Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!

Stimulus?

20 February AD 2009
Saint Eucherius, Bp

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    A few Sundays ago my sermon mentioned proposed federal legislation with the Orwellian name, the "Freedom of Choice Act" (FOCA).  In essence, FOCA would be the arrogation of power by the Federal government to require physicians and hospitals to perform abortions whether or not doing so violated their consciences, medical oaths, institutional policies, or the US Constitution (to say nothing of the laws of God!) and to require taxpayer funding of the carnage.  Such legislation would be, of course, at variance with our Declaration of Independence which proclaims the right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," and with various Constitutional guarantees of  the fifth and fourteenth amendments to our Constitution, to be safe from deprivation of life, liberty, or property without the due process of law determined by the jury trial guaranteed by amendment seven. The violation of individual consciences certainly contravenes the first amendment right to the "free exercise of religion." It is a clear violation of amendment thirteen, which forbids the enslavement of innocent citizens, equally as abortionists, field hands, or house slaves.  And, à fortiori the whole notion of a federal law of this nature violates the tenth amendment, for the Constitution enumerates no federal powers whatsoever over the practice of medicine or murder.

    In my sermon I predicted that:

    ... if passed, FOCA will not be the final step.  Rather, the government will be emboldened to determine just who gets what kind of healthcare if any, who gets to have children, and literally who gets to live or die.

    Very much to my chagrin, it is now being reported that a great deal of this life‑and‑death government control over healthcare will come to pass long before FOCA gets introduced into the new Congress and comes out of committee for a vote by the House and Senate—indeed, that it will come to pass even if FOCA never sees the light of day.

    In a February 9th Bloomberg.com article, Betsy McCaughey, a former lieutenant governor of New York State wrote:

(Page numbers refer to H.R. 1 EH, pdf version).

The bill’s health rules will affect “every individual in the United States” (445, 454, 479). Your medical treatments will be tracked electronically by a federal system. Having electronic medical records at your fingertips, easily transferred to a hospital, is beneficial. It will help avoid duplicate tests and errors.

But the bill goes further. One new bureaucracy, the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology [URL added], will monitor treatments to make sure your doctor is doing what the federal government deems appropriate and cost effective. The goal is to reduce costs and “guide” your doctor’s decisions (442, 446). These provisions in the stimulus bill are virtually identical to what [Senator Tom] Daschle prescribed in his 2008 book, “Critical: What We Can Do About the Health-Care Crisis.” According to Daschle, doctors have to give up autonomy and “learn to operate less like solo practitioners.”...

Hospitals and doctors that are not “meaningful users” of the new system will face penalties. “Meaningful user” isn’t defined in the bill. That will be left to the HHS secretary, who will be empowered to impose “more stringent measures of meaningful use over time” (511, 518, 540-541)

What penalties will deter your doctor from going beyond the electronically delivered protocols when your condition is atypical or you need an experimental treatment? The vagueness is intentional. In his book, Daschle proposed an appointed body with vast powers to make the “tough” decisions elected politicians won’t make.

The stimulus bill does that, and calls it the Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research (190-192). The goal, Daschle’s book explained, is to slow the development and use of new medications and technologies because they are driving up costs. He praises Europeans for being more willing to accept “hopeless diagnoses” and “forgo experimental treatments,” and he chastises Americans for expecting too much from the health-care system....

Daschle says health-care reform “will not be pain free.” Seniors should be more accepting of the conditions that come with age instead of treating them. That means the elderly will bear the brunt.

Medicare now pays for treatments deemed safe and effective. The stimulus bill would change that and apply a cost- effectiveness standard set by the Federal Council (464).

The Federal Council is modeled after a U.K. board discussed in Daschle’s book. This board approves or rejects treatments using a formula that divides the cost of the treatment by the number of years the patient is likely to benefit. Treatments for younger patients are more often approved than treatments for diseases that affect the elderly, such as osteoporosis.

In 2006, a U.K. health board decreed that elderly patients with macular degeneration had to wait until they went blind in one eye before they could get a costly new drug to save the other eye. It took almost three years of public protests before the board reversed its decision....

