Share The Wealth by Chris Gupta
September 22, 2003


By William Rusher

© 2003 Newspaper Enterprise Assn.

The basic trouble with democracy is it forces candidates to be forever on the lookout for new "services" they can pledge to provide for their presumably greedy constituents. The dirty little secret, of course (never mentioned during the campaign), is these services will cost money, which will have to be provided by the taxpayers, since government doesn't have a nickel it can call its own.

Then (if and when the services are provided, and taxes have to be raised to pay for them) the politician can complain loudly and virtuously about voters who "demand" services and then protest about having to pay more taxes. The truth, in most cases, is the voters never "demanded" the services they were sold a pie-in-the-sky description of them, and then billed for them at the retail rate.

That is a precise description of the current prescription drug scam, which is now in conference committee and is about to be foisted on us by the powerful bipartisan team of George W. Bush and Ted Kennedy.

This nation has struggled on for 214 years without paying the cost of such prescription drugs as its citizens needed. But, in the past few years, the Democrats have fastened onto that subsidy as the next great "service" they intend to confer on the American people. And Bush, in his 2000 election campaign, threw in the towel and matched the Democrats' pitch to the voters, bribe for bribe.

The result is going to be the biggest federal entitlement since Medicare, costing many hundreds of billions of dollars - a figure that makes the president's request for $87 billion more for Iraq (which gave House minority leader Nancy Pelosi "sticker shock") look positively parsimonious by comparison. Paying for it will be the grueling work of generations to come.

And yet there is not the slightest evidence of any widespread popular "demand" for this munificent gift. Three-quarters or more of all Medicare beneficiaries already have prescription drug coverage - 34 percent of them receiving it through former employers. The mass subsidy now being fashioned in Congress is simply intended to make the Democratic Party look big-hearted and to make Bush look just as big-hearted as Ted Kennedy.

To be sure, there are people who have small resources and large drug bills, and it would be perfectly proper for government to step in and help them out. But Washington has ruled out any "means-tested" subsidy, on the grounds that that would smack of "welfare" and thus humiliate the recipients. So the benefit has to be universal: American taxpayers, in this and all future generations, must pony up the dough to pay everybody's prescription bills - yours and mine, and everybody's richer than we are, all the way up to Donald Trump, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates.

Oddly enough, some Democrats in Congress don't think the subsidy proposed (which has a few exceptions) is generous enough. But Kennedy disagrees, and his point is devilishly ingenious. Start with this (he says), and we'll expand it in the years ahead. You have to admire his vision: Government is just a huge golden trumpet, out of which pour goodies galore for the likes of you and me.

This irresistible temptation (to politicians, to bribe the voters) would long since have ended democracy as a viable means of government if a reasonable number of voters didn't see through the scam and exercise the self-discipline to reject the bribes. As it is, the survival of democracies, including this one, is permanently balanced on a razor's edge between self-denial and national bankruptcy. It will be interesting to see how long America manages to beat the odds.

Date: (2003-09-19 14:13:28 EST)
Topic: Pharmacartel & their Politics of Health


You can read interesting articles at Friends of Freedom
- Advocates for Democracy & Justice
Phone: (613) 968-2613
Fax: (613) 968-3215
Address: P.O. Box 22099, Belleville, Ontario Canada K8N 5V7


posted by Chris Gupta on Monday September 22 2003
updated on Saturday September 24 2005

URL of this article:



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