The House of Representatives just passed a terrible health care bill which still has to make its way through the Senate. While presenting the plan with flowery rhetoric about more choices (if you don’t have pre-existing conditions) and more access (if you can afford it), the actual impact will take us back to the days before Obamacare. Fewer people covered. Premiums will go up faster than they are now.
Republicans say that Obamacare is failing and they must do something. Do they think that voters have not noticed that they have been trying to kill Obamacare for six years? What if, instead, they had worked to make it better?
President Trump tells us that the new health care bill is fantastic. But, wait, there’s more! Soon, the president and the House plan to introduce a massive tax cut because, according to the president, we are one of the most taxed countries in the world. Not even close. We are below the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) tax average for industrialized nations. The facts are readily available online. But, hey, who doesn’t love a tax cut?
In funding the government into September, House added more than $20 billion for the military. Trump wanted more than $50 billion. In a speech to the American Society of Newspaper Editors, on April 16, 1953, President Eisenhower said this: “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.” Perhaps we could add to that “those who are sick and not cared for.”
Republicans in Congress prefer a free-market capitalism approach to almost everything. The less government involvement, the better. This method works fine in some areas. Not so much in others. Capitalism creates winners and losers. There are areas, like health care, where we don’t want losers. It is not the right thing to do. The government needs to be involved.
Based on the evidence, this is what appears to be happening. Continue to cut federal taxes because people like tax cuts. Tell voters that tax cuts will stimulate economic growth on a sustainable basis and that revenue shortfalls will not happen. Continue to add to the military budget because people want to feel safe and proud. Tax revenues available for other programs will start to dwindle. Then, in the spirit of fiscal conservatism, legislators will say that we cannot afford social safety nets, universal health care and other programs which the Republican Party does not support or believes states should handle.
In the 2018 mid-term elections, voters will have the opportunity to show Congress what they think.
Tukwila Reporter columnist Chuck Parrish can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.