This year on the Fourth of July, Texas lawyers will stand on the front steps of every one of Texas’ 254 county courthouses and participate in the nationwide tradition of reading the Declaration of Independence.

We can only hope that Gov. Abbott, Lt. Gov. Patrick, Senators Cornyn, Cruz and every other American elected official will also read the “unanimous declaration” of the original 13 United States of America.

This year more than ever, our elected officials need to be reminded that “all men are created equal” and that “governments are instituted among men deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” I can forgive the founding fathers for failing to acknowledge the importance of women easier than I can forgive our current elected officials for their disdain for the principles set forth in our Declaration of Independence.

Just last week, 13 male Republican U.S. Senators unveiled their abomination of a so called health care plan which turned out to be so bad they couldn’t even get 50 votes to bring it to the floor for debate.

To no one’s surprise, the bill, generated in secret by 13 privileged American males, including our own Senator Cruz, turned out to be a giant tax cut for the wealthiest 400 families, rather than a health care plan for the rest of us. Again, to no one’s surprise, the tax cuts came from cutting access to health care for low-income women and children, the elderly and disabled.

Regardless of where you stand on the merits of universal health care coverage, there can be no doubt that the way the Republican health care plan was crafted behind closed doors without any public input or the participation of the other 87 elected U.S. Senators was simply un-American.

On the eve of our 241st birthday, it is not just the Washington elite political establishment that needs reminding of what this country stands for. Later this month, Gov. Abbott will convene a special legislative session where he will again ask his right wing attack dog, Dan Patrick, to pass a bathroom bill and school vouchers.

As angry as those two issues make me personally, it is the rest of Abbott’s special session agenda that should alarm every Texan whether they are Republican, Democrat or just plain freedom-loving Americans who hate both parties.

Abbott intends to give the state total control over what are supposed to be home rule cities by enacting state mandated spending and revenue caps, limits on annexation and requirements to force issuance of construction permits. Abbott’s scheme to play puppet master over local cities from his fancy mansion in Austin defies every principle upon which Texas was founded.

While Republican elected officials from Washington to Austin make mincemeat of American and Texas values my usually loud friends on the right remain completely silent. At least that will make it easier for some of us to hear the Declaration of Independence being read in every Texas County this year.

Neil G. Baron, an attorney and former League City Councilman, is writing columns from a progressive perspective.

(26) comments

Walter Manuel

Good points Mr. Baron.
"To no one’s surprise, the bill, generated in secret by 13 privileged American males, including our own Senator Cruz, turned out to be a giant tax cut for the wealthiest 400 families, rather than a health care plan for the rest of us".

I am STILL trying to figure out why a tax cut for the wealthiest of American's was ever attached to the repeal of the Affordable HealthCare Act (Obamacare)?

I guess my question really is.... what does this tax cut for the wealthy have to do with anything, other than like everything else our government does, they attached a bill to something totally irrelevant just because government officials feel that they can get enough signatures in order to get it passed?

To me, these are 2 totally separate issues and should be treated as such. [sneaky]

Jim Forsythe

Walter , the health bill is just a smoke screen for a huge tax cut. They are starting to talk about repeal and no replace. If repeal happens first , replace may never happen.    If you remember before Obama care, the ERs were packed with people that had no insurance. Now a lot of the  hospitals have closed in small towns, and the ERs are not available, we may revisit this or worst.
.Now that the Republican's have started down the road of health care,
they may find that it's a no win for them.
The following is a letter from "Karen Martin"
"If the current bill by the GOP-controlled Senate passes, we are in a world of hurt. Seniors take note: Republicans are messing with Medicare and Medicaid. Over 60 percent (cbpp.org) of nursing home residents depend on Medicaid to meet most of the approx. $6,000 monthly cost of nursing home care. What will happen when that money dries up? The GOP plan transfers billions of dollars from these programs to pay for tax cuts for those who don’t need them.
The GOP’s “tax cut plan” for millionaires and billionaires is cloaked behind the false claim that this is a “healthcare bill.” It’s hardly that. Under the GOP plan, insurers can opt out of covering: maternity care, pediatrics, ER, preventive services, prescription drugs, lab tests, hospitalization and more. In addition states can decide on whether insurers must accept those with “pre-existing conditions” or not. Finally, the GOP plan “caps” Medicaid which will hit the disabled and seniors in a huge way. President Trump is on record as calling the House’s so-called healthcare plan “mean, mean, mean.” The Senate bill is worse.
What happened to candidate Trump’s promise to repeal and replace Obamacare with something better, something great? It would cover everyone and reduce costs. It would be the best plan ever. Instead the rich get richer and the poor, the old, the disabled get to die or suffer. If President Trump signs this bill, he lied to us.
When did we become so mean? Why do we always go after the most vulnerable amongst us, while letting America’s royal oligarchs suck us dry? Example: Redistributing U.S. wealth upwards from the poor and middle class. Why is it okay for corporations and the “royals” to take and take as if it were a royal birthright?

