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A Voice from Fly-Over Country
September 16, 2013

Brain Drain? — Comedy of the Absurd!
by Robert L. Hale
fitzgerald griffin foundation

MINOT, NORTH DAKOTA — Obamacare's unintended consequences are coming at us at lightning speed. Every day a new issue/concern/problem raises its head. We are, as then-House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi told us would happen, now learning what is in the bill. Three years later, I guess even Nancy is learning what is in it.

One of the unintended consequences of Obamacare was the result of requiring members of Congress and their staffs to enter into the mandated insurance exchanges for their healthcare coverage or to be covered by insurance created by law. The outcome was that Congressional health plans would not be covered and subsidized by taxpayers' dollars.

When the problem was discovered, the political class moved into high gear to resolve it. President Obama personally met with Senate Democrats to "sort out the confusion." With the proverbial snap of his fingers, the President fixed things, and taxpayers are picking up at least 75 percent of their bill.

One of the more amusing things to come from this event was this claim, "The potential for staff losing the subsidies led to concerns of 'brain drain' from the Hill if staffers left as a result of the increased costs."

When one thinks of a "brain drain," the first thing that comes to mind is the loss of the skills, intelligence, experience, and understanding necessary to allow proper functioning to whatever the brain power is being applied.

 

...our federal government is ... uprooting everything that made the United States the greatest nation in history.

When a statement of this sort comes from today's elected officials in Washington D.C., most of us ignore it as hot air. The trouble is that those making these assertions take themselves seriously. They really believe they are the brain power that runs the country.

Therein lies the humor. By any measure, our federal government is out of control, ineffective, and inflicting great harm on working men and women. It is uprooting everything that made the United States the greatest nation in history.

The very people determined to relegate America to the ash heap of history believe that they are critical to the nation's well-being. Were it not so serious a matter, we would be laughing. When we look at the background of those in Congress, particularly their real-world experiences and accomplishments, we know that few would be hired by any responsible business. Yet, these are the people running America.

There are thousands of congressional staffers, some of whom are bright, hard-working, and talented. The vast majority is either young and inexperienced or so politically motivated and cut off from the real world that they have no clue how what they do impacts those who make America work, nor do they seem to care.

If what Congress has done over the past 50 years is the product of the brain power, management skills, and leadership that Congresswoman Pelosi is worried about losing, then this brain drain is exactly what America needs — and the sooner, the better. The track record of this brain power is less than stellar. The U.S. Postal Service, once the envy of the world, is bankrupt and cutting back services as it dramatically increases user costs. Amtrak is in the same condition.

 

The vast majority [of Congressional staff] ... have no clue how what they do impacts those who make America work, nor do they seem to care.

   

Social Security has been raided, and the money has been spent on who knows what; the same with Medicare. If private entities did the same, those responsible would rightly be incarcerated, not touted as the brains that run America. Both of these programs forcibly take earnings from every paycheck to fund retirement income and medical insurance services. But the money is not there — it has been stolen.

America's public transportation infrastructure is badly broken. Maintenance is ignored. Money has been shifted from infrastructure maintenance to pet projects, such as bike paths and doggie parks.

The government is mismanaging America's natural resources. Timber that should be harvested is instead going up in flames, because those in charge refuse to care for it. Our oil and gas resources are being held hostage for political gain. Drilling is being unduly restricted. New pipelines are not being built, so that rail operators can haul oil at significantly higher costs than pipelines. We all pay the premium at the gas pump.

America is $16 trillion in debt and has another $183 trillion in unfunded future entitlement liabilities.

Rather than address these issues, our political class outlaws incandescent light bulbs; tells us how much water we can use to flush our toilets; mandates what our kids can eat at school lunches; regulates what our kids must and must not study; and the list goes on.

Maybe it is time to pull the plug and let all this brain power go. Then heaven help the private sector if any of them end up being hired to run the private sector.

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A Voice from Fly-Over Country is copyright © 2013 by Robert L. Hale and the Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation. All rights reserved.

Robert L. Hale received his J.D. in law from Gonzaga University Law School in Spokane, Washington. He is founder and director of a non-profit public interest law firm. For more than three decades he has been involved in drafting proposed laws and counseling elected officials in ways to remove burdensome and unnecessary rules and regulations.

See a complete biographical sketch.

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