Breaking the Bank

The biggest single vote to be cast on health care reform is taking place right now. Not in the halls of Congress or in some smoke-filled back room. Not in the Oval Office. Not in the media.

No, the single most important vote on health care is being cast in, of all places, Beijing.

As the New York Times reported Sunday, Chinese officials are questioning American officials about health care reform in the U.S. As the Times wrote, “The Chinese were not particularly interested in the public option or universal health care….They wanted to know, in painstaking detail, how the health care plan would affect the [U.S.] deficit.”

Why would the Chinese be so interested in our deficit? Well, for all intents and purposes, China is the official banker of the United States government. China is the number one foreign holder of U.S. Treasury securities.

And, as the Times reports, “like any banker, they wanted evidence that the United States had a plan to pay them back.”

Somehow, I doubt the President had any such evidence to give them in Beijing this week.

The Chinese are nothing if not clever. One investment banker told me that they had converted all of their debt from 30-year maturity to one year. The hard questions they are asking right now are about how much the health care bill will raise the deficit. And make no mistake, if the Chinese decide not to continue financing our debt, the dollar could drop through the floor. America could have a huge financial crisis.

Isn’t it ironic that the communist Chinese are more concerned about the cost of socialized medicine than the President and the Congress? That the Chinese communists are more concerned about the U.S. government printing money like it’s going out of style than we are?

If that isn’t a wake-up call to the politicians, the media, and to the American public, I don’t know what it’s going to take.

Look at your own personal spending over the past year. Have you cut back on expenditures because of the recession? Have you put off purchases—even ones that a year ago you might have thought to be essential? I know I have.

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Sadly, the government doesn’t think that way. The politicians want their pet projects—health care reform or earmarks—and they want them now. No matter that the U.S. budget deficit is at an all-time high. If you or I behaved this way with our personal finances, we’d be broke.

Well, the Chinese are having none of it. And what they are proving is that you don’t need huge armies or navies to conquer America. All you need to do is loan the U.S. government all the money it wants for social reengineering, and then call in the debt.

It’s time we all asked the government to be responsible with our money. Deferred gratification and prudence are virtues worthy of Christian individuals and of governments as well.

I and other Christians have voiced numerous concerns over the health care reform bill being debated on Capitol Hill—freedom of conscience, the government being involved in end-of life decisions, publicly funded abortion to name a few.

But in the end, it may be that the health care bill being debated on Capitol Hill will turn out to be just too expensive. We cannot afford it.

Just ask the Chinese.

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