Might the turn of the 21st century be remembered as the halcyon years of employee benefits? A chance conversation among four people seated in a doctor’s waiting room in southwest Florida suggests just that.
The instigator was a gray-haired businessman who sat down with his briefcase next to a man reading a newspaper. After asking for the time, he followed up with this loaded question: “Got insurance?”
Once a harmless enough query, these words could come to signify the lament of the electorate in the Obama years.
The newspaper reader mumbled an affirmative, and the businessman, obviously wanting to share what was on his mind, continued, “They are playing politics with healthcare and denying that it will cost an arm and a leg.”
The newspaper reader looked up and replied, “That is only part of it.”
“Tell me about it,” said the businessman, “I read all 1,000-plus pages of that first draft of Obama’s medical nightmare for America. As a small businessman, I and those like me are getting screwed. After 25 years in the military, I never thought I’d see the day America became a socialist state.”
The newspaper reader listened and replied, “You say you read the first draft? That is more than most of those on Capitol Hill have done for that draft or for the 2,000-plus pages of the bill the House just passed. I don’t know how you feel, but Congress should be ashamed to have voted for such a piece of poorly drafted legislation, let alone claim ownership of it.”
Just then, a younger man across the aisle looked up from his iPod and added, “Friends, I am a small businessman with 13 employees, all of them great people. If the government starts taxing me to pay for the public option, I’m sorry, but I will pay the stupid employer’s fine, and my employees will go on the public option. I would be saving money but losing my freedom, some choice. You work your tail off, and some schmuck who doesn’t work gets all the bennies.”
The older businessman replied, “I provide my 37 employees a Cadillac healthcare plan; but you can bet, I am not going to pay that crazy tax to give my employees a good deal –– government option here they come. They wanted Obama, they’ve got him. I may just pack it in, and say, ‘Obama it is all yours and your anarchist friends.' All of this pussy-footing whether Obama is a socialist or not is a waste of time. He and his Chicago thugs are socialists, period.”
A woman sitting next to the younger man closed her cell phone. “I think you all should consider what Thomas Jefferson had to say about democracy ending when we take from those willing to work and give to those who aren’t. I couldn’t help but hear your statements. I teach history, American history, and what is happening to this country is appalling. I voted for Mr. Obama. I believed and wanted to believe in change, but his people are spending money like drunken sailors.”
The older businessman said, “Now don’t knock sailors. Like you, though, I thought Obama was for real change –– yeah. He hasn’t kept any campaign promises, except those that weaken our military and national security. I am sorry, but Obama’s plans are tax, tax, tax, and ration, ration, ration. Congress has no idea what it is doing, or if they do, they must want to ruin this country.”
Grimacing, he continued, “Look at the number of illegal aliens getting free medical care. It is bad enough that deadbeats, druggies, and welfare cheats are just sucking up the money in Social Security, SSI, food stamps, and free housing. Now we are going to throw more money at the illegals.”
The younger man rose, as his name was called, but made this final contribution to the discourse: “People, we’ve been had. Obama sold us a bill of goods, and the goods are rotten. I am going to tell that bunch in Washington, ‘Now you’ll have to pay me to do nothing, because I sure as hell am not going to work 16 hours a day to pay for a bunch of freeloaders.’” He departed with a wave, “Hope I am wrong, and somebody in Washington has some sense.”
The newspaper reader looked at the older businessman, and said: “You, that young man, this lady, and hundreds of thousands like you are standing by as Obamacare threatens to corrupt the soul of America, and few have the courage to say so. Those who do are hounded by the Obama cultists and the news media. Tell me, why did you mention illegal aliens?”
The businessman replied, “I read the first draft of the bill. It was full of legal mumbo jumbo, but I deal with illegal aliens daily. I know they’ll stay and get healthcare. They aren’t going home to dirt-poor poverty. I work with them, and they tell me: ‘Life is good here –– you wait long enough, and you get a job, a house, a car, your kids get a free education and welfare.' They know that only a few get deported. As one said to me, ‘Obama’s our man.'"”
Placing some papers in his briefcase, the businessman said, “Why do you ask?”
The woman broke in, “My father lived through the Depression. He always said, ‘There is no free lunch.' He was afraid of government handouts, that they enslave men’s souls. I have listened to you. You are America. You are the people who produce and work and create jobs. If we lose you, we lose a nation. Don’t let it happen.”
She rose, as her name was called.
The newspaper reader shook his head, “You can’t top that. She said it all. You and that young man make this country run and prosper. Don’t give up.” He, too, rose and joined his wife, who was coming out of the office.
The older businessman replied, “I guess you’re right. I am not a quitter. I fought for this country. I won’t give it up to people who have no allegiance to it. Remember, I am not a quitter.”
There was a sense of desperation in his words.
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