Diagnosis for Democracy
Insights into the State of Our Union
A Blog by Rob Tenery, MD


November 19, 2012: Why Don't You Get In Line With Me?

By Rob Tenery, MD on November 19, 2012

I’m white, male and a senior citizen. What does that make me? The answer is just another minority. We had a great run---- almost 250 years. But it’s over. Those that follow politics in this country had projected this day would come. Studies have shown that blacks vote their skin color over ninety percent of the time. Hispanics vote seventy percent to the left. The majority of Jews vote Democratic, even though those in power only give quasi-support to the state of Israel.  In growing numbers, single females, support the Democrats because that party has triumphed abortion rights and birth control issues. Unions vote predominately to the left, even in the face of massive job flight to countries that pay their workers far less than minimum wage. Many younger people backed Congressman Ron Paul, because he supported a foreign policy of virtual isolationism.

This country has changed. The groups mentioned above are now the ‘new’ majority. They will carry the United States into the near future. Even though the margin was only a thin 1%, the electorate has spoken: larger government and less presence on the world stage--- no longer striving to be the world’s leader, at least by force.

The original authors of the Declaration of Independence were an independent bunch, believing that ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’ were paramount and they paid for those freedoms with their lives and sacrifices. What these visionaries possessed was a sense of the greater good, and not just what was ‘in it for me.’ They backed it up with their self-reliance, refusing to accept authoritarian dependency. They made changes happen, rather than just accepting change.

The contrasting terms, ‘handout’ and ‘hand-up,’ put this change succinctly. Handouts serve the immediate needs, but incentivize dependency. Hand-ups create independency. The charitable and the federal programs, such as unemployment insurance, Welfare and Medicaid, have made valiant attempts to serve the needs of those who can’t help themselves. Far too often, these programs fail to incentivize self-reliance.  Thus, any moves that threaten those that depend on the entitlement programs are met with resistance at the ballot box.

Like our European counterparts who rely on ‘cradle to grave’ protection for most of their basic needs, this country is moving from an entrepreneurial to an entitlement society of takers rather than earners. How often does anyone send back their social security check or tear up their food stamps?

This transformation comes with consequences: the ‘rationing’ of health care services seen in England will become the norm under Obamacare. The projected cuts in our military budget decrease this country’s ability to protect our interests in the world community. We have an exploding national debt that will ultimately pull this country over the fiscal cliff, similar to the concerns seen in Greece and Spain. There is no European Union to rescue the United States from this abyss.

There are four areas that the electorate will have to address in future elections: heath care, business, world presence and border issues.

Obamacare is the law. The results of the recent election killed any thoughts of a major reversal. The legislation will allow coverage for more individuals, but at lower individual patient costs. However, access, rapport, private insurance coverage and, despite what the supporters of the legislation claim, cumulative costs will take a hit.

American businesses face close to the highest corporate tax rate in the world. Add to that the now mandated extra costs of health care coverage for their employees under Obamacare. What do these impediments do to the entrepreneurial spirit? How does this affect the already-high unemployment rate? As startup for new businesses decrease and others shut down or move out of the country, the void will be filled with imports or government run replacements.

The role of the United States as the ‘world’s policeman’ seems to have passed with the lessons learned from Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq. The proposed drastic cuts in the military budget reveal that President Reagan’s approach to peace through strength seems to have fallen by the way.

Here at home, there are even feelers that the second amendment right to bear arms is being questioned. Additionally, the President is making no secret of his desire to bring this country into closer alignment with the long-term strategies of a ‘world community’ under the United Nations.

Any country that can’t control its borders will lose its culture, bankrupt its monetary system and will be taken over, either from without, or within. In many parts of the country, our population is ‘turning brown.’ The United States was built on migration of new blood and the fresh ideas that immigrants bring.  If left unchecked, the current immigration rules, and the lack of enforcement of them, will transform this country to a second rate power. The matter of undocumented aliens is a political hot potato. The Democrats are afraid to threaten this rapidly expanding population whose relatives vote 70% to the left. In hopes of a better connection within the Hispanic community, the Republicans, even during the Bush #43 administration, avoided confronting the problems head on.

This is not just an issue with Mexico, and it is not just building a fence or shoring up the under-staffed border patrol. It is also about controlling the growing criminal element from across the border, preventing acts of terrorism, ID cards, birthright citizenship, more efficient pathways to citizenship and a reasoned approach to amnesty. It is about making inroads into the communities where our foreign-born citizens have laid down their roots and find common ground.

Both parties were right that the economy was the primary issue in this last election. But the Republicans miscalculated the demographics. The average Joe or Jane doesn’t care whether the job comes from the private sector or the government. They care about their salary, the benefits and the security of their position.

A quote that is attributed to Thomas Jefferson says it best: “The government you elect is the government you deserve.” So, as I wait for an appointment with one of the few doctors who is still willing to treat seniors, why don’t you get in line with me?




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