Archive for March, 2010

So…we have Universal Health Care. 

I wanted to write something on Sunday night but I was still a little shell-shocked that something like this could happen in our country.  I’m really, truly concerned about the country and what we will be passing on to future Americans as a legacy.

Believe it or not – it wasn’t all that long ago where I also wanted Universal Health Care.  But my reasoning for it was altruistic – at least I hope it was.  I wanted the ability for people who truly could not afford health care for themselves – through no fault of their own – to have it readily available to them.  What I didn’t completely understand at the time is that we already have that in place today.

What this new system does is provide paid medical care to those who – through no EFFORT of their own – wish to have it.  And for all the incredibly naive people who think it’s FREE, you are soon to be very, very surprised. 

I have never understood the mentality of people who think that government programs are free and who seem to miss the blatantly obvious fact that WE as Americans pay for those programs through our taxes.  You know what taxes are right?  That extra money we pay on everything under the sun?  The money that is  about to skyrocket over the next several years while we pay for a program that we won’t even have in place yet for four more years!?

I love to hear people say, “Well, shoot, I’m willing to pay a little more to get health care for free.” (Still missing the point that it’s not FREE if you have to pay more taxes on it!)  Well, let me ask you a question…how much are you willing to pay?  25% of your wages?  30%?  80%?   How much is fair so that someone else can have something you are paying for?

It also cracks me up to hear, “I’m not going to be taxed more, only the wealthy are.”  Again…how does anyone buy into that?   If I’m a “wealthy owner” of a business and my taxes went up, what do you think I’m going to do next?  I’m either going to first charge more for my product – thus feeding my tax increase to the consumer or secondly – I’m going to lay people off.  So those non-wealthy employees will now be out of a job.  One way or another, every part of the cost of this monstrosity will be falling back on the average citizen. 

To top that off, we aren’t giving this money to the medical industry.  Nope, we are giving it to the government.  The same government that screwed up Social Security – which is nearly bankrupt.  The same government that screwed up Medicare.  The same government that has messed up pretty much every entitlement program that it has ever taken on.  We now have told them, “We trust you to make good medical choices for us.”

This government that so many have put their faith in will now have more power to control its citizenry than ever before.  You drink soda?   Yikes, that’s not good, here’s a 10% tax on soft drinks.  You like to rock climb?  Boy that’s dangerous, you could get hurt – here’s a 5% tax increase on rock climbing equipment.  You’re a truck driver?  Well, car accidents happen all the time, here’s a 15% tax increase on fuel.  All this will be done in the name of keeping “health care costs down”.

This will also introduce a severe lack of initiative –something that is becoming more and more prevalent in our society anyways.  Why go to school for all those years, study hard, get good grades, and do whatever you can to get a good paying job with medical benefits if the government will provide it for you?  Many people will see no point in trying to work hard for anything anymore.

Think I’m wrong?  Let me share a story.  We owned a mobile home in the town we used to live in before moving where we are now.  When we moved from there we attempted to sell that mobile home without much success.  Then a lady agreed to buy it from us contract for deed.  She was to pay us monthly for 3 years and then buy it outright after that.

About two years in she up and abandonded the place after doing over $7000 in damages. Not to mention the fact that after we got it fixed up (with the help of some great friends, NOT government assistance), we sold it for over a $10,000 loss. 

We could do nothing to this woman legally.  Why?  Because she was on Social Security disability – and thus any settlement we could get against her would be negated. 

After all was said and done, I tried to do what I thought was the right and Christian thing to her.  I sent her a Christmas card and told her I forgave her – and that I was praying for her.  You know how she repaid that kindness?  She convinced the local newspaper in that town that she was just a poor down-on-her luck mother who was trying to finish school.  This paper then asked people to see if they’d be willing to donate a laptop to her so she could continue on with school.

THIS is the type of person who will consistently and repeatedly abuse this new system.  THIS is the type of person who I will now pay obscene amounts of taxes for in order for her to have something she never worked for.  These people exist today for goodness sake, does anyone think they won’t be leeches on the new system in the days to come?

Finally, what makes this whole thing even more despicable is the way in which it became law.  In the last seven months or so, we have seen an incredible groundswell of sentiment against this bill.  Through the formation of the Tea Party movement, the anger shown at the summer Town-hall meetings, to the election of a Republican  Senator in Massachusetts of  all places, people have shown that this bill was not wanted.  On top of that, every poll done by pretty much anyone showed that the majority of the people do not want this.  Yet, they did it anyways – against the will of the majority.

