May 5, 2017

TITLE: Need help with your hard-earned retirement DOLLARS? Let the GOP help make CENTS of it!

Henhouse, meet foxes.

In the Trump age (I know... I can't believe that's a thing), we southpaws live with an increasing sense of dread that we're part of a diminishing group of citizens that still believes in seeking thoughtful, reasoned solutions to our nation's problems all the while essential protections are being dismantled in the name of 'freedom.'

Don't believe me? Just listen to the news. In the last few weeks Republican commentators have been saying things like, 'People need to be free to make stupid decisions, if that's what they want to do,' and 'Freedom means being free to do dumb things.' Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) recently commented, "Freedom to make bad decisions is inherent in the freedom to make good ones."

Right. Of course, what they're REALLY saying is: WE foxes want to be free again to profit off people when they make those 'dumb' and 'stupid' decisions by getting government to legalize our predation while getting society to sanction our shameful behavior by calling it 'freedom.'

Let's look at Trump's recent executive order suspending the retirement advisor rule, also known as the fiduciary rule, requiring money managers to reveal conflicts of interest like investor higher fees and lower returns that redound to their own benefit.

Of the order, White House press secretary Sean Spicer remarked, "The [Obama] rule's intent may be to have provided retirees and others with better financial advice, but in reality, its effect has been to limit the financial services that are available to them. President Trump does not intend to put unnecessary limits on economic opportunity."

Uh huh, sure. Look at all this 'freedom' you're getting. Don't mind us while we slip this blindfold over your eyes.

Another example: GOP's current push to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

The latest talking point is the claim that so-called high-risk insurance pools -- like the one currently operating in the state of Maine -- are the miracle cure for the health care system. But what they're really doing is really doing is working the lock on the henhouse gate.

Maine's high-risk pool is subsidized by not only a tax on every citizen in the state but by provisions and mandates provided by the Affordable Care Act itself -- the very thing the GOP aims to repeal. Look up irony in the dictionary. Also look up butt-heads while you're at it.

The high-risk pool ruse is merely the first step toward driving people with preexisting conditions into bankruptcy (or death, when they can no longer afford the ridiculously high policies) while, at the same time, allowing the foxes to offer healthier people lower-priced policies with immense deductibles that are found to be largely worthless should they have an accident, catch a disease, or be so unlucky as to -- the 'stupidest' of decisions -- AGE.

It's one sly move in a larger shell game with a clear end goal: Putting the nation's health care system back to exactly the way it was before the Affordable Care Act. Hello preexisting conditions, lifetime caps, and loss of health care portability between jobs. Back when insurance rates were rising nationally 25-30-50 percent a YEAR. Back when people were being denied coverage or having their coverage dropped for pretty much any reason the insurance companies could come up with.

Freedom to make stupid decisions? Or a plan to ensure that the only decisions people are left with are 'stupid' ones?

The point is, a mature, caring society is SUPPOSED to be a henhouse, providing protection from natural predators, not a holding pen providing the foxes easy-access to slaughter.

I mean, c'mon righties, it's not like you guys don't end up with most of the dough anyway. Why can't it provide fellow citizens with some security and comfort while it wends its way along its seemingly inevitable path?

Thanks for reading. Next time, one you righties should enjoy: How the left blew it and continues to do so today.

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Charles Carr has written well over a thousand columns and articles for the Union-Tribune, the Orange County Register, the Californian, Parent Magazine, and many others. He's also a playwright with many of his shows appearing at prominent So Cal venues and co-founder of the indie studio Art Animates Life Films. Contact him at charlescarr.com.