FREEPORT, MAINE — Fire chiefs and lawmakers are working to protect the system of volunteer firefighting that has served rural America for more than a century but is threatened by an ambiguity in President Barack Obama’s health care law.
Small and rural fire departments from California to Maine, which has one of the country’s highest percentages of volunteer and on-call firefighters, rely on volunteers to avoid the budget-strapping cost of paying them to be on duty in between fighting fires.
The volunteers are considered employees for tax purposes, a classification that grew out of an ongoing effort to attract firefighters by offering them such incentives as stipends, retirement benefits and free gym memberships.
That leaves open the question of whether the volunteer firefighters fall under the health care law’s requirement that employers with 50 or more employees working at least 30 hours a week must provide health insurance for them. Fire departments say they can’t afford to pay such a cost.
Of course they can’t.
This is a great example of the damage being done by Obamacare. But it is only one example. What readers need to do when they read of an admission in the mainstream media about how the Affordable Care Act is jeopardizing one kind of business is calculate that it is doing a bunch of damage to every business. The only businesses that might possibly win from this are the ones who can stay open and increase their customers from the failing businesses around them. In other words, the only possible good news is for those companies who succeed in becoming de facto monopolies.
News flash: enriching monopolies happens at public expense. That is still economic bad news.
Yet the Democrats have the chutzpah to claim that they want to help with “income inequality.” They are pulling a “false flag” attack on the economy in plain sight. They impoverish us and then claim they can help us with a few trickle down welfare benefits.
Which is why the Senate’s plan to “help us” is so enraging:
In the meantime, Maine’s U.S. senators are backing a recently introduced bill aimed at ensuring volunteer firefighters and other emergency responders are exempt from the health care law requirement.
I’m sorry that is just not good enough. Why are firefighters exempt while other groups and businesses get harassed and bullied by the law?
I don’t want this evil piece-of-trash-law to be lightened just enough to allow Americans to tolerate it! The Senate plan is effectively the same as a master watching his slave collapse under the weight of a burden, “graciously” removing just enough weight so the slave can totter on his feet, and then telling him “magnanimously” that he can carry the reset of the burden later—and expecting his slave to thank him for the lessening of his load.
Forget that. We should not be carrying anyone’s load.
The slave’s master in my example is not being magnanimous. If he makes the slave despair, the slave might throw off the burden and tell the master that he is not the master anymore. The master is trying to keep the slave compliant.
Harry Browne said it right. The government “knows how to break your legs, hand you a crutch, and say, ‘See if it weren’t for the government, you couldn’t walk.’”
And they will tax the crutch, too.