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Tom Purcell

Tom Purcell: New Year's resolutions our politicians won't keep

| Monday, Dec. 31, 2018, 7:03 p.m.
President Trump meets with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Dec. 11 at the White House.
President Trump meets with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Dec. 11 at the White House.

“Celebrating the holidays with friends and family the past few weeks was great, but I’m tired, bloated and crabby.”

“The new year is upon us! What a great opportunity to start fresh and resolve to do great things in 2019.”

“How about I share some resolutions I hope our political leaders will keep? Here’s one: Federal government, please stop spending so much!”

“Spending is certainly out of control. Federal debt is up nearly $1.4 trillion the past year. That’s nearly $11,000 in debt per American household — nearly $4,200 per person. And, as interest rates rise, the payments on our debt are skyrocketing.”

“I’ll tell you what else is skyrocketing: my family’s health insurance premiums. My deductibles are so high, we’ll end up in the poorhouse if any of us gets sick. Hey, Democrats and Republicans, can you resolve to come up with a bipartisan solution for the massive cost of health insurance?”

“Regrettably, such reforms are not likely to occur. There is a growing chasm between Republicans and Democrats. As Republicans hope to undo Obamacare in the courts, more Democrats are supporting a single-payer government program. As more families suffer from high premiums and high deductibles, more Americans, according to Bloomberg, are warming to a ‘Medicare for all’ concept.”

“They are?”

“Bloomberg says a Kaiser Family Foundation survey found last March that 59 percent of Americans favor the ‘Medicare for all’ concept. Even when it was defined as a single-payer federal program, 53 percent favored it. Some 75 percent favor a ‘Medicare for all’ option if it lets people who have coverage keep their plans.”

“The way Obamacare allowed people to keep their plans? OK, if it’s unrealistic for our political leaders to spend less and improve health care, can they at least resolve to improve our public discourse?”

“Everyone has been hoping for that. Trump’s supporters wish he would cool it with some of his tweets, and his opponents are throwing around some heated language, too. With divided government in 2019, it appears discourse is going to get worse, not better.”

“Look, so much is at stake. We want our political leaders to work with each other to address our problems. We want them to end this silly government shutdown. Don’t all of us, Republicans and Democrats alike, want them to knock off the nasty politics and address our spending, health care, infrastructure and immigration reform challenges?”

“I wish that were the case. USA Today reports that the only thing all Americans can agree upon is that our country is incredibly divided. Our politicians reflect our division. Again, look at health care. Republicans want market-based reforms that they hope will drive insurance premiums down. Democrats want the polar opposite: more government control. Or look at the Trump investigations. A majority of Republicans want them to end, but a majority of Democrats want the incoming House-majority Democrats to investigate more. Government gridlock, here we come!”

“For goodness’ sake!”

“It’s a bit odd that so many Americans are so unhappy about so many things when a lot of things are going very well for our country. The economy is doing well. Wages are rising. Sure, we’ve got challenges, but it’s too bad we can’t count some of our blessings as we address them.”

“Sure, we’re blessed, but after chatting with you I feel even more tired, bloated and crabby.”

Freelance writer Tom Purcell of Library is author of “Misadventures of a 1970s Childhood.” Visit him on the web at TomPurcell.com.

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