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Vox populi proves point: 'Know thyself'

WARNING: The following column may contain satire, hyperbole and other literary devices. Do not swallow whole. Keep away from small children -- and adults who think like them.

With Barack Hussein Obama's signature on the landmark health care law, it's now up to Republicans to find activist judges to thwart this dictatorship of the proletariat.

True, a recent poll showed that a majority either back the new law or think it should go even further. But the GOP is nothing if not intent on reaffirming its status as the minority party.

Meanwhile, many felt maligned by last week's reference to a Pew Research Center poll on the uninformed and my notion that much of our electorate might constitute an idiotocracy.

Of course, I would never assign any individual to that category. So, frankly, I was surprised that so many -- including radio show hosts -- self-selected. Apparently, they took to heart the Oracle at Delphi's advice: "Know thyself."

More seriously, some misread the reference to literacy tests -- which once prevented blacks from voting -- as an attack on white Southerners today rather than on the ill-informed referenced after the semicolon. I should have known the hazards of using a compound sentence.

But enough about me. Let's sample the feedback and see if an epidemic of anti-Obama high blood pressure will be enough to bust the health care budget all by itself.

"How come you have not explained to your readers how the health care bill is going to reduce the deficit when it adds 30 million new users?"

Congress' nonpartisan budget scorers already explained it: By using the purchasing power of the exchanges, expanding the risk pool, taxing high-cost plans and the like.

But it won't save nearly as much as it could have if critics hadn't made single-payer a nonstarter and killed the public option. For them to yammer about cost control is like John Wilkes Booth saying he couldn't enjoy the play because there was too much violence in the balcony.

"UNBELIEVABLE. Now you don't want the citizens [to have] the right to vote because they don't agree with your communist, Marxist, anti-God policies."

Comrade, let's keep God out of this, lest She notice we have 46 million uninsured.

"I worked my $#% off my whole life and nobody handed nothing to me. And the last thing I want to do is have the god$%#@ government running my god$%#@ health care!"

I asked my street gang buddy to translate; he said the caller was upset over the fact that once he turns 65, he'll be eligible for Medicare.

"This has nothing to do with health care but it's got everything to do with socialized medicine. May I remind you of countries like England, Germany, Canada -- failures."

Yes, and thanks for bringing it up. Data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development says you and your kids would live longer in any of those countries.

Infant death rates per 1,000 live births are 5.0 in Canada, 3.8 in Germany, 5.0 in the United Kingdom -- and 6.7 here. Life expectancy is 80.7 years in Canada, 79.8 in Germany, 79.5 in the U.K. -- and only 78.1 here.

Since we don't survive birth as often, or live as long if we do, at least we pay less for our premature demise, right? Wrong. In U.S. dollars, Canadians spent $3,895 per capita on health care, Germans $3,588 and Brits $2,992 -- while we coughed up a whopping $7,290.

That, in a nutshell, illustrates what this debate is all about. We spend far more than other countries and get far less in return.

There's a name for a society that thinks this makes sense.

e-mail: rwatson@buffnews.com

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