There has been a lot on my mind recently (as I'm sure you already guessed based on the title) and I've decided I need to just blog about it in a less than perfect blog rather than keep putting it off because I'm worried I wouldn't do the topics justice.
Issue number 1. Health Care Overhaul
I am vehemently opposed to this bill and it bothers me that there was essentially nothing I could do to stop it. I'm also bothered that popular culture has decided that anyone against it is some right-wing nut job who only cares about keeping "the white man" in power and therefore has to oppose anything the black president does just because he's black. People assume if you are for the new plan you are therefore a very giving person, if you are against it you are greedy and would rather keep your new boat and nice luxury car rather than give to charity and help the needy. Who is the more giving person, the one who wants the government to take care of everyone or the person who would rather keep that money from the government and give it directly to the poor. I could say more about this but I won't. I am bothered that one of the main arguments in defense of all the corruption, bribes, pork, and back-room deals needed to pass the bill was, "well Republicans would have done the same thing." Well then that would be wrong too, maybe their mothers' let them get away with saying, "well he started it" or, "he was doing it too" but mine never did because they are bad excuses. Don't automatically lump me together with everything the Republican party ever did, just because someone from that party did it doesn't mean I would have done it too. I thought it wasn't politically correct to stereotyping. That's another thing that really annoys me but I won't go into it now.
There are some good things in this bill, or I should say I know of some good things that will come from this bill. A couple of them are some of my extended family will be able to get insurance now and people won't get kicked off of insurance once they become sick. But there are so many things that I feel are going to be no fun. One of the big things mentioned as a good thing coming from the bill is that insurance companies won't be able to set life time limits on benefits, well what if I don't want to pay for that coverage? Too bad for me because insurance companies are no longer allowed to charge different people different rates. Imagine if everyone in the country had to pay the same car insurance premiums, what kind of uproar would there be coming from the lower classes (and rightfully so) for having to pay much higher premiums to cover all the sports cars, reckless driving, expensive upgrades, etc. etc. Well, now I will have to pay higher insurance costs because someone else chooses to smoke two packs a day, eat fast food three times a day, and never exercise and will be visiting the doctor once a month, getting a gastric bipass surgery in a couple years, going to the emergency room for the common cold because wait times at the doctor's office will be months whereas at the ER it will only be hours. Tell me where the fairness is in that! I am not a prophet but I am going to make a prophecy; once people realize they are paying more money to cover for unhealthy people there will be an outcry for laws prohibiting unhealthy living, we are already seeing it today with proposed taxes on soft drinks, fast foods, trans fats, and smoking. Once those things start to get taxed and the government has public support for controlling what we eat and how we live then .... I haven't fully thought this through yet, but the first part of my argument makes sense in my mind. And if anyone doesn't think that will happen, please tell me why. A big thing touted by the Democrats in support of the bill is that taxes will only be raised on people making more than $200k, well how about the increase in premiums charged by insurance companies, that will effect everyone. Another thing mentioned to support this bill is that the health care industry in America isn't that great, Americans are the most obese people in the world and our life expectancy is ranked somewhere around 40th in the world. So how will through 32 million more people into the system possibly fix those problems? I have my issues with doctors in general, they are like mechanics in that they act like they know everything and don't consider maybe they are making mistakes. They make plenty of mistakes just like everyone else in every other industry; there can be improvements to the quality of care in the US but this bill doesn't do that at all. Doctors are very useful and I am very grateful for the quality of care we have here.
All of this leads me to the next thing on my mind.
Issue number 2. LDS General Conference
You may ask how these two are connected, I'll tell you. Ever since the health care bill passed I have been so frustrated about everything, some of the reasons I just mentioned. Going into General Conference I wasn't sure what I was going to get out of it; of course I was excited and I knew it would be great but I didn't have any clear questions in my mind. I realize this was my fault but I am very grateful to the Lord for still blessing me with a lot of instruction. The first major breakthrough for me was during one of the talks on Saturday (I don't remember which one without looking at my notes) I had the realization/inspiration that life is great so long as we have the Gospel in it. There have been plenty of people throughout the history of the world who have lived righteous lives and have since gone on to their eternal reward all while living in a much worse political situation than we are in right now. When I had that thought, or prompting, I felt so much more at peace with my life in this country than I had in weeks. All the stuff I mentioned above, I still feel. But I have been given back my ability to put it into proper perspective; everything going on in the country and even the world has no power to take away my ability to follow my Heavenly Father and to uphold my covenants with Jesus Christ. Other notable talks for me during conference were, the talk by Elder Oaks during Priesthood meeting about blessings was fantastic, rarely am I as surprised about learning doctrine as I was when I listened to his talk. My brother Ammon and I had very similar reactions, we looked at each other with shocked faces and asked each other if we knew that. I really need to reread his talk to fully grasp what he was saying. Also, I loved Elder Holland's talk as did so many people. He has a power when he speaks that so few people have, he could have been such a famous, powerful man in the eyes of the world if he had not been dedicated to the Lord his entire life. And Staci and I were both very impressed with how much of a focus on the family there was, it seemed like every other talk was about how to be better parents, and with the baby coming we were both very interested and eager to learn.
Which reminds me...
Issue number 3.
I am getting really nervous about being a father. I am worried that I won't be able to take care of our newborn, that I won't be able to provide adequately financially for my wife and child, or lead spiritually, but most of all, I am terrified that something will cause me to lose my temper and I will take it out on my son. I am ashamed to even admit this has even crossed my mind. But I've seen too many news stories about a father or mother who couldn't get the baby to stop crying so they shook him/her and ended up killing or causing brain damage. I am so worried how I will act when I wake up at 3 in the morning and my son won't stop crying. I have had problems in the past with losing my temper but I have been doing a much better job these last couple years; however, I still can feel those tendencies inside of me. I just hope and pray that I will be able to always control my actions.
And now on a much lighter not,
Issue number 4.
We are buying a house! If you look at our other blog you will see a picture of it and we will be putting plenty of more information about it in the coming weeks. This isn't exactly an issue but it is on my mind. We have been looking for a house since August of last year and there were times I thought we would never find a house. We still haven't heard back about a couple short sale offers we made months ago. Almost everyone I spoke to about buying a house said that now is a great time to buy, a buyers market with historically low interest rates. While I totally agree with the latter, the former I disagree with. I think it is more a banks market, (yes that is a very cynical statement); most of the properties for sale right now are short sales. The banks take a long time to get back on offers, and they apparently don't care about taking a loss; but they do care about saving face and not letting people get a good deal. I say that because some of the houses we looked at were close to foreclosure and yet they still wouldn't come down in price. We tried to get one property for 7k less than the bank wanted and instead of coming down in price, the bank decided to foreclose on the property. The bank will lose a lot more money in the foreclosure process than 7k. The decision made no financial sense. Anyway, like I said, at times I thought we would never find a house, especially in time to claim the first-time home buyer tax credit, but we did and the house has almost everything we were looking for.
About the tax credit, some may criticize me for taking the 8k for various reasons; while I am opposed to most of the stimulus spending that Uncle Sam has been doing the last couple of years, I figure I might as well get back some of the money I will be paying in higher taxes for the rest of my life to the government because of the outrageous national debt levels . If I had the choice of not taking the 8k right now in exchange for a fixed income tax rate of 15% for the rest of my life, I would take that deal in an heartbeat. But since that won't happen I am going to take the money to make up for some of the taxes I paid this year.
I could probably ramble on for a couple hundred more words but I think I'll stop now, but I will try to post more often; I find this therapeutic.