This article was originally written on May 11, 2010 but never published. That's right, 3 1/2 years ago! See if this rings a bell today?
Once again I seem to be the first to question my own Republican elected officials. Accountability and Liberty once again demand that I question our Party's elected officials, and I have shown a great propensity to doing so.
I am going out on a limb and saying that the Republican Caucus in Congress is not, was not and never will be opposed to Obamacare. That's right, just like with the Contract With America and the Bush Tax Cuts, we have once again been duped.
None other than my personal favorite punching bag and Congressman, U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX 32) led me to believe this to be the case. And it was confirmed further by U.S. Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX ?) in recent comments.
Sessions made two comments at his Town Hall meeting in Richardson last month that stood out in my memory the following day when I came to the conclusion that he could not come out in support of the health care legislation, but only put up token opposition to it over the last year.
First, Sessions mentioned his own gross incompetence in being completely incapable of even having one Republican idea included in the legislation. 80 Republican ideas were presented before the House Rules Committee, on which Sessions serves. And as Sessions stated, "The Chairman was gleeful that no Republican ideas were included." Now, of course, Pete did not state that he was utterly incompetent. He couched it in the terminology of the "Democrats this / Republicans that" rhetoric that dominates party politics. In other words, he blamed Democrats for blocking all Republican ideas, failing to take responsibility for his gross inability to shove through 2-3 of those ideas. As the #4 Republican in the U.S. House, I would expect more--even from Sessions.
Second, Sessions mentioned the $1 billion write down announced by AT&T between the passage of Obamacare and his Town Hall last month. That caught my ear, because Sessions is a former employee of Southwestern Bell, which acquired AT&T earlier in the decade for its prestigious name. As I wrote on my note page to my guest for the evening, "Pete used to work for AT&T." They responded, saying, "You revert to what you are familiar with." My reply? "Yeah, or what you own stock in!"
You see, AT&T was getting ready to cut its losses and dump all retirees into the new government-run plan. And as additional documents have been made public since then, it would appear that AT&T may be making plans to dump all employee health plans into the government system. So much for "keeping your existing health plans," as promised by the President, huh?
But the final straw that now forces me to write this article calling out my Republican elected officials was a post by a friend on facebook yesterday.
"MY FIANCE WORKS FOR A MAJOR CORPORATION WHERE HE OPENED HIS EMAIL THIS MORNING AND IT SAID: "we will soon be impacted by the significant cost implications attributed to recent U.S. health care reform legislation..." and "In an effort to ensure that we continue to manage our costs and provide competitive health care options for our employees, we will review our U.S. health care benefits plans for 2011.
So suffice to say, pretty much every corporation in America will soon be doing the exact same thing. Anyone else think this is hogwash talking? Consider the image posted herein showing AT&T papers submitted to the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee showing their costs both as health care provider as well as under the new legislation. AT&T now pays some $4.7 Billion annually for private health care benefits for employees and retirees. Under the new government plan that number will shrink to about $600 Million per year in government no coverage penalties.
Let me restate that for maximum effect. Do we want to pay $4,700 Million per year? Or does $600 Million sound a little bit better?
Or, in common folks dollars, would I like to pay $4,700 annually or $600 annually? I think the answer to that is pretty obvious.
Now, I would love to talk about the specious intent of Democrats who said all along we could keep our existing health care and how the very way this legislation was set up shows that nobody will be maintaining their existing coverage. AT&T showed us that point already.
What I would prefer to discuss is that Republican elected officials have sold us down the river at the behest of their benefactors, the Big, Bad Corporations. I have stated many times--what the corporations want, the corporations get. And usually that being provided by Republican elected officials.
I strongly suggest that Republicans came out early on in the whole debate and said, behind closed doors, "Listen, we really, really want to support this legislation. But if we come out in favor of it, those nasty Teabaggers will absolutely throttle us at the Town Halls and at the polls. Besides, Democrats control the House, the Senate and the White House--this is going to pass! So we'll put up token opposition to the legislation so we can tell all our constituents that we oppose the bill, but we know its going to pass anyway. Then we don't have it tied around our necks like an albatross."
