It’s Free, so it must be a good thing…


Last night, at the dinner table, I presented the boys with a scenario. What if the government wrote a law that made all forms of entertainment free for everyone? No one would have to pay for movies, to go bowling, skating, watch a ballgame, etc.

Earlier in the day I’d been reading comments on the Right Wing Obamacare Myths Debunked post by Matt Walsh. There was a lady, who wasn’t even an American, saying she didn’t understand why so many were against Obamacare when it would help so many.  All I could think was “My ten-year old would understand why this isn’t a good idea.”

As a family, we don’t always have the money to go to the movies, our local fun center, ball games, etc. We go to about 2 movies a year. Sometimes not even that much. Not always because we don’t have the money, but often times there’s not anything we really want to see. I figure, for just the boy’s admission and snacks, it’s about $15 a pop.

Before dinner, I sat down and wrote up the “Entertainment Act”. Before I read it to them and went over it, I told them to assume they’d pay about $15 to see a movie and the money they get for their allowance would be their annual income. Once they understood the ‘scenario’, we went over each section discussing it and answering their questions if they had any.

Entertainment Act

Article I. Allows everyone to participate in all local entertainment for free. Movies, roller skating, bowling, etc.

Needless to say, they were all for it. Free fun stuff? Sign me up!

Article II. Those working in the entertainment industry (actors, ball players, etc) as well as the owners of the theaters, stadiums, etc and their employees must still get paid. In order to cover the costs of the entertainment and to pay those working in it, there will be a slight rise in the amount of tax paid on purchases, a few new minor taxes, and less tax breaks at the end of the year.

Here’s where they began to have some questions. At first they were like “Okay, I guess.”, but wondered how it would work. We explained it would be a minor raise in taxes on things, which didn’t seems like a lot. Then they realized that the little – when put all together – adds up to a lot. This was when Brinson started thinking it wasn’t such a good idea. Harrison said “Well, it might still be good. I’m not sure yet…”

Article III. Those who don’t attend entertainment events, by choice, may choose to “opt out” of the program. However, in order to fund the program, those opting out will have to pay a monthly penalty fee. This fee will be in addition to the higher taxes to the less tax breaks, etc. People who never participated in any entertainment activities, and don’t plan to in the future, must still participate or pay the penalty. If a person has a bowling alley or some other form of entertainment in their home for personal use, that is fine, but they must still participate in the program or pay the penalty.

They began to have a few more doubts and questions. Their Gran doesn’t do any of those things, so we talked about how that would impact her. Then we talked about how it would impact them. As it was now, they paid $15 when they wanted to see a movie. Harrison began to get his quizzical eyebrow raise face going. “Wait a second” he says “So, if I don’t want to go to the movies, I have to pay?”

Nod

Brinson – “That doesn’t seem right… or fair.”

Harrison – “So, if I don’t want to do it… I have to pay and still pay more taxes and all that other stuff?”

I just gave a nod again. I was trying very hard not to sway their thinking with tone or expression or anything and I made sure they understood that there wasn’t a right or wrong answer…

Tom asked the boys “How much do you pay now to see a movie when you’d like?” They answered $15 (per the parameters at the beginning of the scenario) “So, about $30 a year. How much do you pay to not see movie and stay home?”

Brinson – “Nothing.”

Their expressions began to change from interest to ‘Hey, wait a second…’

Harrison – “This makes no sense…”

Me – “I’m not done. There’s more… Ready to move on?”

Harrison – “Yeah. I guess…”

I began to get the feeling this was no longer a ‘fantastic idea’ in their minds.

Article IV. City officials and city government employees (mayor, secretary, etc) do not have to participate in the program and won’t be required to pay the penalty.

Brinson – “See.”

Me – “What?”

Brinson – “I said it didn’t seem fair. That’s not fair. Why do I have to pay the money, but they don’t?”

Me – “Yeah, why would it be that way? Why would they put that in there?”

Harrison – “Because they don’t want to spend their money or taxes on it…”

Brinson – “Because it’s a dumb idea and they know it.”

We went on to show how the different people’s incomes and how what they pay in is comparable to what they make for a living. Kept it basic, I reminded them of how much they make in allowance each year. Then grabbed the taxes off of that amount. They noted that the people making the most money, paid the most money. Harrison mentioned finding a job that was easier work and less pay if the benefit was the same. This is another problem with such a program. Someone explained in this video that explains socialism to children.

The conversation eventually went on to how much the taxes would be raised or how much the penalty would be and things like that. That was when I said “Well, I’ll tell you how much your taxes will be raised and how much the penalty is after you agree to it and make it a law.”

Harrison – “WHAT!?”

Me – “Tell me if you want to make this a law. Once it becomes a law, I’ll tell you how much it will cost.”

Harrison – “That’s stupid.”

Brinson – “See. Not fair.”

Harrison – “Who knows what you’ve written in there. I could be agreeing to give away a kidney or something.”

Me – “So, do y’all want to make it a law?”

