Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Budget, Health Care, and Vouchers

I have done some research recently. (The internet is wonderful! It makes numbers like these available to a housewife sitting in her living room holding a sleeping baby!)

Social security, Medicare, and Medicaid, are unconstitutional programs. They take up 50.4% of the federal budget.

Unemployment, disability, welfare, food stamps, HUD, Health and Human Services, the Department of Education, the recent Homeland Security bill, Department of Energy, Department of Agriculture, NASA, Department of Transportation, and the Department of Labor are all unconstitutional. They make up around 15% if the federal budget.

Department Of Defense, Department Of Justice, Department Of Treasury, Department Of The Interior are constitutional and need to be kept. They use around 18% of the federal budget.

“The war” is about 5%. I won’t argue either way on it as I see both sides.

So at least 65% of our budget is unconstitutional, possibly more.

9% of the budget is interest on the debt.

93% of the Fed’s income is income tax, FICA, or corporate income taxes.

If we eliminated all the unconstitutional areas of spending, we could easily eliminate all income and FICA type taxes (69% of the Fed’s income). We could drastically reduce corporate taxes, too (14%).

Now, I have social security and Medicare separated for a reason. These are programs that people have paid into for their whole lives with the promise of a return in their senior years. We, as a country, owe this debt to them and MUST pay it. However, for those my age and younger, we should begin phasing them out.

(By the way, there never has been a “lock box” for Social Security. It has run on debt since the beginning. The first payment from employees went straight to the retirees of the day. It has NEVER had a “left over” amount to put aside for the future. The reason it is in trouble is because Baby Boomers are beginning to retire but they had an average of one child each (two per couple), meaning they only put one worker into the system for each worker they expect to receive Social Security. Simply put, we will soon have one worker for every retiree. That simply doesn’t produce enough money to make our promised payments. And our birth rate is falling (1.8 last I heard) so the problem is only going to get worse.)

The question is, “How do we get out of this mess?”

If we just suddenly go back to the constitution, eliminate all unconstitutional programs, too many people would go hungry. There would be riots, etc.

We need a gentler way to train us to take responsibility for ourselves again. I like the voucher idea. Here is how it goes for education.

Currently the feds give about $2000 to every school district for every child they have enrolled. (The average per child expense is $8000. The balance comes from the states, but that is a different subject only to be approached on a state by state basis as each state’s laws are different.)

The Feds should send that $2000 to the parents instead of the schools. Public schools simply require the voucher in order to register the child in their school.

The average private school is $3000 per year and even most poor families could swing the balance in monthly payments.

Anyway, since some private schools cost $20,000 per year, we know a lot more cost $1000 per year to make the average around $3000.

So, we give the parents $2000 to pick their child’s school and let them keep the change if the school costs less than that.

This will keep prices down as schools compete for the children and their vouchers.

Of course I would want provisions made for the homeschooler, too. That would have to come from each state, mandated by the Feds, as each state’s laws regarding homeschooling are different.

Doing all this would:
1) Get parents used to paying for their children’s education again. They would begin to weigh cost verses quality and learn to evaluate schools. And
2) would turn all schools into private schools, at least partially, making them pay attention to what parents want in an education in order to stay afloat. Studies have shown that the availability of vouchers drastically increases the quality of PUBLIC school’s education. Later the vouchers can be slowly reduced or just keep them the same and let inflation make them ever more irrelevant.

How about Healthcare? McCain has hopped on board the idea of giving every family a $5000 voucher to buy their own insurance (I have been hearing this idea for a good decade).

First of all, our way of linking insurance to employment is, well, dumb. It began because the Feds froze wages years ago and businesses had no other way to compete for the best employees.

We need to remove the whole idea of the employer being responsible for insurance. Every family has unique needs. No employer could pick a plan that was right for everyone. We need to pick our own plans.

My uncle with the severely ill wife has VERY different needs than my hubby and I do, and ours are different than my single cousin’s. Yet if they and my hubby worked for the same company, we would all have the same insurance.

Vouchers give us the option of personalization (as well as giving those of us that haven’t had insurance in a while the chance at it). Just like with the school vouchers, the insurance companies would have to start paying attention to what the family needed instead of what the employer needed (did you know employers get kick backs for signing on to certain insurance plans?) We would require some sort of catastrophic/hospitalization insurance and then let every family pick how much coverage they want. By letting us keep the change (or at least role it over into a retirement fund), we have incentive to keep the costs down.

Now, there are those who say the vouchers would just go straight to the insurance companies.

Ummm, that’s the point. That’s like saying money for food only goes straight to the grocery stores or money for clothes only goes straight to Wal-mart. Duhhh.

And an elderly couple that is getting a $5000 voucher to buy their own insurance doesn’t NEED as much (if any) Medicare. They have the same quality coverage everyone else has.

Again, vouchers get us used to paying for insurance ourselves and makes the private insurance companies more responsive to our needs.

(What about BO’s proposal? Fining me for not having insurance WON’T HELP! If I already can’t afford insurance, taking more money out of my family’s coffers still leaves me uninsured. Talk about an “unfunded mandate!” What’s more, this leads to MORE illegal government programs, not less. Less control for each family, not more. And those with socialist medicine, when asked by an UNBIASED researcher, are much LESS happy with their care than Americans are. We have the BEST system in world as far as technology and people getting what they want. The problems we have can be traced back to too much government involvement, not too little (but that is another post). Capitalism is why we have the technology we do; people are rewarded for healing illness.

Let’s brain storm and see if we can come up with other voucher ideas and how they would work. How do we replace Social Security? Fanny and Freddie? HUD? Etc? Let’s start a new revolution; a revolution in freedom and personal responsibility.

No comments:

Post a Comment