« Weekend Caption Contest™ Winners | Main | Michigan State Government Approves Higher Income Tax, Sales Tax Expansion »

Who Gives A SCHIP?

Yeah, I know I just wrote about the S-CHIP re-authorization and expansion (and Bush's veto of same) a couple of days ago, but there's enough crap flying around about it to merit a followup.

First off, "herewegoagain" challenged my number, and cited a Census Bureau report that pegged the number at $48,201. I admit my initial "research" was casual when I came up with the figure $58,832, so I did some digging of my own through the Census Bureau's own site. It turns out we were both pretty right. According to this page, median HOUSEHOLD income was $48,451, while median FAMILY income was $58,526 -- both figures within spitting distance of the numbers we cited.

So, which number is fairer to cite? I don't really know, but that's irrelevant. The point is that this program is being pushed as a way to help "poor" children, and it's qualifying families that make above the national median income. Whether that's by $3,000 or $13,000 is merely a question of magnitude.

OK, now on for the "meat" of the piece.

One of the biggest laugh lines during the heady days of the 90's was "we need to do it for the children!" Apparently, one of the best ways to get certain people to turn off their brains and mindlessly comply with suggestions on certain issues is to wrap it around "protecting children." (Hell, just yesterday it was trotted out to scold people celebrating the Red Sox clinching a playoff berth.)

Me, I have just the opposite reaction. Whenever I hear that something is being done to adults to protect "the children," I get paranoid. "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions," and all that. So I started off giving the S-CHIP program a jaundiced eye from the outset -- too many people I already don't trust were too enthusiastic about it.

Let's continue the diabolical theme of aphorisms here. They say that "the devil is in the details," and His Infernal Majesty certainly earns his "Prince Of Lies" title with this bill. (Yeah, I know, it's odd for an agnostic like me to run with this theme, but it's fun and it fits so well.)

First up, let's look at how this measure will be paid for. They expansion of the S-CHIP program is expected to cost an additional $35 billion dollars a year, from a hike in cigarette taxes. While, in general, I don't have too many problems with "sin taxes," this one offends the pragmatist in me.

As Rob Port noted, cigarette smokers tend to be on the lower end of the economic spectrum. So we're taxing the poor (through one of their vices) to pay for the poor. Also, note how much money the government spends every year encouraging people to stop smoking. If they succeed in that (through education, advertising, or taxation), then they cut into the funds available for S-CHIP. At that point, will they cut back on S-CHIP to match available money?

Not bloody likely. Rather, they will announce that we need to "bail out" S-CHIP and tap into general revenues.

Also, Rob Port notes that another source of money will be by taking it away from a Medicare program for the elderly.

It's also been noted that about 40% of the children who would qualify for this already have health insurance. Now, how many parents already providing insurance for their kids will continue to do so once they have the alternative to have the government (and that means "you and me," because the government doesn't have any money that it doesn't take from us) to pay for it? I won't go so far as to say that this is some grand conspiracy to attack and weaken the insurance industry, making it easier to make health insurance a government responsibility and not that of the private sector, but that certainly will be the effect.

There are those who say that "overall, money is being saved, so what's the problem?" Well, the money being saved is the overall costs. It's being done by shifting the burden from those receiving the benefits to everyone else. Thanks, but no thanks.

Finally, a philosophical note (and one I'm plagiarizing from myself), since when did "promote the general welfare" become "provide the general welfare?" The Preamble to the United States Constitution reads, in full:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

That spells out the responsibilities of the United States government. ESTABLISH justice. INSURE domestic tranquility. PROVIDE for the common defense. Those are mandates. "PROMOTE" the general welfare is a weaker word, meaning "encourage," not make certain.

There are certain things that we should expect from the government, as there are certain things that the government can do better than anyone. Justice and defense are two of those areas. I'll toss in general post, streets and roads, and a few other things as things that are the rightful responsibility of the federal government, but I'm a staunch believer in the Tenth Amendment: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

It's been my experience that if you want to find the least efficient, most expensive, most inconvenient, and all-around worse way to get something done, put the federal government in charge of it.

I find myself wondering: why do the Democrats in Congress hate poor children (and not-so-poor children) so much, that they want to take responsibility for their health care out of the hands of their parents and into the hands of the same sort of bureaucrats who run Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Internal Revenue Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and all the other notoriously inefficient and inept alphabet soup of government agencies?

I'm sure it makes sense to them somehow.


TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
/cgi-bin/mt-tb.cgi/24485.

Comments (10)

since when did "pr... (Below threshold)
jpm100:
since when did "promote the general welfare" become "provide the general welfare?
Ever since the Left decided to conduct the War on Self-Reliance.

Self-Reliance was a uniquely American quality. It's also cornerstone to actually being truly free and why Communism was anathema to Americans.

But the Democrats have made great strides. Winning the War one small battle at a time. Using the "You're a Victim, you deserve it" strategy has worked really well of late. But there's nothing like going back to "think of the children" which is an old but proven strategy.

Won't this program end up d... (Below threshold)
Jayme:

Won't this program end up driving up premiums of private health insurance as well?

Jayme:That's not a... (Below threshold)

Jayme:

That's not a bug, it's a FEATURE.

J.

when people making six figu... (Below threshold)

when people making six figures are receiving subsidized housing in Fairfax County Va, paying for health care for kids in families making $50,000+ a year doesn't seem too bad.

I am not ashamed to admit t... (Below threshold)

I am not ashamed to admit that my family and I fall in the category to qualify for this ridiculous program.

Just because we qualify means nothing. I do not expect the government to take care of my children. They are my responsibility.

I do not really ever consider myself poor until I read some crazy Left/Democrat telling me that our income is low. I do not live in a major city, and the cost of living is low where I am.

For the record, we would never apply for this nonsense. It is like the public school situation. It is not working so dump more money into it.

Schip not working, lets dump more money into it. When did this country turn this way? I think that it is time to stop this pandering to poverty.

I thought that the plantations were left following the civil war, but apparently we are continually creating plantations that *poor* gladly live off.

Time to kick everyone off the dole.

why do the Democrats in ... (Below threshold)
mantis:

why do the Democrats in Congress hate poor children (and not-so-poor children) so much, that they want to take responsibility for their health care out of the hands of their parents and into the hands of the same sort of bureaucrats who run Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Internal Revenue Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and all the other notoriously inefficient and inept alphabet soup of government agencies?

Easy, 9 million uninsured children. You say it's taking the "responsibility for their health care out of the hands of their parents," and they say it's providing health care to those who have none. It ain't perfect, but at least it's better than the Republican plan for insuring the uninsured, which as far as I can tell is keeping the tax cuts and hoping for the best while doing nothing about rising health care costs and the near stagnant real incomes of the middle class.

mantis:If they car... (Below threshold)
epador:

mantis:

If they cared about UNINSURED children, the SCHIP renewal would have been only for uninsured children. Its not. Thus the rest of your argument is pointless.

Its my job to take care of un and underinsured. I got nauseated when I saw the new SCHIP proposal. A rank political ploy by the liberals to force W to veto their plan. Thus victimizing the very children they were supposedly so worried about.

Good evaluation JT.

If they cared about UNIN... (Below threshold)
mantis:

If they cared about UNINSURED children, the SCHIP renewal would have been only for uninsured children. Its not.

The original SCHIP is not only for uninsured children, at least on the federal funding level. It's up to the states to determine eligibility rules. They can restrict the benefits to only those who don't presently have insurance. But, of course, you can just take your children off your insurance and say they have none if you want to get them on SCHIP. If you have a proposal for remedying that problem, I'd be interested in hearing it.

In any case the expansion (House bill) would expand coverage to 4-5 million uninsured children. If you think they are not who the expansion is aimed at, then who?

Thus the rest of your argument is pointless.

Not so much, no.

"when people making six ... (Below threshold)

"when people making six figures are receiving subsidized housing in Fairfax County Va, paying for health care for kids in families making $50,000+ a year doesn't seem too bad."

Yeah, - "let's compound the issue and make it even worse!"

What bothers me about tobac... (Below threshold)

What bothers me about tobacco is that it certainly meets every legal definition of a defective and dangerous product, yet government fails to ban the product like other defective products. Philip Morris for example recognizes that the secondhand smoke from their products can cause SIDS, ear infections, cancer, asthma and other serious health problems or death in nonusers on their own website, yet prints none of these warnings on their products. In tobacco users, 50% of all users will eventually die from using the product if they continue using it. Tobacco smoke also contains lead, but there is no government recall. Tobacco smoke contains heavy metals such as nickel and cadmium, substances banned for use in batteries but not for human consunption in tobacco products. In addition tobacco smoke involves the illegal and unwanted distribution of a highly addictive drug just as addictive as heroin to children and others through secondhand smoke, yet this criminal drug distribution to children and others is not stopped. In addition cigarettes are in fact an illegal unfiltered air pollution creation device that violates EPA standards for the release of 4,000 poisonous and dangerous substances into the public air. Even automoobile exhaust is regulated and does put a dangerous drug in the public air like tobacco does. The tobacco industry is given special rights not accorded to the oil, automobile or any other industry to dump unregulated pollution into the public air and kill thousands of users and nonusers alike.

Simply raising tobacco taxes is the least public penalty that this industry should face to partially settle the damages it creates to the public health. It is outrageous that the Bush White House finds even this mild compromise to partially children's health care too severe and promises a veto. Government with no backbone and no brain.




Advertisements









rightads.gif

beltwaybloggers.gif

insiderslogo.jpg

mba_blue.gif

Follow Wizbang

Follow Wizbang on FacebookFollow Wizbang on TwitterSubscribe to Wizbang feedWizbang Mobile

Contact

Send e-mail tips to us:

[email protected]

Fresh Links

Credits

Section Editor: Maggie Whitton

Editors: Jay Tea, Lorie Byrd, Kim Priestap, DJ Drummond, Michael Laprarie, Baron Von Ottomatic, Shawn Mallow, Rick, Dan Karipides, Michael Avitablile, Charlie Quidnunc, Steve Schippert

Emeritus: Paul, Mary Katherine Ham, Jim Addison, Alexander K. McClure, Cassy Fiano, Bill Jempty, John Stansbury, Rob Port

In Memorium: HughS

All original content copyright © 2003-2010 by Wizbang®, LLC. All rights reserved. Wizbang® is a registered service mark.

Powered by Movable Type Pro 4.361

Hosting by ServInt

Ratings on this site are powered by the Ajax Ratings Pro plugin for Movable Type.

Search on this site is powered by the FastSearch plugin for Movable Type.

Blogrolls on this site are powered by the MT-Blogroll.

Temporary site design is based on Cutline and Cutline for MT. Graphics by Apothegm Designs.

Author Login



Terms Of Service

DCMA Compliance Notice

Privacy Policy