What Would the Founders Think About Health Care?

This is a question I've been seeing a lot on facebook (cut and pasted from foxnews.com probably) , but I have a better question ...

How would they have an opinion of it and if they did, who cares?

There's three main reasons that I pose this question:

1) In the founders' day, there was really no such thing as health care as we know it today.

Get sick? You die.
Get cancer? You die.
TB? You most likely die at some point. Maybe some time in the solarium will help a little.
Routine issue like burst appendix? You die.

In other words, health care expense wasn't much of an issue because medical science was for the most part unable to keep you alive if you had any kind of serious disease or health emergency.

There was no premium or co-pay, no deductible to worry about. You just had to make sure you could pray hard if an evil demon gave you 'the fever' or a case of melancholy.

2) The question 'What would the founders think?' is a weighted question that implies that anything that costs money (taxes) is an infringement on the liberty of the people.

While I understand this reasoning (no taxation without representation), the founders really felt that liberty was protection from government intrusion on your life (seizing your property, not allowing free expression, discriminating against religion etc.).

Their opposition to a standing army (Jefferson and the radicals at least) came from the fear that the army would overthrow the civilian government and force its will on the people, not due to taxes being increased.

3) If somehow the founders were transported into our world with its health care concerns, they certainly did not think as a block.

Some founders like Washington were reluctant to rebel against their own country and did so only because they felt something had gone wrong with the empire to make it 'less good' than it once was.

Others like Jefferson wanted an entire new society in the new world to spring forth and throw off the yoke of tyranny, almost a milder version of the French Revolution.

Still, there were moderates like Adams and Madison that fell somewhere in the middle.

So it seems naive to think they would have all been on the same page, even if they had been transported to our time and gained an understanding of the trials and tribulations of our longer and more expensive lives.

Unless of course, you're the Texas school board, then you can simply remove the founders you don't agree with from the history books.


Millard Fillmore: The Mormons Part II

I think I should take this opportunity to formally thank and acknowledge the great folks at Wikipedia.

I try to not rely on it too much since 1) I'm reading a whole book on each president and shouldn't need cliff notes and 2) I feel a little bit guilty about finding an interesting tidbit on there and having it be attributed to my own research.

But there's no denying that it's a wonderful tool when I end up with one of the books as I have now which is a poorly written diary on what Millard Fillmore liked to eat and do for fun, his greatest hopes and dreams etc. Wikipedia just gives me the facts in an easy to digest manner even though I sometimes wonder about the people that put them on there.

Using this tool helped me find this great piece of information- Millard Fillmore continued the policy of Polk in giving the Mormons autonomy out West and formally created The Utah Territory appointing Brigham Young governor. Yes, it's that same Brigham Young that once lobbied Polk to start a Mormon militia, is hailed as a prophet by Mormons today and has a University named after him.

In gratitude for making him governor and giving the Mormons a formal home, Brigham Young named the capital of the Utah territory 'Millard' and named the surrounding county 'Fillmore'.

I initially thought this might be some joke by a disgruntled grad student or something- but behold, I've attached an image of a shirt for the Millard Eagles. Go Millard Eagles!


Millard Fillmore: It could have been a lot worse

Millard Fillmore gets a lot of flack in American history for being mediocre. He's almost known for not being very well known as in the Seinfeld episode about "The Fillmore Boys Gang".

Perhaps that's why the only book I could find on him was written in the 1930's by what I can only assume was an unrepentant Fillmorephile since the book was a 550 page opus on the life and times of Millard Fillmore.

As I choked down page after page of this uninspiring book written in the stilted language of academics of that time, I couldn't help but think that although this guy was clearly a little too fond of Fillmore, there's plenty of people out there that are too hard on him.

Yes, he didn't do a lot in office that was very notable other than sending Commodore Perry to Japan as the first American to open trade there and start the presidential library, but he also didn't do things that made him one of the nation's worst presidents either.

He didn't commit high treason like President Tyler who joined the Confederacy in his retirement (he was the only former president to die who was denied a state funeral and flags at half staff)

He didn't do nothing to try and stave off Civil War between the North and South as President Pierce did.

He didn't have active Confederate sympathizers in his cabinet like President Buchanan (they were actually feeding information to rebels on troop levels in Federal bases prior to the Civil War)

So I would argue that it could have been a lot worse and the guy kind of gets a bad rap.

It's also important to remember that he took over after the death of Taylor, so it's not as though he was elected with some big mandate anyway. No one expected much from President Ford right?