The American Dilemma and How We Can Fix It

Posts tagged ‘Medicaid’

THE ZIMMERMAN TRIAL/AN AMERICAN ORDEAL

If I were a bookmaker, I’d lay 10/1 that George Zimmerman will be found guilty on at least some charge.  I’d feel very confident in that bet – and it has nothing to do with my review of the trial or the evidence which has been presented.  It has to do with the culture that is ever-present today in American society.

It is the culture that must find in the scapegoat “racism” the diversion to distract us from the fact that the policies that so-called liberals have put in place over decades have created a permanent, impoverished, uneducated underclass to which the majority of our black (or if you prefer African-American) citizens belong.  It is a tragedy, and anyone who has ever voted in Congress to expand or extend “welfare” rather than devise a program of “workfare” should, in my mind, be arrested, tried, convicted and jailed for life without possibility of parole.

I mentioned this in a much earlier post but an experience from my days in the temporary help business bears repeating – particularly in light of this trial and the overall culture we find in America today.  It is a story about a young black woman who responded to an ad and who was looking for employment.

One of our best clients, the Quaker Oats Company needed someone to do filing and make copies on their Xerox equipment.  The position was scheduled to last for two months but there was a good possibility that they might hire the individual permanently.

Most of the people whom we put out on assignment had extensive skills, far beyond the level of this position so our list of potential candidates to fill this spot was limited which is why we advertised the job.  The day after the ad appeared in “The Chicago Tribune” a young woman arrived at our office to apply for the position.  I interviewed her myself.

Because I was interested in maintaining my relationship with the client, I was willing to take a loss on this job and planned on paying the applicant far more than the going rate – specifically, I would offer a salary of three dollars over minimum wage – minimum wage or a few cents more being what the position was worth in the market.

I sat down with this young woman who was 22 years old.  She was dressed very appropriately for a job interview.  It was obvious that she had taken the time to try to put herself forward in the best possible light.  She seemed eager to find a job and, in fact, was the first one to respond.  I liked that about her.

She did not have a high school diploma – owing to the fact that the first of her children was born when she was 17.  She also had two younger kids.  Nevertheless, she seemed quite bright – and I was impressed with her attitude.  She wanted to do better for herself and her children.

After decades of interviewing people, sometimes you just have to go by gut feelings rather than documentation and I wanted to give her a chance to enter the work force.  (Other than having done some babysitting, she had never held a job).  So I offered her the position and told her what it would pay.

As I said, she was bright.  She asked how many hours a week she would be able to work so I told her 37-1/2.

She did some rough multiplication and came up with her weekly gross earnings.

Then she looked at me and said, “You know, I would really like to take this job but I can’t afford to.  I know there’s taxes going to come out of this, and I’d have to spend on carfare to get to and from, and I’d have to pay a baby sitter, and if I take this I would lose my welfare and Medicaid and one of the babies has got the colic.  I just can’t afford to take this job.”

I nearly cried.  This young woman was exactly correct.  It made no monetary sense for her to accept this job – and if not this one, certainly not any other at minimum wage.  Thus we had condemned her to a life on the public dole – a life in which she had only dependence and could never develop self-respect.  What a tragedy.

That interview haunted me for days and while I will not say it was the “Eureka moment” which caused me to march to a conservative way of thinking (I was already there), it certainly reinforced my belief that was the correct path.

That interview occurred about 20 years ago.  It would be incorrect for me to say that nothing has changed.  It has – and for the worse.  And every time politicians expand a welfare benefit, they tighten their grasp and twist the noose around the necks of those whom they need for the sole reason of getting themselves re-elected.

There is an obvious solution to this problem – so simple that you don’t need a PhD. in Economics to understand it.  Here it is.

Rather than cut off a person from welfare and Medicaid because they have found employment, simply reduce those benefits by a percentage, based on their earnings on their job.  In that way, the person is going to have significantly more money to take home and spend and will have an incentive to seek employment.  The other benefit is that the taxpayers will save money.  And perhaps the most important benefit is that the individual who is working will be able to take pride in herself.

So what does this all have to do with George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin?  Everything.

