With the recent comments by Glen Beck on Social Justice, and the fact that I had to teach Sunday School today, I thought I’d bring up the subject of social justice in the class instead of the typical lesson. It brought up an interesting discussion on what my mostly middle class caucasian class thought on the subject.
I find it interesting that as some parts of the nation actively discusses social justice in ways not as widespread as before that the Health Care Reform Bill passed in a late night vote. I don’t believe in a synchronistic universe, but it’s hard to ignore. If the bill does go into law it will be one of the largest legislated social justice reforms in decades.
I happen to believe strongly in social justice. As a Christian, I feel I’m commanded by Christ to support social justice. And I can’t deny that health care is a social justice issue. So why don’t I feel good about the passage?
I suppose a part of my animosity toward the bill is that I fundamentally don’t trust politicians or the government. Not in some grab up the food and the guns and head to the hills mistrust, but more a general “if a politician’s lips are moving, they are lying” kind of way.
As such, I can’t believe a bill this large, sweeping and touching of so many lives is free from pork, bad ideas or bad design. I look at the way it was passed, and can’t help but believe that hundreds of pages of back room deals and pats on the back have to be written into the foolish thing. I wish I wasn’t so cynical, but I can’t help it.
So while I’ve been seeing the tweets and the blog posts celebrating the passing, I can’t feel the joy. I don’t buy the “change.” All I can see is a potential disaster.
I mean seriously, can you see anything that the Government has done in the past 20 years that it has done well? It mucked about in the home loan industry, and we see how that went. It’s had a war with the “mission completed” for how many years? It fought another war in a country against the very people we put into power. It’s mucked up the space program to the point it doesn’t have a focus right now. Go talk to a teacher about “no child left behind” and see how that’s working for us. Noticed the stiff rise in auto parts lately? You can thank the “cash for clunkers” program.
So aside from the back room back slaps, its the unintended consequences of such a sweeping bill that worries me. We didn’t intend to put an intolerant regime in Afghanistan. We didn’t mean to raise the price of used auto parts. The unexpected just happens. And I can’t imagine that the people who wrote this bill had the time, or the study, to see even a fraction of what may come down the line.
If the estimates of some of the businesses are accurate, not that I trust businesses much more than government, but the loss of jobs is only one of the many things this bill may actually create. As someone who’s attempted to run a small business, I can assure you that the $2000 fine for not offering health insurance to your employees is just another barrier to opening or keeping a business running. How does it apply to part time employees? Is it going to be cheaper for small businesses to just pay the fine instead of providing insurance?
In fact, this change is so large, I don’t even know where to look to ask questions. I’m sure as the euphoria dies, and people realize that it is months to years before the uninsured start seeing a change other problems in the bill will be found. Politicians will spin it that it just needs more legislation to fix… but why didn’t they just get it right the first time?