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The Valley Reporter
P.O. Box 119
Waitsfield, VT 05673

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"Hooray for Bush for placing veto where it belongs"

By Olin Potter

The Valley  Reporter editorial of October 4, 2007, concerning the recent veto of the so-called S-chip Health Insurance Program by President Bush is very illustrative of the shallow, biased skim-the-surface reporting so common to liberal papers and the mainline video news. They tend to cherry-pick the sound bites that reinforce their socialist leaning politics and fail to dig further. If it has something to do with the children or the poor or any other populist program that requires increasing taxes, then they are all for it.

Let's take this editorial as a case in point.

The plan Congress came up with is supposed to pay for health care insurance for children up to the age of 24 in households with incomes rated at four times the value of those that are considered poor. In this case if the household is earning $82,000 you are eligible for cost-shifting the expense to the taxpayers to cover $35 billion in added burden over five years. It would have probably been much more than that because every program they come up with somehow manages to cost much more than the original estimate.

Those in favor of this charade say, well we will just add more tax to that nasty habit of using tobacco and to quote this editorial, "Evidently the president is more interested in seeing tobacco companies flourish than American children insured."


Did our multi-million illegal population figure into the cost structure?

Why can't households with $82,000 income pay for their own insurance? Why, because they need another computer or TV set, etc.?   

Supporters have placated many by saying we'll just up the tobacco tax to help pay part of the burden. Well the total tobacco taxes, state and federal, are reaching the point of diminishing returns. Liberals like to think in terms of an increased tax will result in increase revenue -- in other words a straight-line relationship between tax rate and income. It has long been known that this is true to a certain extent, but if the tax becomes onerous, sales go down, or if the demand for a good or service remains high, it encourages bootlegging or other means to obtain the item resulting in less tax money. (Liberals would subsidize it.) Arthur Laffer pointed this out with his famous curve that beyond a certain point income from a tax will actually go down for these reasons. The Scandinavian countries have found this out with their attempt at liquor control by upping the tax. They also found that the costs of enforcement offset the revenue they thought they would receive from the tax.

This is currently happening in this country, tobacco tax revenue is decreasing in the face of even the current taxes. Part of this has to do with reduced users and hopefully smoking will go out of style, making reliance on this source of income a "pipe" dream resulting in another federal tax increase.

So, obviously, increasing the tax on tobacco is not a reliable support for this bill.

This bill may have had great Congressional support, but one has to consider how the emotional content of a bill like this plays in Peoria and what an opening a veto gives to our leftist journalists. One can appreciate why our Valley Reporter played from the same script as the national "news" media. One favorite way of improving passage of any particular bill is for Congressional leaders (currently run by the liberals) to attach pet pork projects of holdouts to any bill in question as graft to obtain an affirmative vote. The president does not have the line item veto power; he can only accept the bill or reject it. That's why one of the things President Bush keeps telling Congress, is "Send me a clean bill." But the liberals and the media with a political agenda avoid these newsworthy items.

Another aspect of this health care issue is that to dull the senses of those that know the many faults exposed in other countries concerning socialized medicine is to sneak up on the public by spoon feeding them with small doses of the stuff so that the strong flavor of the bad medicine is diluted.

So hooray for Bush this time in placing the veto where it belongs. Let's hope the next attempt, and there will no doubt be another go-around, our dear elected Congress people stop piling on more taxes. They should, instead, stop their multi-million-dollar pork and earmarking programs and use the saved moneys to prevent tax increases and eliminate poorly thought out programs like S-chip.

Olin Potter lives in Waitsfield.


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