Vote For Balance

This is a letter that I sent to the Newburyport Daily News.

There is an old adage that making legislation is like making sausage. Meaning the squeamish best look away if they want to enjoy the end product. However, there are and must be limits in both processes. What Majority leader Reid (D-NV) did to the process of legislating to get the health bill through the US Senate would turn even a strong-stomached butcher green at the gills.

Gone were the promises of open debate on C-Span. Instead we had a rushed debate against an arbitrary Christmas deadline. Why the rush? Because this bill is a monstrosity unworthy of the term reform.

For the first time in our history, Americans will be mandated to purchase health care or pay a fine to the federal government, the House version even has provisions to send people to jail. Once the government assumes the power to mandate behavior we are on a very slippery slope. Today they will mandate we purchase healthcare, tomorrow it could be mandates to buy a hybrid vehicle or fines for eating fast food.

This bill also engages in accounting that would make the folks at Enron blush. From the Congressional Budget Office(CBO):
“To describe the full amount of hospital insurance trust fund savings as both improving the government’s ability to pay future Medicare benefits and financing new spending outside of Medicare would essentially double-count a large share of those savings and thus overstate the improvement in the government’s fiscal position.” That’s called cooking the books. When you combine it with the 21% cut in payments to doctors’ to the tune of $210 billion that they will then “fix” in seperate legislation, instead of modestly cutting the deficit in its first 10 years it actually adds over $300 billion. And the real kick in the pants, again from the CBO, this legislation will cause insurance premiums to increase faster than they would if Congress does nothing at all.

The aspect of this process that has justifiably received the most attention is Harry Reid’s outright buying of votes with taxpayer money. Sen. Mary Landrieu received $300million for her vote, not bad considering Thomas Jefferson only paid the French $15 million (in 1803 dollars) for the original Louisiana purchase. In what has been called the “cornhusker kickback” Sen. Nelson (D-NE) has ensured that Nebraska will have its Medicaid tab picked up by the Feds forever while the other 49 states are facing a financial tsunami. Last but not least, ethically challenged Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) was allowed to sneak in a provision at the last minute for a mere $100 million for a little homestate pork to aid his flagging re-election chances.

None of this would be possible if Harry Reid didn’t have a super-majority of 60 votes in the US Senate. The voters of MA have an opportunity to restore a bit of balance to our government by electing Scott Brown to the Senate and denying Harry Reid his super-majority. Keeping Harry Reid shy of 60 votes means that he will have to negotiate in good faith with Republicans(he calls us “evil-mongers”) and the resulting legislation will be more palatable to the American public.

You can bet that if Reid keeps his super-majority he will use the same formula: hyper-partisanship, shady accounting and corrupt bargains in coming legislative battles. Cap and Trade, which represents a massive tax on energy consumption and comprehensive immigration reform ie. amnesty are already in the legislative pipeline. How’s your stomach?