The Salem News
---- — “Where Are We Going? And Why Am I In This Handbasket?”
This is the new bumper sticker on my car. Some people don’t immediately get it, because they don’t quickly connect it to the phrase “going to hell in a handbasket.” But then, there are probably people who don’t get my other bumper sticker, “How’s that Hopey-Changey thing working for ya?” Or, they might not understand “Who is John Galt?” that’s been riding my front bumper since President Obama was re-elected in 2012.
I can’t help it if some people don’t get my bumper stickers; I can’t educate voters with my car. I can only express myself and give a shout-out to drivers who are already “one of us,” the Obama resistance, the tea party or as Congressman Charlie Rangel, D-New York, calls us, “white crackers,” an insult that could also be made into a fun bumper sticker.
There’s just so much room on my car, though. I must keep “Preserve and Protect Proposition 21/2.” And, with my new sticker reflecting political despair, it’s even more important to have the “Never Give Up” bumper statement with the picture of the frog resisting being swallowed by the stork.
So, in the spirit of that resistance, I took my Honda CR-V and its stickers to the gas station to top its tank last Wednesday, just before the state gas tax increase went into effect. I needed only a few gallons so saved just 16 cents. I’ll add that to whatever I save this coming weekend on the sales tax holiday, when I stock up on batteries, detergent, shampoo and cosmetics for the coming year, then declare that “I stuck it to the man!” in this case, Deval Patrick, who wanted even higher taxes.
He did get the gas tax adjustment to the Consumer Price Index that will happen automatically each January, so that our legislators will never have to vote on the subject again. A ballot committee is organizing this week to repeal that provision it calls “taxation without representation.”
You could also apply this phrase to another provision in the new tax package, the creation of a sales tax on computer services, because all our legislators who voted for it had no idea what it does and to whom. We’ll find out as it gets implemented, just as we are slowly learning what Congress voted for when it passed ObamaCare.
There’s new information just since my July 17 column, which noted that companies are trying to avoid paying the employer mandate by not having the “more than 50” full-time employees that trigger this mandate. Some of them are hiring only part-timers: But now, the healthcare bureaucrats are working on a formula that adds up the part-timers into equivalent full-timers. It seems the only way to avoid the expensive mandate it to not hire, as unemployment rises. There are plenty of jobs available in the part of the public sector that must interpret and implement the complexity of ObamaCare, though.
Republicans continue to try to repeal it, with the latest effort in the House to defund the provisions that require government spending. Some ask why the Republicans don’t come up with their own plan. Here is why.
Republicans, and other ObamaCare opponents, don’t want to mandate that citizens buy their own insurance. But they won’t take on the other federal mandate that everyone who goes to an emergency room must be treated because, truly, most of us don’t want to see sick people screaming in pain and dying on the steps of the hospital. So, someone has to pay: either the patient or all of us through our own premiums or our taxes.
Only solution to this dilemma coming so far from the Obama administration, according to Forbes magazine, is to allow Congress to exclude itself and its own employees from the provisions of ObamaCare that Congress doesn’t like.
Yes, August has been a month of revelations. We are learning that there were at least 35 CIA operatives at the Benghazi compound, which could explain the attack, except that none of them are allowed to testify as to what they were doing there. Early suspicions that they were moving weapons from Libya to rebels in Syria, without Congressional approval, seem to be valid.
Some say that this could be the Obama administration’s Iran-Contra scandal, but it quickly lost momentum when its photogenic chief operative, Col. Ollie North, showed up in Doonesbury cartoons as a cute puppy wagging his tail in response to Congressional inquiry; the public said “aawww” and moved on. Obama officials are bypassing Benghazi by closing some American embassies in response to a new al-Qaida threat that we know about, fortunately, because of the excellent information the NSA is getting by monitoring all our phone calls and email. A violation of our Fourth Amendment rights? Obama wags his tail, wags the dog, voters move on to more interesting sex or sports-oriented scandals.
Meanwhile, with all of us told to be on alert for whatever the terrorists might be planning, our president went golfing, again.
My August vacation? Not sure where I and the country are going, but the handbasket offers an interesting tour.
Marblehead resident Barbara Anderson is executive director of Citizens for Limited Taxation and a Salem News columnist.