Brinson – “No. I don’t.”

Harrison – “Who would?!”

In the end, the kids decided it wasn’t a good idea. I put the paper, where I’d written it, on the table and said “So… That’s a no then?”

Harrison said “Hang on…” He left the room and came back a second later with the “Like” and “Dislike” stamps. I think the stamps speak volumes…

2013-09-27 00.47.252013-09-27 00.47.45

The fact that this is the basic crux of the Obamacare ‘bill’ and a 10-year-old and 13-year-old can understand it won’t work – while others insist it’s awesome – is incredible. It’s not that my kids are the savants. I love ’em, they’re smart, but it doesn’t take a lot of brains to ‘get’ that this just won’t work.

How anyone can is beyond me…

Edit: Please note – I have not said that going to the movies is the same as someone dying. My children (Thank the Lord) haven’t had to deal with a loved one or close friend dying from anything other than old age. Relating this scenario to them that way seemed a bit morbid to me. There was no reason to scare or upset my kids in order to point out that even a child can see discrepancies. They have also heard me discussing healthcare as of late and I wanted an unbiased reaction – I felt relating it to something they would really like to have and do made more sense and would get a more honest response.

Also – I need to make a correction. Congress isn’t “exempt”. Clearly that is not the proper word. Congress is not getting ‘exemptions’, they are getting preferential treatment. OPM will pay the majority of their premiums. So, they’re not exempt. They’re just letting us pay their premiums for them.

179 thoughts on “It’s Free, so it must be a good thing…”

    1. Yes yes… we’ve seen – repeatedly the links you’ve posted to this blog that seems to enjoy belittling me and my opinion. I just hope that if the day comes when I have nothing to post on my blog – but links and large parts of other blogs, just to tear them down – with no thoughts of my own – I would see that as time to hang it up. There’s a HUGE difference in my blog post and his…

      I didn’t have to tear anyone down in order to lift myself up. In fact, I didn’t lift myself up at all…

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  1. Shelly I agree with the whole way you used the analogy to explain it to your kids. I have raised 3 sons as a single father. I was never able to get Medicaid because I was a white male. (That was the words use to me by the Social Services Department) All of my sons have grown up and have kids of their own. I am going to forward this blog info so they can also understand how maybe they can explain this to their kids. Also I am a Vietnam Vet and I get medical services through the Veteran’s Department but still pay copays and pharmacy charges. I applaud you in standing up for your side and I think that most of these people don’t get it because they all see the “FREE” sign. But how can anyone think this is a good idea if the reason that you have insurance at your work and you are being told that it is not good enough for you to not get taxed by the govt. If you have company insurance then it would make sense that it should be good enough to meet your needs. If your choice is that of insurance the it is the choices that we were given by the Lord our God to make decisions for ourselves. Please stand strong in support of your beliefs and understand that not everyone is so “brain dead” to not see the problems with a program that they can’t or won’t tell you what it will cost before you agree to having it as a law.

    Thanks
    Frank

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    1. I find it hard to believe that social services said something that blatantly discriminatory to you and you didn’t sue. And while she did use a good analogy to explain the Affordable Care Act to her children, she neglected to mention that this is the incarnation of the act after the Right got all the compromised they asked for. This is the version where they gutted anything even resembling the universal healthcare plan President Obama originally wanted and replaced it with basically selling us to the insurance companies. Then they lovingly called it Obamacare because it sucked, they knew it, and they wanted President Obama to be the fall guy for it.

      We’re not stupid.

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      1. LOL I wondered what the “left” was going to say or how they were going to justify the utter failure of Obamacare when it tanks – because it will. Now, I see there’s already a movement or excuse in place.

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      2. I find it highly believable that social services said “something that blatantly discriminatory”, they said something very close to the same thing to me. Mine was that I was white, pregnant with my first and only child, and didn’t live in an household with more than 3 people in it. (Also how would he be able to sue, when he can’t afford medical insurance?) This was 2 years ago, while I was working full time and going to school, I paid for my pregnancy out of pocket, which I have no complaints about, I was also refused WIC, and Food Stamps for the same reasoning. As of right now I have an amazing 19 month old, am paying for my own insurance (although my payment for it is about to go from $185 to $250), and just finished paying of my medical debts. As Shelly has pointed out several times, the hospital did not refuse me when I was in labor and no insurance, Instead they cut my costs of my medical bill and worked with me to figure out a solid payment plan that worked best for me. Obamacare is the most ridiculous thing for our government to do, I understand that some can’t afford to get insurance, but there is a big difference between working your ass off, and using something, such as Medicaid to help you until you can afford your own, and sitting on your lazy ass and demanding that MY tax money pay for you 8 different children when you could work for it. Obama is forcing me to give my money, from my paycheck, that I work my ass off for, to those who wouldn’t do the same for me, Obama is taking away free will to give and making it a requirement. I for one commend Shelley for speaking up for herself and the country she lives in!

