Public Speaker on Public Issues



Illegal Immigrants, Forest Fires and Prescription Drug Coverage

Paying for prescription drugs, the nightmare of citizens, insurance companies and elected officials. It is also a hot topic for media mavens. It’s a serious issue no doubt about it. However, it’s a problem with a solution if we connect the dollar dots!

Billions of dollars are being spent to provide social services for millions of illegal immigrants across this nation. Those dollars don’t begin to reflect the collateral costs to communities whose infrastructures are over used and abused in trying to deal with the illegal immigrants that are being foisted upon them.

If elected officials, both state and federal, would insist on enforcement of existing immigration laws, and effective strengthening of border controls then the billions of dollars paid to undeserving illegal immigrants would be available for prescription drug coverage for Americans and legal immigrants.

Billions of dollars are being spent to fight catastrophic wildfires year after year. National costs to fight forest fires on public and private lands are now beyond the expectations of even the most pessimistic. Dollars to contain and subdue these catastrophic fires is only one small part of the costs of fighting forest fires.

One must add on to these costs, the billions of dollars that will go into recovery.
Insurance companies will have astronomical claim settlements, which will increase premiums and decrease stock performances. Then there are the numerous federal programs that will ‘kick in’ to help citizens and states get back on track. These dollars are paid for by the rest of America. This is a case of other Americans having to pay some heavy prices for the consequences of extreme environmental philosophies that prevent forest and rangeland management. It is these extreme philosophies that have contributed to the increased magnitude and intensity of forest and rangeland fires.

This country is wealthy and smart enough to plan for the inevitable expenditures related to ‘reasonable’ forest fire costs and ‘reasonable’ costs for dealing with illegal immigration policies. These are not cheap operating costs under the best of circumstances, but they are doable if relevant laws are not abused and/or ignored because they are politically uncomfortable.

Perhaps it is time to open our political eyes to the realities of abuse and neglect of our own citizens and legal residents as a result of misdirected dollars.

The discussions around paying for prescription drugs seem to only spin around and around the question of how we could possibly pay for such a program. Going in circles often keeps one from seeing anything outside that circle. However, there are dollars in this country to fund such a program in some fashion. If we connect the dollar dots between the costs of catastrophic forest fires and paying benefits to illegal immigrants a picture comes into fiscal focus.

Citizens should put immense pressure or persuasion on elected officials to change the way we are doing business in this country. Elected officials should step up and step out politically to defend legal residents of this nation before they consider defending any other constituency.

In this case, the defense would come in the form of spending dollars for the most deserving, i.e., legal residents first and foremost.

Yes, this might mean getting laws amended and court rulings revisited and brought back into balance. Such courage and commitment is what is needed from elected officials. Elected officials should require more of themselves than just finding another way to fund through more taxes, or cutting other needed programs.

There are sources of revenue to fund some level of prescription drug coverage if we are willing to connect the dollar dots. Prescription drug coverage is not just about the needs of senior citizens. No, the need spans the entire demographics of our nation and its many health problems.

So, the remedy for the problem of prescription drug coverage can be found if we are truly willing to make the dollar dot connections right before our eyes.

~ Casper Star Tribune - November 17, 2003

Permission granted to reprint in full or part with full credit given to author.

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