Thursday, April 1, 2010

In 1897, a bill was introduced in the Indiana General Assembly that attempted to legally redefine the value of pi (the mathematical ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter). The Indiana Pi Bill stands out as one of the most infamous and egregious attempts to alter scientific truth by legislative decree, often hailed as unparalleled in our nation’s history. That is, until now.

In what is perhaps the most audacious - yet little noticed - provision in a bill that is chock full of kickbacks, tax hikes and bureaucratic power grabs, this bill actually asserts as a matter of law that adults up to the age of 26 are children.

I have plenty to be offended about in this disastrous new law. It is the worst example of nanny-state interference in my lifetime. Not only does it raise my taxes and force me into a bureaucratic nightmare, in which politicians and government employees will interfere between me and my doctor, but worst of all - to add insult to injury - it even accuses me, a 25-year-old adult, of being a helpless child. And the Democrats’ lapdogs in the mainstream media repeat this absurdity as if the definition of adulthood is a matter of legislative determination.

Indiana was wrong in 1897, and President Obama is wrong now. Assertion of something false by the government doesn’t make it so. And that’s what’s fundamentally wrong with this bill, the idea that we are all helpless children who rely on the beneficence of the state for our health care. As an adult, I don’t need government offering new subsidies or creating hundreds of new government programs to force me to do what’s best for me. My parents raised me to believe in personal responsibility. As small-business owners, they pay for their own health care and, in these tough economic times, are struggling to make ends meet. When I turned 21, they expected me to take care of my own health care, and I had no problem with that. As an employed adult and citizen, I find the notion that the federal government can force my parents to still be responsible for my health care reprehensible.

But President Obama has not stopped at legally defining the age of adolescence; he’s taken to inventing new mathematical possibilities as well. In recent days, he has actually made the claim that employers would see premiums fall “by as much as 3,000 percent.” Now, I’m no math major, but even a child - be they 12 or 25 - can tell you that once something falls 100 percent, you’re at zero. Can’t get lower than that. The truth of the matter is that these new policies will place a crushing burden on small-business people, like my parents, and will add to the plethora of regulatory burdens that make it near impossible to remain viable in these tough economic times. On top of all that, should I really expect my parents to carry the burden of their adult son’s health care, too?

The Democratic health care takeover bill is a strike to the heart of the American dream and the entrepreneurial spirit that has made our country great. What is to become of a nation that goads its youth to dependency - whether it be to that of their parents or that of the nanny state - rather than promoting the virtues of hard work, entrepreneurism, independence and personal responsibility?

Our new health care regime is an insult to every responsible adult American. It tells all of us that we are mere children in the eyes of the state, dependent on Washington to take ownership of our health care, our very life and death. For some of us, including me, who are under the age of 26, it goes so far as to attempt to legally redefine us out of adulthood. This should not stand, and my message to the nanny statists who imposed this on us is simple: November is coming.

Erik Telford is director of membership & online strategy for Americans for Prosperity, whose newest Web site,, is dedicated to encouraging voters to vote against the re-election of any congressman or senator who voted “yes” on Obama’s health care takeover.

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