Monday, May 17, 2010

Feeding at the Government Teat

With the State of Texas facing a budget deficit of $18 billion, on Sunday the Chronicle offered advise on how not to balance the budget:
One is that the state budget must not be balanced on the backs of Texas' poor and uninsured. That would be mean-spirited; it's also false economy. Most programs for these Texans come with generous federal matches that make them a bargain. In any case, failing to insure the uninsured only drives them to emergency rooms, where costs for care spiral.
Nothing is said of the taxpayers who will be forced to pay for this.  Apparently the paper finds it acceptable and just to balance the budget on their backs. It is "mean-spirited" to ask individuals to be responsible for their own bills; it is not "mean-spirited" to force me to pay another's bills.

Refusing to question their premises, the paper boldly asserts that taxpayers must pay for the health care of the poor and uninsured, but offers no reason as to why. The payer doesn't tell us why the family struggling to pay its mortgage and medical bills must be forced to pay for the health care of its neighbors. The paper just assumes that we know why, and agree.

This deception goes even further. The paper claims that, because the state receives "federal matches", these programs are good for Texas. We should conveniently ignore the fact that any money the federal government doles out must eventually be taken from someone. And while Texas is fighting to secure its place at the federal teat, the other states are doing likewise. This interstate rivalry to feed at the federal trough, we are to believe, is a "bargain".

In its zeal to pit the poor against the non-poor, Texans against non-Texans, the paper simply ignores the fact that any "benefits" the government distributes to some must necessarily come at the expense of others. The paper shows no concern for the victims.

The Chronicle long ago accepted the premise that life requires sacrifice, that politics is nothing more than a battle to secure government favors. The only question open to the paper is who will sacrifice and who will benefit, who will gain government favors and who will suffer the consequences. What the paper doesn't realize is that, in the end, nobody benefits and all will suffer.

What happens, for example, when those forced to pay for the poor and uninsured can no longer afford their own bills? If the paper remains consistent to its self-imposed blindness, it will simply advocate for expanding government further. And what happens when the victims refuse to "play"? What happens when the number of potential victims dwindle, when the parasites outnumber the productive?

Feeding at the government teat is a dangerous and destructive endeavor. It may provide succor for the moment, but when a new group of piglets appear--and they will--yesterday's litter will be old news. The federal sow will not be able to push them aside, for they are unprepared to fend for themselves. She must grow more teats to feed her growing family. One need only look at the growth of welfare programs to see the dependency borne of feeding at the government teat.

Texans do not need more teats. They need to be weaned.

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