I have two items for my write-up today on Newt Gingrich's To Save America: Stopping Obama's Secular-Socialist Machine.
I actually liked Newt's discussion about welfare reform. Newt refers
to a proposal by Peter Ferrara, who was in the White House Office of
Policy Development under President Ronald Reagan.
goes like this: Block grants would still be provided to the states, and
states would guarantee a day's work assignment (paying the minimum wage)
to everyone who reports to their local welfare office before 9:00 a.m.
According to Newt, "The welfare office would provide free daycare for
participants' small children", and the children would "receive medical
care and treatment when necessary" (page 190). Moreover, those working a
certain number of hours would receive a Medicaid voucher for private
health insurance as well as housing assistance so they could purchase a
home. They would also receive the earned-income tax credit. Newt also
affirms that the disabled would be trained for some line of work.
proposal contains elements that conservatives have mocked. Newt
himself has expressed disapproval of the earned-income tax credit, and
(even in To Save America) he appears to be critical of giving
tax "cuts" to people who do not pay taxes. Conservatives, such as
Connie Marshner, have been critical of guaranteed employment or a
guaranteed national income. (I base this on things Marshner says in William Martin's With God on Our Side.)
I like about this proposal is that it would give welfare recipients
work experience and job skills rather than setting welfare against
work. Moreover, the provision of day care and medical care for children
is also important. I think of Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine,
in which a lady was working long-hours in a welfare-to-work program,
leaving her children unattended, with the result that one child shot
another child. Free day care, hopefully, would prevent that kind of
There are questions and concerns that I have about the proposal, though. First of all, suppose there is a long line at the welfare office before 9:00 a.m. to get work? Would
this proposal be able to meet the needs of every one who wants a day's
work, or would it leave out a lot of people? Second, will there be
enough companies that would want for extra bodies to come in to work for them?
Hopefully, enough companies would sign up for something like this. I'm
also a little leery about pushing the poor into private health
insurance, for I tend to distrust private health insurance companies.
But I agree with the spirit of the proposal----to provide the poor with work. At the same time, I'd
be open to having some of the poor work in New Deal-like programs,
refurbishing the countryside, for example. That, in my opinion, is
better than President Obama's stimulus program (if I understand it
correctly), which gives money to big companies which do not necessarily
hire the unemployed.
2. Newt made a couple of statements about health care that stood out to me.
a. On page 207, Newt states:
plans in Medicare Advantage actively compete to enroll and cover the
sickest Medicare beneficiaries and stay in business by meeting their
needs. This is the alternative to forcing insurers to take high-cost
patients for cut-rate premiums, which guarantees those patients will be
unwanted and ultimately untreated."
I cannot evaluate this statement on account of my limited knowledge, but I have questions. First
of all, while Obamacare may require insurance companies to accept
people with pre-existing conditions, is there anything that would
prevent those companies from being stingy when it comes to paying for
the care of those with the pre-existing conditions? Second, would the free market take care of the sickest?
I can see the point that the sickest are potential consumers and so
some health insurance companies would want to take advantage of that.
But the companies would probably have to charge high premiums because
the sickest cost more to treat. And, because the companies
would probably want to make a profit, there's the possibility that
they'd be stingy in terms of paying for treatment.
b. On page
208, Newt notes (with disapproval): "The self-employed, small
businesses, and certain organizations are legally prohibited from
banding together to purchase health insurance."
If this is true, then it is an example of big government standing in the way of health care reform.
I do not know the rationale behind this legal prohibition, but I think
that people should be able to band together to purchase health
insurance. The reason is that it's cheaper for groups (such as
companies) to purchase health insurance than it is for individuals to do
When George W. Bush was running for re-election in
2004, he said that allowing small businesses to band together to buy
health insurance was a good idea (and see this article
about George H.W. Bush's support for this idea). But, as far as I
know, he did not make that into policy. Whether he even fought to do
so, I don't know. If only there were politicians who would work hard to
make it policy.