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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

What a week to be a Catholic.

The Obama administration has looked panicked in recent days because of the backlash against a new proposal scheduled to go into effect because of the Obamacare legislation shoved through in March of 2010.

Preventative care is supposed to be offered at no cost to the plan participant, and Health and Human Services has decided this preventative definition extends to procedures surrounding reproductive health.

The White House is backtracking because many Catholics who often support higher social spending and taxes  - and thus helped push through the health care legislation - are offended that their organizations are now being forced to pay for something they view as morally wrong.

Obama needs every Catholic vote he can get, and he certainly can't afford to anger the Conference of Bishops that just recently announced it opposition to the administration's compromise of not forcing these religious groups to pay directly but still having contraception paid for through other sources.

The problem is that nothing is free.

The cost of free contraceptives to women in these religious organizations will be passed on to people in the form of higher health care costs.

To be fair, men are a big reason why women need access to contraceptive devices.

But to assess a tax that pays for a practice deemed morally objectionable by some religious groups sets a dangerous precedent for the ever-expanding welfare state.

If this birth control exception is allowed for faith-based groups, you can add it to the list of government programs that clergymen are allowed to opt out of.

Other such programs include Social Security and Medicare taxes, which eat into 7.65 percent of a worker's salary - even more if they work for themselves.

Why should we protect religious citizens working for religious institutions from the punitive current and future cost of free everything when everyone else has to pay?

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The answer: Liberty is being cut back in America, and certain exceptions must be made so these changes are politically tolerable.

At the beginning of 1937 when the government started collecting Social Security taxes, it amounted to 1 percent of a person's salary.

Today the amount is 6.2 percent of your pay and 12.4 percent if you work for yourself.

Medicare taxes continue to rise, and Obamacare has added an extra 2.9 percent tax on investment income that nobody seems to notice or care about because it hasn't been levied yet.

Back in 2009, when health care reform was being debated, I supported it wholeheartedly, partly because I supported Obama.

Unfortunately, I was naive enough to believe that when you give something away for free, it actually becomes cheaper.

The new rule on birth control will limit the incentive to provide new, cheap, easily accessible methods to prevent pregnancy.

Since contraception will now be covered in full by mandate, it will become a lot more expensive over time, just as all our entitlements have become.

The true nature of Obamacare, with its mandates, complex rules and tax increases, was obscured so that it would pass.

Luckily for exempted employers, some of these statist policies will not be applied to them because of their belief system.

The only reason the White House wants to extend these exceptions is it needs the votes of liberal Catholics to win in 2012.

The rules that would be objectionable to a large part of the population should not have been forced down people's throats in the first place.

I'm all for people having access to cheap and effective birth control, but the administration should stop trying to tell people what to do.

It seems that politicians of both political parties are at their worst when trying to legislate matters of the bedroom.

Travis Hornsby is a statistics and economics senior at UF. His column appears on Mondays.

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