11.30.2009 0

Too Hot Not To Note: Simply unhealthy

  • On: 12/28/2009 10:20:47
  • In: Health Care

  • ALG Editor’s Note: In the following featured editorial, Go Upstate editorializes on the health care bill the day that it was passed through the Senate and points out the important point on bribing Senators with pork benefits is bad for everyone.

    Simply unhealthy

    Senatorial blackmail on health care vote a not unprecedented cancer

    The health care reform bill the Senate is scheduled to vote on today is either a good idea or a bad one. Senators should base their votes on the merits of the plan.

    But Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson, the crucial 60th vote on the deal, will base his decision on how much money he was able to extort for his home state.

    One byproduct of the health care reform bill is an expected increase in Medicaid costs for the states. Nelson, whose vote was needed to prevent a filibuster by Republican senators unanimously opposed to the bill, promised support only if his state were exempted from those increases.

    The other states, including South Carolina, will pick up Nebraska’s tab.

    Let this be a lesson to Chad McGowan, a Democrat seeking the S.C. senatorial seat currently held by Jim DeMint.

    The two recently got into a spat about how a senator should act. DeMint said, “Senate seats are not about a particular state. They’re about our country. Every vote I take is not about South Carolina, it’s about the United States of America.”

    McGowan accused DeMint of putting personal political goals ahead of the state and said the state needs two senators who “produce for South Carolina.”

    McGowan had it exactly backward. Pork-barrel politicians, dedicated to snatching money for their constituents to the detriment of the nation, care only for themselves. They simply buy the support of home-state voters with the shiny trinket of federal money.

    Most politicians do it, meaning no state actually benefits from the pork game. The vast majority of federal legislators find ways to appropriate money that would have been better left unspent, voters develop an unjustified sense of gratitude because their legislators are “bringing home the bacon,” 90 percent of incumbents who run for re-election win, and nothing ever changes.

    Some say Nelson has gone too far, and several state attorneys-general may challenge the constitutional validity of a deal that forces the 49 states to pick up Nebraska’s Medicaid tab in return for a senator’s vote. The outcome of that battle is uncertain.

    What is certain is this: While Nelson’s move may have been unusually brazen, it is in line with the way many legislators act. Every federally-funded pork barrel project a legislator brings home to buy votes is money taken from taxpayers in 49 states to benefit residents of the 50th.

    Pork benefits no one. Every state ends up stealing from the others, often for projects that make no sense.

    The only winners are the incumbents who keep buying gratitude and re-election with our money. Pork politicians are bad for our country, and the ones who connive to grab funds for our state are just as bad as the ones who connive to take funds from our state.

    Support Ben Nelson’s move or vote against any South Carolina politician who behaves like him. Anything else is hypocrisy.

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