political hacks that have brought this nation to the brink. I refer to none other than the Trump-bashing elites, who believe they know better than the American people what is best for the citizens of this great nation.  They are the politicians that have promoted internationalism at the great expense of sovereignty, at the loss of jobs, loss of borders, and loss of dignity.  Not to be a name dropper, but I refer to the Clintons, the Romneys, the McCains, The New York Times, The Washington Post, NBC, ABC, CBS, most members of The House of Representatives, and the Senate.  For those of you who are asking yourselves, “Why did he leave out the President?”I can only answer that this was my short list, and I did not want to taint it.

 

     It has certainly been interesting watching the antics of the media, whose imaginations are without bounds. You would think that “The Donald” must have been sleeping on duty when the Benghazi attacks led to the death of American soldiers and diplomats, or perhaps he jeopardized national security by putting top secret communications on an unprotected email server.  Oh, I don’t know, maybe he was so cruel as to lie to family members of deceased soldiers.  Certainly, you would expect the media to be stirred up about such disgusting behavior, but he did not do these things; that was Hillary.

 

     What then has he done? He has suggested that he would secure our border and deport illegal immigrants.  He has suggested that he would stop the migration of Muslims until such time as they can be properly vetted to protect the United States citizens from further radical Islamic terrorist attacks.  He has indicated that he would work to bring jobs back to this country and keep this country out of political wars.  He has said he would repeal Obamacare and replace it with a competitive free enterprise system.  I know these are revolutionary words to our elitist rulers, but really, should that qualify him to be compared to Adolph Hitler?

 

     No, I don’t think so. The real problem is that he is threatening the status of the political elite.  They sense that they are losing control, and they will not stand for it.  They will spend tens of millions in attack ads in hopes of defeating Donald Trump.  No price is too high, no tactic is too crude, and no opportunity must be lost.  Therefore, you see the two-time loser Romney come out and do his song and dance routine, but was anybody really listening?  Did anybody really care?  Who would care what Romney thinks? After all, he refused to attack President Obama when he ran against him, and now he wants to attack the most popular candidate in his own party.

 

     But really Trump is bigger than that. We now have foreign dignitaries and the Pope putting in their two-cent’s worth.  The Papal hypocrisy is unseemly.  The Pope lives in a walled City but believes we should not have borders?  I fully understand Mexico’s position.  Their citizens come to this country, and in so doing relieve the burden on the Mexican government to provide for them.  Once in this country, they send remittance payments back to Mexico boosting the Mexican economy, further reducing the burden on the Mexican government to provide for their remaining citizens.  Open borders is a win-win for Mexico, but if it is a win-win for Mexico, isn’t it a lose-lose for us? Better than $25 billion dollars was taken from our economy and sent to Mexico through remittance payments in 2015, and that is just the beginning of the cost to this country.  Additional cost include housing, welfare, medical, education, and of course, the cost no one likes to mention, the crime that is committed by illegal aliens in this country.  Oh, I forget Trump has mentioned the crime wave a time or two.

 

     As I said in the beginning, the fate of our great nation may have been decided long before anyone reads this, but just in case it has not, consider whether you would like to continue to be dictated to by the political elite of both parties, or whether you are capable of examining the facts and deciding for yourself. And remember this, “During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” – George Orwell.

 

Until next time…

 

 

 

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A Cow Named Horse: Political Correctness, Doublespeak, and Trickery

Around the State, Corpus Christi, Education, Flour Bluff, Front Page, Government and Politics, National Scene, Opinion/Editorial, Religion

Co-Authored by Dan Thornton and Matthew Thornton

A Cow Named Horse
A Cow Named Horse

     Several years have passed, but I still remember the joy I found in naming my cow “Horse.”  It was a little mischief I played on my young nephew Matthew, a special bit of humor you might say. Certainly, it was not an original idea.  I think I most likely took my cue from the Viking’s naming of Iceland and Greenland, another obvious attempt at deception.  It was many years later, after many re-tellings of the story, that I realized that I was using a harmless form of “Doublespeak.”

     Have you ever wondered about the difference between the Secretary of War and the Secretary of Defense? What about terrorists and freedom fighters? Did you ever think that a preemptive strike seems more like an unprovoked attack? Why are some people unique while others are weird? And what is a substance abuse problem if not a drug addiction?  Why do we refer to failing a grade as being held back? Are we just trying to be PC (politically correct)?  Exactly what does it mean to be politically correct?  If you look for synonyms in the dictionary, you’ll find a myriad of terms, such as: considerate, diplomatic, gender-free, inclusive, inoffensive, liberal, multi-cultural, sensitive, non-discriminatory, non-racist, non-sexist, bias-free, and respectful, to name a few.

1984

     George Orwell, who perhaps commented best on the subject in his novel Nineteen Eight-Four, developed what he referred to as Newspeak and Doublethink.  Unfortunately, the Orwellian term, Newspeak, has come to carry a negative connotation because it is defined as the manipulation or switching of words to make an unpleasant, or otherwise negative situation, sound… not as awful. In contemporary news, we refer to this as spin.  In particular, Orwell created the word Newspeak to describe the dangers of its use by governments to control the masses. In reality, political correctness is hardly different.  It has acquired a cult status and is frequently used to suppress free speech, prevent meaningful discussion, and ultimately create hate crime laws.  If it all sounds a bit Orwellian, it is.  Political correctness is a coercive device used to punish nonbelievers, reward cultists, and ostracize anyone who questions the philosophy of the government as it attempts to achieve its goals.  (As a quick reference, consider The Patriot Act, which allows the government to monitor  – or secure – phone and computer records without a search warrant. A better term for this legislation might be The Loss of Privacy Act. Before political correctness was in vogue, it was crudely referred to as tyranny.

“I have appointed a Secretary of Semantics–a most important post. He is to furnish me with forty to fifty dollar words. Tell me how to say yes and no in the same sentence without a contradiction. He is to tell me the combination of words that will put me against inflation in San Francisco and for it in New York. He is to show me how to keep silent–and say everything. You can very well see how he can save me an immense amount of worry.” – Harry Truman

     Let us consider a recent and particularly controversial example. In the summer of 2015, the Supreme Court decided that gay marriage was legal in all fifty states.  Of the masses that the ruling did not directly affect, many could not have cared less to see the finalization of such an amendment. Certain religious groups, however, became very upset with the decision, and their point, as we shall see, is valid. In the wake of the Supreme Court ruling, a 2013 story resurfaced about an Oregon bakery whose owners refused to bake a cake for a gay wedding and suggested an alternative to the potential buyers. The would-be customers brought legal action, and the owners were forced to pay an exorbitant $135,000 fine that resulted in the closing of the bakery. Whether or not the bakers’ decision to turn away paying customers was a business-savvy or morally aligned move is debatable as a matter of opinion. Such debate, however, will not change the fact that from a legal and constitutional standpoint, the Supreme Court put the state in a position to forcibly negate and sacrifice religious rights in order to preserve gay rights.

     More recently there have been cases where the courts have forced individuals to take sensitivity training in order to overcome their religious beliefs. Imagine a nation that boasts its freedom of religion and freedom of speech yet denies both and enforces the politically correct rights of another. How much more totalitarian can it get than to take a so-called progressive freedom such as that of gay rights and turn it into an inverse function that negates one of the nation’s oldest and most traditional freedoms? The bakery, previously referenced, would certainly be in the minority in Portland, Oregon, as most bakeries would not turn away perfectly good business under such circumstances. Why then was there the need for government intervention? Why not just allow the business owners to succeed or suffer the fate of their religious conviction? Is that not what freedom of religion entails? Perhaps the irony of the whole matter is that marriage itself is a Christian religious tradition that has nothing to do with the state. We may recall that it has always been referred to as holy matrimony.

“If people can’t control their  own emotions, then they have to start trying to control other peoples’ behavior” – Robert Skinner

StopPC

     It might be meaningful at this point to examine the true meaning of political correctness in order to gain a full understanding of its underlying tyranny.  First, the word political comes from the Greek word, politikos, and refers to the practice of influencing others. Children, in their earliest days of learning to speak, begin trials of informal politicking. From the first time they play mother against father to get an extra serving of ice-cream at dinner, they come to the understanding that they are able to manipulate the world around them and create the circumstances of their desire. In its most rudimentary form, then, politics is nothing more than a person’s attempt to get what he or she wants. What one person wants, however, could very easily result in the pain or loss of another. In our politically correct, highly evolved, ever-so-civilized world, people are not socially or legally granted the freedom to go out and seize whatever they wish to have without at least considering the perennial destruction that may be left in the wake of their otherwise self-centered campaign.  Sound politicking, therefore, requires not only getting what you want but doing so, without looking like a bully. As such, political correctness is most accurately viewed as a style of semantics that can be manipulated and used with the intent of achieving the political agenda of a person or group. Moreover, we can deduce that being a cultist to politically correct language results from only one of two possible causes.  Either users are trying to influence other people with their own political agenda, or they have been influenced by the political agenda of some person or group.

     Like Newspeak and Doublethink, being politically correct is often, wittingly or not, used by governments as a deep-seeded technique for mind-control. Are there instances in which politically correct language might be used as a tool to further unite a people in freedom or equality? Maybe, and certainly there are cases in which people simply use politically correct language to be harmlessly polite. However, using political correctness as a common language cannot be forced upon people without infringing upon the guaranteed freedom of speech which is supposed to be judiciously protected. The truth of a person’s thoughts, after all, do not change just because he or she feels obligated to sugar-coat the way in which the thought is conveyed.  To clarify, I am not referring to Orwell’s Doublethink here.  Ultimately, being PC, in its best and most harmless form, is lying, and, in its worst form, is a medieval oppression of the mind.

John Cleese with Further Thoughts on Everyday PC:

Click to View – 2 minutes

PragerU: A Progressive’s Guide to Political Correctness

Click to View – 6 minutes

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