"You know, I was amazed how easily people fell for the idea that we actually disagree! Um, Bill -- could you spot me an intern until next Tuesday?" Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich, co-architects of the much-discussed S-CHIP program.
Nothing of substance stands to be accomplished as a result of the “debate” over the proposed expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP) and Bush's veto of the same. The program, after all, is the purebred offspring of an incestuous union cloaked in the euphemism "bipartisanship."
A federal “block grant” program jointly created by Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich, S-CHIP was passed by a Republican-dominated Congress and signed into law in August 1997 by a Democratic president whose fiscal performance placed him comfortably to the right of the incumbent Republican. As with any other welfare state measure, S-CHIP was designed to expand, and in recent weeks this objective has been stated clearly by both George W. Bush and by Mike Leavitt, the Bush Regime's minister for welfare.
In his veto message – a rarity, given that the Grand and Glorious Decider claims the power to nullify legislation through “signing statements” -- Bush pointed out that he sought to expand funding for S-CHIP “twenty percent ... over the next five years.”
After conceding his agreement with the Democratic congressional leadership that S-CHIP should grow, Bush claimed that his real intention was to see the program shrink: “[T]his legislation would move health care in this country in the wrong direction.... Our goal should be to move children who have no health insurance to private coverage, not to move children who already have private health insurance to government coverage.”
The disagreement here was based on an expansion of S-CHIP coverage to include “some families of four earning almost $83,000 a year,” which would mean turning the program into a middle-class entitlement.
And let it not be forgotten, insisted Bush, that the S-CHIP expansion bill “does not fully fund all its new spending, obscuring [its] true cost... [and] raising taxes on working Americans.”
So Bush took out his veto crayon and went to work, spelling that challenging four-letter word with relatively little difficulty (although, to be fair, Dick Cheney helped guide the Bushling's hand).
This veto was cast by the same apostle of small government and fiscal austerity whose congressional minions employed blackmail, threats, bribes, and unethical parliamentary stalling tactics to pass an immeasurably larger enhancement of the socialized health care system on November 22, 2003.
This was done for reasons of vulgar political opportunism: Current and soon-to-be Medicare beneficiaries vote, and so the Bushite Republicans decided to bribe that chunk of the electorate with hundreds of billions of dollars to be stolen from the young and yet-to-be-born.
As the incomparable James Bovard recalls, the Medicare expansion bill – which was a pure product of Republican partisanship – actually lost when the Roll Call was taken at 2 a.m. However, the White House-allied Republican leadership kept the vote open for four hours while various arm-twisters bribed, browbeat, and bullied enough Republicans to create a “victory” margin. Even then, only two congressmen succumbed to White House pressure.
In the case of Rep. Nick Smith (R-Mich.) -- who, to his everlasting credit, voted against the bill – the tactics included the offer of a $100,000 campaign donation to his son, a Republican congressional candidate. That bribe was coupled with a threat: Vote against the bill, Smith was told, and your son is (in the words of now-convicted Republican former congressman Randy Cunningham) “dead meat.”
Behind the gangland tactics and Banana Republic parliamentary procedures employed on the House floor, the White House was committing several varieties of perjury and and accounting fraud in calculating the costs of the Medicare enhancement. The White House's proud boast was that the expanded program would cost no more than $400 billion over the next decade (such a trifling sum to those in the business of official plunder).
Apparently that arbitrary figure was produced when some tertiary administration official pulled it from his emunctory aperture. And the White House was careful to cover up more rational cost estimates. As Bovard recounts:
“Richard S. Foster, the top actuary at the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, privately estimated in June 2003 – five months before the final vote – that the bill would actually cost $550 billion. He was contacted by Democratic staffers seeking estimates on the cost of the Bush proposal. By law, he was obligated to provide them the information. Thomas Scully, the chief Medicare administrator, is reported to have threatened to fire Foster if he provided the information. Foster later commented that `there was a pattern of withholding information for what I perceived to be political purposes.' The much higher estimate of the cost of the Medicare bill was apparently known by top officials at the White House.”
Eventually the Bu'ushists admitted – long the bill was enacted – that the new Medicare benefit would cost at least $1.2 trillion over the next decade.
