I wills spare specific details of the event because the event specifically is not the point of my post.
The event was held at the home of a Black couple of unknown wealth in the elite part of town. (Put it this way - they were far from poor). As the event rolled on I saw a bunch of people that I either knew directly from local Atlanta politics,Fulton County politics and/or Georgia State politics. The mayor of Atlanta passed through briefly as well.
The Georgia State legislature is in session right now and thus there were a few state senators and representatives in attendance.
During the speech giving portion of the engagement Democratic state senator Calvin Smyre took the floor. He announced that the governor of Georgia - Sonny Purdue (Republican) had agreed to accept all of the stimulus money. (The crowd let out a cheer). Smyre went on to day that after days of negotiations with the governor he was made to 'come around' and see that the present needs for people being hurt by the economy outweigh any concerns that the governor had about the long term costs to the state for accepting the money. (Another cheer).
As I listened in to the words of the state senator and the crowd I saw what was the case. They were not cheering FOR THE GOVERNOR and his decision. They were cheering because the Democrats had pressed the Republican governor hard, getting him to do what he was not inclined to do. To be sure - there were few people standing in that house that planned to VOTE FOR this Republican the next time around as thanks for his doing what they saw favorable. (Please note - he can't run again anyway as he is limited to 2 terms)
Thus, in the mindset of this group, they were not just advocating for their interests - More money for Unemployment Insurance and for Grady Hospital - they were making use of their Democratic machine to carry forth their demands. They plan to do so - so the next time - there will be no doubt as to which policies will be approved or not. "Their guy" will be in office and thus the question is moot.
Let's make use of all of the words as backdrop and context for this second part of my post.
The Republican governor when he agreed to take the money said in the news media "This is not free money.....someone else will have to pay this back in the future". Sonny Purdue, like the other Republican governors in the South worried most about the "strings that were attached". In effect this stimulus money expanded the class of people who qualified for Unemployment and it only provided money for a few years. Like the classical "unfunded mandate" - the Feds gets the people addicted to a certain standard of services and then yanks the money away. The state leadership is then forced to cover the shortfall in the out years.
I believe that it is 100% in the perview of each state to determine its own tax regime and policies. At the end of the day we are a federation of states. Individuals have a right to move to and from states using their own free will. If you notice many people have chosen to exit California and Michigan as their generious entitlement policies have caused recent fiscal crisis and the tax situation placed upon the people has become intractable.
In the context of the event that I am speaking of it was "Grady Hospital" which was of concern to all who were at this gathering. Grady is the public hospital for metro Atlanta. The fact is that Grady provides health care to poor Black people as its most largest identifiable population group. (This factoid I learned a few weeks ago while attending the "Single Payer Healthcare" symposium)
Thus the argument goes "Anyone who is against funding Grady is against funding BLACK PEOPLE and our interests".
It was quite interesting to listen to the new leader of Grady talk versus the activists who ALSO purport to support Grady. The leader told of how he has sured up the finances for the hospital in the short time that he has been in the seat of power. The activists were attacking the new leadership and its schemes. They said "Grady is no longer a public hospital". Technically they are correct. It became a private foundation. This was done to lay the groundwork for the receipt of large donations from various corporations and wealthy individuals. They had lost confidence in the previous regime that was appointed from the political leadership of Fulton and Dekalb counties.
Now let's bring this all around. The crowd cheered as the leader of Grady mentioned that the state of Georgia health care system would receive about $400 million in funding from the Obama Administration per this Stimulus Package. Clearly their argument is "Any money from any source is good money".
My view, not surprisingly is very different.
- Grady Hospital - which is still several million dollars in the hole is no more a VIABLE entity today, after receiving some portion of the $400 million from the Federal Government as it was prior to it.
- The money received from the Federal Government is "debt money" having been drawn from the Federal Credit Card and doled out to the periphery, thus.....
- There was not one ounce of NEW PRODUCTIVITY which generated this money for Grady Hospital. Where as "the market" typically places value on the worth of a given resource - it was the Federal government which ultimately decided that Grady's mission is a worthwhile one
- The main people making the case that EVERYONE IS EQUAL in fact want society to display equality to everyone via their willingness to channel resources their way. When it comes to having THE PEOPLE to show their own worth by insuring that they make the specific priorities in their own lives that bear out their WORTH - the void in their agenda is shown for all to see
Thus, in closing, this entire socialized health care debate and other attempts to shift the cost burden to the centralized government is ultimately a vote of no confidence in the people's ability to align their practices at the periphery with their desires to live at a certain standard of living. Instead the belief is that as votes flow upward, resources will rain down. In as much as the people are made increasingly incapable of executing upon their own interests in support of these vital community resources - their fates are sealed with each step toward centralized dependency.