BY SHARON MARTIN
A friend complained to me about health care reform. “It’s going to make our taxes go up,” she said. This friend works hard at a job that pays her slightly more than minimum wage. She has no health insurance. When she repeats this mantra, put out by some lobbying firm, she is railing against her own economic self-interest.
Two things here: (1) The insurance lobby has a vested interest in repealing health care reform. Their profits, sometimes excessive, pad your health care bills. (2) If lobbyists or politicians repeat a lie often enough, it will be perceived as truth.
Health care reform, if it is allowed to be implemented, will clean up some of the waste in Medicare, namely Medicare Advantage programs that put tax dollars into the pockets of private companies. Cutting profits for insurance companies that come at taxpayers’ expense will not cause taxes to increase. Rather, it will make Medicare viable for an additional 12 years.
Think about this when a candidate says they will work to repeal health care reform. Unless you work for a medical insurance company, repeal is not in your best economic interest.
It is the job of our elected officials to use the money that we, the people, put into the kitty. Wise uses of money include infrastructure like roads and schools. It is wise to invest in the health and education of the people whose money is being spent. When times are tough, a works program is a good idea. War, however, isn’t a good investment.
Someone has to pay for those missiles, planes, and tanks. For much of the past decade, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been waged with borrowed money. Legislators that brought you the wars that caused the exploding deficit are now campaigning about the deficit. They assume we voters have short memories.
The legislators who brought us No Child Left Behind, a program that cost Oklahoma millions in unfunded mandates, would like to take your tax dollars and spend them on private school vouchers. In other words, they want your hard-earned money to be used for profit margins for their buddies in the education industry. Vouchers are most definitely not in your best economic interest.
Candidates and their handlers know that people are swayed by emotions. They are counting on your emotional gut reactions to their words. Instead, think through the financial implications of what they are saying.
If you are part of the great middle class, on whose backs industry and government is funded, you have a right to say how your tax dollars are being spent. You may find that candidates are asking most of us to cut our own economic throats. Tell them, “No, thank you.”
– Sharon Martin lives in Oilton, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer