I Don't Need Your
By The Cynic
When I get bored (I
mean really bored), I'll watch CSPAN's coverage of House proceedings.
This is the equivalent of a self-performed root canal, but I believe
it to be important to check out our elected officials in action. While
the debating and pandering can becoming somewhat tedious, with the
"distinguished gentleman" banter and the trading of time on
the floor, I like to watch the actual vote take place.
As the votes come up,
CSPAN puts a graphic on the screen with columns for "Yea,"
"Nay" and "Not Voting." Along the left side of the
graphic, they show the vote breakdown according to Democrat, Republic
and Independent. We have only one Independent Congressman and it has
always warmed my heart to know that somewhere in this country, a
district decided to forego two party politics and elect a third party
candidate for national office. So I decided to spend my weekend
examining our only Independent Congressman, House member at-large from
Vermont, Bernie Sanders.
Bernie Sanders ran
for Vermont's only House seat in 1990. The former mayor of Burlington,
VT easily defeated the incumbent Republican candidate by a whopping 16
percentage points. He was reelected twice and is currently up for
Bernie is a self
described democratic-socialist (shhh... hear that? That's the sound of
my heart breaking), he believes that the rich pay too little in taxes
and that our health system should mirror Canada's. He wants the
government to control milk prices and prescription drug costs. In
short, he wants your government to have a hand in everything, cradle
to grave, and this is really a shame. I had really hoped to find a
candidate with new views and fresh ideas, instead I found someone
peddling recycled Euro-socialism to Americans.
His solution for
Social Security solvency is to raise the "artificial
ceiling" of social security, as any income above $65,400 is
currently exempt. Now using this theory, if we were to remove the
artificial ceiling and make all income eligible for Social Security
withholding it would help immediately, but what is to happen when Bill
Gates retires? You see, Social Security is not really a tax. Social
Security is our government acting as a bank and holding our money
until we retire. All of Bill Gates' Social Security withholding will
be due back to him. Bill Gates won't need Social Security when he
retires, however we will owe it to him. Bernie has to be banking on
the fact that there will be some new rich guy for us to pick on when
the likes of Bill Gates and Warren Buffet retire, because otherwise
the funds won't be there to support it.
Bill Gates is one of Bernie's favorite targets. In an article named The Big Get Bigger, The Rich Get Richer (Roll Call 7/10/00), Bernie writes:
"Bill Gates has
made history. According to Forbes magazine, he has reached a mark even
most financial analysts never thought possible: He has been named the
richest man in America for the fourth straight year, topping $85
billion in 1999. Incredibly, Gates now owns more personal wealth than
the bottom 40 percent of American households combined"
So let me get this
straight, Bernie. Is your thinking here that Bill Gates doesn't
deserve it? That somehow he has no responsibility for the fact that
this "bottom 40 percent" considerably benefited from the
work of Microsoft and the thousands of companies that were created
because of his Windows software? That this booming economy that has
lifted people's incomes and raised the American standard of living had
absolutely nothing to do with Microsoft? Please.
Bill Gates has more
to do with the success of our economy than our President, Congress
and, yes, even Alan Greenspan. His Windows software was the starting
block for every dot com success, every recovery of a fledgling
computer manufacturer and just about every advancement in computer
technology. These companies are the ones that, either directly or
indirectly, supply jobs for this bottom 40 percent. It has provided
income for them to eat and shelter themselves. These companies have
given them the opportunity to save and to invest in portfolios that
uses the success of these same companies to provide for their
retirement, therefore reducing their need for Social Security. The
reason Bill Gates earns more then 40 percent of American households is
that he contributes more then that 40 percent.
On his home page,
bernie.org , it states:
believes that every American should be guaranteed comprehensive
medical care as a right of citizenship, with no out-of-pocket expense.
A longtime supporter of a Canadian-style single payer health care
plan, in 1990 he introduced legislation to establish such a plan for
the U.S. on a state-by-state basis."
A friend of mine, who
is from Canada (yaheydare), has a sister who works as a nurse in a
Canadian hospital. She told me that Canadians are being forced to wait
for over 6 months to receive an MRI. I can call my doctor and have an
MRI scheduled within a few days. I don't even need an MRI. Why in the
world would you want American health care to resemble that? The
Canadian model suffers from what is known as moral hazard. Moral
hazard basically means that when something is free people will take
advantage of it regardless of need. The result being that Emergency
rooms are filled with cases of hangnails and victims of the common
cold, occupying the staff when it's time could better spent on real
emergency cases. When a government controls your health care, it
leaves the system vulnerable to neglect. Your elected officials won't
react to it until it becomes politically expedient to do so. For many,
this will be too late.
Bernie goes on to
describe many ways that he could have the government fix all that ails
us, although it usually results in us paying more in taxes and
stifling innovation for the sake of "working families."
There is a reason why America leads the world in standard of living
and innovation, it's called free markets and free will. We put the
power in the hands of those who can create and innovate and try to
leave little to the hands of such high minded pointy heads such as Mr.
I really want a serious third party movement in this country, preferably the Libertarian party. We need new visions and new directions for our growing country and the major two parties are stale and unthoughtful. While Bernie runs for office under the guise of Independence, he offers exactly the opposite. He wants the government to be the providers and for the people to be punished for their achievements. Frankly, this is one style of independence that I could do without.
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© The Cynic, 2000
View expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Political USA.