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Glenn Mollette
Glenn Mollette

ByGlenn Mollette

What do Americans want?

This question is always relevant and politicians now in the heat of rhetoric war each believe they have the answer. Americans have wants and we have desperate needs. We don’t always get what we want. A friend of mine used to say that people in hell want ice water. What we want, what we need and what we end up with in America are not always going to be the same.

Americans do not want war with Iran. We don’t want the Iranians bombing oil tankers and shooting down our 130 million dollar drones either. Iran is in the Middle East. Here we go again with the subject of oil. How much killing is going to go on over the world’s relentless thirst for oil? America doesn’t have another trillion dollars and two or three thousand lives to throw away on another war. However, here we are again in the Middle East boiling pot. Iraq? Afghanistan? Iran? Is there no end?

Most Americans would like a peaceful existence. We would like to work our 40 years, have a retirement and collect our social security. We would like to have medical insurance so we can go to the doctor. A meaningful existence of fulfilling daily activity, family and friends are important to most Americans. It would be very nice if we could have good roads and bridges which are crumbling in many parts of the nation. We want good and affordable education for our families and a military and police force that are strong and have what they need.

We must have secure borders. People must come legally and orderly to our country. A good wall, strong security forces and deportation of those who come unlawfully are imperative for our nation’s security.

America must still be the land where people can genuinely dream and pursue a better life. People who have sneaked into our country are desperate for a better life. However, they need to understand there is a right and wrong way to enter America.

We can’t live in the past in this nation. You can come to a standstill in your life if you are always looking back. You can’t really drive forward if you are always looking over your shoulder. We can’t change the past. Make amends, give or seek forgiveness if necessary and then make today and tomorrow better than yesterday. None of us living today can change anything that our nation did a 100 years ago. We can though treat all people equal today with equal opportunities for all people.

It all sounds simple. Work hard. Treat others the way you would like to be treated. Help each other in this nation. Work to live at peace in the world. Don’t squander our nation’s money and resources. Keep America free. Live in peace and pursue our dreams. Mostly, this is what Americans want.

Glenn Mollette is a syndicated columnist and author and is read in all 50 states.

Dr. Singleton

By Marilyn M. Singleton, MD, JD

Listening to the campaign promises spewed out by the bevy of folks running for president brings the old but enduring story of Faust to mind. Despite being successful, Faust wanted more knowledge and possessions. To that end, he made a deal with Mephistopheles (aka the Devil) who promised to give him everything he wanted in exchange for his soul.

Who isn’t tempted by a bargain or better yet, something for nothing? Free income, free college, and free medical care. What do we have to lose? Self-respect, the opportunity to succeed at a career suited to one’s talents, your privacy and control over your own body.

Intended to ameliorate poverty, universal basic income can be counterproductive. Some promise income for merely having a pulse and others envision the government equivalent of a mama bird regurgitating food into the open mouths of her chicks. Neither option gives a sense of pride and accomplishment or the foundation for character development.

The high cost of college is the justification for free tuition. One key reason for the continually escalating tuition is readily available student loans: no matter the cost, the student can continue to borrow. Endless direct-from-the-government money would likely cause further increases. Further, one-third of college students drop out. The majority of these students were poorly prepared for, and not fully committed or suited to college. It is a bad idea to remove an incentive for perseverance, allow uncommitted students to waste their time on the government dime, or worse be stigmatized as a failure. Finally, as Senator Amy Klobuchar bravely pointed out, the taxpayers cannot afford it.

With regard to medical care, all “medically necessary” health services, including dental, vision, hearing, mental health, long-term care, home and community-based services, physical therapy, prescription drugs with no premiums, deductibles or co-pays from cradle to grave sound pretty good. Sold! Frankly, given the direction so-called reproductive health is going, you may never make it to the cradle. And with the current laser-focus on hospice for all, you may get to your grave a little faster.

Will free medical care halt one of the biggest drivers of poor health and medical costs? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 40 percent of people in the United States are obese. And 47 percent of our $3.5 trillion per year of healthcare spending goes to treat the effects of obesity, with another 8.7 percent attributable to cigarette smoking. People have known for years that eating too much makes you fat and smoking contributes to heart and lung disease. Free care would worsen the problem because patients will expect more pills and procedures to cure their lifestyle-created illnesses rather than taking care of themselves.

Not only is the promise of free stuff an attempt to buy votes, but the politicians themselves have sold their souls to special interests. And we never know whether they are working for the metaphorical Devil or for you, the voters.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, in 2018, both sides of the Congressional aisle received a total of $134,590,142 in contributions from the health sector (health professionals, device and pharmaceutical manufacturers, hospitals and nursing homes). The health sector was the top spender of lobbying money – some $562,968,799 spread among 2,810 hired guns. Pharmaceuticals/Health Products topped the list with $281,872,969.

On the bright side, when given the full picture, people are not that easily bought. A recent Kaiser Family Foundation study found that 70 percent of those polled approved of Medicare for All when told the plan would eliminate insurance premiums (which are sky-high thanks to ObamaCare). But up to 70 percent opposed Medicare for All when told it would lead to treatment delays, tax increases, or loss of their option for private insurance.

Perhaps those polled read that private insurance is allowed in all but two countries with universal coverage, and patients in all countries have some out-of- pocket expenses. Perhaps they realized that when the citizen money tree has been picked clean, promised services must be reduced. Perhaps they realized that free stuff can be used as a cudgel to keep the recipients in line and trap them in a system with no escape. Perhaps they were of a certain age where they were warned that the tasty-looking Halloween candy might be laced with razor blades. Or more likely, those infamous words, “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor” were flashing before their eyes or echoing in their ears.

Free stuff is an age-old snare, a temptation that can steal one’s critical thinking abilities. Despite the old saw that there is a sucker born every minute, there are always those who will not be fooled. Which will you be? .

Dr. Singleton is a board-certified anesthesiologist. She is president of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS). She attended UC Berkeley Law School, focusing on constitutional law and administrative law.

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