This country was founded on two principles— opportunity to achieve one’s goals and freedom from undue encumbrances. More specifically, ours is a republic based on equal opportunity, but there are no guarantees of equal results. The injustices to the Native Americans and slavery were exceptions. Even today, those scars still remain.
Putting the color of one’s skin and religious preference aside, the problem that polarizes our country is the growing number and discontent by the so-called poor. Instead of equal opportunity, many have come to expect benefits through a myriad of entitlement programs. No longer content to just exist, the have-nots want more, and instead of a hand-up, they have come to expect a handout. The addicting entitlement programs are turning this country into a welfare state where the incentives of capitalism are being subverted by the acceptances of socialism.
Our current two party system has failed miserably to resolve the growing divide between the so-called privileged and those on the lower end of the economic scale. The Democrats have moved farther to the left by promising more and more to the growing segment of the electorate that put and keeps them in office. While the Republican party, mired in the battle between the ‘old guard’ and Tea Party, is seen as searching for its role as the fiscal conciliator.
This republic of the people, by the people and for the people is being slowly, but inexorably, eroded away. An over-reaching Executive branch, an increasingly deaf and uninformed Congress and a Supreme Court that pushes the limits of our Constitution is centralizing the power in Washington and not in the hands of the individuals and their elected state legislators, where it was originally intended.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a classic example of a proposed solution by the Washington insiders to a local and state problem. Current estimates put the number of medically uninsured in this country at 47 million or about 15.5% of the population. Projections are that even when this legislation is fully implanted, there will still be over 30 million without health care coverage. This is not to say that the President’s effort was ill founded. But is it worth the costs, sacrifices and possibly dismantling of the world’s best health care delivery system for the remaining 300 million citizens and future generations who will be asked to pay for it? * The enactment of ACA does accomplish one undisputable goal— further centralization of federal control over the United States populous.
So why is the country so divided? Why do family members, former classmates, peers and coworkers with similar backgrounds come down on opposite sides CONCERNING which direction that this country should take in the future?
The overriding concern can be put in one succinct question: Do we address the escalating costs of this country’s entitlement obligations and the exploding federal deficit on the backs of the underprivileged, by taking it out of the pockets of the so-called wealthy or dump it in the laps of our children and their children?
Even the most strident followers on both sides of the aisle would agree that these should be our problems to solve and not put off to our children and their children to follow. So where is the compromise?
If the sole solution is for the ‘rich’ to pay more, this country gradually turns into a socialistic state where allocation of goods and services is determined by the whole of the community and the rewards from individual pursuits and accomplishments are dispersed among the community. In simpler terms, capitalism is replaced by socialism. If the sole answer is for the poor to accept less, then the basic premises upon which this country was founded of guaranteed opportunity and freedom from undue encumbrances are gone.
The answer may come by, once again, examining the obligations of the community for heath care for all its citizens. The President espouses that health care is a right given by the long-held protections of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. But does that right extend to all health care services? The answer is obviously no, as seen in the allocation process with the organ donation program. Some gravely ill individuals are not eligible or are listed so far down the line that they will never live long enough to get a donor organ that could save or prolong their lives. A more reasoned answer is to health care delivery is access to an affordable level of basic health care services.
The compromise is for the less privileged, either by income or likelihood of outcome, have to settle for less, while the so-called more privileged have taken on the responsibility of insuring the creation a package of affordable health care services that fulfill the moral obligations of the community. Isn’t it equally morally unjust to deny those who have more the opportunity to purchase more, than to deny those with less, the opportunity to better their situation?
Washington seems to be in a permanent state of gridlock. The safeguards of checks and balances put in place by our founding fathers have in some ways made this democracy too democratic. Both political parties have taken positions that are too far to the left and correspondingly to the right. Maybe the only thing that we can agree on is that Washington doesn’t always have the best answer.
Do we, as individuals, want more or less centralized control? Once we have made that critical decision, then, just maybe, we, or the representatives that we have elected, can sit down together and establish a meaningful dialogue.
The analogy may be found in the world of boxing, where it is do or die when opponents face off in the ring. In preparation for an upcoming bout, boxers hone their skills with sparring partners. They are both still fighters, trained in the art of rendering their opponents into a state of unconsciousness. The difference is the sparring partner is not out to destroy their partner, only make him better.
Maybe the Democrats and the Republicans can still spar on the issues of amnesty, gay marriage and abortion. But take their gloves off when it comes to the potential knockout punches of the out of control entitlement programs, the role this country should play in a very dangerous world and class warfare issues that are literally ripping this country apart.
- The current United States population estimate is 317 million.