Communism, Not Libraries

It seems the Freedom Foundation warriors have library porn in their cross hairs. Who would oppose protecting children? The sweet little things.

I just had a long afternoon with some difficult, not very sweet granddaughters. They were not at their best. But I would still sacrifice to protect them from harm. So why not use this as a dog whistle? Those Freedom Foundation strategists have me beat by a mile.

What I’m confused about is all the communism they are avoiding.

Yes, communism right here in this deep red state. State-sanctioned, written into our sacred Idaho code, communism is in our laws. And our Freedom Foundation warriors are just looking the other way.

What, you say you are unaware?

I wasn’t really. But I was inspired about this from a newspaper article. Remember those? They are so quaint.

This article was announcing multiple grants to North Idaho hospitals and clinics with practitioners who needed help with loan repayment. It turns out the Idaho legislature authorized taxing Idaho supported medical students up to 4% a year of what the state chips in for their medical education. (Math: 140 students X 4% of $30K= $168K. The state is supposed to chip in another $84K). This money, collected from all the students is then distributed to those working in Idaho in underserved areas. That sure sounds like communism to me, doesn’t it? Taxing everybody to then send money off to the poor folks?

Not that family docs in small town Idaho are poor. They make at least twice what a teacher makes. But it is a marketplace, that cartel of MDs, also a state-sanctioned restricted market. Getting the not-so-smart ones like me to serve in needed areas with taxes on their classmates sounds at least socialist, if not outright communist.

But it’s everywhere. I’ve written about the Idaho Potato Commission before. If you want to sell your potatoes as “Idaho Potatoes” you have to pay a tax to The Commission. And Idaho law has empowered The Commission to inspect your books, and bring you to court over your small, or very big potatoes. It’s an arrangement the potato farmers seem to appreciate. But jeez, state-sanctioned taxation of potato farmers? Next, we’ll be requiring them to swear allegiance to The Party. We all know what party that would be.

Health Care is not immune from the communist infection. All (except five…that is a very deep story) agreed to pay an “assessment” (soft for “tax”) back to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare for every Medicaid dollar they received. The tax was set at 10%. This agreement was offered by the hospitals during the 2008 downturn, and they could see big Medicaid cuts on the horizon. They knew the magic of the Federal Medicaid program. Every dollar Idaho spends on Medicaid is matched with three Federal dollars. If Idaho hospitals send ten percent of their money back to the IDHW, they can expect a three to one match in return. Can you say Ponzi? Some states had a much higher “assessment”. This spiral was cut short by the feds about 12 years back, and Idaho was not the worst schemer in this plot.

Idaho nursing homes also pay a Medicaid “assessment”.

When the “assessment” was enacted into Idaho law it was strongly endorsed by the Hospital Association. And it still is.

So, sometimes, interested parties choose to tax themselves for their benefit. All of themselves. And they seem to believe the tax serves them all, even though some of them get more money than others.

I guess this kind of makes sense. But it’s still not free market capitalism. Why hasn’t the Freedom Foundation taken on the Potato Commission? Or the Wheat Commission? There’s communism everywhere, not just in our libraries.

About ddxdx

A Family physician, former county coroner and former Idaho State Senator
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