As I take a summer vacation with my family, I tend to wonder if the multitudes of people on the beaches and at other vacation spots across the U.S. really comprehend the price of that luxury. I’m not talking about the literal cost of the trip, but more about having the personal and financial freedoms to even take a vacation.
My father wrote a wonderful blog post about a personal experience he recently had in Washington, D.C., reminding us to remember every day that Freedom is NOT Free. His post was mostly about the personal and political freedoms we as Americans enjoy, thanks to the fearless soldiers who courageously put themselves in harm’s way or sacrificed their lives for our benefit.
However, the point he indirectly makes is that those same dedicated individuals also helped lay the foundation for our financial freedoms as well, so that anyone is free to work hard, be self-sufficient and become an entrepreneur, inventor, writer or even financial advisor today.
Yet as I look at our current governance, it seems that quite a different message is being communicated through society and with our tax code. Basic financial freedom and the many privileges it affords have, indeed, become truly ‘free’ for too many Americans, but not in a good way.
The Obamacare PPACA law, for example, was recently upheld by the Supreme Court, which ruled that legally it’s a tax. But the notion that government-subsidized health care is ‘free’ or an inalienable right, is absolutely ludicrous to me.
Per the law, starting in 2013, if you don’t have health insurance coverage you will pay a tax penalty, assuming you don’t qualify for an exemption. However, if you do have health insurance coverage and make more than $250,000 a year, ObamaCare will actually tax you more, thereby penalizing you and making you pay for someone else’s free health care coverage! We all know that many Americans work very hard every day just to make ends meet, so it’s wrong to assume those who don’t buy health insurance are somehow irresponsible. However, if they can’t purchase an important basic need such as health insurance, how can they pay for a cell phone, iPod, iPad, cable TV or a newer model vehicle? Should they expect the government (and the taxpayers) to pick up their insurance tab, while we as a country spend ourselves off a financial cliff?