January 19, 2010
Waste Lots, Want Not
I had lunch with a good friend of mine last week. As we were catching up on family matters, he mentioned his wife was still teaching at the elementary school by their house. He went on to say how great the health benefits were for his wife and their two daughters. Now, he had just mentioned his oldest daughter was working full-time and no longer living with them.
"How can she be covered by the school's health insurance plan if she's no longer a student or a dependent?" I asked. This started a 15-minute conversation about how self-destructive government can be. Legally, his daughter should no longer be eligible to receive the benefits, but everyone looks the other way, because (almost) everyone in the school district has a similar situation. In other words, you and I (the taxpayers) are subsidizing health insurance for hundreds, maybe thousands of ineligible people in Washington state alone.
Hearing this got my blood boiling. My daughter's program for gifted students is on the chopping block due to budget restrictions next year. Her teacher is an amazing person - he cares about his students, encourages and challenges them. My daughter learns more in the one day per week she spends with him than the other four days of each week combined.
Since we're talking about education, let's do the math. Based on the schools' Cadillac healthcare plans, let's assume the premiums for each scofflaw (for lack of a better term) are $300/month. That's $3,600/yr. I don't know how much teachers in Washington make, but it seems to me that recovering all these premiums paid out for ineligible family members would easily pay for quite a few more teachers.
Why won't we see that happen? Because government inherently has no sense of the bigger picture. 'How do we benefit in the here and now?' is the only question asked when fiscal decisions are made. Besides (think like a politician here), it's only $300/month, right? Why wouldn't the school districts police themselves when such obviously wasteful expenditures mean cutting other programs from overstressed budgets? Personally, I'm OK with you asking people to make sacrifices, as long as you don't ask me. (I hope you see the irony in that statement.)
What can we do about it? Well, I'll be taking in some school board meetings this year. After all, it's technically my money they're deciding how to spend. Shouldn't I have some say in it?
Understand, I'm only taking on one small but deliberate misuse of taxpayer money. Now consider the problem on a national scale. It's time to stop the madness - our government is already spending us into bankruptcy. Oh wait - I guess only the states have to worry about that one. The federal government is the only entity that is allowed to run deficits. Deficits that have no chance of being repaid....ever.
People are taking notice. How else to explain the most Democratic (read: liberal) state in the country (Massachusetts) about to elect a Republican to Ted Kennedy's vacant Senate seat? Goodbye, Senate supermajority for the Democrats, and just in time to possibly stave off another trillion-dollar(+) boondoggle...government-run healthcare.
The bozos in government aren't going to fix our problems, people. Only you and I can do that. Get involved. Vote for people with a track record of progress, not someone who simply relies on a silver tongue and empty promises. (sound familiar?) The 2010 elections are coming - what're you gonna do about it???
Make it a great week.
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