And the corporations being reasonable, they relented. And we got stuck with Obamacare. And so far, Republicans have gotten away scott free. But no longer.
This seems to be a recurring theme among Republicans in Congress--say whatever it takes to gain or hold power while making the Democrats look bad and not really have to do anything once in power!
It was the same thing under the Contract With America, where Newt Gingrich, Dick Armey & Co. got control of the House and the Senate, while only promising action in the House.
It was the same thing with the Bush Tax Cuts earlier this decade, which are set to expire next year. Republicans figured, "If we maintain control in 2006 and 2008, we will simply re-up the tax cuts for another 4 or 8 years. If we lose, we'll get to blame Democrats for the largest tax hikes in history!"
This is the same situation with Rep. Sessions, specifically, as in our recent interview with the Editorial Board at the Dallas Morning News. Sessions told the Editors that he had voted against Medicare D. I showed the Editors that he had, in fact, voted against the legislation only to vote to override President Bush's veto, effectively passing the legislation. When they endorsed Sessions, the DMN said, "We are endorsing Pete Sessions because he voted for the bailout and Medicare D."
In other words, they believed me, not Pete.
And now the exact same situation comes about once again. Sessions and his Republican cohorts trot before the cameras and appear on the radio and state their opposition to Obamacare while behind closed doors they stand not opposed to the same.
Ask Joe Barton.
Representative Joe L. Barton of Texas, the senior Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said, “From a financial standpoint, from a purely economic standpoint, many companies would be better off discontinuing health care as a fringe benefit, paying the penalty and pocketing the savings.”
As if that little ditty were not well-known before the passage of the legislation.
Within days after President Obama signed the law on March 23, companies filed reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission, saying the tax change would have a material adverse effect on their earnings.
Both quotes being from a recent New York Times article adding mounting evidence to my month-old assertion. The Times goes on, saying,
The documents — hundreds of pages of e-mail messages and financial worksheets — include large amounts of data that substantiate the companies’ concerns. They have reignited a battle over the law in Congress.
Now, how long would it have taken to compile these "hundreds of pages of email messages and financial worksheets"? I'm guessing a few more than "within days after President Obama signed the law on March 23." I'm guessing these emails and financial worksheets had been assembled by some financial analyst, not unlike yours truly, just like the legislation--all 2,700 pages of it!--were written by lobbyists and corporate-types, not our noble, servant-hearted Congressional Representatives and their duly capable staff members.
In other words, we've been fleeced. Hoodwinked. Had the wool pulled over our eyes while simultaneously being picked-pocketed.
And it wasn't the Democrats who had their way with us--it was our guys!
Tell me again why Dr. Michael C. Burgess, M.D. OB/GYN was not on the Fox News' and CNN's every night, every single Sunday morning cable talk program, quoted in national publications every day and appearing on talk radio programs daily the entire last year?!?
It is because Republican do-nothings like him, Pete Sessions and Kenny Marchant were hunkered down under their desks during the last year. Guys like Sessions should have been taking the lead because they are 14-year incumbents! Guys like Burgess because they are friggin Medical Doctors! And they should have been joined by guys like Jeb Hensarling, Kenny Marchant and even the aged Sam Johnson because they are generally reputed as being Conservative votes if not leaders of the Conservative movement--the proverbial tip of the spear, so to speak.
Be aware, Conservative Independents and Republicans, "our guys" aren't looking so much like "our guys" these days. They are looking an awful lot like Company Men--bought and paid for by the Fortune 500 on Wall Street.
And I suppose that I should get over myself. After all, the North Texas Congressional delegation represents more Fortune 500 corporations than any other region in the country.
It is not our votes that get them re-elected, apparently, but those big, fat campaign contribution checks their corporate buddies keep sending. Oh, and don't forget that the Supreme Court of the United States recently opened up the flood gates for more and larger contributions going forward.
It is time to get serious, folks. Even I am ashamed to admit that I was completely blind to what was going on at RNC headquarters during my recent campaign. I expect Republicans to actually do what they say they are for--naivete, I guess. But while we have slept the British have landed their troops and we now awake to a nation handed over to the control of the few.
One if by Democrat. Two if by Republican. Time to wake up, America.