The date August 2, 2011, looms over us like a biblical prediction resembling Armageddon. Politicians carelessly throw this date around during the day as an example of the end of times as we know them and then they leave for their fundraisers the same night. Promises of doom and gloom accompany its reference during press conferences as Republicans campaign for a Presidential election not held until 2012. Even Obama prophecies natural disasters that will surely unfold as a result of …. well, from not doing exactly as he wants with taxpayer dollars. Obama all but guarantees that Social Security checks will not be issued next month because America is out of money. This statement was issued while Americans read about the record he broke with his reelection effort, bringing in 47 million in the month of July for his 2012 campaign for the Presidency. Certainly the truth lies somewhere amidst all of the posturing and exaggerations being flaunted carelessly by those responsible for this so-called crisis. Let’s set the stage for this Shakespearean festival of politics.
Act I: The spending party in Washington truly did not get underway until 2008. On October 3, 2008, President Bush signed the $700 billion dollar bailout package into law with Congressional blessings. At the time, it was touted as the “most expensive government intervention in history”. It was passed without provisions providing oversight to the release of these funds, which is never a good idea for Washington. Stories surfaced of offices that were redecorated and golden parachutes that were issued to the very persons behind America’s financial crisis. We read story after story of executive bonuses and government intervention with businesses in choosing which one would survive and which ones that wouldn’t be so lucky. These stories infuriated the very people who were funding such extravagant measures: The taxpayers, who sat idly by watching the Washington and Wall Street love affair.
Act II: Little did taxpayers know at the time that it was simply a preface to the really big things about to come. Four months after the first spending spree, President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 into law. This was when the party in Washington really hit fever pitch. One only needs to access Wikipedia to see how these taxpayer dollars were misused. This Act was supposed to jumpstart the economy. It was supposed to lower unemployment. And of course there were unrelated expenses included in the bill i.e. long-term spending projects for studies into the effectiveness of medical treatment and such, the type of provisions which make taxpayers really happy about our right to bear arms. At the Council on Jobs and Competitiveness in Durham, NC in June of 2011 when the President himself noted the total failure of the shovel-ready projects which never came to fruition, he joked, “Shovel-ready was not as … uh … shovel-ready as we expected”, he said laughing. The extraordinary amount of money spent by Congress was a failure noting any problem it sought to remedy. It did not lower unemployment. It did not jump-start the economy. And most notably, it did not help the taxpayers by any measure.
Act III: The irony of Congress comes to a climax when the Patient Protection and Affordable Healthcare Act was signed into law on March 23, 2010. One really has to hand it to Congress when considering the talent they have in coming up with names for legislation. It is like going to a doctor and being told you are going to have a “cleansing” procedure only to learn on the table it is a colonoscopy. Considering our current state of affairs, the ultimate irony of this little piece of legislation i.e. the “Affordable Healthcare Act”, is that it is not so affordable. And that just sounds like something Congress would do right before they stick us with the bill. This legislation raises premiums. Americans had to start paying for it in 2010 to pay for provisions that won’t go into effect until 2014. It mandates that all Americans have health insurance and penalizes those who opt out with a fine as well as a prison term. Section 7203 describes as a misdemeanor the “willful failure to pay” as “punishable by a fine up to $25,000 and/or imprisonment up to one year”. Section 7201 of the “Patient Protection Act” describes the “felony willful evasion” as “punishable by a fine up to $250,000 and/or imprisonment up to five years”. So much for “patient protection” when you can’t pay the bill Congress promises. The prison term was Representative Pelosi’s idea and, to her credit, she did tell everyone that “We have to pass the [healthcare bill] so that you can find out what is in it”. After all, in a good plot one needs suspension of disbelief in order to keep reading.
And now, nearing our conclusion, we are engulfed in the denouement. It is the aftermath and the party is over. The piles of money have been spent. Nothing has changed and the people are angry. And yet, Washington wants more money for one last party, promising … even begging for redemption, albeit with a wink and a smile.
Tax payers need to wake up and shut down this production before this production shuts down our country.