I ran into a former neighbor over the weekend at the grocery store. He and his wife and their two kids moved out of the rental home a few doors down from me and made a really good decision to buy a home. I had been meaning to stop by and see their new house, but had not found the time.
“Why don’t you stop over now,” said Greg, “it’s only a couple of blocks from here. You can follow me.”
Well, it was too hot to work on the lawn, so I said, “Why not!”
I tossed a cold 6-pack of Sam Adams in the mini-cart and we headed for the check-out. I followed him the short distance to his new house and pulled in behind him on his asphalt-paved driveway.
“Mind if I throw the beer and the milk in your ‘fridge?” I asked.
I figured the dog food and canned veggies would be fine in the car for a while.
“Sure,” he replied. “Mind if I have a Sam Adams?”
“That’s what I go ’em for, man,” I said as I pulled a sweating Sam from the cardboard carrier. “Got a bottle opener?” I asked.
Greg pulled out the red Swiss Army Knife we have used multiple times to open cold golden beverages when we were neighbors.
“Here you go,” he said as he handed me the knife.
We took the tour of his new house and his man-cave garage that must have been the major selling feature of the house as far as he was concerned. Stereo, big screen TV on the wall, full sized refrigerator and a block and tackle in the ceiling to pull car engines.
We moved on to his large deck where the roof had been extended to cover the entire space and had a seat at the patio table. I suppose some people would have put up screen wire and called this a screened in porch, but it worked well as a deck with a roof, too.
Now one thing about Greg and Samantha, they are not very political. We rarely talk politics, which is sometimes a nice diversion for me and one of the reasons I enjoy hanging with him. To be honest, most of my friends these days seem to be political activists. Mostly because I spend so much time doing politically active things. But we all need a break sometimes.
Now Greg knows my politics, no question. And it sometimes comes up when we get together.
“What did you think of that health care thing?” he asked. “You probably thought it sucked, right?”
“Pretty much,” I replied. “Obama’s trying to take over everything we do. Cradle to the grave, you know.”
“Well, at least he’s honest,” he offered.
Ok. It’s just Greg. He’s non political and hates all things political. He’s not going to vote for anyone. Never has. But Obama honest? This Chicago politician is probably the most dishonest person to ever enter the Oval Office, much less occupy the thing. This was going to be interesting.
“Why do you say he’s honest?” I asked.
“Well, Clinton said he didn’t inhale which was bull$hit. Bush snorted coke but wouldn’t admit it. At least Obama said he inhaled and snorted coke,” he said. “I hate fu%$%ng liars. Especially politicians.”
Now it made sense. Sort of.
“Well, Clinton paved the way but had to lie because public opinion back in the early 90’s was different. Had he admitted it, he would have taken a hit in the polls. the media was willing to overlook that with a Democrat, but were ready to pounce on Bush if he said he had done drugs. Big double standard. And Obama wrote about being a druggie in his book, so it would have been pretty hard to deny it after that. And public opinion on drugs has changed quite a bot in the last 20 years,” I replied. “So I wouldn’t read too much into that. Obama can lie with the best of them. Probably better because the media gives him a free pass.”
Now Greg and his wife have not had it easy, like most Americans. He has struggled to raise his kids and has gone from working to unemployed many times over the last few years. He can fix anything but mostly does electrical and Heating and Air Conditioning work. He’s a hard worker and does what he can and has no intention of living off of others. But he recently got a new job that has been pretty stable. Enough to buy a house.
“How’s the new job going?” I asked.
“Not bad. I am getting overtime every week. Busy as hell,” he said. “You ready for another brew?”
He retrieved a couple more cold ones from the ‘fridge and handed me one.
“You got health insurance at your new job?” I asked.
“Hell no. Plenty of work, but the benefits kinda suck,” he answered.
This is pretty common with construction type jobs. Most can’t afford to provide insurance and those that do either offer really crappy plans or charge a fortune for them.
“I was thinking about it. They offer a plan, but I need every penny I make to pay the mortgage and the rest of the things I have to pay now like taxes and insurance. Most of that is in the loan, but it’s pretty hard. I’d love to have insurance, in fact, Samantha is having some health issues right now and they say it’s going to get worse and more expensive as she gets older. Maybe even surgery” he said as he shook his head.
We both took a long swig of our brews.
“You know ObamaCare is going to fine you for not having insurance unless we get rid of this law,” I told him.
“What? How the hell can they do that?” he asked.
“It was in the bill. The Supreme Court just said it was OK as long as it’s considered a tax,” I said.
“I thought that was supposed to help me get insurance! Since I can’t afford insurance won’t I get it free?” Greg asked.