The stimulus bill will affect every part of health care, from medical and nursing education, to how patients are treated and how much hospitals get paid. The bill allocates more funding for this bureaucracy than for the Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force combined (90-92, 174-177, 181).

Hiding health legislation in a stimulus bill is intentional. Daschle supported the Clinton administration’s health-care overhaul in 1994, and attributed its failure to debate and delay. A year ago, Daschle wrote that the next president should act quickly before critics mount an opposition. “If that means attaching a health-care plan to the federal budget, so be it,” he said. “The issue is too important to be stalled by Senate protocol.”

    There is a  fourth amendment "right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures" that seems to have gone the way of the others.

    Beyond the dangers to your health posed by the "Stimulus" bill, one ought to consider the overall damage that it will do to the nation.  The Bush-Obama depression is very much like the Hoover-Roosevelt depression of the 1930s and 40s.  After attempting to spend the nation to prosperity, and running out of things to spend money on, the whole fiasco terminated in a bloody war to make the world safe for Communism.

    The chart below comes from the official US government website www.recovery.gov—another euphemism.  Apart from "tax relief" (and perhaps "other") the chart lists nothing that is constitutional!  The figures total to $787 Billion dollars, including $288‑Billion in "tax relief.."  One might question question how the government plans to pay for $787 Billion dollars worth of spending by collecting $288‑Billion less in taxes.  The answer, of course is the same borrowing and debasement of the dollar that is at least partly to blame for getting us into this mess.  The $ 787‑Billion dollar legislation contains a clause raising the national debt ceiling from its current $10.6‑Trillion by a whopping $1.54‑Trillion to a record high of $12.14‑Trillion.  No one should be surprised that the debt ceiling was raised by twice as much as the legislation plans to spend—the government never comes in "on budget"!

Where is Your Money Going - Tabular View

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act targets investments towards key areas that will save or create good jobs immediately, while also laying the groundwork for long-term economic growth. The charts and numbers below give you an idea of where the money is going.

Over the upcoming months, we will provide more information on the distribution of funding by Federal agencies. In order to give small businesses and Americans across the country a chance to apply for recovery dollars to create and save jobs, some funding may not be distributed until this summer. New information on the allocation of funds will be posted on Recovery.gov as it becomes available.

 Category

Amount ($ Billions) 

*Tax Relief

$288

*State and Local Fiscal Relief

$144

Infrastructure and science

$111

Protecting the Vulnerable

$81

Health Care

$59

Education and Training

$53

Energy

$43

Other

$8

   
* Tax Relief - includes $15 B for Infrastructure and Science, $61 B for Protecting the Vulnerable, $25 B for Education and Training and $22 B for Energy, so total funds are $126 B for Infrastructure and Science, $142 B for Protecting the Vulnerable, $78 B for Education and Training, and $65 B for Energy.

    A Trillion, for those of us who are accustomed to counting bills with George Washington's picture on them, is one with twelve zeros after it.  That means that the new debt ceiling will be written  $12,140,000,000,000.  And see how rapidly we are approaching it:

The Gross National Debt

    But that is only the debt acknowledged on the books.  One must look a bit deeper to find our actual liabilities.  Richard W. Fisher, the President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas wrote:

Add together the unfunded liabilities from Medicare and Social Security, and it comes to $99.2 trillion over the infinite horizon. Traditional Medicare composes about 69 percent, the new drug benefit roughly 17 percent and Social Security the remaining 14 percent.  (Emphasis supplied)

    Fisher is unusually candid for a "bankster," and his remarks on last year's $700-Billion banking bailout are also of interest.

Let me close with another quote from my sermon:

    The moral law may be more easy to disobey than they physical laws of nature, but the consequences are always sins against God, and very often they are crimes against men and women.  Our nation is founded upon the notion that all of us are “endowed by our Creator with the unalienable rights” that come from His moral law.  As citizens and as Catholics, we must take our country back from the “Progressives,” who would sin against us and against our God.

in XTO,
Fr. Brusca
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