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January 14, 2010

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41The Lovell Chronicle I January 14, 2010 www, LovellChronicle.com Health care is a threat to my citizenship Boy, am I dumb! I have had a golden opportunity to make sure that the Senate heard my voice, and I blew it! Here I was, thinking that because our senators, Mike Enzi and John Barrasso, were voices of reason in Congress, I didn't need to wor- ry so much about how they were voting. I ignored the other senators sent by other states. What didn't sink into my thick skull was that members of the Senate have the prefix "United States" in front of their title. U.S. Senator - not just State A or State B Sena- tor. Although each one is elected by their respective states, they are U.S. Senators, Diane Badget View from the soapbox and that means that they answer to all of us, not just to those who sent them to Washington. Decisions made by U.S. Sena- tors affect the entire U.S. - and U.S. spells us. Our Christmas gift from the Senate was passage of the Reid health care bill. Ho, ho, ho. It wasn't passed on its merits. Much of it was done behind closed doors, and this supposedly "bi- partisan legislation" excluded the minority party. The 60 votes they needed were obtained by subversion, threats, dirty deals and blatant bribery. Senator Landrieu (D- La.) got $300,000 in exchange for her vote, and she was not one bit embarrassed to admit it. Senator Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) had serious reserva- tions about the bill that were miraculously resolved when his wife's position as the ambassador for the Susan B. Koman for the Cure Foundation was threatened. And then there is the Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) deal. How do you feel knowing that in perpetuity Wyoming will be covering the Medicaid difference for the state of Nebraska? Yep, that's how they got his vote. They promised him that Nebraska would be exempted from future new Medicaid payments and there would be an easing of the excise tax on Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Nebraska, among other things. Who do you think ultimately pays for that vote? They want to hold the final debates to meld the House and Senate versions of this mess in secret. They want to prevent C-Span cameras from covering the process and finish the entire bill behind closed doors. There are taxes in the two versions of the health care bill that haven't seen the light of day yet. This is the transparency that we were promised? The House bill contains a provision, which, in addition to fines and tax penalties for citizens not buying health insurance, also calls for the possibility of jail time for non-compliance. I'll admit that I slept through civics class more than once during high school, but I don't think I would have dozed off during the class that discussed requiring us to purchase anything to retain citizenship• If that provision remains as written, we could be im- prisoned for avoiding the penalty tax for not purchasing health insurance. The charges would be either a misdemeanor or fel' ony, depending on the degree. Please show me the section of the Constitution that allows Congress to single out an individual citizen and assess a penalty tax on him! Use me as an example, assuming the Pelosi provision for this penalty is in the final bill. If, for some reason, I do not - or cannot - purchase health insurance, I'll get a notice from the IRS saying that I have to pay a penalty tax for my failure. If I do not - or cannot - pay that tax, I can be convicted of a felony and fined and imprisoned up to 5 years for tax evasion. I guess that's one way to end up having the government pay for my health care. And as a convicted felon, I would lose many of my rights of citizenship - among those the right to own a firearm and the right to vote. If that doesn't boil down to stripping my citizenship for not complying with a mandate to purchase some- thing, I don't know what does. Where the health care bill specifies income guidelines, they are based on an individual's gross income. That's income be- fore taxes. Part of my income is gone before I even see it. My income, on paper, is not what is actually coming into my house- hold for paying my bills, buying groceries, filling my gas tank and clothing my family. I am the only one able to realistically determine what expenditures my income can support, and I have to make that determination based on the amount of mon- ey I actually have - not on what I should have had before the reds took their pound of flesh. I cant raise my debt ceiling or add to my deficit• Therefore I could be jailed for knowing better than the government what I can and can't afford, regardless of what their guidelines and charts say. The moral superiority Congress assumes astounds me. They can make hasty, sweeping decisions about my suitability to remain a U.S. citizen, dictate my lifestyle, and determine my financial ability to purchase something, but they can't be held legally responsible for bribery and threats. I worry about folks who don't have insurance, too. My own kids can't afford private health insurance for their families and I worry about them all the time. If Congress wants to insure those who aren't currently covered, they could begin by chang- ing the guidelines to qualify for Medicaid programs. Basing eligi- bility on real take home pay stubs instead of income before tax- es would help so many. And make sure that there is a pay stub to base it on - the people who benefit from the system should be those willing to contribute