There're more important things to do than fuel federal party divide

Posted: Sunday, April 25, 2010

The recent introduction of Rep. Carl Gatto's bill against health care legislation signals another herd of mindless sheep following any shepherd that feeds their hate. The private sector already provides the tax base for all government, BIA, Medicaid, and Medicare health insurance coverage, and pays for those who use the health care system but cannot pay because they have no insurance.

Gatto would rather the private sector keep paying for those without health insurance rather than everyone paying into a system they are likely to use at some point. Seems like the very antithesis of "self-reliance" and "conservative values." Gatto claims his bill is about "liberty," but where was his legislation to repeal auto insurance and unemployment insurance - also both compulsory insurance laws?

You can choose not to drive or not to work and avoid paying these premiums. You can't choose not to go to the hospital if you fall ill or are injured. Hospitals will treat you, regardless of your ability to pay.

Tea Partiers are no more concerned with liberty than Democrats were with ending the war. Mass anti-war protests flourished during President Bush's final days, but the protesting largely ended (Juneau's Veterans for Peace notwithstanding) with the election of President Obama. Unfortunately, the wars didn't. We're still sending our kids over to Iraq and Afghanistan with no more chance of a better outcome than we had during President Bush's administration.

Neither party is interested in substantive change because the current system is what keeps them in power. President Bush signed the bank bailout in his final days. Senators Obama, Biden and McCain all voted for the bill, and Sarah Palin supported it "just this one time." President Obama then hypocritically chastised the banking executives for paying themselves their bonuses with our money. Congress could have put any strings they wanted on our money when giving it to the banks, but did not because these executives are the oil that lubricate both parties' political machines.

Anger over the bank bailout? Anger over the auto industry bailout? Anger over the housing bailout? I get all those. But the Tea Party's major issue: anger over everyone paying into health care so everyone has access to healthcare? I don't get that. Neither Sarah Palin or Rep. Gatto are worried about my liberty. They are pandering to a group of people who - dare I say it - can't wrap their brains around a wealthy young black president.

There's more important things to do here in Alaska in the 90-day session than fuel the federal party divide and promote its hatred. Like building the gas line, getting the drug dealers off Juneau and Wasilla streets, and addressing all the murders in Anchorage. Let's get on with it.

Mark Stopha

Oilfield worker andcommercial fisherman


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