President Obama may feel like he has left a legacy in his name with this bill.  In one way he has.  By doing this, he has ensured that a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people” is no longer something Americans can expect anymore.  That scares and saddens me me more than anything else about this.  I hope our country can come out from under this, but I no longer have the confidence I once did in our ability to do so.

The Little Pink House

Posted by Doug White under Personal

Recently I have begun the process of scanning my “pre-digital” pictures in the hopes of preserving them should anything happen to my physical copies.  I came across a picture that really brings back a flood of very good memories and I wanted to share it.

I am the kid in the picture below – I’m not even sure how old I am, but I’m guessing that I’m about 11 or 12 which puts this picture in the early 1980’s.  To some I may look unhappy but I don’t think I was, rather I think I was trying to look “tough”.  That makes me smile now because I really wasn’t all that tough of a kid. 

The teeter-totter I’m sitting on was handmade by my Grandpa.  As you can see it was pretty simplistic – two pieces of wood – but we sure wore it out over the years! 

I have a fond memory of playing a game with my sister and a cousin one afternoon.  I was chasing them around the house trying to hit them with a ball.  I came around the corner on the right in this picture and had a clear shot at my sister and took it, hitting her square in the back.  But I hadn’t been paying attention to where I was and I hit the teeter-totter dead on and went flying over it.  As funny as this sounds, I remember thinking at the time how cool it was that I hit her just as I flipped over the teeter-totter!  The things kids think are neat…

Behind me is a reclining chair that may look to some as if it belonged on the curb ready to be thrown out.  Instead that was the chair that my Grandpa would come outside and sit in, so he could watch us play.  I loved it when he would come outside and watch us.

The ground my feet are on may look barren without any grass but it wasn’t.  That was gravel of a sort, which I believe they had there because in front of me (where the person was taking the picture) was a garage with a basketball hoop and so the gravel made it easier to play basketball.  At least that’s the reason I always thought it was there.

But that gravel served as a source of entertainment too. As a much younger boy I would try to dig my way to China there; probably after hearing the phrase on a TV show or something.  It was also the first place I ever wrote a “Doug likes …” note and then hid it with the gravel.  So please, no one tell Lori Frenzel, wherever she may be, that her name is under that gravel…

Off on the right a bit, you can see what looks like a barrel on its side.  That’s exactly what it was.  Grandpa got that barrel somewhere and it was another “toy” of sorts that we used to play with when we came to visit, standing on it and trying to keep ourselves steady while rolling!

If you notice the house behind me, your first thought may be “why pink?”  I honestly don’t know and even though it is an odd color for a house, it never entered my mind in all the times we visited there.  My Grandpa had bought the house when my mom was very young (about 4 I believe) and it was just a basement house at the time.  From what I understand, he built the rest of it himself.  He raised several kids there and he and Grandma lived there until he died and Grandma had to move into a home.

Several times above I mentioned about things being simplistic or maybe appearing run down and even though it may appear that way to the untrained eye, to me, this picture opens up a world of wonderful memories.  That home and that yard were the source of hours of fun and laughter and youthful exuberance for me and my sisters and many other family members alike.  Nowadays, it seems that kids need multiple video games, TV, movies and other things to keep them entertained – here we kept ourselves entertained with a teeter-totter, a barrel, a reclining chair, a basketball hoop and a couple balls.

We visited my grandparents often growing up and when I was a teen-ager we finally moved into the same town (Rapid City, SD) and my family stayed in that town until I moved away not long after my oldest was born.  By that time, my Grandpa had passed away and my Grandma had moved into a retirement home in another state and the house had been sold.

I visit Rapid City periodically and still drive by to see the place.  It’s changed dramatically.  The garage’s been rebuilt, the house is painted white.  In many ways, it’s hardly recognizable.  But I wonder – if I was able to explore the house, would the little table still be built into the wall in the kitchen?  Would the oversized heater vent still be there in the dining room where as a young kid I would throw crayons in it and then run downstairs thinking they’d be down there? (yes it was a wonder I didn’t burn the house down).  Would the hole in the wall behind the door at the bottom of the steps still be there – put there by an uncle of mine when he was a young kid?  Would the room I used to nap in with my Grandpa when I was 3 or 4 still feel so big?

Maybe, maybe not.  But that’s ok.  I will always have fond memories of the times I spent here but it is just a house.  And the true joy of life is not always reflecting on the memories of days gone by but moving forward and making new memories with those you love.  And as I watch my kids play – whether at my house, or their own Grandparents, I hope one day they look back on these days with the same fondness I do in regards to this little pink house.