Monday, September 14, 2009

Jim Tedisco's editorial in TU: Government can't fix our economic woes

Jim Tedisco For Congress to Facebook group:

Philosopher George Santayana once said, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." A Congress looking to pass a health care overhaul would do well to heed that warning.

The rush earlier this year to pass an economic "stimulus" bill did more to add to our crushing budget deficit than it did to add to our job rolls.

In fact, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, the nation has suffered a net loss of more than 2 million jobs since President Barack Obama signed into law the $787 billion stimulus package. The unemployment rate has shot up from 7.6 percent to 9.7 percent, the highest percentage of Americans out of work in 26 years.

At the same time, the Obama administration admitted that the 10-year federal budget deficit projection will be much higher than originally thought -- a staggering $9 trillion, nearly $2 trillion more than the earlier $7.1 trillion forecast.

It has taken our country more than 230 years, from the Founding Fathers up to today, to build up a $10 trillion deficit. Now we're on course to double it in ten years.

More and more, our destiny will be in the hands of America's creditors, like China and Japan. Higher debt means the possibility of higher interest rates rippling through our economy. Families will be burdened with higher mortgage payments and our children entering college will be saddled with higher loan repayments upon graduation.

Most Americans recognize that we cannot continue on this dangerous path. Doing so threatens our prosperity and saddles the future generation with an unfair, undeserved and impossible debt responsibility.

Yet, there are those who are ignoring warnings and are pressing ahead to pass a trillion-dollar plus health care overhaul.

While our health care system is certainly in need of reform, we must look to innovative solutions that will not bankrupt future generations. Too many Americans lack health insurance. Health care costs are rising at an unsustainable rate. Reform is needed, but Americans shouldn't be blamed for being suspicious of a government-led overhaul.

So, what to do?

Lawmakers should scale back plans and work toward incremental reforms that have bipartisan support. Preventing the denial of coverage because of pre-existing conditions, portability of coverage, comprehensive medical malpractice reform and pooling of insurees across state lines are just a few ideas.

What not to do?

Lawmakers should just say no to a "government-controlled plan." When the government competes with the private sector, it's not a fair competition. Government can run deficits and use taxpayer financing. Government would win, while patients and taxpayers would lose.

Lastly, lawmakers must resist the urge to rush through a bill that raises taxes and is not paid for. We shouldn't condemn ourselves to a repeat of the "stimulus" effort. There is a better way, one that not only strengthens our health care system for all but also eases pressure on our ready-to-burst fiscal system.

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