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Prescription Drugs for Votes
by Andy Obermann
2 December 2003RX

The Medicare "reform" bill is the most recent form of chaos unleashed on the American taxpayer by the Republican Congress.

Last week a new form of chaos was unleashed on the American taxpayer.  The culprit: A bill creating massive prescription drug benefits for Medicare recipients.  Betraying their most basic creed, Republicans have not only increased the size of government, but the spending rate of it to boot.  As they say, power corrupts. 

The bill, laden with pork incentives, is “said” to cost $400 billion over the next ten years, but by the time all of the subsidies kick in, it could be upwards of two trillion over the same period of time.  The upswing comes from entitlements granted to corporations for not dropping similar benefits for their retired employees.  The odd part of this is that only 4% of seniors claim that they even have trouble getting the drugs they need.  It just doesn’t make sense.

Many of you reading this are probably saying to yourself, “Why do you care, you’re in college.  You’re nowhere near retirement age.”  True, I’m nowhere near retirement age, and yes, I’m still in college, but after graduation, I’m going to join the workforce.  I’m going to take this grand education I’ve received and turn it into a profit.  Naturally, the government is going to want a piece of that profit via taxes.  With this massive entitlement for seniors, the government is going to want a damn site more of that profit than I am willing to give.   Real soon, I’m going to be paying for grandma and grandpa’s medications.  I’m not the least bit happy about that at all.

The reason politicians did not consider a view like mine before passing this bill is simple.  My generation doesn’t care.  They don’t.  Politics is the most boring thing imaginable for them.  They’re far too busy getting the gel in their hair just right, to spend twenty minutes of their day voting.  They care more about the latest “fashions” at Abercrombie and Fitch, or who they’re going to sleep with tonight, rather than their financial security in 10, 20, or even 30 years.  This is the problem that breeds all of the irresponsibility this scheme will reward.

I’ll let you in on a little secret; like most of the other handouts the government gives, prescription drug benefits are for the irresponsible in our society.  In this case, those who have not planned ahead for their retirement and health care are saddling workers with the cost of their irresponsibility.  And the people who should care the most about this, the ones who will have to pay for years to come, namely the soon-to-be workers of America, are too irresponsible to realize this. Funny how things move in cycles, isn’t it?

How about another secret; the politicians who pushed this through Congress do not care one bit about prescription drugs for seniors.  Think people, seniors are the largest block of voters in America today.  They vote and, when they do, they vote mainly for Democrats.  By passing this monstrosity, Republicans will be able to say, “Look what we’ve done.  We’ve given you what Democrats couldn’t.”  This will likely sway some of those geriatrics to the right on Election Day. 

You must be saying to yourself now, “I thought Republicans were the party of limited government and fiscal conservity.”  Well, I did too.  I do not understand what is happening here.  In the past two years, government spending has shot up 20%, yes 20%.  Part of this can be blamed on the war, which is understandable, but the vast majority of it has been spent elsewhere.  Where?  Who knows?  A little bit here, a little bit there, it adds up…fast.

What’s more, the man who should be the voice of reason in this fiasco, President Bush, has been nothing more than a rubber stamp for spending increases.  By signing this bill, he’s once again inked his name on a massive Congressional spending spree.  This must be the “compassionate” part of his “compassionate conservative” 2000-campaign slogan. 

Message to President Bush:  You don’t show compassion by throwing money at problems, hoping they go away. This is the kind of nonsense that the left preaches; all of life’s problems can be drowned out in a sea of money.  Ideology like this attributed to a conservative like Bush is scary.

On abortion, gun rights, and the War on Terror, I’m with the president.  I’m with him on tax cuts, pre-emptive strikes, and ending tyranny in the Middle East, but this reckless spending has to stop.  If it doesn’t, perhaps reforms should be considered for the GOP.

Andy Obermann is majoring in History and Secondary Education at Missouri Valley College

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