This is not medieval England. We do not support royalty. Or do we?"
"Karen Martin"

Carlos Ponce

" the health bill is just a smoke screen for a huge tax cut."
Not really but that's what the uber-Leftist are saying. And their minions are repeating that old Liberal mantra:
Tax cuts for the rich,Tax cuts for the rich,Tax cuts for the rich,Tax cuts for the rich,Tax cuts for the rich,Tax cuts for the rich,Tax cuts for the rich,Tax cuts for the rich,Tax cuts for the rich,Tax cuts for the rich,Tax cuts for the rich,Tax cuts for the rich,Tax cuts for the rich,Tax cuts for the rich,Tax cuts for the rich,Tax cuts for the rich,Tax cuts for the rich,Tax cuts for the rich,Tax cuts for the rich,Tax cuts for the rich,Tax cuts for the rich,Tax cuts for the rich,Tax cuts for the rich,Tax cuts for the rich,Tax cuts for the rich,Tax cuts for the rich,Tax cuts for the rich,Tax cuts for the rich,Tax cuts for the rich,Tax cuts for the rich,Tax cuts for the rich,Tax cuts for the rich,Tax cuts for the rich,Tax cuts for the rich,Tax cuts for the rich,Tax cuts for the rich,Tax cuts for the rich,Tax cuts for the rich,Tax cuts for the rich,Tax cuts for the rich,Tax cuts for the rich,Tax cuts for the rich,Tax cuts for the rich,Tax cuts for the rich,Tax cuts for the rich,Tax cuts for the rich,Tax cuts for the rich,Tax cuts for the rich,Tax cuts for the rich,Tax cuts for the rich...." ad infinitum without question.

Jim Forsythe

What happen to , I can not comment until it is passed?
The tax cuts in the Senate bill include cutting taxes on net investment income for wealthy people, repeals a new Medicare tax added on wealthy people, and eliminates taxes on health insurers, medical device companies, and tanning salons.

For instance, the Affordable Care Act added a new tax of 3.8 percent on net investment income (basically, capital gains and dividends) for individuals making over more than $200,000 a year, or married couples making over $250,000.
The Senate health bill not only repeals that tax, it makes that repeal immediate — applying it even to capital gains earlier this year., this may be its crudest giveaway to the rich:  There’s absolutely no reason to think a retroactive tax cut will boost job creation and growth. You’re essentially increasing people’s incentives to travel back in time and create jobs earlier in the year. Or, rather, you’re not increasing anyone’s incentive to do anything. You’re just shoveling money into the pockets of the least needy families in the country.

On the other hand, this bill provides huge tax cuts for the wealthy. to get an idea, it will be 157 billion dollars for households earning more than a 1 million dollar a year, it will save 7 million dollars to the 400 most wealthy families of the country. 

David Doe

THE ACA was responsible for the Largest Tax Increase in recent history. Everyone should pay a Percentage, not just those that save and invest, like Obamacare imposed.

Carlos Ponce

"tax cut for the wealthiest 400 families" is a talking point from The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) an organization that analyzes the impact of federal and state government budget policies from a PROGRESSIVE perspective. Yet they claim to be non-partisan.
The CBO is also supposed to be "non-partisan" but is often wrong in their assessments.
What they call a "tax cut for the wealthy" is actually a rollback to pre-Obamacare status.
When ACA/Obamacare is repealed, the 20 taxes that go with it will go away. That will benefit ALL. Obamacare contained 20 new or higher taxes on American families and small businesses. But that part is ignored because it does not fit into their Leftist mantra.
For a list of Obamacare taxes see:
http://www.atr.org/full-list-obamacare-tax-hikes-a6996

Gary Scoggin

Don't you folks know that the only allowable talking points on this forum are the ones that come from Fox News? Thanks for keeping us straight, Carlos.

PD Hyatt

Another post by a leftist who can not see that ALL enjoy the benefits of this nation, it is just some who refuse to get off of their duffs and work to where they can enjoy life.... Does that mean that everyone will succeed to where they want to be? NO! There are always winners, and then there are the rest of us who do the best we can and enjoy the fruits of our labors.... No where in our Constitution does it say that everyone will succeed. We have the right to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness, that doesn't mean that we are quarantteed that we will attain all of our goals! If people would open their eyes they would see that our poorest of poor and richer than most of the world today.... We are blessed to live in this nation of ours but the progressives will not be happpy until they have succeeded in destroying this nation!

