in Georgia early voting starts October 15) they should consider the freedom of choice and which party and candidate will really support their right to choose. Although the Democrats have traditionally assumed the mantle of “pro-choice” on the issue of abortion, there are many other issues on which the right of Americans to make choices for themselves is at stake.
One of the most obvious areas of concern this year is the right for Americans to make their own choices about health insurance. Even though President Obama has repeatedly (and as late as the first debate on October 3) said that Americans could keep their own health insurance if they liked their current plan, in reality Obamacare takes away the right to choose to self-insure or purchase a no-frills, high deductible policy. Under the president’s health care law, the federal government has the right to dictate the terms of health insurance policies that all Americans are now required to purchase. The law also provides a powerful incentive for companies to drop their group health plans and leave employees to purchase their own insurance on Obamacare’s exchanges.
Freedom of choice in Medicare is also at stake this November. President Obama and the Democrats oppose allowing seniors to choose private insurance policies subsidized by government price supports, which Obama derided in the debate as vouchers. Instead, the Democrats support the current system in which all seniors are forced into the government-run Medicare program in spite of the fact that fewer and fewer doctors accept the government insurance because its reimbursement rates are so far below the market prices for care. The problem will undoubtedly get worse as Obamacare forces an additional $700 billion in cuts on the Medicare program.
Yet another issue of health care choice is the Obama Administration’s mandate that all insurance policies cover contraceptive and abortifacient drugs. Regardless of whether a person wants or needs such coverage, all insurance policies must now include these drugs at no out-of-pocket cost. The effect is that the cost of these services is now included in the policy premium, contributing to the rising cost of health insurance. The choice to opt out of these coverages for religious reasons or personal preference is forbidden.
The mandate also applies regardless of whether the policy holder or insurance company believes that abortion and contraception is moral. There was a narrow exemption for churches, but not other religious organizations or individual religious believers. President Obama offered a further compromise that religious organizations would have to accept the coverages, but at no cost. The cost would be passed along to other insureds, again causing policy premiums to rise.
The freedom to choose your child’s school is also at issue. Most Democrats do not support school vouchers or school choice, largely due to the fact that the party is beholden to teacher’s unions. The recent Chicago teacher strike was not only about money; it was also about keeping bad teachers from being held accountable. Under the status quo, children are assigned to schools based on their residence, regardless of whether that school is failing or meets their needs. In several cases, parents have been arrested for sending their children to better schools outside their district.
In areas where parent trigger laws allow parents to fire school administrators and turn failing schools into charter schools, Democrat-supported unions wage wars of harassment on parents rather than surrender control of schools, even though some Democratic politicians and a large majority of voters support the trigger laws. Harassment of parents and endless legal wrangling effectively negate parental choice.
An old issue of choice is the choice to own a gun. Even though the Supreme Court has upheld the individual right to keep and bear arms, with every high profile shooting or terrorist attack Democratic operatives reiterate calls for gun control. Democrats and gun opponents have called to eliminate the freedom of choice to purchase handguns, semi-automatic weapons, assault weapons, guns that look like military weapons, magazines that hold more than 10 rounds, and ammunition.
The Democratic anti-choice tendencies extend even to mundane household items. In 2007, the Democratic congress banned incandescent light bulbs. The infamous light bulb ban prompted the closure of several U.S. factories that produced incandescent bulbs and forced Americans to purchase expensive and potentially hazardous compact fluorescent bulbs.
The lists of products that liberal Democrats oppose or want to force Americans to buy are long. In either case, it conflicts with the basic freedom of choice. Liberals have opposed the freedom to buy gas guzzling SUVs, soft drinks, chocolate milk, and coal-based electricity among other things. Conversely, they have favored forcing people to purchase health insurance, ethanol-based fuels, trigger locks, hybrid cars and to ride trains instead of driving. They also support government monopolies on health care, Social Security, college loans, and who knows what else.
On social issues, the Democrats also oppose choice that conflicts with liberal orthodoxy. It is now taboo and bigoted to be a supporter of traditional marriage as Chick-fil-a CEO Dan Cathy discovered. Likewise, Democrats and liberals have little tolerance for those who revere life over abortion. Democrats even favor disclosure of the names of petition signers and donors to opposition groups so they can be singled out for partisan attacks and intimidation.
Perhaps the most telling difference between the Democrats and Republicans is that Democrats oppose giving Americans the choice of how to spend their own money. This is true on two levels. As given in the above examples, Democrats are more than happy to mandate that all Americans spend money on products that Democrats believe they should buy.
On another level, Democrats want to spend Americans’ money through higher taxes. After four years, President Obama’s only real plan to heal the economy and close the deficit is by raising taxes. If taxes go up it is axiomatic that there will be less money left in their paycheck to take home. The increased taxes will go directly to support federal spending at the cost of the spending power of individual Americans.
It isn’t even a question of whether President Obama will raise taxes on just the rich or the middle class as well. He already has raised taxes on the middle class numerous times. Obamacare is a bundle of tax increases masquerading as a health care law. Americans for Tax Reform has compiled a list of 21 new or higher taxes that President Obama has signed into law. Many of these taxes fall directly on the middle class. Many are part of Obamacare.
In the end, the anti-choice positions of liberals and Democrats underscore the fundamental difference between the parties. Conservative Republicans believe that people should be free to make their own decisions about what is best for their life as long as it does not hurt others. This position accepts that sometimes people will make mistakes and bad decisions. If people aren’t free to fail, then they aren’t really free.
To the contrary, leftists believe that, left to the own devices, people will not make the best decision. They believe that, because people cannot be trusted to do what is best for themselves, that government experts must tell them what to do and force them to do it. They also believe that, if necessary, people who do not comply should be punished… for their own good.
Originally published on Examiner.com: