On Aug. 16, The New York Times ran an angry editorial entitled, “Water in the desert.” It referred to a man named Walt Staton, who placed water jugs in the New Mexican desert along the Mexican border for those seeking to cross the border illegally, some of whom die in the desert from lack of water. Staton was convicted of littering and “sentenced last week to probation and 300 hours of picking up trash after he refused to pay a fine.”
I agree with and share the outrage of the Times’ editorial. To try to save human lives by leaving water along the route of illegal entry should be applauded, not condemned. However, I disagree with the Times’ solution and its reference to those illegal aliens whom they refer to as “migrants.” They can’t even bring themselves to call them by their rightful name, illegal aliens. The Times apparently believes in open borders for the United States. Anyone, they apparently maintain, can enter the U.S. without authorization.
As far as I know, no country in the world has “open borders,” nor should they. The Times believes the next major issue – immigration reform – will be addressed by President Barack Obama in 2010, and “that the only real solution to the border problem [is] immigration reform that gives people an alternative.” The alternative they espouse is amnesty for the estimated 12 million to 20 million people in this country illegally and allowing them to apply for American citizenship, instead of being required to return to their home countries. The Times condemns the border fence, saying it “disrupts migration and feeding for rare and endangered animals.” However, birds fly over the fence, and exits for other animals are undoubtedly provided in the fence or should be. It is reminiscent of the argument that caused the junking of Westway when I was mayor. Those opposed to Westway said the rotted piers in the Hudson were needed by the striped bass in order to spawn. I said that if that was the case, I was willing to provide the fish with a waterfront motel in Poughkeepsie. Regrettably, the environmentalists won.
The American people rarely rise up in their wrath. They are doing so now, as they did when Congress tried with the support of the leadership of both national parties to pass amnesty legislation when George W. Bush was president. An effort will again be made next year. Citizens, gird your loins, get ready to fight again.
Obama Should Clarify Healthcare Questions
The healthcare debate goes on. Across America the arguments are becoming less strident, and the president’s voice has entered the debate with a calming influence. His most vociferous opponents see in him an uncanny ability to get to the heart of any disagreement and, through his remarkable skills of persuasion, to often bring opponents to his side.
Those reading my commentaries on the subject know where I stand. I support the current efforts to provide universal medical insurance at affordable cost. I want the coverage provided to be adequate so as to eliminate the problem of the 25 million underinsured Americans and the 47 million others who have no insurance. I support a government option that receives the same subsidies that private, voluntary, and profit-making providers get, so they compete on a level playing field.
According to The New York Times of Aug. 16, the president in his town hall appearances on healthcare has cited the plight of real families with real medical problems in need of solutions. The article reported, “Mr. Obama used each of these families to make the case that, if his proposed overhaul goes through, insurers will be barred from imposing lifetime caps, dropping patients and refusing care for preexisting conditions.”
I think the president has to spell out in greater detail how such expanded coverage will be paid for. Will the premium be the same as for a totally healthy applicant? Will the premium, if greater, be regulated by the government – which I believe it should be? Will the government provide a subsidy to the insurance company or will the company be permitted to pass the costs along to all of its subscribers? Surely, these are questions that need answers now.
On my television program, Wiseguys on NY1, which I share each week with former Sen. Al D’Amato and former New York State Comptroller Carl McCall, the latter made a statement that goes to the heart of the issue. He said in substance that the president has failed to address the most important part of the health constituency — those who are satisfied with their current private insurance policies for which they or their employers were paying the premiums. The New York Times article referred to that group, reporting “an estimated 80 percent of Americans already have insurance, and Mr. Obama must persuade them that overhauling the system will make it work better for them – as well as for the millions who stand to gain from an expansion of coverage.”
In an earlier Times article, those like myself who believe in having adequate, indeed more than adequate insurance, were told it is not certain our self-paid policies would be unaffected by the proposed new law. The Times of Aug. 10 reported, “The legislation could have significant implications for individuals who have bought coverage on their own. Their policies might be exempted from the new standards, but the coverage might not be viable for long because insurers could not add benefits or enroll additional people in noncompliant policies.”
Is it selfish on the part of those like myself, who have policies that are not dependent on government subsidies to question the new proposals? I don’t think so, and unless our concerns are adequately answered by the president, they will continue to cause him unnecessary grief and prevent many people from giving full-throated support to his crusade.
Why Did Obama Cave on Medicare Discounts?
Why is it that no one has asked the president at his town hall meetings, and the press apparently has not either, why he caved to the pharmaceutical industry and gave up on allowing Medicare to use volume discounts that could easily save Medicare well over $80 billion a year on its drug purchases. The best example of potential savings was reported by Stanley Crouch, a highly regarded columnist, writing in the Daily News, “Under Medicare, the in-demand cholesterol drug Zocor costs $1,485 for a year’s supply. The Veterans Administration, which can negotiate with drug companies over prices, gets the same year-long supply for $127!”
Michelle Obama a Fashion Trendsetter
This is not a gossip column, so forgive me for mentioning that Michelle Obama, who is not only intellectually brilliant, has become a true fashion trendsetter. First, bare arms and now, short shorts. So far as I can recall, no first lady in our history has dared the shorts. Jackie Kennedy Onassis did the bare arms. Three cheers for Michelle Obama.
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