“Well, people who can’t afford insurance will probably be able to get health care pretty cheap, or free. It’s the wealthy folks like you that this law is going after. You see, by Obama’s calculations you can afford to buy health insurance, but you have, instead, decided to be a burden on society by wasting your money on frivolous things like a house. And food. And clothes. Shame on you! You are a big part of the problem, according to Obama.”
“But I can’t afford insurance. If I had to pay for insurance, I wouldn’t be able to pay my mortgage. It’s all we can do to make those monthly payments. I’m just not going to get insurance, what are they going to do about it? Send the cops to my door? Screw them!” he said.
“Nope. Not the cops. The IRS. They will be adding a tax onto your income tax. Or taking most or all of your refund. If you don’t pay your income taxes the IRS will come calling and make sure you pay up. Even if they take your house to do it,” I told Greg.
“And if you decide to go with the plan your boss offers, you need to make sure it meets Obama’s approval or it won’t count and you will still have to pay more tax because you don’t have the right policy. And your boss can be fined if the coverage is not approved. How many people work where you do?” I asked.
“About 20,” he replied.
“Oh. Then your boss will be OK. He can avoid paying a fine for having an inadequate insurance plan simply by dropping the offer to provide company health insurance,” I told him.
“That sucks!” he said.
“Yep. It really does,” I said.
“So I can end up losing my house, paying a fine and still not having health insurance?” he said incredulously.
“Absolutely. In fact, I was talking to a friend the other night that is also in a bit of a pickle. He used to have a really good job making about $150,000 a year as a manager at a company and was laid off. Unemployment was not enough to pay his bills and keep his house, and he has had to take three part time jobs and his wife is no longer a stay at home Mom as she must work part time as well. They are upside down on their mortgage and selling the house is impossible. Unfortunately, they will also be hit with the punitive ObamaCare Tax because they, like you, are making too much money not to buy health insurance and deserve to be punished,” I announced.
“How the hell did you let that happen?” he asked.
“Me? Me? How did I let that happen?” I replied. “I didn’t. I have been fighting this thing for 3 years now. Longer than that! don’t blame this crap on me,” I retorted.
“I thought you had my back, Dude,” he said softly.
“Well, I guess I do, in a way. But while you are working your ass off trying to put a roof over your head, feed your family and live the American Dream, I am busy working my ass off trying to feed my own family, keep a roof over our heads and live my own Dream, and at the same time I am doing what I can to keep the government from taking all of our liberty,” I said.
Greg looked dejected. He thought America was fair. He never stopped to think that his version of fair and Obama’s version were two entirely different things. Gone are the days when hard work, keeping your nose to the grindstone and providing for your own is enough.
“Do you know that about half of Americans pay absolutely no payroll tax, and that many of them actually get refunds. Some are pretty good refunds. While people like you and me go to work, pay taxes and struggle to keep our heads above water, a lot of our tax money actually goes to support a lot of people who are happy to sit at home and let us support them,” I said.
“I thought Obama was going to make the rich pay for their share. I should’t be paying for other people. I’m not rich!” Greg reported.
“No, you’re not rich. But Obama doesn’t care about that. Some Liberal bean counter decided who should have insurance and who gets it free. They are not going to look at you as a person, just as someone who is making what they think is plenty of money. Enough so that you should be paying for your own health care. The fact that their extra tax will make it impossible to make your mortgage payments is of no concern to Obama. Just like my friend who is working 3 jobs and his has to have his wife working as well. Both of you would like to be able to afford health care and pay the rest of your bills. It comes down to a house or health care. Obama says screw your house, you’re gonna buy health care first. Everything else is unimportant,” I told him.
“I might vote this time,” Greg decided.
“You gonna vote for Obama?” I asked.
“Hell no!” he retorted. “Why the F#$k would I vote for someone who doesn’t give a s%&t about me and my family. Someone who is working to make me lose my house?”
“I thought you said Obama was honest!” I offered.
The next few minutes of the conversation are not fit to publish. Suffice it to say that hard working people have had enough. Enough of this Progressive “I know best” mentality that is running Washington and the country. These people are completely out of touch with America. While there may be some people who believe they are young and healthy and don’t need health insurance, there are a lot more hard working Americans who will be forced out of the homes they are working so hard to keep because some Progressive elitist has decided that they need to purchase insurance that they would love to have but cannot afford. These are the people who sit down at the dining room table and try to stretch pennies to provide the necessities of life.
They no longer have a choice. Some concept for the party that professes to be pro-choice. Apparently the choices are reserved for the times when a mother wants to kill her baby. Not when a person has to make a choice between making a mortgage payment or buying health insurance.
“Just wait until you get the bill for the $20,000 solar panels you will be required to install next year,” I said.
“What! Are you kidding?” Greg asked.
“For now,” I replied. “For now.”