You see if you slap the word racism around loud enough and often enough; if you have the not very Rev. Al Sharpton bellowing it at the top of his lungs; if you have constant media attention paid to the trial of the allegedly “racist” Mr. Zimmerman; if you have Obama commenting on it; you have set the stage to divert the easily diverted public’s attention from the failings of our Congress; from our departure from the American ideal of America being a place where you can have anything you desire if you’re only willing to work for it; and from the real racists – who have built a power base composed of the ignorant, uneducated, welfare mothers and children who think having an Obama phone is the greatest thing in the world.

Those who have voted to establish this group that is only one step removed from slavery are the ones who should be on trial.  Not Mr. Zimmerman.

THE FISCAL CLIFF AND APPLE PIE

The negotiations on the fiscal cliff, if I may use that term to describe the posturing in government that is underway, drag on at their same slow pace as before the election.  We’ve all heard about it – and some of us have taken the time to understand its implications.  Probably just a few of us.  Perhaps the reason so few of us concern ourselves with the matter is that, as I review today’s “Trending News” on Yahoo, the subject didn’t make it into the top ten.  We have higher priorities.

Of the top five items on that list of what Yahoo viewers found important, four were concerned with “celebrities” and their activities which included one law suit; one romantic breakup; one engagement and one speeding ticket.  Rounding out the list just in time for the next $500 Million Powerball drawing was a seven time lottery winner’s advice on how to increase your chances of winning in the random game – a subject which he covers in a book which has sold thousands of copies.

Of course, none of these has anything to do with our subject – but in reviewing the list of today’s news items, there were two entries which I found that did pertain.  These were stories about whether doctors should prescribe the “morning after” pill to teen girls without parental consent and a report about the CDC’s engaging in a three year program to educate minority gay and bisexual men about AIDS prevention.  Whoever said, “Money is the root of all evil” must have lived before the time of our sexual liberation.

According to the CDC report they estimate that 1,000 “young people” whom they define as being between the ages of 13 and 24 are infected monthly with HIV.  The cost of drug therapy to control the virus is approximately $400,000 per person over their lifetime.  This report focuses strictly on people in that age group and does not address older people who are similarly infected.

Since most people in that age group don’t have the benefit of a trust fund from Grandma to pay for the drugs they will need, the taxpayers, monthly are incurring an ultimate liability of an additional $400 Million to add to the amounts we are already spending on Medicaid – which will no doubt be the provider of the drugs that they will require.

Now I don’t want to sound like one of those stodgy old conservatives who is merely concerned about his or her own welfare and that of their family.  Actually, I think of myself as a warm and caring person who generally makes decisions based on logic, tempered with compassion.  But I do become mildly rankled when I read stories like this.

At the heart of the fiscal cliff discussion is the issue of “entitlement” programs which include Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.  While those three are lumped together under the same heading, I believe that the only one of them which actually qualifies as an “entitlement” is Medicaid – the healthcare program for those who cannot afford treatment because of their limited financial circumstances.  The other two, Social Security and Medicaid are funded by the working taxpayer and by their employers who pay into both funds in similar amounts.  In the latter two cases if people receive benefits it is because they are entitled to do so because they paid for them.

As we know, Social Security and Medicare are nearly bankrupt.  That is because the Federal government has regularly engaged in financial chicanery and pillaged the funds which taxpayers paid into them to use them for other purposes.  One of those purposes has been to fund Medicaid – to which no one has every directly contributed a dime.

If you read through Obamacare, it is clear that health services will soon be rationed.  A panel of fifteen as yet unnamed bureaucrats (who may or may not have any medical background) will determine what services you and I are “entitled” to receive.  In the absence of any realistic, soundly based principled attempt to cut waste and fraud and the overhead costs engendered by a bureaucracy to administer these programs (and now we will be adding to that, digging ourselves yet deeper in debt) it had to come to that.

So with my empathetic view toward life I theorize that I am one of those fifteen people who will have the responsibility for determining who shall receive and who shall be deprived of health benefits and two cases come before me.  There are only enough funds to treat one of these patients.

The first is one of these young, newly-infected HIV patients.  He is in his present situation because he was uneducated or careless or unconcerned about the consequences of his liaisons.  The second is your grandmother who has worked all her life, paid her taxes and raised a family.  She got into her condition through the natural process of getting old.

I don’t mean to sound heartless but I’m sorry HIV “victim,” you’re out of here.  I made my decision based on the “greater good.”

Grandma makes a terrific apple pie.

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