Friday, April 29, 2011

The Benefactor Factor

Dennis Prager writes about how government entitlement programs and increasing dependency of the populace on them don't destroy only the economy, but also the virtue of gratitude. Excerpt:

What entitlements do, and what the transformation of entitlements into rights does, is create a citizenry that increasingly lacks the most important character trait -- gratitude. Of all the characteristics needed for both a happy and morally decent life, none surpasses gratitude. Grateful people are happier, and grateful people are more morally decent. That is why we teach our children to say "thank you." But the welfare state undoes that. One does not express thanks for a right. So, instead of "thank you," the citizen of the welfare state is taught to say, "What more can I get?"

Yet, while producing increasingly selfish people, the mantra of the left, and therefore of the universities and the media, has been for generations that capitalism and the free market, not the welfare state, produces selfish people.

All too true.

In my opinion, another thing which sheds light on the dearth in gratitude among recipients is the impersonal nature of government assistance. At a soup kitchen you may see a smiling face presenting you with the gift of food, with many other volunteers scurrying about in the background to prepare the gift. But often the monetary assistance delivered to those being helped by Uncle Sam is in the form of mass-produced debit cards and checks chunked out by 3rd party processing centers. Some of these don't even say where they are from. They don't even have an official seal or an American flag on them. It's easy to see how this tends to engender an entitlement mentality. Actions speak louder than words, even Obama's applause lines.

But speaking of Obama's words, all this legislation he brags on seems to be moving entitlements to a new level of abstraction. Forcing insurance companies to cover "kids" up to 26 years old—and these companies will merely shrug and raise premiums—is an ingenious way to hide the entitlement and thus hide the fact that it is a gift from either parental guardians or taxpayers. Is as if liberal bureaucrats are saying "Don't thank us, just re-elect us and pay more taxes. We'll keep rigging the system for you."

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Health Care Sharing Ministries

Something to look into.

  • Each member pays a monthly fee that varies with family size: Single members generally pay $135, couples $270, single-parent families $200 and two-parent families $320.
  • Members pay the first $300 for any medical expense they incur; when they have billsabove that amount, they send them to the ministry's main offices.
  • The ministry keeps track of the needs, informing other members where to send their monthly check, and letting those who have made requests know what checks to expect.
  • If there's a shortfall one monthevery household seeking help gets a prorated portion of its needs covered, and the ministry asks members for voluntary contributions to make up the difference.
  • If the shortfall continues, members vote on raising the share amount.

Although the ministries say that they're not providing health insurance and are therefore exempt from state insurance regulations, states sometimes beg to differ. Concerned that members may believe such ministries guarantee coverage of their medical bills, regulators have at times tried to shut them down.

The federal health care overhaul adopted by Congress last year recognizes ministries that share health care expenses as part of their religious practice. The law exempts members of such ministries from the penalty that will be levied against individuals who don't purchase health insurance starting in 2014, a fact which all three of the major ministries highlight to varying degrees on their websites, says Kaiser.

Source article.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Without Conversation...

...or a notion...