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  2. When did health care become a right, it is your right to be healthy but not your right to be charged for other people. If we want to help others that is my right to decide that is called giving. How can you force people to give. That is not giving that is a bill. Same thing with Guns every American has the right to own a gun but does not have the right to have the government pay for your gun. My wife and I know several women that are single parent income and struggle to make ends meet. It would be a shame to make them have to have insurance when they can’t hardly put food on their table. That is not good health care at all. Giving is something that comes from your heart and should never be forced on people that is why Obamacare would not of got passed if they did not say it was a tax. There are times to help and times to be helped. Something has to be done but this thing had to be past to find out what whas in it. Well now we are finding out.

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  3. Thank you so much for analogy! It was perfect for the intended audience and a great way to explain it for other peoplem especially those too dense to realize what Obamacare really is…. I must admit I laughed as I read through the comments of those accusing your husband of relying on taxpayers. What rubbish! My husband works for the government too, and boy does he earn it! I would sure hope someone who puts his life on the line would be entitled to some monetary compensation….he’s in the military.
    I am an immigrant, my native homeland has a similar programme to this Obamacare, want to know what happens? Need a MRI immediately to make sure you dont have a brain tumor? Forget it, you will have to wait 2 weeks. Need a specialist ? Good luck, the wait time is only 8 MONTHS.A few years ago my grandmother’s heart was failing, and needed a specialist. That was in January. She died in June. That is what Obamacare and any other socialised medical progamme does.

    What happens is the middle and poor are left with low quality medical care and the rich, because they can afford it, get the better care. I believe that is a “robbing the poor to feed the rich” set up, is it not?

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    1. Yeah, I guess it is… Some have mentioned that this spread the wealth business is like Robin Hood stealing from the rich and giving to the poor, but it’s not. Robin Hood didn’t steal from the rich and give to the poor. The money he took didn’t belong to the rich. It belonged to the poor. He was merely giving it back. However, I see your point…

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  4. One may choose not to go to a movie. The same way someone doesn’t choose to get sick or injured.
    A young healthy person who does feel the need to have catastrophic insurance goes hiking at a state park. He slips and falls into a gorge. After a lengthy rescue he is helicoptered to the trauma center where he undergoes several surgeries and is in ICU for 3 weeks and can no longer work due to his injuries. Since he doesn’t have any insurance, and he’s now disabled guess who pays the bill? Huge difference

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    1. Uhm… Who? The bonehead that went hiking without proper equipment? Makes sense to me. No. It really doesn’t… I fail to see why I should have to pay for someone else’s injuries. He wasn’t my employee on the clock when it happened. He wasn’t on my property. Why do I have to pay for his medical bills? He gonna buy my groceries?

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  5. By your logic then we should get rid of all forms of welfare, including WIC, Medicaid, Medicare, SS, food stamps, etc. Plus, your logic is terrible. First off, you compare health care to the entertainment industry. They are not even close to being the same thing, I’m sure you’ve heard the “apples and oranges” thing, so I won’t get into it here. Second, your first premise is entirely incorrect. You say that “everyone [is allowed] to participate in all local entertainment for free.” Maybe you should read the Affordable Health Care Act language first before you make false claims about it. Everyone will not get it for free, not even close. Please check your facts before you spread more garbage information.

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    1. I will. You first. My logic is sound and not once does it insinuate all forms of welfare should go away. Hey – I’d even be okay with MORE if it was handled in a better manner. You know, mandated to be used in the manner it was meant and do away with abuses to the system.

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  6. Justin, I think a large part of the reason that so little is actually getting accomplished in our government is because of the exact attitude you approached this forum with. Notice if you will, that of all the posts here, the only one with any biting cynicism is the one you posted. Immediately, you can feel the condescending tone you used, and I think much of the reason people argue instead of discuss can be attributed to attitude. If you’re going to speak in opposition of what she’s saying, do so in a professional manner. It doesn’t make much sense to talk down to people in order to get people to see your way. I think you had some decent argument, but that you also flushed it down the drain with the way you presented it.

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  7. I understand your side. I even agree that this act is not perfect and needs some work. As someone who qualifies for obamacare I don’t get the free part. They don’t give it to you for free. They give a policy that you can afford. In the past insurance cost me well over four hundred dollars a month because I have epilepsy. I should add I haven’t any seizure problems in over five years. Because of obamacare I can actually afford a insurance policy now. Sure the government helps you pay for it, but it was explained that once you are in a place where you can pay for it all on your own you pay for it yourself. It is like school loans. They help you pay for school and once you graduate and have a job you pay that money back. What do I know though. I only spent over five hours with a social worker explaining it all to me. You should also note that I do have a job and part of my paycheck like everyone else pays for it.

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  8. I have wondered the same thing. It is so blatantly obvious that the math just doesn’t work, that it boggles my mind that anyone thinks it’s a good idea. (People seem to think that the money to pay for all of this will just magically materialize out of thin air.)

    Tell your boys that when they run for Congress, I will vote for them! 🙂

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