Bureaucrat Beat: A Xmas Story, Insurance Puppets, and Snowball Fiasco

Just imagine – it’s Christmas in the Bureaucrat Beat Newsroom. We are there since it’s our favorite place. We have eggnog in hand and talk of past, present and future. KSRW plays the tunes in the background. Someone starts to tell a story.

Editor John Heston told us about the rich man in Texas who gave his self-absorbed girlfriend a pair of gloves for Christmas. She was so offended by such a pedestrian gift that she tossed it in the garbage. The haughty female proudly told her boyfriend what she had done with his pitiful gift. Then, he told her he had stuffed each finger with a $100 bill. Ouch! Folks around town reported that they saw the woman rummaging frantically through the dump that day.

Love it. Ho-Ho Merry Christmas!

Some of our elected officials live for their own self-importance and for campaign contributions from health industry lobbyists. A new website called insurancepuppets.com shows the senators with the most health industry lobby dollars. Check out www.insurancepuppets.com.

As we have said, these legislators fought for health care plans favorable to insurance companies. Gee, how surprising. It’s worse than that. New studies have found a revolving door between Capitol Hill staffers and lobbying jobs for companies with a stake in healthcare legislation. According to the LA Times, at least 166 former aides from the 9 congressional leadership offices and five committees involved in shaping healthcare reform, along with some 13 former lawmakers, registered to represent at least 338 healthcare clients since the beginning of last year. How sweet. They all hold hands!

Even worse – healthcare companies spent $635 million on lobbying over the last two years. Let’s face it people. We don’t stand a chance. They’re going to force us to buy insurance, tax us if we spend a fair amount on insurance and fail to pay our doctors and hospitals enough. Gee thanks and Happy Holidays to all you guys who belong to Club Greedy and Sneaky in Washington, D.C.

A footnote to the big healthcare bill. Seems Senate Democrats tacked on a last minute provision that would tax the use of tanning beds 10%. This tax would raise an estimated $2.7 billion over 10 years. Take note that the Senate’s new healthcare bill does not tax the very wealthy a 5.4% surtax to help pay for healthcare as Congress had asked. It does stick us with a 40% excise tax for those individuals who spend more than $8,500 a year on health insurance. If you’re over 55 and want any kind of decent insurance, you will easily spend over $8500 and then get hit with a 40% excise tax. How sweet. If you decline to buy health insurance, the Senators want to fine you as much as $750 per adult. Wow. What a friendly government service.

Not to worry. You can always drown your sorrows at a luxury theater like the one in Pasadena called Gold Class Cinemas. You pay $29 for a ticket and then you can buy a $49 bottle of sparkling wine and a $20 dinner while you sit back in your suede chair and watch the latest films. Can’t buy you love, but comfort, for sure.

And if you thought Mammoth Police were the only ones with gnarly, weird situations, listen to this. Seems that with all the snow in Washington, D.C. recently, some folks worked up a big snowball fight. A plainclothes police detective at the wheel of a Hummer took major offense when the revelers pelted him with a few snowballs. Some accounts claim he pulled a gun. Other versions of the frosty incident say the Hummer got stuck, the detective got out and when hit with a snowball, pulled his gun and ordered the snowy fusillade to stop.

Someone called the police who came with guns drawn since they received a report of a man with a gun. When they realized he was a cop, they holstered their weapons. A good time was not had by all. Truly pays to maintain what Mammoth Police Chief Randy Schienle called “a heightened level of awareness.” At least then you have options.

Let us hope at this Christmas season that somehow, some way our elected leaders will represent more than the mega-rich in our nation’s capitol and that like Scrooge they will be visited by the spirits of past, present and future who will show them the thin, cheap stuff of their lives. We can wish.

With that, this is Benett Kessler signing off for Bureaucrat Beat where we await your word on our lives in the Eastern Sierra and beyond. Merry Christmas from the Bureaucrat Beat newsroom!


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