About “Government Overreach.”

For a change of pace, let’s talk about a couple of issues many of us ordinary folks have been dealing with for some time, but without success.

First, we keep hearing complaints about “government overreach”. Nobody wants an intrusive government, of course, whether it’s coming from the left or from the right. But surely there are times and circumstances when responsible government should step in.

For instance, the financial melt-down of 2008 cost ordinary people billions of dollars as huge chunks of our financial assets just disappeared. Countless thousands even lost their homes. Most of us would agree much of that pain might have been avoided if some controls over the big banks and Wall Street had been in place. 

In an effort to prevent another such crisis, a Democratic Congress passed the Dodd-Frank legislation, which was signed into law by President Obama. Dodd-Frank set out lending rules and tighter limits for banks and financial institutions. But conservatives called Dodd-Frank “government over-reach” and most of those rules have since been watered down or eliminated by a Republican Congress.

Here’s another one.

It’s a sad fact and a sorry commentary on our national priorities that most of the personal bankruptcies in the U.S. are caused because people are unable to pay their medical bills. The high cost of prescription drugs is a big part of the problem. 

For example, I have to take a handful of pills every day and a month’s supply of one of those pills would cost more than $1,500. Fortunately, my out-of-pocket cost is only about $150 because Medicare and my private insurance pays the balance. 

A big part of the problem is that federal law has prohibited Medicare from negotiating lower prices with the big pharmaceutical companies. Imagine that! It’s actually been against the law for Medicare to try to spend fewer of our tax dollars on prescription drugs! That’s changing, however, but we’ll have to wait and see how many of our elected representatives—after receiving big contributions from drug company lobbyists—will decide those changes are just “government over-reach”.

The unhappy fact is, we will probably never know because under current law, instead of being paid directly to a candidate’s campaign committee, political contributions in any amount can be made to specific Political Action Committees.  Of course the contributor knows which politicians are going to be receiving the most of his dollars. He knows; the PAC knows, and the candidate knows. In fact, everyone knows except us, the general public.

If and when some enterprising reporter wants to know who made a $500,000 contribution to the chair of an influential Congressional committee, the answer is . . .  the money came from a Political Acton Committee.  Under current law, it’s impossible to find out who gave the half million dollars to the PAC.

There is no valid justification for this because it makes corruption possible.

No, wait! Let me rephrase that:  There is no valid justification for this because it makes corruption inevitable.

How can we . . . as a nation . . . as individual citizens regardless of political party . . . how can we tolerate that? But we do . . . and shame on us all!

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