Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Encouraging Responsibility (Yours, Not Mine)

All you displaced poor folks, listen up! Ol’ Joe Barton, Representative in Washington for those proud Texans hailing from Arlington, which is just barely a smidge to the west of Dallas, has a word for you. Actually, several words. But first a note or two of intro.


RepjoebartonJoe is the demolition expert behind the wrecking of Medicaid for all you Gulf Coast unfortunates, along with every other poor person in the country, including a whole bunch of your retired parents and grandparents. Joe Barton got himself so worked-up with the need to protect tax incentives for Warren Buffet, Bill Gates and the Waltons (not the John-Boy Waltons, the Wal-Mart family) that he lost all perspective. Turned legislation into a moral lesson. Christmas and New Year is the time for moral lessons, as the Grand Juries are all on holiday.


Joe Barton knows about moral lessons, because he studied at the feet of Tom DeLay and Jack Abramoff. (Tom and Jack, the Indictment Brothers, one in Texas and the other in Florida) I don't know if Joe actually has fleas, but my old daddy always said "if you run with dogs, you get fleas." Fortunately, DeLay was an exterminator in his past life. But anyway, back to the work at hand.


Ol’ Joe engineered some pretty steep cuts in Medicaid to keep Bill, Warren and the Walton kids in tall cotton. $16 billion lopped off health care for the poor and aged, increasing co-payments at the same time.


I know you’ll think that’s pretty tough at first glance, what with having lost your job or home or maybe being on $800 Social Security, but there’s a purpose in it. As explained by AP reporter Kevin Freking,

"The Congressional Budget Office has concluded that such increases would lead many poor people to forgo health care or not to enroll in Medicaid at all -- contributing to some of the $4.8 billion in Medicaid savings envisioned over the next five years."

Well, that's a relief. We'll save on Medicaid by making it unaffordable.


The further purpose is the moral education of the common man, a subject near and dear to Joe Barton’s heart. He explains the increased co-payments are needed to "encourage personal responsibility" among low-income people. Not that Joe ever knew a low-income man or woman personally, but he's heard about them and their deficiencies in the area of duty and obligation to their betters.


Personally, Joe (as a member of Congress) has a Rolls-Royce version of medical insurance. Best of all, it's paid for by you and me and covers Joe from his bunions to his hair transplant. He’s also in an income bracket just a tad above us worker-bees, pulling in $12,500 a month as a Representative and another $200,000 a month for representing.


The twelve grand a month is for taking care of constituents in his district by slicing and dicing their health insurance. The real money, the two and a half million he grabbed from corporate interests in his election year, is for such delicacies as serving up $10 billion to encourage preferred-provider organizations, something the Senate thought was foolish and wasteful.


$10 bil would certainly make me feel preferred and encourage the hell out of me as well. Rebate demands by the Senate from drug manufacturers were quietly eliminated as well.


Score so far:


  • Bill and Warren and the Waltons, hundreds of billions

  • Corporate interests, tens of billions

  • You and me, an encouragement of personal responsibility

You might want to drop in on Joe Barton in a group, say five-hundred or a thousand of you who might be in close-by FEMA shelters or nursing homes. I wouldn’t give out Joe’s home address, but the Arlington Office is at 6001 W I-20, Suite 200, Arlington, Texas 76017 and his phone number is 817-543-1000.


Tell him you look on the visit as your personal responsibility.
_______________________________________________


More about Conservative Politics at my opinion columns web site.