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October 30, 2014

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To cut handouts, Rubio should start with hair

Dear Sen. Marco Rubio:

I’d like to congratulate you on your principled stand to “defund” Obamacare.

I was particularly moved by the fiscal integrity you exhibited on the Hugh Hewitt radio show last week:

“I want to fund the government at the levels we agreed to in the Budget Control Act about a year and a half ago or two years ago,” you said, “but I don’t want to waste a single penny more on a health care law that’s undermining free enterprise, hurting the middle class, and will contribute to bankrupting America.”

Yes, we don’t have a penny to waste, especially on finding a solution to the problem of 30 million Americans who lack health insurance and therefore transfer all their health costs onto others.

So bravo, for having the spine to tell the poor, sick and uninsurable that they shouldn’t be looking to the federal government to come up with a way to subsidize their health care needs.

I just have one teeny suggestion, something you might want to consider to help bolster your reputation as a leader trying to free people from the yolk of excessive government spending.

Before defunding Obamacare, what about defunding some of the federal tax dollars that are wasted to subsidize the needs of the U.S. Senate?

It would be a great gesture, especially for a senator who realizes we don’t have a penny to waste.

You might want to start with the Senate Hair Care shop, which according to a news report in the Dayton Daily News, is running a $401,000 deficit this year and has operated at a deficit every year it has operated. Apparently, the $20 senators pay for a haircut is just a fraction of the actual cost, and taxpayers are left to subsidize the rest.

While I know it is absolutely essential to have every hair in place when you go on Fox News to rail against wasteful government spending, I think you will agree that the Senate Hair Care shop is taking middle-class haircutting jobs from the private sector while heaping more debt on the shoulders of our grandchildren, further bankrupting America.

According to the federal budget, the Senate Hair Care Revolving Fund had a balance of $272,892 at the end of last year.

To put it another way, the cost savings in defunding the Senate Hair Care Revolving Fund is equivalent to providing 1,263 families of four in Florida a year’s worth of Obamacare health insurance.

And the Senate gym ought to be defunded, too. This is another drain on the federal budget, probably because membership is restricted to only 100 members of the Senate, which isn’t a workable business model. This big government solution to getting exercise hurts the hard-working small business gym owners and robs senators of a chance to spend more time with average Americans who have to pay the full costs of their memberships.

The Senate Health and Fitness Facility required a federal outlay of $171,897 last year to compensate for the financially insufficient membership fees senators paid.

That’s a lot of pennies ripe for the saving.

While you’re at it, maybe you should take a principled stand against members of Congress receiving free medical care at military hospitals (socialized medicine complexes), and having the federal government pay about 72 percent of the costs they and their family members pay as part of the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.

And don’t stop there. You should also call for defunding the Office of the Attending Physician of the Congress, which provides on-site medical care to members of Congress through subsidies taken from the Navy budget.

Think of how liberating it will be to strip yourself from all these government handouts.

Once you do, it will be even easier to persuade the 1 in 5 Americans without health insurance to see the wisdom of defunding a government program that helps them.

Frank Cerabino writes for the Palm Beach Post.

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