Pirates, Narcissists, and Congress

Since I live in Iowa and regularly write to my elected representatives, I get Senator Tom Harkin’s email newsletters. He sent me one on Christmas Eve, crowing about Senate passage of the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” (hereafter PP&ACA). This, in spite of the fact that I have practically worn out his aides expressing opposition to this big-government monstrosity. Senator Harkin is a primary architect of the plan, so I admit that my faith that my input would have any effect was lacking. I have included a link to the newsletter at the end, in case you suspect that I make this stuff up.

The attitude of arrogance embodied by Harkin’s form-letter style email touches many raw nerves that jut like promontories into a sea of disenfranchisement. In that sea is tossed the flotsam and jetsam that are our inalienable rights; legally guaranteed us by our Constitution but made shipwreck by the lawless pirates in this Congress (and the progressive ones that preceded it).

The very title of the bill offends me. The premise underlying the bill is that the evil insurance companies are defrauding the people and the answer is big government “protecting” us. Forgive me, but I don’t believe an organization that can’t manage to break-even moving an envelope from Bozoo WV to Kalamazoo MI is qualified to decide the details of health care coverage. Of course, if the new legislation drives all the insurance companies out of business, then of course, the government would HAVE to take over. Right? That would be pirate progress!

What I want to do here, is simply interpret some of the language in Harkin’s newsletter from Progressive-speak to the common-sense understanding of the American Patriot. There is a rule in understanding the speech of pirates and other narcissists; they often tell you the truth about what they are doing or what their plan is, but it is so far outside the norm of acceptable behavior that most hearers figure the speaker must mean something other than he has plainly said. One must also recognize that the vast majority of the population has been trained to at least try to think the best of others. In the absence of clear comprehension of the intent of the narcissist, the hearer will put the best spin possible on what he has heard.

Let me demonstrate how this works with one of the first statements made in Harkin’s newsletter: the PP&ACA “reduces the deficit”. That sounds good doesn’t it? I’m definitely in favor of reducing the deficit. Aren’t you? The deficit is accrued by the government spending more than it takes in. You and I want the deficit reigned in by cutting government spending. The Progressive plan is not, however, to cut spending. It is to raise taxes. See how this works? The deficit reduction statement can be true (just ignore the other spending coming down the pike), but now I don’t like it at all. Listen more carefully to Progressive-speak.

According to Harkin, the PP&ACA is a “prize that has eluded Congresses and Presidents going back to the [Teddy] Roosevelt administration”. The fact is, Teddy was at the head of a long line of “Progressive” politicians whose core tenets have moved us ever further from the individual liberties that our founders fought to give us, toward the “collective good” envisioned by Teddy Roosevelt. (I think of the Borg, but I don’t want to be assimilated.) He then claims this “prize” is on par with the passage of the Social Security Act of 1935 and Medicare in 1965. I agree that it is on par, and in my book that is not good.  At the end of the newsletter, Harkin ties in the reference to these earlier Progressive triumphs inferring that now people LIKE Social Security and Medicare, even though they originally  met with fierce opposition. Further, he states that these programs are “hugely successful”. This is a key to understanding how the Progressive/pirate mindset is able to effectively ignore an active and vocal majority which is in clear opposition to their actions. They are betting that you will eventually come around. But, they don’t really understand how people actually feel about these programs.

Let me explain what I mean. I have have been working and paying Social Security taxes for more than thirty-five years. This money, invested in the stock market would have made me a multimillionaire by now. Instead it has helped support a massive government bureaucracy (“hugely successful” from a Progressive point of view) and, if it is not totally bankrupt before I need to quit working, it might pay me a pittance. So, if I collect meager payments from Social Security in a few years, am I in favor of the system? Or, am I just trying to cut my losses? Harkin thinks these programs have widespread support and the PP&ACA eventually will too – a feather in his Progressive hat. He just doesn’t get the fact that in my view, big government has been stealing my retirement in increments for more than thirty-five years. And now, some say, these “hugely successful” Progressive programs are essentially bankrupt.  I’m betting your view is essentially the same as mine.  How could you not agree with me?

There is a list of supposed benefits enumerated in Harkin’s newsletter, designed to take advantage of people’s innate tendency to believe the best. But note that the list is preceded by a caveat. Narcissists often tell you the awful truth, if you are brave enough to really hear it.

Look at that list very carefully. What is it doing? Is it regulating interstate commerce, an arguably legitimate function of the Federal government? Or, is it dictating the internal business decisions of insurance companies? If the Congress is certain that the three-to-eight percent profit posted by the average insurance company is not the whole truth, then regulate their accounting practices. If the posted profits are the truth, then this bill is a very thinly veiled move to nationalize the health insurance industry.

How about an important issue Senator Harkin left out of his newsletter? How do you feel about the government forcing you to buy an “acceptable” health insurance policy? That is the bargain here – if they legislate that people who are healthy enough to feel they don’t need insurance must buy it anyway, they get these mostly lower-income young people to subsidize the rest. And that, is something the insurance companies did not heretofore have the leverage to do.

Finally, is is a good deal? How good? Why, good enough that Congress has exempted itself.

As promised: here is a link to the Harkin Email.

Also, here is some analysis in a Wall Street Journal article.  The closer one examines this PP&ACA, the more tyranny is revealed.


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