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    Armchair philosopher, politically-incorrect political commentator, raconteur, retired air traffic controller, dilettante truck driver, US Army veteran, recluse, sometime-writer, redneck convert neè Buckeye, ne'er-do-well, bon vivant, unrepentant libertine, unapologetic libertarian, and (of course) curmudgeon…

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The Expanding Role of Federal Blackmail

Posted by The Curmudgeon on April 16, 2010

And you thought climbing into bed with the Mafia was a bad idea.

Barack Obama has decreed that hospitals receiving Federal funding (nearly all hospitals do) must allow patients to designate who will have visitation rights and authority to make medical decisions on their behalf—an action specifically intended to expand the role of homosexual partners, giving them status equal to family members.

On first blush, this doesn’t seem particularly noteworthy. Frankly, I’d already presumed that patients had the right to designate anybody they want to act on their behalf — particularly those armed with a power of attorney — and I certainly wouldn’t oppose a move designed solely to achieve that end.

At this point, I’ll clarify what this blog entry isn’t about.

It isn’t about Obama’s tossing a gesture toward homosexual-activist organizations (they’ve been critical of Obama for not being enthusiastic enough in furthering their agenda). Nor is it a commentary about whether homosexual activity per se is inherently right or wrong; personally, I feel that what goes on between consenting adults is their own business, and the government shouldn’t be involved with determining or standing in judgment of who we sleep with or what we do in the sexual realm. And it isn’t about the collective groan likely to sweep the nation in the face of yet another step in a direction most of us don’t wish to go as the push for homosexual rights continues unabated.

It isn’t about patients’ rights, either.

By way of explanation, let’s take a little stroll down memory lane.

Recall, if you will (for those old enough to remember that far back) the old days of jumping into your car and pushing the seat belt aside before you started the engine and headed down the road. Foolish though this practice was, it was perfectly legal to do so. It wasn’t until the 1960’s that lap belts even became standard equipment (shoulder harnesses were still reserved for racing cars and aircraft cockpits). Their use was encouraged, but not mandatory; we had the right to become impaled on a steering column or sail head-first through a windshield—and if we did so, well, that was our own damned fault.

This bothered some folks. They figured that if we didn’t have sense enough to ensure our own safety, then it was high time Congress did so on our behalf—and demanded a law to correct what they saw as a deficiency. (You’ll find their latter-day followers demanding Federal intervention to control evil hamburgers, hot dogs, and sodas. And booze. And tobacco.)

There was just one minor problem: Congress didn’t have the authority to require us to use seat belts. (It still doesn’t, by the way.)

Congress does, however, have the power to withhold Federal funding for interstate highway construction and repair. And in the finest congressional tradition, it seized upon the opportunity to expand its influence by any means available. It was unequivocal in its message to the states: No, we don’t have the authority to mandate seat belt use, and we can’t legally compel you to mandate it, either—but, if you don’t, we’ll cut off your Federal funding.

Note that Congress judged the tactic a winner; the same approach was used to force states to raise the minimum drinking age to 21. (At least the seat belt issue was related — however remotely — to the act of driving; tampering with the drinking age was a blatant incursion into an area hitherto considered the exclusive domain of state governments.)

To a Mafia don, this might appear to be business as usual; the rest of us, however, might reasonably think of it as blackmail.

Set aside the onerous issue of the proliferation of “nanny” laws to increasingly regulate everything in our midst and think of yourself for just a moment as a down-on-your-luck businessman who acts out of desperation and unwisely enlists the aid of the local crime lord. Sure, the mobster will help you out — whether it be money or muscle that’s needed — but, afterward…

Say “Hello” to your new partner. Now that you’ve invited him in, he’s not likely to leave of his own accord; he owns you. You would do well to remember at all times that “business as usual” for him includes bribery, bullying, and blackmail.

So it is with Federal money. If you’re a manufacturer who lands a fat government contract, it’s not unlike being partnered-up with the Mafia. You’ve crawled into bed with Uncle Sam, and in so doing put him in a position to control who you hire, how you run your business, and even who you may (or must) do business with.

And that, gentle reader, is what this blog entry is about. (See? I do get to the point—eventually.)

I’ll remind you that Obama’s edict applies only to hospitals that on some level do business with the Federal government (which, again, is pretty much all of them). There exists otherwise no legal authority to set such a requirement. But by accepting Medicare or Medicaid payments, a hospital invites the Federal mobster into its bed—with predictable results.

Note also that this policy change resulted from a mere stroke of a pen, and the decision to implement that policy was made by one man. No new legislation. No debate. No cost-benefit analysis. No filibuster. No protests. No rallies.

And no recourse.

At a time when the Federal government is insinuating itself into our lives to a degree (and at a rate) unprecedented in our history, it should give us pause—and prompt us to wonder what else might be on that one man’s agenda.

Especially since that one man considers bribery, bullying, and blackmail to be business as usual.

________

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3 Responses to “The Expanding Role of Federal Blackmail”

  1. Shouldn’t fags have a right to deserve when another fag dies? I don’t want that responsibility, neither do the straight Christian doctors who would be labeled homophobes (or worse).

  2. Poker Face said

    First, Peepers, WHAT?!?
    Second, this kind of thing has been going on since Hamilton and Jefferson were duking it out over two hundred years ago. What’s the problem here?

  3. LarryZ said

    Itis a simple system of checks and balances. Whoever is writing the checks gets to adjust the balances.
    LCZ

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