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Story Archives: Misplaced priorities...
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When financier J.P. Morgan and his International Mercantile Marine Co. designed the RMS Titanic, money wasn't really an option.
Passengers on the vessel were treated to a multitude of luxuries, unheard of on ships in 1912, including a heated swimming pool, Turkish bath, squash court and gymnasium.
Amenities included electric elevators, four grand pianos and intricately decorated ball rooms.There was even a state-of-the-art refrigeration system to provide cold water and ice, also a rarity in the era.
While it's certain priorities were to spare no expense on the ocean liner, something that should have been a priority ultimately made all the difference on the Titanic's maiden voyage —life boats.
There were only 20 to hold 2,227 passengers. That didn't seem very important when the Titanic pulled out of a British port, but it sure became important by the time her voyage was over about half-way through the transatlantic trip to the United States.
Having the right priorities are important and it seemed to be the preverbal white elephant in the room at President Barrack Obama's recent healthcare summit. Most of Obama's time in office has been spent on his pet-project of finding a way for the federal government to create new dependents—read new voters for his party — by taking over healthcare.
While Washington has been preoccupied with an issue that most American's are sick of hearing about, there are things that, just maybe, should be higher priorities. They include a 10 percent unemployment rate, $12.4 trillion in public debt and the terrorist state of Iran's boasting that it is now a nuclear power.
Those are just a few off the top of my head. I could go on and, most likely, so could you.
With icebergs like these looming off America's bow, an oration at the recent nine-hour summit attended by some of the greatest minds in Washington serves an an anecdote to reveal just how off track are our leaders' priorities.
Not since the days of Daniel Webster, perhaps, has an enlightened legislator struck a cord as salient as the following from Rep. Louise Slaughter of New York:
"I even have one constituent, you will not believe this and I know you won't, but it's true.
Her sister died. This poor woman had no dentures. She wore her dead sister's teeth, which of course were uncomfortable and did not fit."
What's perhaps even less comfortable than macabre molar misery is the thought that our elected officials are actually debating how to keep living people from wearing dead people's teeth. It kind of makes you wonder how the country has existed for 234 years without the right to teeth.
You would think that George Washington, at least, would have brought it up during his first inaugural address that he had to deliver through ill-fitting, wooden dentures.
I might have missed it, but I didn't know dentures were covered in either version of Congresses purposed healthcare overhaul, but, then again, the bills are a couple of thousand pages long.
There are a lot of things wrong with out healthcare system and no doubt there is room for improvement, but since many get healthcare insurance by having a job you might think Congress would spend a little more time on figuring out how to get more people back to work. A little less time, maybe, on discussing dead people's teeth.
Tax cuts on businesses, tort reform and creating a federal medical savings account program could help reform healthcare. Raising taxes to pay for socialized medical care, creating a huge bureaucracy and, ultimately, having to rationing health care goods and services isn't going to fix healthcare and isn't going to help anyone get or keep a job.
Well, almost no one. Politicians might foster job security for themselves by creating dependents who they think they will be able to scare in some future election cycle by threatening life or death, literally, by saying there will be cuts in health care if they aren't elected.
It's our jobs, and not theirs, however, that should top their priorities right now.
Obama has said our jobs are his main concern, but it isn't a secret how to put people back to work. Reagan did it with tax cuts in the 1980s as did Kennedy in the 1960s.
George W. Bush had limited success with boosting the economy with three tax cuts in his first term, but seemed to forget the part about cutting spending to help the economy along.
The economy isn't helped in the long-run by government taxing one group or printing or borrowing money. Robbing Peter all the way down to his great grandchildren who will still be paying off the debt to pay Paul will catch up with us sooner or later
.It will also catch up to politicians this November who don't get their priorities straight and who continue to argue about a massively expensive health care overhaul when we have big problems ahead on the horizon that could sink America.
It should be remembered no one on the Titanic could get ice from the ship's high-dollar refrigerator after she struck an iceberg and lay at the bottom of the ocean.