At almost 80 years old, Thomas Jefferson foresaw the corruption of a federal government with too much power, when he wrote to William T. Barry in 1822, just a few years before his death: "If ever this vast country is brought under a single government, it will be one of the most extensive corruption(s), indifferent and incapable of a wholesome care over so wide a spread of surface." "Wholesome care" like universal health care?
I waited until the new year to write this column because Washington was hoping its Christmas corruption would evade the majority of holiday revelers or become old news to even political junkies and pundits, who now are moving on to new issues. (This White House astutely understands and utilizes news cycles and calendars far better than any previous administration.)
While you passed out Christmas gifts to loved ones, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid passed out Christmas bonuses via the passing of the Senate health care bill -- what I call perpetual pork, gifts that keep on giving, unlike those familiar single hits at the public trough. He initiated a new frontier in pork barrel politics. His corrupt and creative diversions included giving out Medicaid and Medicare credits like another round of pork projects.
This health care pork round all started with Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., who bragged about receiving a $300 million increase in Medicaid funding for her state (what some are calling the Second Louisiana Purchase), though it turned out that it was only $100 million. (Isn't that a relief?)
Then there was the now infamous Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., who gained his 15 minutes of yuletide fame when he sold out his critical 60th vote to pass Obamacare by accepting a governmental bribe that covers Nebraska's Medicare expansion costs to the tune of $100 million over the next 10 years.
Obama had told the AARP back on July 28 that he considered Medicare Advantage an example of "wasteful spending," so you could bet Obamacare would reflect his commentary. And in a statement released after the Senate's health care bill passed Dec. 24, Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., confessed that he had a sweetheart deal made behind closed doors: "I was able to pass an amendment to the bill that excluded some 800,000 policyholders all across Florida from cuts to Medicare Advantage."
Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., finagled $600 million in additional Medicaid benefits for his state over 10 years.
Democratic Sens. Byron Dorgan and Kent Conrad of North Dakota secured additional Medicare payments for their rural hospitals.
Referring to the increase in Medicare payments to eight medium-sized hospitals in his state, Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa -- chairman of the Senate Health Education, Labor and Pensions Committee -- openly confessed: "I fully admit that I was part of it. I put something in the bill that was particular to the state of Iowa. Yes, I did."
Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and a primary architect of the legislation, secured extra Medicare benefits for select Montana residents.
The manager's amendment singles out Democratic Sens. Daniel Akaka and Daniel Inouye's home state of Hawaii as the only state to receive a disproportionate share hospital extension.
At the last minute, Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, D-Conn., inserted a $100 million kickback in the bill to construct a new hospital for the University of Connecticut.
Most important is this question Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, posed to his colleagues: Who will pay for these special deals? "The answer," he said, "is simple: every other state in the union."
And all the costs haven't even been calculated yet because the bribery isn't over. The House and Senate leaders will hold private negotiations this month to merge the Senate's $871 billion health care bill and the House's $1 trillion bill.
After observing the Senate's health care debate and already receiving some legislative offers to favor Obamacare, Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., had a word for the White House and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi: "This shouldn't be a bill where you use hush money. This isn't an appropriations bill where you try to get the best projects for your state. ... You don't buy me off."
Rep. Stupak, don't think they don't have your number, literally. But will you, like other House members, play "The Price Is Right"?
Tired yet of the congressional charade and the bogus beneficiaries of health care? I'm done; I've had enough. They've tried to pull a fast one on us for the last time. Those corrupt crime bosses we call congressmen have caused enough damage. It's time to push for some serious housecleaning this next election.
In November 2010, all 435 House seats will be open for re-election, and one-third of the Senate seats will be open for re-election, as well. The time is now to eject the unconstitutional and corrupt congressmen, and it's time to let them know what's coming.
I agree with "tea party" leaders, who are delivering bold ultimatums to all congressional candidates in 2010: Pledge to repeal the health care reform bill in its entirety or you will be booted from office.
Congress, you're waking a sleeping giant, and you're not going to like the consequences.