Jennifer Lawrence

PD, great post! So true!! Equal opportunity does not mean equal results! We have so much to be thankful for in this country so let's encourage people to jump in and get their share rather than waiting for the government to be the answer to all of their problems.

Gary Scoggin

Trigger word: Leftist.

Josh Butler

Well, thankfully the terrible Republican bill never gained traction. What is gaining traction is full repeal of one of the worst laws ever passed by Congress, and signed by a president, ACA. By the way, Mr Baron seems to forget that the disaster that is ACA was passed in the dead of night, without ONE SINGLE Republican vote. Completely bias article, pushing a false narrative. If there is any party left that believes in freedom, it definitely isn't the Democrat party.

Jim Forsythe

Republican lawmakers weren't just opposed to the Affordable Care Act in 2009, they were upset about the way they said it was being passed: too quickly, without enough transparency and on party lines
"  While the Affordable Care Act was indeed divisive, inspiring months of sharp rhetoric and dividing Congress, it did take at least some minority proposals into account. The bipartisan HELP Committee approved more than 100 Republican amendments to the bill (though some Republicans said those amendments were mostly minor).
Prior to a vote, the Affordable Care Act underwent a month long marking up in the bipartisan HELP Committee before being brought to the floor for a vote. There, it was debated for 25 days—one of the longest periods of bill debate the Senate has ever seen.
the Affordable Care Act bill was subject to 47 public hearings and roundtable before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and another 53 before the Senate Finance Committee.
"By contrast, the process being used in the Senate so far on the Republican effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act has been mostly behind closed doors, while the timeline for a vote on it is much shorter than normal for a bill this major. In fact, the former Senate historian said that the last time a bill this significant was handled this way was before World War I."

Affordable Care Act passed with 60 votes. How many votes do you think is necessary?
Sen. Orrin Hatch had perhaps the most ringing indictment of partisanship in the bill: “If you can’t get 75 to 80 votes on something that is this important for this much reform, we should start over and do it on a step-by-step basis.’”

Diane Turski

Start over with single payer health care for all! Time to enter the 21st century! Healthcare should not be a Republican vs Democrat issue! It is a human rights issue!

Carlos Ponce

Single payer health care has its potential problems too.
"The limitations of single-payer systems became clear during the health-care debate, when the Congressional Budget Office projected that premiums for a public option would be higher than premiums for private insurance..."
From "What liberals get wrong about single payer"
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2014/01/13/what-liberals-get-wrong-about-single-payer/

Jim Forsythe

"The CBO is also supposed to be "non-partisan" but is often wrong in their assessments."

Carlos Ponce

Take it for what it's worth. Read the article from WAPO and discover what deficiencies await a single payer system. Anytime the government gets involved prices go UP. So much for "Affordable Care".

Gary Scoggin

For what it's worth, the transaction costs for Medicare are less than the transaction costs for private insurance. This may indeed be a place where the government can do things more efficiently. (Sorry, I don't mean to sound like a leftist here.)

David Doe

Unlike what you hear Democrats say about people dying, no one is refused care in the USA, not even ILLEGALS!

Steve Fouga

I've asked before how repealing Obamacare, or repealing it and replacing it, will improve the lives of participants on this forum. I can't recall what people said, or else I missed it.

So what will the improvements be? How will your lives be better? Will you become healthier?

Carlos Ponce

20 taxes repealed. That's an improvement. ACA/Obamacare drove the costs of healthcare up for everybody. It needs to be repealed.

Steve Fouga

What should it be replaced by, so that everyone has access to affordable health care?

David Doe

My insurance premiums went from $300 a month to $478 and my deductible went from $5k to 8500. My doctor declined to accept my plan as did the hospital which is 5 miles from my home. I'd prefer to go back to my original plan, doctor and hospital, not to mention the money I would save.

David Doe

Please don't forget the ACA was a HUGE Tac Increase for those that Save and invest.
Asking 300 million to pay More for insurance so 11 million can get it for Free is just Bad math, no matter how you look at it. Once we Increased welfare (read free) for 11 million it's awfully difficult to take it away. Folks making $60k a year don't need subsidies.

Gary Scoggin

$60k a year isn't much when you pay over $14k a year for a plan with over $5,000 in deductables. That's what Obamacare offered an acquaintance of ours. Obamacare is definitely broken. I just have no confidence that the replacement is not worse.

Jarvis Buckley

I suspect in a year or two the liberals will shed their progressive democrat
identity & start calling themselves
socialists . It's coming fast.

Doyle Beard

Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Correct the majority of the states were unhappy with liberals and used their liberty to vote them out for a better life.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.