Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Economic and Social Stability

The property tax bill came recently. We were discussing whether to pay it in December or January, and how that would affect what we pay in federal income taxes. If we pay in January, this year's taxes will be a hundred or so dollars more, but the 2010 taxes would be several hundred dollars less (if the tax law remain the fairly stable).

We came to one conclusion: there is no way to know what to do. We don't know what the government is going to do to the economy, to know how much more trouble we're going to face with regard to Gary's income. We don't know what the government is going to do with regard to tax laws. We don't know what the government is going to do with regard to socialist policies in other areas. IF there were stability, we could make plans that we could reasonably expect to pan out. But there isn't enough stability for us know.

Then we visited the orthodontist today. We don't know what's going to happen with health care. We don't know what's going to happen with prices. How do we make decisions that will worsen Andrew's situation (which is a necessary step to achieve real healing), knowing that it's possible he'll get caught in the middle and not be able to finish the treatment? How do we know if we're going to start something which, with policy changes, may leave us with crippling bills before it's over?

As the bigwigs are playing politics and looking for power, I wonder if they have any idea that nearly every family and every small business in the country is facing decisions like these (be it about college, moving, health care, debt, job changes, etc) because we don't know what to expect from their tinkering two or three years down the road?


  1. I have the same questions and concerns. I used to think that Alex being in the military meant 100% job security and free health care. That used to be fairly accurate, but now there's no guarantee they'll even let the guys re-enlist. The longer a person is in the military, the higher in rank they are (typically), the more money they make. It has become more competitive because they're trying to cut costs and shave back on the higher paid individuals.

    If you opt for the free healthcare, the military assigns you your doctors who are usually military doctors operating on base. The hospitals and doctors offices are overcrowded and under-manned. They push patients through as fast as they can, leaving little to no time for questions, discussion, etc. I understand that's how it has to be in order for them to see everyone with the resources they have available, but I don't think it's optimal.

    Alex and I are one of the few who choose the insurance plan that requires we pay for part of our medical bills. We get to pick our doctors and hospitals, and we're in control of our medical treatment. The military stays out of it, and that's how we prefer it, even though it costs us some money. Thankfully, we have the option.

    I think about what it would be like for the whole country to operate under a socialist model (like the military). It would be a disaster! I wish more people would stop letting their emotions get in the way of seeing what makes sense.

  2. I was reading the Tao Te Ching at work today (it's for a story), and the author Lao-Tzu, a Chinese guy who was born in 600 BC, says this (the bluntness of it made me laugh):

    When taxes are too high,
    people go hungry.
    When the government is too intrusive,
    people lose their spirit.

    Act for the people's benefit.
    Trust them; leave them alone.

  3. This one was good, too:

    Governing a large country is like frying a small fish. You spoil it with too much poking.

  4. I like your quotes, Nathan.

  5. This post is so true. Our tri-parish had difficult decisions about our family's health insurance and dh salary. Then we had difficult decisions about how much to make our medical expense account for next year etc. Those decisions are always difficult when we don't know what our health will be like next year, but extra difficult when we don't know what the government will do with our decisions. We just have to make the decision as best we can and then leave it in the Lord's hands.

  6. I have college friends who've chosen not to go into medicine for this reason, because if they go through med school, they will be locked (by debt and obligation) into the field for decades, but nobody has any idea what the medical field will look like. Vet school's been harder to get into than med school for years, since vets have much the same satisfaction without the absurdly devastating liability; I imagine this will exacerbate the trend.

    And @Meghan, I wholeheartedly agree re: military health care. I wish I could just make every American schedule and complete just one routine medical procedure through Tricare, just to get a little taste of what it is we're headed for.