In a nice bit of hypocritical parallelism with the S-CHIP, Bush and his cronies deliberately shot down a proposal offered by 30 House Republicans to extend Medicare drug benefits only to seniors without private insurance coverage. And a study of the measure by the Congressional Budget Office concluded that because of the expanded Medicare program, “at least one-third of all private companies will dump their retirees into the Medicare system” -- which is an entirely predictable outcome.
So Bush's Medicare expansion was guilty of all the offenses that made the S-CHIP expansion so eminently worthy of a Bush veto. The chief difference, once again, is that Bush's enrichment of socialized health care is monumentally more destructive, since it constitutes one of the demographic cluster-bombs set to detonate as the Baby Boomers retire.
So when the economy collapses and intergenerational warfare erupts over Social Security, Medicare, and other old age entitlements, we should remember to express proper thanks to George W. Bush and his adherents.
"When we say `Don't trust anybody over 30,' we mean it!" The dystopian State depicted in Logan's Run imposed mandatory euthanasia at age 30; a fraudulent ritual called "Carousel" extended the bogus promise of "renewal" to those who qualified, but nobody ever did. That system represented one way to control old age entitlement costs -- not that I intend to give the supervisors of our quasi-socialized health care system any ideas....
The air was not rent with outraged cries from Republican-aligned media personalities when Bush got his Medicare expansion. Yet that same claque of concubines can be heard execrating the Democrats for their S-CHIP proposal – which, while bad enough, is nowhere near as disastrous as Bush's entitlement.
And efforts to defend the Chimpster's veto have broken new ground in partisan viciousness, including an unprecedented campaign to traduce young children whose catastrophic medical expenses were subsidized through S-CHIP.
That the benefits received by those families have no constitutional sanction is clear and important, but not immediately germane to this discussion – since we're examining the actions of a party apparatus that is utterly disdainful of the Constitution and incapable of fiscal restraint.
The only reason why Republican media whores -- from the Hogarthian caricature of egotistical gluttony called Rush Limbaugh, to the caustic little callat named Michelle Malkin – targeted 12-year-old Graeme Frost and his family was because his rebuttal to a presidential radio address was seen as an attack on the Dear Leader and the One True Party.
The same is true of the utterly vile suggestion, made by National Review's Mark Hemmingway, that the parents of Bethany Wilkerson, a toddler who received S-CHIP subsidies (and who stars in a Democrat-created political ad) made a “bad decision” by having children:
“Dara [Bethany's mother] admitted to me that she and Brian had been talking about having children since before they were married. She further admitted that after they were married she voluntarily left a job at a country club that had good health insurance, because the situation was `unmanageable.' From there she took a job at a restaurant with no health insurance, and the couple went on to have a baby anyway, presuming that others would pay for it and certainly long before they knew their daughter would have a heart defect that probably cost the gross national product of Burkina Faso to fix. But not knowing about future health problems is the reason we have insurance in the first place.”(Emphasis added.)
“I hope Bethany grows up strong — I’m worried about her,” wrote Hemmingway in the tone of sneering, condescending mock-sympathy that comes easily to comfortable people devoid of principles. “Not because I’m worried that the state won’t take care of her, but I’m afraid that her parents will continue to set a bad example.”
How dare Bethany's mother decide to quit her job before having children! How inept of the parents not to exercise oracular insight regarding the hidden medical problems that would eventually afflict their yet-to-be-conceived child! More to the point – how dare that family defy the wisdom of the Dear Leader, and publicly oppose the designs of his One True Party!
Such people really shouldn't be allowed to breed.
Having sloughed off the ideological pretense of being a conservative Party, the Bushified element of the GOP stands before us in the full majesty of its reptilian evil. It really is a totalitarian cult held together only by the worship of power.
"A sprawling apparatus of coercion, surveillance, and social regimentation? Oh, George and Dick, you shouldn't have!" --
Hillary the Red's delighted reaction as she unwraps her house-warming gift on the morning of January 20, 2009.
And the unfiltered nastiness of that cult's media allies will probably guarantee that in January 2009 our country will be blessed with a government headed by an unabashed socialist who will eagerly build on the legacy of her predecessor.
A Personal Note
Thanks, so much, for the prayers and very generous expressions of support for Korrin and for myself. I promise to keep you apprised of how she's doing. Your friendship, and concern for my family, are among my biggest blessings.
Please be sure to visit The Right Source and the Liberty Minute archive.
Dum spiro, pugno!