to the system. I don't mind one bit when my taxes provide aid to someone struggling to make ends meet. But I resent helping someone who has figured out how to milk the government for every entitlement on the books and who is content to continue that lifestyle. The states that are currently bankrupt, or close to it, are states that have the highest entitlement program rates in the nation. Learn the lesson, Washington! If the members who are lawyers would listen to the mem- bers who are doctors, and to Congress' sole accountant, they could see the flaws in their lofty ideals• If they would listen to the majority of the people who don't want this plan, they would understand the frustration. But then, silly me. I missed a golden opportunity by pinging on the wrong senators• You can bet I won't make that mistake again• BRIEF TERROR Letter to the editor Holiday care packages provided Christmas cheer To our community: As the commander of Char- lie Battery, 2nd Battalion, 300th Field Artillery, ll5th Fires Bri- gade, I would like to extend the appreciation of the soldiers in the unit for more than 500 soldier care packages. Thank you for taking the time to send boxes of personal hygiene products, food, books and other items for the soldiers of Charlie Battery. It is great to know that you are thinking of us. We were truly overwhelmed by the out- pouring of support we received during the holiday season. Thanks to your kindness, every soldier received two care packages at Christmas. We tru- ly appreciate your time and ef- fort sending us these packages. Your efforts brought warmth and a holiday cheer to the soldiers of Charlie Battery. While we couldn't share this holiday season with family and friends, wewere able to share with each other. Sharing your well wishes brightened the holi- day season for all. We hope you have a wonder- ful start to the New Year and look forward to seeing you this spring. Respectfully, Glenn A. Nicholsor/ Commanding Officer Charlie Battery Lots of programs .+ _. 1 prod00+00cers and youth "++:+ ' year We have a full agenda of education- al programs for the new year for produc- ers and youth. Starting from 1-4 p.m. On Jan. 20 at Lucille's Caf6 in Meetee- tse, the Master Cattlemen Program will be offered. It will run for eight straight weeks and will help cattle producers look at options that have helped other producers in Wyoming manage risk and maximize profits. This program is taught by the University of Wyoming specialists and successful cattle producers from Wy- oming. I will be driving up for most of the sessions and would be willing to give rides to those wishing to attend. The cost will be $75. Those needing assistance with the registration fee, please contact me. Private Pesticide Applicator training and re: certification will take place from 9 a.m. to noon on March 5 at the Big Horn County Weed and Pest building located at the junction of Highway 310 near Greybull. Weed and Pest Assistant Supervisor Brett Richardson and myself will teach this. Pres- ently, there is no cost for this event. The purpose of this training is to help pesticide applicators to cor- rectly apply pesticide at the right time and at the right rate. , March 19 will be our Ag-Expo at the Fairgrounds in Basin and will run from 9 a.m. to noon. This pro- gram is for third and fourth grade students in the county, along with their teachers and supervisors. Home-schooled students are also welcome. This has been a very successful program in the past. The supervising adults and those presenting Dallen R. Smith BHC Extension Agent all seemed to have a good time, and I have appreciated all those that help with this annual event. Last year we had one of the school kids watch as the cow was being milked, and said to their friend, "I don't get my milk from a cow, mine comes from the store." Income derived from agriculture in Big Horn County is between $80 million and $90 million, so as you can see, this is an important part of our local econo- my. Sometime during March, we will be having an Enterprise Budget one-day workshop. John Hewlett, the presenter, will be bringing several computers with which farmers and ranchers will have the opportunity to work on the budgets for their operation. We are also planning on having as many of the local agriculture bankers that can make it, to help with this program. When there is a date set, I will be sure to have it pub- fished. Enterprise budgeting is about the fact that a rancher and/or farmer can determine what enter- prise is making him money or what enterprise is losing him money. I have had one person express interest in having a Master Gardeners class here in Big Horn County. Forty hours of training and 20 hours of service is re- quired to become a Master Gardener. Anyone wish- ing to take this class, contact the Extension Office at 307-765-2868, and let us know your level of interest in taking this class. The cost of taking the Master Gardener class is $100. If you plan on becoming a Master Gardener for others the cost is $200. Correction [ ++++mEre+E+ DEQ open burning letter writer was Szlemko The name on the letter to Sen. Ray Peterson and Rep. Elaine Harvey about Wyo- ming DEQ open burning reg- ulations in Wyoming that was reprinted in last week's Chronicle was written by Jim Szlemko of Lovell. His name was covered over during com- position when a headline change was made. 2008AWARD-WINNING NEWSPAPER Postmaster: Send address changes to: The Lovell Chronicle, USPS 321-060 234 E. Main, Lovell, Wyoming 82431 (307) 548-2217 Published every Thursday Periodical postage paid at Lovell, Wyoming Editor and Publisher: David Peck